How A Netflix Show About Sex Strengthened My Relationship

One casual night with my boyfriend turned into a whirlwind of revealing our deepest desires and biggest fears.

All because of one show.

Explained is a limited series produced by Vox streaming on Netflix. The first season, The Mind, Explained, dove into a variety of topics each episode, including memory, dreams, and anxiety.

The newest season, Sex, Explained, dove into topics surrounding, well, sex.

Starting with sexual fantasies and ending with childbirth, the show explored the nuances of everything regarding sex, from pleasure to reproducing.

My boyfriend and I, being fans of the first season, decided to give the new season a go. And what started as a casual night of Netflix and chill turned into an experience that got both of us talking about very real, important topics.

We talked about our sexual fantasies.

The first episode is all about sexual fantasies.

Why it is we have fantasies. How the majority of people fantasize about the same three types of sexual acts: group sex, novelty, control. How society, especially porn, determines what the majority of people fantasize about.

I’m going to respect my boyfriend’s privacy and not blast his sexual fantasies across the interwebs. But the conversation was affirming on both ends.

We talked about things we’d never be interested in. We talked about things we are interested in.

And we connected over a shared intimacy of understanding one another’s fantasies without any judgment or shame. Plus, we made some pretty fun plans for the future.

We discussed the burden women take on when it comes to reproductive management.

I don’t take birth control. It’s as if I can feel the collective gasp from that sentence.

I used to take birth control, mainly for my heavy periods. But when I was in college, I had a horrible, debilitating reaction to a slight change in my birth control regimen. After that, I decided to forgo the pill. For me, it was about keeping my body as close to its natural state as I could.

The third episode of Sex, Explained went into the history of birth control, the beautiful things it has accomplished, and the not so pretty part of its past.

Women are burdened with having to carry the toll of birth control. From literally paying for our reproductive rights — even though condoms are handed out like candy at any doctor’s office — to taking on the side effects. Birth control has always been a woman’s issue, and that’s not fair.

Talking about this topic with my boyfriend felt like a decade’s worth of pain and sadness lifted off my shoulders. Not just for me, but for many, many women all over the world.

I didn’t expect my boyfriend to understand, but it was assuring for me to know he cared enough to try.

We decided what we would do in the case of infertility on either of our parts.

My boyfriend and I are committed. Yes, that may seem weird AF to some. We’ve been dating for seven months and are only twenty-six and twenty-eight (I’m the older one).

But we know we work fantastically well. While we’re not about to have Elvis marry us in Vegas, we do talk about our future together.

And something that’s always worried me, and I have a feeling I’m not the only one, is infertility.

The issue is becoming more and more prevalent amongst women and men. It’s something we read about in the media and see in movies all the time. For me, I feel like it’s a very real scenario I might encounter.

While watching the fourth episode about fertility, I explained my infertility worry to my boyfriend. I wanted to know what he would do, given the unthinkable were to happen on either of our ends.

And we came to two beautiful conclusions. One is that our partnership is the most important to us. The other is there will be many babies in need of parents, of which we would be happy to become.

Even though we’re not about to start making little carbon copies of ourselves, it was nice to discuss an issue that we could very well encounter.

We candidly spoke about my fears of childbirth.

All I know about childbirth is what my mom told me and what I’ve seen in movies.

From both, I’ve concluded the following: I will gain an insane amount of weight, never sleep, my tailbone will break, and I’ll be in agonizing pain for many hours.

Please excuse me while I hide under a rock.

Sex, Explained held back nothing when it came to depicting how painful and traumatizing birth is in the last episode. The show made me think about all of the above, and the fear was visceral as I sat on the couch with my boyfriend, fingers covering my eyes.

At the end, I shed a tiny tear. I want to have my own child, but childbirth has to be one of the scariest things to imagine.

Talking about this deeply rooted fear with my boyfriend gave it a bit less power, though. When the time comes, there’s not much he’ll be able to do to ease the pain. But knowing he’ll try nonetheless makes me feel supported.

And what’s better than support in a relationship?

I didn’t expect a single show to bring up such serious topics. I had no idea we’d be pausing the show and diving into scenarios of BDSM and infertility.

But thanks to Sex, Explained, we did. And I feel even more close to my partner because of it.

Dating + Relationship Writer & Coach

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