From the moment Sex/Life dropped to Netflix on June 25, horny people everywhere have been blind to the fact that it’s problematic because, you know, there’s a lot of sex in it. Pool sex! Car sex! Elevator (almost) sex! Even though you can see nipples and giant penises in every porn on the internet (seriously, what was going on with Brad’s huge d*ck in episode 3?), seeing it on Netflix is shocking, I guess?
Quick recap, in case you were too busy clicking through speeds on your vibrator to follow the “storyline”: Billie (Sarah Shahi) is married to Cooper (Mike Vogel), and the couple has two children (one of whom is a very annoying little kid who honestly needs to learn boundaries). Since having children, Cooper seems uninterested in sex, so Billie starts writing in her journal (which is just a Word doc on her unlocked computer) about her past relationship with bad boy Brad (Adam Demos).
While the plot itself is not great (so not great, in fact, that it’s actually kinda f*cked-up), there are a lot of other really strange things going on that make absolutely no sense. You might not have caught them because you were too busy orgasming on your couch, but luckily, I’m a fantastic multi-tasker. Cartoonishly big schlongs aside, here are a few Sex/Life elements I quite literally cannot wrap my head around.
1. Billie Doesn’t Use Lube
Now I’m not lube-free-sex-shaming, but the sheer lack of lube in the show is sus. I’m not even 30, and I’ve never had kids, but I basically use a whole bottle before even thinking about penetration. Blame it on hormone-zapping birth control or just plain getting older, but I’ve been on the lube train for quite a while. Maybe Billie is the wettest b*tch there ever was (which like, respect). But come on… for someone so apparently sex-positive, it just seems kinda ridic that she’s having amazing penetration after about five seconds of foreplay without a little help.
2. Billie Gets Turned On By A Random FaceTime Of Brad’s D*ck
Personally, I find few things to be less arousing than opening my phone and randomly being greeted by a surprise penis. I’d quite literally rather have a yeast infection than have to unexpectedly see a picture or video of a peen and then have to respond to whichever insecure guy thought this was a good idea. It’s exhausting to even think about. First of all, just to be the party police, unsolicited d*ck pics are considered harassment (and illegal, in some states), not to mention they’re just awkward. I’ve never seen an image of a d*ck and thought, “Wow, I really want to get me some of that.” Ever. Ever! Not even on a good day, and not even with a good d*ck.
Granted, in Billie’s situation, she accepted Brad’s FaceTime, but when he started revealing his junk, she wasn’t like, “Woah man, I’m married” or even like, “Oh my God, are we gonna get flirty?” Instead, she literally GOT TURNED ON by unexpectedly seeing her ex’s pubes on her iPhone. He’s just sitting there flashing his penis and expecting you to fawn over it? No, girl. I’m calling bullsh*t.
3. And She Watched Her Friend F*ck Brad via FaceTime
Speaking of nonconsensual sexting, how about that time Brad FaceTimed Billie and propped up the phone so she could secretly watch him and her best friend, Sasha (Margaret Odette), have sex against a doorframe? And after Billie watched and masturbated, she told Sasha, who acted like it was NBD that, not only did the guy she was hooking up with film her having sex without her knowledge, but her best friend watched it live — and jerked it — again, without her knowledge. Who are these people? Does no one have boundaries or sh*tty wifi? If I told my bestie I watched her f*ck my ex without her knowledge, I’m sure I would be the proud new recipient of a restraining order and a lawsuit, friendship aside.
4. Billie Consistently Gets Off In Missionary
The last I checked, it’s hard for most women to get off by penetration alone. In fact, only 18% find it sufficient to warrant an orgasm. It seems, however, Billie is part of that lucky group. Sure, in her defense, she credits this to Brad’s proficiency in the Coital Alignment Technique (CAT). “There are whole books written on the subject, which either Brad read or never needed to,” Billie says. “But when done right, it provides the ultimate connection, both physical and emotional. I felt closer to him than I had to anyone.”
In reality, the CAT is just a modified version of missionary where the guy is positioned higher up so the base of his penis rubs against her clitoris. But that’s not the only type of missionary sex they’re having. So, even when Brad’s not practicing the (very hard to master) technique, Billie still gets off in mere seconds from penetration? Checks out.
5. Billie’s Husband Goes On A Double Date With Brad
Going on a double date with most people is torture (the small talk, the discussion of splitting the check, the awkward seating arrangements), but going on one with your wife’s ex who she keeps fantasizing about, and her best friend who’s now f*cking said ex? In what world? It’s honestly sadistic. Out of four adults, one person would have to be like, “Yeah, this isn’t going to go well, let’s not do this” and put their foot down. But no! Everyone goes, and surprise! Things don’t go well. Honestly, I’d love to fake invite my husband to that dinner, just to see his reaction. Or maybe I wouldn’t, because that’s grounds for divorce IMO.
6. The Subway Track Scene
I don’t care how hot someone is, if they pulled me down onto a train track, as a train is coming toward me, I would 1000% be seeing their ass in court. I don’t know what for, but I would sue that MFer. What if a piece of metal was jutting out of the side? What if Billie didn’t get to the little nook in time? What if they stumbled while making out as the speeding train whizzed by? While I get there’s a level of hotness to danger, that’s reserved for like, riding a Vespa or wearing white on your period, not for nearly getting squashed by a train to make out with a guy who will literally have sex with you anytime, anywhere.
7. Billie And Cooper Didn’t Discuss Rules Before Going To The Sex Club
At first, it seemed like their friends sprung the whole sex party thing on Billie and Cooper, but during a later fight, it’s brought up that they both agreed to go. What it doesn’t sound like, however, is that they had any sort of conversation before stepping into the new situation. 101 for that kind of thing is talking before attending. It’s obvious they didn’t have any rules laid out and then just didn’t communicate while they were there. I’m sorry, having sex in front of people in that situation is pretty standard, but not wanting to do that is cool. Getting sucked off by your wife’s friend while she watches and cries isn’t as standard.
Also! The show making it seem like that’s what happens at sex clubs is low-key f*cked-up. For 99% of people, it’s something they choose to do together, but go on, Netflix! Let’s add another layer of insecurities for people who are having normal and consensual non-monogamous sex. Le sigh.
8. Cooper Just Keeps Reading Billie’s Journal
Sure, fool me twice, shame on me. But like, not really, because Brad is literally violating his wife’s privacy. Regardless, after reading Billie’s
Word doc journal, he freaks TF and plays the victim, even though uh, you snooped, sir. Yes, it’s unsettling to see your wife is writing about her old relationship, but she actually didn’t do anything wrong in that regard.
That aside, whatever. People snoop, that’s not so far-fetched. What is unrealistic, however, is the fact that Cooper not only reads Billie’s journal, but she knows he’s reading it, and he knows she knows he’s reading it, and he just keeps reading it, and she just keeps writing in it. This is just straight-up masochistic. Yes, he should be cut loose for snooping, but I’d also maybe stop writing scandy things (at least in the same place) if I knew my S.O. was being a little lurking b*tch, but that’s just me.
9. Billie Doesn’t Have A F*cking Lock On Her Computer
Cooper’s snooping brings me to the most unrealistic, absurd element of the entire show: Billie’s “journal.” This smart woman is writing her feelings down in a simple word document she leaves up on her computer. Her computer that doesn’t have a lock screen. And the same computer she just leaves lying on the counter for anyone to open and use.
Billie’s a professional. What professional doesn’t have a lock on their computer? What non-professional doesn’t? You have sensitive emails and bank statements and in her case, musings about your ex on there! And after her hubs snooped, you’d think she’d spend one second to go into settings and whip up a password based on her childhood pet, but nope! Billie just keeps writing in her little doc on her computer that she leaves out and expects her insecure husband not to snoop. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE AND HOW IS SHE GIVING LECTURES?
What it all comes down to is this: Sex/Life is no Bridgerton, and if these people lived in the world of Lady Whistledown, it wouldn’t have taken an entire season for their relationship to crumble. And honestly? They’d probably be having a hell of a lot better sex, too.
Images: COURTESY OF NETFLIX (2)
I would rank watching Netflix’s latest offering Sex/Life somewhere between getting diarrhea in Barnes and Noble and my annual gyno check-up: awkward, painful, and viscerally embarrassing. I’m no prude — I watched every scene in Bridgerton without blushing and have religiously read Cosmo’s sex tips since the ripe age of 15 — so why did this show in particular make me so uncomfortable? It wasn’t the raunchy sex scenes, or lackluster writing that made it so excruciating to watch — it was the caricature of female sexuality.
Full disclosure, I did not go into the show expecting a world-class examination of the female psyche, but I also did not expect the show that’s been reported as having some of Netflix’s sexiest scenes to be a blatantly obvious male-gaze oriented piece. In arguably the most progressively feminist time in modern history, it’s shocking that a show about sex can be so, well, unsexy.
In the first episode we are introduced to Billie, a well-educated, modern, married woman with an idyllic family; a dedicated, handsome, wealthy husband; and a voracious sexual appetite. Following Freud’s Madonna-Whore complex to a T, the show reveals that Billie’s husband, Cooper, simply cannot view her as sexually desirable as she was before having kids, and expects her sole fulfillment to come from her family. This leaves Billie to reexamine her life and ultimately decide if she can be happy within a situation where she cannot be both her “past” sexual dynamo self and present mother figure.
Struggling to reconcile this truth, Billie begins fantasizing and journaling about her ex-boyfriend. Brad the ex-boyfriend is an exaggeration of everything men think women want: hot, wealthy, successful, and able to seduce any woman with his bad boy antics, sexy accent and cartoonishly huge dick (which you absolutely get to see in a shocking shower scene episode 3). The unpredictable Brad is the foil to Billie’s husband Cooper, who is a devoted father and stable figure in her life—a fact that she is both grateful for and suffocated by, with this familial stability costing Billie her sexual fulfillment.
Reinforcing the idea that Billie can only be a mother or a sexual being is the ongoing theme that Cooper has little to no desire to participate in their sex life. This is clearly demonstrated in episode 2 when he proceeds to watch sports during sex with Billie. When she says he can stop and she can just use her vibrator, he gratefully replies, “really?!”. In fact, the only time Cooper is proactive in their sexual relationship is a patriarchal power play, when he finds Billie’s fantasy-filled journal and feels threatened that she is thinking about a different man.
In this context, it should come as little surprise that only one episode in the entire series passes the Bechdel Test, a “test” to see how feminist a piece of media is. There are three bare-minimum requirements to pass: there are at least two women characters, they speak together, and they speak about anything other than a man. In the solo instance of the last requirement being met in episode 3, Billie is stranded at daycare with her oldest child, who is having trouble adjusting. Billie, who had plans of her own that day and is frustrated at the situation, is then guilt-tripped by another mother for not feeling grateful to spend additional time with her child. Even if, on the surface, this scene passes the “feminist” test, it still serves as a reinforcement of the Madonna-Whore dichotomy, shaming women who find fulfillment outside their children.
With the gratuitous sex scenes sprinkled throughout the episodes, in which you will become more familiar with Billie’s boobs than your own, and the lack of character development, it’s obvious that this show is written in a way that caters to the male gaze rather than a true representation of what women want. Women’s sexuality is a spectrum, with different things empowering different women, a point that this show refuses to acknowledge. Kink and sex-shaming subplots litter the series, such as when Billie and Cooper go to a swinger party in a last-ditch effort to refresh their marriage (spoiler alert: it backfires), Billie not being able to completely honest about her past sexual exploits in fear of being perceived differently by her husband, and treating BDSM practices like choking as explicitly for the non-monogamous.
Outside the melodramatic tropes (Billie being able to “fix” bad boy Brad and turn him to a loving monogamist, and putting BDSM and past sexual preferences in the past to become worthy of love and marriage), most of the show’s main conflict is within Billie herself. Brad acts as a projection of her struggle to fit within the roles she perceives as her only options — either as a wife and mother, or as a free-spirited, sexually liberated individual. I shouldn’t have to say this, but women can be both! Struggling to meld her sexual identity and her status as a matriarch, Billie is presented as a one-dimensional character whose inability to be a multifaceted and complete person ruins both her friendships and her marriage, despite domestic life being what she ultimately chooses to pursue, sacrificing her own needs and wants.
This is a subtle male-centric, patriarchal dig that pursuing her sexuality instead of unquestioningly falling into a Madonna-like mothering role is what destroys her life. Even though boundary-breaking Brad, who attempts to seduce a married woman, and kink-shaming Cooper are equally (if not more so!) to blame. In fact, Billie’s internal confusion about her roles is used as a scapegoat to defend Cooper’s philandering with his boss and with Billie’s friend Trisha at a sex party to make the viewer feel it’s justified when, ironically, any philandering on Billie’s part is purely hypothetical and only in Cooper’s mind.
While I can understand the appeal of Sex/Life at face value, with its salacious sex scenes that as an audience we’re not used to seeing outside porn, it’s hard to ignore the way women’s options for sexual freedom and a fulfilling home life are presented as mutually exclusive. While monogamy may not be for everyone, the idea that it’s a punishment is as almost archaic and played-out as the idea that a woman can only be fulfilled by creating a family. I promise, as a woman, it’s both possible to have your cake in this situation and eat it too.
Image: AMANDA MATLOVICH/NETFLIX
“It was fine, I just wish he choked me a little bit more, you know?”
These are words that come out of my best girlfriend’s mouth and I try not to act absolutely horrified. It’s a typical girl’s night for my crew, so we’re getting completely wrecked over $8 bottles of Trader Joe’s wine and lamenting over the sh*tty men life has dealt us. My story for the evening was going to consist of “and then he refused to go down on me, can you believe it?!” I was going to be equal parts angry and indignant. There would be a lot of angry huffing and even more drinking. Or maybe I would talk about the guy I dated before this guy, whose idea of foreplay consisted of three minutes of finger banging and some closed-mouth kissing (ladies, there are so many good fish in the sea!!). Now, I’m rethinking those stories as my friends dive into their own light choking stories and I shrink further and further into my glass of wine. I was prepared to talk about sex, sure, especially bad sex—it is girl’s night, after all. But I wasn’t prepared to talk about kinky sex. And as I sit there listening to my closest friends mime choking hands and laugh into their wine glasses over the guys they’ve hooked up with who weren’t into kink, I have to wonder: am I lame for liking vanilla sex?
Fun fact about me: I’ve never been choked in the bedroom! And if someone had asked me if I enjoyed “light choking” I would have told them that I’d like my sex life not to end up as a future plotline on Law & Order SVU. But prior to this girl’s night conversation, I also wouldn’t have considered myself much of a vanilla sex girl. I, mean, I’ve had sex in a public restroom before, so that has to count for something, right? Apparently not.
The word daddy has been so sexualized that my kids are gonna have to call me bruh or some shit
— Devon Daigle (@devondaigle9) March 23, 2019
The older I get, the more I hear my friends talk about incorporating some form of kink into their sex lives. Whether it’s the light choking or using sex toys during intercourse or handcuffs—it’s stuff that I used to consider extremely kinky, but is now becoming the norm. These are not things that I incorporate into my own sex life, nor do I have any desire to. I’ve been single for the better part of seven years, casually dating guys for no longer than a few months at a time. I did try and spice things up in my last serious relationship, but my boyfriend at the time seemed disinterested in my attempts. Then again, he was more interested in sleeping with any girl who had a pulse, so perhaps that was the bigger issue we should have focused on in our relationship. And they say true love is dead!!
So I stayed the vanilla course without even really knowing it. The spiciest I get these days is public sex, and even those encounters are few and far between the older I get. Is it so wrong that I like vanilla sex? As a single girl dating around, does that make me boring in bed? I’ve never felt insecure in the bedroom, but now I’m starting to wonder if I should.
I just want to be popular, okay!
On some level, it makes sense that women are trying to spice things up in their sex lives. We’re living in a post-50 Shades of Grey world. Romance novel sales are skyrocketing these days. Women are no longer afraid to admit that not only do they want sex, but this is how they want it. More importantly, women are finally being heard in the world. Not just in regards to sex either. Women are demanding more from their circumstances: they want equal pay, political representation, safe work environments, rights to their own reproductive organs, representation in the media, accolades in their career fields, and now, their own sexual fantasies fulfilled.
But here’s the thing: my sexual fantasies are completely different than that of my married friends or my engaged friends or my friends in serious, long-term monogamous relationships. For example, while my friend Lissa might be fantasizing about her fiancé putting a little extra pressure on her windpipes, mine are more about a guy texting me during daylight hours. (I know, that’s f*cking wild!!)
For the most part, my friends see incorporating something different into the bedroom as a way to escape the mundane, to spice things up with their partner. The key word here being partner. There’s a level of trust they’re afforded to try these things out. They don’t have to worry about being embarrassed or shut down, or hell, their own safety being put at risk. And I think that’s what it comes down to here. It’s not that I’m necessarily opposed to light choking or handcuffs or roleplaying or whatever else. I’m not anti-kink so much as pro-trust. My love life has been like one long Fyre Festival, so, you could say I’m a little low on trust when it comes to the opposite sex. I barely trust a guy to call me back, let alone play Russian Roulette with my airways.
Look, I’m not saying I won’t ever try something a little crazy in the bedroom, but I know for me there needs to be a foundation of trust in place first. So, yeah, maybe I’m a little more vanilla at the moment, but I don’t think that makes me lame or bad at sex. Bottom line: it’s your sex life, and you should do whatever you feel most comfortable doing. If men can demand what they want out of the bedroom then so should we, no matter how “boring” it’s perceived. And you can still have a fulfilling sex life, whether or not you incorporate kink. I’m not here to judge anyone’s sexual preferences unless it’s one of those furry fetishes, in which case, I’m sorry, but you were asking for that one.
Images: Unsplash; Giphy; devondaigle9 / Twitter
I know working out is good for my health, will help me have a longer life, blah blah blah. But
most of the time sometimes, lying on the couch with a bag of chips, binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy is all I want to do. Working towards a bikini bod is good motivation and all, but sometimes you need a little extra push to go to the gym (or, if I’m being honest, to simply roll out my yoga mat on the floor of my apartment). So I decided to look into exercises can get you toned and improve your sex life. That’s got to be the best motivation ever. So here are some moves that can improve your sex life that aren’t kegels (since I hope we already all know how important they are).
1. Pelvic Tilts
This is one of the best exercises to strengthen your core and lower back, which are two of the most used muscles during sex. To do a pelvic tilt, lie on your back with your knees bent hip-width apart and feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms by your side on the ground. Raise your hips up into a bridge position. Keep your core engaged and squeeze your glutes as you raise your hips. Slowly lower back to the floor and repeat 20 to 25 times.
Who doesn’t want a good ass? This isn’t just one of the best exercises to improve your sex life, it also enhances blood flow to your vajay, which helps with arousal and orgasms. Also, your glutes play a major role in thrusts so the stronger the muscles, the stronger the pumps. You might already know how to do a squat, but in case you don’t: Stand with your legs hip-width apart. Keep your arms parallel to the floor at shoulder height. Lower your hips to the ground as if you are sitting on a chair. Rise back to standing when your legs are parallel to the ground. Squeeze your core and glutes as you rise back up. Repeat 15 to 30 times, slowly.
3. Low Side-To-Side Lunge
One of the best ways to give your sex life a little boost is to increase your flexibility. The more flexible you are, the crazier the positions you can do. Stand with your feet wide apart. Lean to your right. Bend your right leg (keeping your knee over your foot) and straighten your left leg. Rise back to a standing position. Repeat on the left side. Do 10 to 20 reps, alternating sides.
This move may seem like it isn’t doing anything, but trust me, it is. By strengthening your core and your ability to lean backward, you’ll be strong enough to stabilize yourself while you are doing the dirty, which can help with positions like cowgirl, among others. Start on your knees (as if you’re gonna—nvm) , with your knees together, and not resting your butt on your feet. Lean back at a 45-degree angle, keeping your head and neck in line with your spine and legs. Hold yourself there for a few seconds and then return to an upright position. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
This one is a full body workout and is one of the best exercises to improve your sex life. Stand straight with your legs together. Bend at your hips and reach for your toes (to help you improve flexibility). Then slowly reach forward, keeping your legs straight, until you are in a plank position (to work on your core muscles). Then, slowly walk your hands back towards your feet, again, not letting your knees bend. Repeat 6 times.
6. Cobra Pose
This yoga pose is incredible to loosen up your lower back, shoulders, chest, and abs. It also helps to strengthen your arms and shoulders. How will this improve your sex life, you ask? It’s simple: the looser your muscles are, the better the sex. To do it, lie flat on your stomach with your legs out straight and your arms bent by your chest. Use your hands to push against the floor and raise your upper body away from the ground. Keep your hips and legs connected to the floor.
7. Happy Baby Pose
This is another one of those yoga exercises to improve your sex life, that will loosen your muscles and improve flexibility. Like, complaining of tight hips and lower back pain can really put a damper on the mood. So what you’re going to want to do is lie on your back with your knees bent towards your chest. Hold each foot in your hands and open your hips, allowing for a deeeeeeep stretch. The looser your hips, the bendier you are!
Images: Ruslan Zh / Unsplash; Giphy (7)
Whether you’re single or attached, it’s very likely that you’re not having the hottest sex you could be. I totally get it—between actual work and the very busy workout/eat out/blackout schedule of a successful young millennial, it’s hard to put effort into yet another activity. But you need to be excited about sex to be having good sex. And IMO, if you’re looking to upgrade your sex life, trying some BDSM-inspired moves is an awesome place to start. Here are the best BDSM-inspired moves for beginners.
Blindfolds are a great choice for many reasons. First of all, you definitely already have something that could work as one. (If you don’t, go buy 20 scarves and a sleep mask immediately. God.) Second: it’s a small difference, but it changes how you feel—by a LOT. All sensations are heightened when you can’t see, and the fact that you don’t know what’s coming gives you butterflies, like buying a pair of $400 boots, or non-jittery Adderall sending a risky text. The blindfolded party (preferably also restrained) will be forced to give up all control here. This makes playing with blindfolds a great time to experiment with teasing, light spanking, or anything else you would find too awkward with eye contact involved. But if the idea of butterflies sounds unpleasant to you, BDSM may not be for you. There’s a difference between wanting to “switch things up” and being genuinely turned on by the power shifts/pain play involved in BDSM. There are plenty of other options if the latter isn’t true for you.
As with blindfolds, you either have bondage materials in your home or you walk around all fall without accessories. Also, as with blindfolds, bondage is the kind of thing that heightens every sensation once it’s in place. If you or your partner enjoys the idea of taking control but struggles to fully act on it in the moment, using either a blindfold or restraints are both great ways to get that final push to a dominant/submissive situation. And for shy beginners or those just starting out, it can be just the push you need to get over your awkwardness and go for it.
On a more practical level, you have some options when it comes to bondage. Usually, your first move will be making sure hands are restrained. You want it tight enough so they can’t just wriggle loose, but not so tight it’s cutting off their circulation. (Also, fashion a knot you know how to untie. *moment of silence for the articles of clothing I’ve had cut off me.*) You can also use lower body restraints, though that obviously requires a higher comfort level for both people.
Use Your Words
No, this is not another speech about how communication is key for a healthy sex life. (Though while we’re on the subject…this is especially true with BDSM.) But in this case, I’m actually talking about incorporating some aspects of BDSM into how you talk to your partner. How you do this depends on which aspect of BDSM you’re attracted to. If you’re more submissive, you can experiment with calling your partner sir/madam/master (or incorporate a punishment if you slip up). This is especially hot if it’s used while the submissive partner is blindfolded/restrained. You can also try incorporating begging, or adding some explicit descriptions of what you’d like to do—while holding back—to any teasing you’re doing.
Another route you can try is using aggressive language (bitch/slut/whore/etc.) This can be exclusively in the bedroom, or how you turn your partner on when you’re texting throughout the day. As with all things BDSM, it should take you out of your comfort zone, but in a way that makes you feel excited—not frightened or genuinely abused. (See all of 50 Shades for a thorough “what not to do.”) And obvi, don’t do anything you’re uncomfortable with.
Largely in thanks to the aforementioned trilogy, BDSM has sadly been made synonymous with “hotter” sex in recent years. But BDSM doesn’t feel hotter for everyone (for example, Anastasia Steele), and you should pay attention if it doesn’t for you. If you want to push your boundaries or experiment with BDSM specifically, though, this list is a good start.
Giphy (4); lounisproduction / Pexels