A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Sex/Life contains several negative messages about sex and relationships. While adults may be able to identify and separate those from their real-life beliefs, these messages can be harmful to teenagers and young adults who may not have enough experience with healthy relationships.
Positive Role Models
Most of the problems in Billie and Cooper's marriage could be solved with communication. Both are averse to openly communicating about anything. Additionally, Brad is emotionally abusive and sexually manipulative, which is portrayed as attractive.
Violence & Scariness
In the first episode, Billie is followed by a man who may rob or abduct her. The man is quickly stopped by Brad, who deescalates the situation using a quick shove and the right words. In another episode, Cooper gets into a fistfight with another man while he and Billie are out on a Saturday night.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Explicit sex scenes are ubiquitous. Viewers should expect frequent nudity, including full-frontal nudity from a male character. In addition, more than one encounter contains events that are verbally nonconsensual.
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Multiple uses of the words "s--t" and "f--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult characters drink alcohol on more than one occasion, but alcohol or substance use is never a major part of the plotline.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sex/Life is a mature drama about Billie, a suburban mother and wife to a wealthy investment banker, who pines after her ex-boyfriend because of waning sexual passion in her marriage. The stories of her past relationship, as well as the early days of her relationship with her husband, are primarily told through flashback vignettes accompanying a present-day timeline. As the name implies, nudity and graphic sex scenes are constantly present, and characters drink alcohol and use vulgar language ("s--t," "f--k"). The show glamorizes sexual and emotional abuse as well as risky behaviors; in one episode, the main character and her husband break into a mansion and outrun the police during a car chase simply for the excitement of doing so, which is suggested to be beneficial to their marriage. This event sends a confusing message for impressionable viewers who see the characters face no consequences for their actions.
Is It Any Good?
This epitomizes trash TV; it's a soapy melodrama could be interpreted either as emotional or hilarious depending on the viewer's interpretation. Many have already compared Sex/Life to the 50 Shades of Grey series, which explores similar themes and also features graphic sex scenes. Sex/Life takes things a step further, though, by involving an additional main character in Billie and Brad's entanglements. Billie isn't the only one hurt by Brad's manipulation -- her husband is too. Billie's husband Cooper is an admittedly boring character, but Billie knew that when she married him. This makes her condemnation of her husband's lack of flaws particularly confusing. Billie repeatedly says that Cooper isn't doing anything wrong, but almost seems upset with him for not giving Billie a reason to be unhappy. In addition, Billie often turns to her friend Sasha to discuss the latest developments of her situation, but she absolutely refuses to make more of an effort to practice open communication in her marriage. It's possible to attribute some of Billie's unhealthy resentment to the lasting effects of a traumatic relationship with Brad, but problems arise Billie starts using her sexual fantasies about another man as a weapon.
The most disturbing part of Sex/Life isn't the graphic sex scenes or nudity so constant it's deeply uncomfortable to watch, it's the fact that nearly every character uses their sexual thoughts or actions as a tool to cause harm to others. Whether engaging in sex acts as a form of revenge or manipulation or as simple as making derogatory comments about another's sexual desires, it's astounding how much of the plot relies on characters using sex as a method of exerting power over someone else. There's an argument for saying these plotlines are so absurd that any harm they could realistically cause is worth downplaying, but there's a difference between a guilty-pleasure, escapist TV show and one that centers on sex as a shameful and hurtful act.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.