In this week’s episode of Fox’s new hit show “New Girl”, one of the main characters, Nick, asks his roommate, Schmidt (currently king of casual sex), to help him learn how to have consensual, “meaningless” sex. You see, Nick has been sleeping with a lot of different women, and at the end of their romps, he hasn’t mastered the art of kicking a girl out of his life. Schmidt explains to Nick that to get rid of a girl, he needs only be “short, simple and vague” in his response to “what’s next” after he has sex with a girl.
As Nick and Schmidt role-play different scenarios to help Nick get rid of the girls he sleeps as quickly as possible, Nick becomes exasperated and confesses that when he has sex with a girl, he has feelings for her. He asks Schmidt, “Am I really just supposed to sleep with a girl and kick her out like she’s piece of meat?!?!” Schmidt explains to Nick that this is his “problem”. Essentially, it’s a problem that Nick develops feelings or feels like he should care for a woman that he has sex with.
In his New York Times article, “The Bleaker Sex”, Frank Bruni wrote about a new HBO series, called “Girls” that focuses on a group of early-20 “heroines, engaging in, recoiling from, mulling and mourning sex”. “Girls” like “New Girl” investigates the growing supposition that we should all be able to have sex with “no strings attached.” As Lena Dunham (the writer and main star of “Girls”) explains, various cultural cues exhort women to approach sex in much the way that Nick of “New Girl” seeks to do. As Dunham continues: “I heard so many of my friends saying, ‘Why can’t I have sex and feel nothing?’ It was amazing this was the new goal.”
Dunham also noted that the “web fosters a misleading sense of familiarity between people who have shared nothing more than keystrokes… I have fallen victim to the sensation that I understand a guy’s essence when I’ve really just read 15 of his tweets”.
And as I watch “New Girl” or read about “Girls”, I can’t help but see the impact of pornography on the first generation to grow up with free and easy access to sex online. Pornography teaches us that people are meant to be used for personal pleasure. You can end a sex session with just the click of a mouse. People are board with mere flesh and blood and need tech-fueled fantasies and porn to get off.
As Dunham explained: “guys my age watch so much pornography,” and, as a result, she’s been subject to her fair share of aggressive positioning. As one women wrote in a GQ article in February, “the buffet of fetishistic porn available 24/7 has created very particular and sometimes very peculiar, ratcheted-up desires. To compare it to another genre of online video, why watch a clip of one puppy frolicking in a field when you can watch eight different puppies cuddling with a sweet-faced baby armadillo tickling a panda bear? After seeing that, why ever settle for a boring ol’ puppy frolicking in a field again?” A scenario played out in “New Girl” earlier this year.
As parents, it’s important that we understand that this is the world our kids are growing up in. If you aren’t using a filter on all of your Internet-connected devices, your kids will have easy access to a full buffet of fetish-filled, hardcore pornography. And if you think your kid it “too young” to be interested, just check out the “Expert Q&A” portion of our site, in which you an read story after story of parents being behind the ball when it comes to protecting their kids from online pornography. Parents: don’t wait until your son or daughter have been exposed to pornography or are struggling with addiction to Internet porn to install a filter.
And, if you aren’t combating the cultural message that “sex comes with no strings attached” and that sexual promiscuity is a form of sexual empowerment, then it’s highly likely that someday your son or daughter will be striving, like Nick of “New Girl” or like many of Dunham’s real-life friends, to know how to have meaningless sex. It’s our job to protect our kids from online pornography and help them separate fact from fiction when it comes to what sex is really about and when sex is really appropriate. If you are a parent, I would highly encourage you to check out our parent resources and engage in constant communication with your son and daughter about these issues.