Sex Sex Sex: HBO Series Joins Dr. Fun In Exploding Media Myths About Sex
I guess I could have written a simpler piece about HBO's startling new series Tell Me You Love Me -- a show with the most explicit sex scenes I've ever seen in scripted television, which still leave you not wanting to ever have sex.
But then I wouldn't have met Dr. Fun.
I actually interviewed Dr. Fun -- a.k.a., Dr. Mary-Lou Galician, Head of Media Analysis & Criticism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Arizona State University -- for today's Flo story, but couldn't fit her comments in the story. Which was too bad, because Galician has made a career of busting the myths about sex and love perpetuated by most film and TV shows.
Tell Me You Love Me trods the same ground in a different way, taking an explicit look at the sex lives of three couples in crisis -- showing how they use sex to distract, get too caught up in the quality of the sex and rarely connect emotionally, even as they're screwing their brains out.
I watched all 10 episodes of the show's first season to write today's story, and it was an ordeal. Too much in these relationships is too joyless. Because the sex isn't filmed to titillate, most of it is uncomfortable to watch. And the only moments when it seems the actors might have actually had sex on camera -- one women gives her partner a little manual stimulation, and you can see the guy's equipment -- occur in the first episode.
Galician hasn't seen the show yet, but her Web site, RealisticRomance.com, offers a laundry list of romance myths spread by shows such as Friends, Sex and the City, Grey's Anatomy and Nip/Tuck.
A few samples:
Myth: Your perfect partner is cosmically predestined.
Reality: Consider countless candidates for your love.
Myth: Your true mate knows what you're thinking without much conversation.
Reality: It takes courage to communicate deeply, and no one's a mind reader.
Myth: If your partner is truly meant for you, sex should be amazing and easy.
Reality: Good sex sometimes takes concentration commitment and constancy.
Myth: The right mate completes you and makes our dreams come true.
Reality: You are responsible for your own completeness, though a good mate can help.
You get the idea. Though Galician was suspicious of HBO's series based mostly on my jaded explanation, I have a feeling it brings to life some of myth-busting notions she talks about on her web site.
If only they could have found one healthy relationship to focus on, too...