Sex in the Media: Ignore or Explore – “Sex/Life”
Okay, Everyone – I’m two eps in to this new Netflix offering and I can’t figure out which side I’m on. The good things about it are really, really, really good, but I’m also thrown by a few undeniably frustrating details.
Let’s begin by accentuating the positive, shall we? Kudos to the Netflix content staff. Sure they know that sex sells. But the premise of the show, right down to the slash in the title, is actually worthy of a plot line that deserves some attention. Our heroine, Billie, is a PhD candidate and mother of two who seemingly lives the perfect life in a perfect house with the perfect husband. The issue? She misses who she used to be – a woman who prioritized, celebrated and owned her sexuality. She begins to recall in vivid detail a former lover and the red hot sex they used to have. During an exhausting overnight feeding in the nursery, she considers Perfect Husband’s lack of interest in her as a sexual partner, and journals her feelings in her laptop. She leaves said laptop on the football field-sized granite island in the kitchen before returning to bed, and well, you might guess what happens next.
The show explores some very important themes we rarely see in a somewhat serious manner – a woman truly expressing herself sexually for her own pleasure, identity shifts in new parents, besties that make big mistakes, etc. And let’s hear it for the cast – the leads are terrific. The writers deserve some credit for some decent lines, like Billie’s description of her current self: “I’m like a watered-down version of me”. Oh, and the sex is very explicit and well-shot and yeah definitely NSFK/NSFW (though if you work remotely and the kids are at camp/school, lucky you).
But now for the meh news: the bodies of Billie and Perfect Husband are supermodel-chiseled. Can we please show a postpartum body for REAL, Hollywood (and maybe a Dad Bod, too)? Additionally, I’m not sure I could ignore some of the inferior subplots, which made it difficult for me to really buy in.
Perhaps the thing I’m most conflicted about is that pesky title slash. Does it refer to a Madonna-Whore Complex type of thing (ie a woman can’t be both sexual and motherly)? Does it mean that super off-the-charts sex can’t happen in a marriage on the reg? Perhaps the answer is revealed as the season progresses.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued, so I’m going to keep watching. Have you seen Sex/Life? Let us know what YOU think!