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"588. Paladins are immune to STDs, but if I take advantage of this ability, I lose it. Wonderful paradox, isn't it?"
Some stories will be absolutely blind to venereal disease.
Of course, many writers are
aware of the risk of catching an STD, but since the plot of the story is not about somebody dealing with an STD they avoid bringing it up. This may have the unintended consequence that when a story is
about catching/having an STD, the disease seems to be a punishment for a lifestyle, rather than a lapse in judgement in self-protection. Another consequence is that sex can be made to seem inconsequential.
This is no big deal if the story takes place in modern times (as it is usually assumed at they are using protection), but it can be downright egregious when the Ethical Slut
and The Casanova
live in an era before such protection existed and never catch the Great Pox or the Disease of Naples
Of course, this can be justified if the story takes place in a fantastical setting where no STDs exist.
Okay. Looks like we worked in the word 'consequences' as much as we could.
An obvious trope in most actual pornography, which should be all we have to say on the matter
Subtrope of Ideal Illness Immunity
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Anime and Manga
- Top 10, a Police Procedural in a city populated entirely by super people features a prostitute called "Immune Girl" who has this as her superpower. Sadly, she's not immune to the local Serial Killer who's been targeting the city's hookers.
- During Chuck Austen's run on X-Men, there was a passing mention by Husk that mutants apparently can't get HIV. This was never mentioned before, was likely meant to include as a Hand Wave for why Archangel's healing blood didn't carry the really obvious health risk, and has never been mentioned again. Angel also mentions it and a doctor confirms it. One presumes that this applies to Wolverine (and by extension Daken and X-23) or any other character with a sufficiently strong healing factor.
- That last point was once explicitly stated by The Hulk, whose healing factor at the time put Wolverine's to shame.
- In I Love You Phillip Morris this is played straight when Steven dies of AIDS and Phillip, his lover, wonders why he wasn't affected (condoms are never mentioned). Subverted when it's shown that Steven was only faking his death and Phillip was never meant to find out. Though Steven's previous lover did actually die of the disease, so straight again, as Steven didn't catch the disease from him.
- Two words: JAMES BOND. No STDs, no known condom use, no accidental pregnancy. (Saturday Night Live once did a sketch revealing that Bond has an unspeakably large amount of STDs.)
- Averted in Cabin Fever. When 2 casual friends suddenly decide to jump in to bed together, in the middle of a flesh-eating disease outbreak, the man is aware of how dangerous their affair is, and remarks to the woman how surprised he is that she didn't care about using a condom - while they're in the middle of having sex. The woman tries to assure him that she's healthy, though she has no way of knowing this for sure and doesn't seem to care one iota about the health risks. As it happens, rashes - which are the first symptom of the deadly disease - are bought out on the woman's back while they're still having sex by her lover's passionate squeezes. Sure enough, the woman quickly deteriorates and dies thereafter, and the man later falls ill himself - confirmed by a scene where he pulls up his hospital gown to find sickly welts just above his crotch.
- In Dead End (1937), the protagonist's ex-girlfriend has become a prostitute and is implied to have syphilis. Her "sickness" goes unnamed, however.
- Sex in jokes usually plays this trope straight as bringing this up isn't usually important to the punchline - the aversions are the funny ones.
- Three prisoners who are condemned to death are given the choice between a straightforward execution or being infected with HIV. The first prisoner opts for a quick death rather than potentially suffer for years. The second opts for HIV, saying that he'd rather live as long as possible. The third also opts for HIV. As the executioner injects him, he begins laughing maniacally. He continues laughing as they walk him to the gate of the prison and release him. Finally, a guard asks him what could possibly be so funny when he just got injected with HIV. The man answers, "You can't give me AIDS, you idiot! I'm wearing a condom!" and takes off running.
- A beautiful young woman goes to the gynecologist, and the doctor is immediately overcome with desire for her. He begins caressing her skin and asks "Do you know what I'm doing?" She replies "Yes, you're checking my skin for rashes, etc." He begins feeling up her boobs and asks "Do you know what I'm doing now?" She nonchalantly replies, "Yes, you're checking my breasts for lumps." Overcome with lust, he climbs up on the table and enters her, saying "Do you know what I'm doing... now?" She looks him in the eyes and says "Yes, getting herpes."
- An American man goes to China and sleeps unprotected with a prostitute. By the time he gets back to the States, his penis has turned green. He goes to his doctor, who shakes his head and says they'll have to amputate. Deciding to get a second opinion, another doc tells him the same thing. Suddenly he gets an idea - a Chinese doctor! The Chinese doctor looks at his penis and says he's seen this before. "Will you have to Amputate?" the man asks - "Oh, no - not at all!" the Chinese doctor responds. The man is breathing a sigh of relief when the doctor says "Two more days and it will fall off by itself!"
- There are at least some amateur erotica writers who note (partially in humor) either in footnotes or in their profiles that all their stories are set in a world where STDs are non-existent or have been cured completely.
- Likewise, in Harry Potter Fan Fic characters will usually cast a "contraceptive spell" before getting down to business. STDs, however, are rarely - if ever - mentioned.
- In some Harry Potter fanfic, wizards simply can't catch normal Muggle diseases. They occasionally get bizarre magical ones, but that usually involves comical consequences like one's face being covered with feathers, and is fixable with potions or a trip to the hospital.
- The entire Naked In School universe (which does not include How Hogwarts Became A Nudist Colony) has this as a requirement, as bodily fluid transmissions are inevitable. Condoms are therefore unnecessary, as all contraception is taken care of via inoculation.
- Teen Wolf fanfic authors like to claim that werewolves don't get STIs.
- A Fox Tail has "Venereal Elimination of Diseases" shots that are good against most STDs in the known universe. They're expensive but then again the more promiscuous main character used to electronically rob banks for fun.
- The women in Harlequin romance novels seem to be immune to STDs while being simultaneously extremely fertile; if any negative consequence of a sexual encounter arises, it will invariably be an unwanted pregnancy, which will always happen if attention is drawn to them having unprotected sex.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's To Sail Beyond the Sunset the "good" protagonist never has a problem with STDs, despite a very healthy sex life. Her "bad" daughter, however, gets some. At least the "good" protagonist does actually use condoms, although only for birth control. When she is pregnant or willing to have children with someone during "spouse swapping", she skips the condom. Yet the STDs know to leave her alone, since she is "good".
- Never fully explained in Jacqueline Carey's Kushiels Legacy books, though the ability to avoid pregnancy is. It may just be a D'Angeline thing.
- Averted in the Tom Clancy novel Without Remorse, where protagonist John Kelly contracts a venereal disease from the abused woman he rescues. The doctors cure him without revealing it after she is murdered.
- Averted in All American Boy by William J. Mann where the main character visits a friend/mentor of his who is dying from AIDS. He also reveals that his previous lover caught the disease, while he's "clean" because they had an open relationship.
- Painfully averted in Someone Else's War, a book about Child Soldiers trying to survive and escape their horrific lives.
- Thoroughly and constantly averted in A Brother's Price, where the fear of catching and passing on diseases seriously influences the culture and how it handles the rare men.
- Averted in Letters to His Son by British statesman Lord Chesterfield: He mentions "a whoremaster with half a nose" note . Maybe to Scare 'Em Straight.
- Averted in Name Of The Wind. In Kvothe's part of the world, it's rarely mentioned (because it's not really that relevant to him) but the Adem describe going to great lengths to avoid or remove venereal diseases. Kvothe notes how important this is in light of the amount of sex they have, and with how many partners.
- Averted and played with in Youth in Sexual Ecstasy, the protagonist discovers that he has herpes right after having sex with the school's most attractive girl, he is told that given the sudden onset of symptoms it's unlikely he got it from her and more likely that he infected her, and he is also given the serious advice of tracking down all his previous sexual partners to warn them about it. Then he later learns that the girl was indeed infected, but with syphilis, how he didn't got the disease from her is never explained.
- In Doctrine of Labyrinths, the POV characters have lots of sex in lots of ways with lots of partners (one is a male homosexual prostitute, one is a Good Bad Girl, one is a man who patronizes female prostitutes, and one is a man who patronizes male prostitutes), but nobody mentions disease or protection. Despite this being a high-fantasy series, magic isn't really a justification here, since much of the action is set in a country that bans the use of magic on people for any reason.
- Played for laughs (sort of) in The Adventures of Good Soldier Švejk set during the World War One - one character describes his futile attempts to catch a venereal disease in order to avoid the military service. To his despair he remained as fit as a fiddle.
- The Kingdom of Little Wounds is described by the author as "a fairy tale about syphilis." This trope is attacked savagely.
- Never Wipe Tears Without Gloves is a brutal aversion, with most of the cast dead of AIDS by the end. Then again, the book is a semi-autobiographical look at the ravages of HIV/AIDS in Stockholm's gay community in the early eighties, and removing AIDS would have been missing the point in an epic way.
Live Action TV
- In 3rd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, paladins were immune to disease by divine blessings, but they tend not to be the type to sleep around. However, Sune, the Goddess of love in Faerun, also promotes paladins, and like other divinely empowered beings, they are expected to promote their goddess' interests. Which admittedly sleeping around would go against (Sune is a goddess of love, not of sex. She's just as open as the edition in question allows about sex being a perfectly fine if far from obligatory part of love).
- Also the case in FATAL, which, despite its heavy emphasis on sexual activity and its claim to be "the most...realistic and historically/mythically accurate role-playing game available", never even mentions STDs.
- The universe of The Spellcasting Series is STD-free. The narrator takes care to mention that fact, as Ernie Eaglebeak tends to shag every woman he can get his hands on.
- Literal example in The Witcher. A Witcher's mutations render them immune to disease and cause sterility. He makes good use of both.
- Averted in Fable II, having unsafe sex can cause your character to get an STD. This is mostly played for laughs, though, as STDs don't actually do anything.
- Averted in Wasteland where sleeping with a hooker will always give the character "wasteland herpes". This does affect the character's health, though it can be easily cured at any hospital. Also noteworthy in that this is one of only six diseased/poisoned status afflictions in the entire game.
- Subverted in Dragon Age II, in which the absurdly promiscious Isabela apparantly gets STDs often, but she knows a long-suffering mage called Anders who can get rid of them with no real difficulty. One NPC even claims she's so promiscuous that there's an STD named after her. And...yes, she's a potential Love Interest for the main character.
- Averted in ''Elona, where encounters with prostitutes always leave you temporarily insane and has a chance to give you the "sick" status.
- Inverted in Leisure Suit Larry, where having sex with a prostitute without wearing a condom will comedically kill you only a few minutes later!
- Fallout: New Vegas, for the player, who can sleep with several women (and men, and a robot) in the game with no consequence at all.
- In A Dance with Rogues, as the game is D&D-based, paladins are immune to disease. Unlike D&D, paladins in the Neverwinter Nights engine don't lose their powers if they lose their alignment, so a Princess who takes a level of Paladin early on can screw whoever and whatever she likes with no risk of disease, regardless of where her alignment will go. (As this is a game about thieves and thieving, maintaining a Lawful Good alignment is very difficult.)
- The Sims series has pre-made characters who are supposedly promiscuous, and promiscuity is actually a lifetime goal for some sims, but none suffer for it, since such diseases don't exist in the world. This, however, can be changed with mods.
- Angel thinks you can only get an STD from contact between a penis and a vagina, which is convenient for her since she's apparently been banging every female who asks for the last ten years. Thea, a similarly-inclined woman who was similarly inclining Angel until recently and has caught restless leg syndrome, is understandably flabbergasted at Angel's delusion.
- Teahouse is set in a brothel, no protection is ever seen and there's no comment on STDs.
- Subverted in Times Like This: Cassie gets gonhorrea and herpes from fooling around in the disco era, but since We Will Have Perfect Health in the Future, she can go to 2205 and easily get medicine that cures both in a matter of hours.
- Justified in Chakona Space, Chakats have genetically enhanced immune systems and well-defined estrus cycles. So despite their habitual Polyamory they never catch anything and rarely get pregnant by accident (as opposed to on purpose). And sometimes, on the rare occasion that a chakat is in heat and doesn't want kids, a brief mention of wearing protection is added.
- Likewise justified in The Journal Entries — Pendorians don't need to worry about STDs (or diseases in general, period) overmuch because they owe their extended lifespans to helpful medical nanotech inside their bodies in the first place and unwanted pregnancy likewise isn't usually a concern for them. The emphasis is still on not getting too reckless (especially in BDSM or otherwise 'risky' play), and safety concerns are explicitly brought up and addressed every so often.
- Subverted by Ask That Guy with the Glasses and later on, The Nostalgia Critic. Both Mr Fanservices with active and messy sex lives, both have suffered the effects.