Are we practising safe sex yet?

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Title: Are we practising safe sex yet?: Fan fiction and sex education
Creator: Michela Ecks
Date(s): 2006 or earlier
External Links: Safe sex in fan fiction - Fan History Wiki: The Fandom History Resource, Archived version
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Are we practising safe sex yet? is a meta essay about fan fiction and safe sex written by Michela Ecks.

The author used survey responses from what appeared to be about twelve people, so beware.


There is a lot of discussion, research and analysis done on the topic of pornography and the effect of its consumption on human behaviour for the consumer. In her book, The Psychology of the Internet by Patricia Wallace, she discusses two cases involving pornography. In one case she looked at a study done in Denmark in the 1960s. The “restrictions on the production and distribution of pornography were removed.” (Pg. 162) There was an immediate drop in the number of sex related crimes. This is contrasted to a study done which looked at the volume of sales of pornographic magazines like Hustler and Playboy. The volume was contrasted to the incidents of rape in all fifty states. The two states with the highest sales also had the highest rates of rape in the country. These states were Alaska and Wyoming. The author also examined some other studies and concluded that, after reading these studies, that the bigger picture indicates that there is some correlation between the consumption of pornographic material and attitudes towards sex. The author notes that these studies have some methodology issues as the scientists are loathe to create accidental harm to those they are studying.

But if pornography, including the written variety of which a large quantity of fan fiction includes, can shape our attitudes towards sex, can it possibly shape our attitudes, affect our knowledge, and affect our practices in terms of safe sex? Can the absence or presence of sexual protection in fan fiction cause a change in our thinking that would effect our behaviour?

The practice of using fiction, of using entertainment to educate people in regards the topic of practice safe sex is not a new one. In the book Sex Ed, Film, Video, and the Framework of Desire by Robert Eberwin, the author looks at several movies that used entertainment as the primary vehicle to educate the audience about safe sex. One film referenced was The Birth of a Baby, sponsored by the American Committee on Maternal Welfare in 1936. This film, aimed at women, caused a stir at the time precisely because it was billed as entertainment while trying to educate. The author notes that the period between 1919 to 1959 had a number of films that were entertaining but looked at focused on stories featuring the socially marginalized. This allowed for these films to be used as vehicles of discussion in American society, serving to educate others by their very presence and allowing people to discuss them by talking about the topic in the context of a film.