“Sex/Life” is an erotic escape focusing on a woman’s sexual desires, and nobody has to die.
I’d only watched one episode of the Netflix series Sex/Life and I was 100% in. I mean, honestly, I was in when I saw the splash screen advertising the new series.
How much are you willing to risk for your deepest desires?
This is right up my alley. There’s the whole “girl caught between a good guy and bad boy” dilemma. I’ll take a good love triangle all day. It’s the stuff I love to write about and read about and consume. Centering a woman’s sexual pleasure and needs without making her a sociopathic villain or damaged victim? Giving us all this erotic goodness without throwing murder and death into the mix? Yes, please.
Sex/Life takes the flip side of the innocent virginal maiden experiencing her sexual awakening as seen in Fifty Shades of Grey. In Sex/Life, the protagonist, Billie, is the opposite of Anastasia Steele. Billie is very sexually experienced, and thoroughly enjoyed the wildness of her younger, single days. She and her best friend Sasha regularly exploded onto the town every night in an erotic fever dream. Fucking guys, sometimes each other’s, and taking names. The two women were often blowing off steam from working their asses off in grad school, an acknowledgment of female intelligence and ambition that I truly appreciate.
During this wild time, Billie met her match. Brad, a music producer with a dishy Australian accent and a gorgeous penthouse studio, had the ability to fully satisfy Billie’s sexual and romantic appetite. Their sex was off the charts, and the chemistry between them was palpable, probably partly due to the fact that the actors who play Billie and Brad are a couple in real life. Everything was great until Brad crashed into his unresolved issues and left Billie in the wreckage. In the wake of this heartbreak, Billie met Cooper, somebody who was the complete opposite of Brad: kind, steady, and truly seeking a committed relationship and family. No acting out, no tantrums, no mind games. No fucking with her heart. Sign her up! Who can blame her? Scorching hot sex starts to have diminishing returns when it’s always followed by emotional devastation.
Cooper put a ring on it. A Nancy Myers-worthy house in the suburbs and two kids later, Billie is now a housewife dealing with severe discontent. Her husband, who is no slouch in the attractiveness, ambition, and fatherhood department, is not as interested in sex anymore as she is. He doesn’t know about his wife’s high libido, because she never told him. She believed it was better to leave that part of herself behind. She tries to mitigate her internal unhappiness by writing down her memories and fantasies about her former life in her electronic diary. Cooper finds this diary, of course. Messiness, drama, and more hot sex ensue. What’s great is that Billie is never demonized. For all the chaos Billie’s creating—as Sasha so aptly puts it, it’s a real shit show—she’s sympathetic and relatable and completely driving the story.
Now, in preparation for season 2 dropping on March 2nd, I’m re-watching Sex/Life season 1 for the third time. I’m appreciating all over again what the show is offering. For example, there’s this scene where Sasha is giving a blow job (you know I love a good blow job scene) and the guy puts his hand on the back of her head to make her go faster. She stops and is like, “Nah. Don’t ever do that again.” Like, yes. Just because I’m a sexual woman does not mean I have to continue a sexual act that doesn’t feel good to me. It’s an empowering message that can be taken into real life.
This show clearly posits that a mother and a sexual woman are not two separate entities. Billie being a mother doesn’t erase her sex drive, and her sexual needs don’t take away her maternal side. There’s no squeamishness about the fact that the same breasts that give her pleasure when sucked by her man are also the same breasts that are nourishing her baby.
Is there plenty of soapy drama? Hell, yes. Did I sometimes cringe and yell at the TV: “No, girl, what are you doing?” Yeah. Like Sasha, I’d shake my head and be like, “could you possibly make things worse?” And roll my eyes: “Okay, I get that you’re having a meltdown, but don’t be so spectacular about it.”
I suspect there’s a little bit of internalized misogyny talking there. You know, because we often hear, “Don’t ever let them see you cry, don’t be such an emotional woman.” I’m glad this show isn’t listening to that. It’s placing a woman’s happiness, including her sexual fulfillment, at the center of the story. She has agency to pursue that happiness.
Besides, there are plenty of stories about a man who can’t reconcile his devotion to his spouse and his raging sex drive. Don Draper, I’m looking at and still loving you. Now it’s a woman’s turn to have this story, thank you very much.
With lots and LOTS of Truly. Hot. Sex scenes.
Will you be watching season 2 of Sex/Life?