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‘Funny shit about sex’: using vulgar comedy on YouTube to reach young men with information about healthy sexual development

‘Funny shit about sex’: using vulgar comedy on YouTube to reach young men with information about healthy sexual development

This presentation reports on a project researching the best way to reach young men with information about healthy sexual development. Methods: Five focus groups with eighteen 14-16 year old young men from state and private schools. They were asked what they knew about sex (across eight topic cards covering a range of aspects of healthy sexual development) and where they found out that information (school, family, friends, media or other)

Results: While young women have everyday access to media that explore issues of healthy sexual development and promote discussion about it–such as Girlfriend and Dolly magazines–young men’s media consumption does not currently offer such a space. They are interested in sport, but explicitly deny any knowledge of, or interest in the behavior of sportspeople off the pitch. They enjoy first-person-shooter games which often feature little explicitly gendered representation. One possible area for raising issues about healthy sexual development was vulgar comedy such as South Park, Family Guy and Entourage, which the young men did enjoy.

Conclusion: Young men like vulgar comedy – the kinds of material that might shock responsible adults. The challenge for health educators is to produce material that promotes discussion about key skills and areas of knowledge that is vulgar and hilarious enough to engage young men. We have partnered with Family Planning Queensland to support the production of “Funny Shit about Sex” – a series of vulgar short YouTube videos featuring male stand-up comedians making jokes about sex. The topics for the jokes were chosen by an expert panel to cover key skills and areas of knowledge for healthy sexual development. But it is vital to avoid “worthiness” – audiences know when they are being told what to think and this does not work as entertainment.

Speakers: Alan McKee
Conference: AIDS 2013, HIV
Areas of Interest / Categories: AIDS 2014

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