When I was growing up the only people who talked about sex were immature males and septuagenarian sex therapists like Dr. Ruth and Sue Johanson. Then along came Sex And The City.
Every (unedited) episode contained the kind of female dialogue that could make a locker room of NHL players engage in a group blush. Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte brought sex out of the dirty closet and into the realm of the public and glamorous, forever changing the way women think, feel, and talk about sex.
For many women, the show was like a weekly encounter with an experienced, fearless lover who broke down barriers and sometimes blew our minds. Girlfriends now openly discuss everything from bisexuality, to penis size, to skid marks in their boyfriend’s underwear — and more sexual toys, positions, and fetishes than Miranda’s housekeeper could shake a statue of the Virgin Mary at.
We’re now well-informed about sexual health issues, including erectile dysfunction, lazy ovaries, crabs, chlamydia, vulvodynia — we even saw Samantha through her first AIDS test.
Like any great comedy series worth its weight in controversy, Sex And The City had its detractors. Some accused the show of taking advantage of a double standard — that you’d never see a show with men talking that bluntly about their sexual experiences with women. True, but given that it’s still pretty much a man’s world, can’t the patriarchy throw us the occasional bone of our own? Even the fictional, fantasy-fuelled world of Sex And The City couldn’t shield its own women from the painful truth about male power and privilege — lessons that took six full seasons and a movie to learn. Getting Mr. Big aroused was easy. But getting him to commit? That’s hard.
Besides, most heterosexual men don’t want to talk about anything to do with relationships, period (including your period). Most men are so easily aroused that sharing intimate details about their heterosexual exploits with their buddies could inadvertently lead to something more serious than a group blush. There are some things even Sex And The City couldn’t change.