I went to Catholic School. Our “Human Sexuality and Development” class consisted of reading a thin paperback book that preached the importance of abstinence and natural family planning and contained strong arguments against co-habitation prior to marriage. No judgment intended, that’s just the way it was. I never had “The Talk” with my parents either.
You might be wondering how am I able to understand “That’s what she said” jokes and generally don’t need to consult Urban Dictionary in my adult life. Well, Mom and Dad, I have a confession to make. I learned 95 percent of what I know about sex from fan fiction. Harry Potter fan fiction to be exact. And later One Direction fan fiction, but that’s a story for a different day.
If it gives you any solace, pre-teen Kate did not go out looking for M-rated fan fiction. It was dropped into my lap courtesy of the Harry Potter discussion board on FanForum.com. I was a big fan of Cho Chang and was not happy when their first date was a fiasco. So, I went looking for a story that would give me the ending I wanted.
Thanks to the handy dandy filters on the site, I was able to find a collection of Harry/Cho stories of varying writing quality. I glossed over the little rating dropdown menu, because I was young and didn’t understand what the rating was for. Welp.
The first fan fiction I ever read involved Harry and Cho running into each other at least a decade later, both are married, and they start a secret, passionate affair. Why did I think cheating made a good love story? I don’t know. But I loved it. The story consisted of a lot of secret office sex, tons of angst, and, consistent with the books, Cho crying. A lot. I’m almost positive that Ginny finds out and takes Harry back, Cho gets divorced, and the whole thing ends with the two reminiscing over their doomed relationship.
I’m not going to pretend I understood half of what was going on, because I didn’t. But my superb reading comprehension skills (99th percentile on the ITBS tests, thank you very much) helped me understand enough. It was intriguing. It was different. It was raunchy. It felt wrong and inappropriate and as an extremely straitlaced child, this only added to fan fiction’s appeal.
And it didn’t stop there. I read Ron and Hermione, James and Lily, and I vividly remember a Dramione one that has scarred me more than The Human Centipede. Let’s just say, NO ONE should lose their virginity underneath the Whomping Willow and please oh please don’t accept a steaming mug of butterbeer from Draco Malfoy. That’s not whipped cream.
So, Mom and Dad, not only did I fry two of our computers by my incessant use of LimeWire, I was also reading mature, sexy fan fiction by night. Love you both!