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Why I Write for Sex, Etc. (and Why You Should, Too)

By , 17, Staff Writer Originally Published: March 24, 2011 Revised: June 14, 2016

Have you ever considered writing for a magazine? Are you interested in sharing information about sexuality with teens? If so, then you should consider applying to write for Sex, Etc. We are looking for teens who live in the New York City/New Jersey area. Applicants must be sophomores, juniors or seniors in the fall of the upcoming school year to apply. Read on to see what my experience as a teen staff member has been like!

Better Than Writing for School

When my mom first suggested that I apply for a teen staff position at Sex, Etc., I had absolutely no idea what Sex, Etc. was. Before applying, I scanned over the website, and I saw tons of fascinating articles teens had written. These articles were about sexual health topics that ranged from the different types of condoms to how we perceive our bodies. I realized then that I wanted to be a teen staff member and have the freedom to write about sexuality in an open and honest way.

Before becoming a teen staff member, I really never considered writing to be something I liked, and in school, English had always been my least favorite subject. Luckily I ignored these doubts and still applied. While writing my first article, I immediately realized that writing for Sex, Etc. was actually much better than writing for school. There were no grades and few requirements. I was actually writing about something that interested me. Writing a story for Sex, Etc. was nothing like an essay; I was able to be creative and have fun. So for those of you who are not sure that writing is the thing for you, give it a chance. You may be surprised that you grow to love it.

I can’t tell you what impact being part of Sex, Etc. will have on your life, but I can say that being on the teen staff has changed me.

Writing and Sexual Health Training

While a major part of being a teen staff member is writing articles, blog posts and stories, there is also a lot more. You start the year with sexual health and writing workshops, so you get the basics of being a sexual health writer. After you have this foundation, you are immediately thrown into a brainstorming session, where you work with your fellow writers to create ideas for articles in the magazine or on the website. This is always the best part of the meetings.

“I really enjoyed the brainstorming meetings, in which we had the opportunity to discuss youth trends and relevant current events in an effort to flesh out potential article ideas,” says Mark Bartkiewicz, an alum of the teen staff.

In these brainstorm sessions, you get to bring up anything that interests you and come up with ideas about what you want to write about. Even if you don’t have anything to share, these sessions are an amazing opportunity to hear and expand on your fellow staff members’ suggestions.

Representing Sex, Etc. in the Media

Along with generating new ideas to write about, the teen staff is also responsible for representing Sex, Etc. in the media. I know that plenty of people would love the chance to have five minutes of fame, but when I heard that we had to talk to the media, I was petrified. I hated public speaking, and I couldn’t imagine talking to a reporter. But luckily my fear was misplaced.

After attending the media training session for teen staff members, I realized that it would actually be fun to talk to the media, and I recently got my chance. I was interviewed by the Associated Press, and I felt so proud to be able to represent Sex, Etc. But for those of you who wouldn’t be satisfied with a simple interview, there’s more. Members of the teen staff have been interviewed by all sorts of media outlets, like NPR and Good Morning America. Being on the Sex, Etc. teen staff doesn’t mean you’ll be talking to the press all the time, but it ‘s important to realize that you will be much more than just a writer.

Benefits of Being on the Sex, Etc. Staff

I can’t tell you what impact being part of Sex, Etc. will have on your life, but I can say that being on the teen staff has changed me. Becoming part of the teen staff introduced me to so many new people and ideas, all of which have influenced me for the better. I know for certain that being part of the teen staff has made me a better writer. And although I have not applied to any colleges yet, I feel confident that my participation at Sex, Etc. will show schools that I am a dynamic person.

Mark Bartkiewicz was on the Sex, Etc. teen staff from 2002 to 2004. After gaining journalistic skills and sexual health knowledge at Sex, Etc., Mark went on to work in the research department at the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). He attributes this career choice to his time as a teen staff member.

To be a teen staff member you don’t have to dream of doing research for GLSEN, but you have to be committed to and interested in writing about sexual health for your peers. Sex, Etc. is great and being a member is priceless. But the experience is only worth it if you truly have a desire and passion to help fellow teens learn about sexual health.

Apply for a teen staff position at Sex, Etc. 

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