What's Wrong With The Sex In HBO's 'GIRLS?'

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What's Wrong With The Sex In HBO's 'GIRLS?'
Of all the sex dramatized in GIRLS, one vital ingredient is missing.

In the first season of HBO’s GIRLS, we see three sex scenes written by Lena Dunham that really leave us wondering:

First, Hannah who makes a half-hearted effort at a deeper emotional connection with her
boyfriend Adam but lapses into role playing his sexual fantasies, as if she were
an anthropologist engaged in participant observation. "I knew when I found you on the
street you wanted it this way," Adam tells her. "But we didn't meet on the street," she
answers laughing, "We met at a party." But as Adam thrusts into her she whispers, "Ah,
ah…my god, on the street. Yeah, the street." It’s as if Hannah depersonalizes or actually
leaves her body while she’s having sex with Adam.

Second, Marnie, who can barely hide her frustration when she has sex with her boyfriend
Charlie."Hey, look at me…Let's look at each other when we come," he pleads. "I'm
gonna turn around," she answers in irritation. "But you hate doggie." And they move to
doggie because Marnie can't stand to have eye contact with Charlie. Later, Marnie tells
Hannah that Charlie's touch feels like a "weird uncle putting his hand on me at
Thanksgiving." When Hannah asks, "How does it feel to be loved so much?" she
answers, "Like a bitch." And of course Hannah, the accomplished participant observer,
explains, "Because you're sick of eating him out because he has a vagina." Bravo to
Lena Dunham for that line!

Third , Shoshanna with Matt an ex-childhood buddy from camp after they've watched a
movie, nervously ticking off other movies they could watch on Netflix, "City girls are
much hotter than Long Island girls," he tells her. And, "Oh, I like to eat pussy too." So
Shoshanna finally has her first experience of oral sex, as if she's undergoing a medical
examination. It doesn't help when she tells Matt, "Except for the fact that I've never had
sex, I'm like totally not even a virgin, I'm like the least virgin-y virgin ever." It also
doesn't help when Matt tells her virgins are not really his thing, that "I'll totally have sex
with you once you've…already had sex. It's just, you know…virgins get attached or they
bleed. It's like not gonna happen."

These sexual encounters are a long way from the hook-ups described in The Atlantic by David Masciotra because each occurs within the context of an existing relationship. But they're also missing one vital ingredienat: a deep emotional connection.

Sue Johnson in Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, describes three possible kinds of sex:

Sealed Off Sex which has only purpose: To reduce sexual tension and achieve orgasm. The whole focus is on sensation and performance. Any emotional bond with the other person is secondary. It happens most often with those who haven't learned to trust and feel unsafe with their partners. Of the three sexual encounters desribed above, how safe would you say each person is feeling with the other?

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