Ok, I know for many people talking about sex is still uncomfortable, especially talking about the “non-glamorous” aspects of sex. Like having sex while your dog stares at you. Or when you are having sex on the floor and you need to grab pillows and readjust to prevent rug burn (while sometimes still getting rug burn). Or having a belly button ring get sexed off and landing in an awkward place causing a laughing fit ending sex altogether. Yes, all of these things have actually happened to me. However, we don’t talk about it – the awkwardness of sex is rarely portrayed in popular media.
I can think of two movies that do a good job of portraying the often awkwardness or quirks of sex. The first is Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck and the second is the Friends With Benefits with Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake. What makes these movies portrayals of sex good is that they are not only funny but realistic. In Trainwreck an encounter between Schumer’s character and a male friend show the often awkwardness of “speaking dirty” and what is good for one partner isn’t always good for the other. In Friends with Benefits Timberlake’s character attempts to give Kunis’s character oral sex. However, he is not as good as it as he thinks and Kunis has to coach him through it. These encounters, while funny on TV, are normal sexual encounters that happen every day and it is far past time that we allow realism back into sex and romance.
Sex is amazing with the right person, but that does not mean that it is always smooth sailing. There are kinks and funny stories but those do not overshadow the amazingness of sex. But we do need to be open and honest and not let movie drama overtake how we portray and talk about sex.
Now I’m not saying that we need to portray all sex as awkward, because let me tell you, it is not always awkward, and I do thoroughly enjoy when I have sex that just happens without any need for talking. Sometimes it really does just happen. But when we portray first-time sexual experiences like they did in 50 Shades of Grey or in porn, we create a very unrealistic bar for what sex should be. This is not everyday sex. All men do not have 8-inch penises and women are not all sleek and hairless creatures with a thigh gap. Yes, these are fantasies but if we refuse to teach our kids comprehensive sex ed or talk to our children about sex at home, this is what they think sex is, and this is just plain wrong and is extremely harmful in the long run.
So my proposal is that media start portraying sex in a more realistic manner. This narrative prevails because we let it prevail. Again, I get that having sex be presented as a fairytale is definitely more poetic and story worthy, however, that cannot be the only narrative. Disney princess movies are changing and so should the way we portray sexual experiences. It is 2017 (yeah I am shocked by the year too) and we need to recognize that the world has changed and the media should move along with us.
There is more to sex positivity than simply showing sex, it is about realism and opening the lines of conversation between parents and children, teachers and children, and between friends. If we can be open and honest about sex, the good, the bad, and the just plain awkward, we will create a healthier understanding of what sex really is and create a world that isn’t afraid of this three-letter word.