Season one, episode one, “Friends”
A summary of the episode subplot: Monica goes out on a date with Paul the “Wine Guy” from her restaurant. Over dinner he tells her he has been unable to perform sexually since he was divorced five years ago. Over dinner he talks about them having future dates and they end up sleeping together and he tells her it’s all because of her and he’s so happy and blah blah blah. Monica is excited until she learns he used that same story on another girl at the restaurant. Afterwards, Monica is upset and everyone basically laughs at her for being stupid and reminds her that the guy just said what he needed “to get her into bed.”
1. It follows the concept that women never consciously choose to have sex with someone, they have to be tricked into it. Why couldn’t they have gone out on the date and Monica made a completely rational decision to sleep with him knowing the full story. Women love sex, what they don’t like is realizing that what they felt was a completely autonomous decision was actually the result of them being manipulated and lied to. It perpetuates the myth that women don’t really enjoy sex and that all men have to convince women to do it. Heaven forbid a women make the decision to have sex on her own based on whether she likes you or not, no she has been tricked and cajoled to do something she might have wanted to do willingly anyway. It’s no fun if it’s her decision, there’s no conquest then, who gives a fuck if you’re violating someone’s trust or possibly revictimizing someone trying to regain control of her own body. This mentality that women will only engage in sex if they feel there is something besides the basic pleasure of sex hurts women. It prevents women from freely exercising their sexual freedom and throughout the episode it is shown that it is viewed as all fun and games from the men’s point of view. Throughout our lives it is beat into men’s head that women don’t really want sex, sex is something they do because of others things such as love, or the desire for a baby or money or other things. This mindset discounts women’s actual desire and the ability for her to express a desire for sex without something else being attached (or, horror of horror’s, being labeled a slut). Women no longer have the freedom of feeling out their sexuality in their own way because they are not respected as sexual creatures in anyway shape or form. This mentality of needing to “convince” women to have sex leads to a more dangerous territory that is the topic of my second point.
2. Lying to someone to get them engage in sexual relations is RAPE. If you have the mentality that someone will not engage in an act with you unless you trick them you are RAPING that person. They may be giving consent but they are not aware of the reality of the situation. This is not the same as not laying all your dirty laundry on the table on the first date. This is deliberately telling a story that is intended to trick a women into sleeping with you. Monica felt angry and violated. The sex that may have been enjoyable before now feels dirty and wrong because she did not have equal control over the situation. Her decision was no longer her own, she never was given the opportunity to make the decision. This happens consistently in sitcoms and movies, and it is always played in a funny way, oh ha-ha look at the stupid woman who didn’t know guys lie to get sex and made a stupid decision. No, these women are being raped and especially for a young girl, beginning to explore her sexuality, these type of encounters can be very damaging because it sends the message right off the bat that your body and free will is not respected enough to allow you to make a decision on your own.