Sex on TV: Friends, Lovers, and Fluffers
Truth be told, I learn more from TV and my Twitter timeline than I do when I’m online shopping in the back of a lecture hall. The newest example of this phenomenon came from New Girl, which in my completely biased opinion is currently the best show on television. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a quirky girl named Jess who moves into an apartment with three even quirkier guys—Nick, Winston, and Schmidt.
At the beginning of this season, Jess loses her job and falls into a bit of a rut. After pretending to be the online date of Sam, a smoking hot guy she meets at a bar, Jess turns to her roommates to help her navigate the realm of casual sex. After all, as Schmidt says, “Friends help friends have meaningless sex.” That’s the first lesson they teach you in kindergarten, right?
Jess realizes that even with the most casual of casual relationships, she requires conversation before copulation. She ends up going to dinner with Nick so she can get it on with Sam later. Because THAT makes sense.
A side note RE Nick’s advice to Jess to “poke a hole in that condom” when he finds out Sam is employed: Nick’s tongue-in-cheek (I hope) suggestion makes Schmidt’s plan to pretend to be a Romney seem reasonable by comparison. Putting aside the fact that joking about birth control sabotage is just never funny, what worse idea is there than being lax about protection with someone you can’t even have a conversation with? If I were Jess, I would use two forms of protection (just not two condoms). The safer the sex, the better!
Since Jess hangs out with Nick before having sex with Sam, Winston accuses Nick of being Jess’s fluffer. If you’re not sure what that is, no need to pull out your porn flashcards or sully your Google history—I’ll tell you. In the pornography industry, a “fluffer” is a person on set whose job it is to keep the actor sexually aroused in between scenes. (Yes, that’s a thing. And I bet if more people knew about it, the unemployment rate would fall.) By having dinner and conversation with Jess right before she has sex, Nick feels like Jess’s emotional fluffer.
Sometimes it’s hard to see the lines that separate friends, lovers, and fluffers. There’s nothing wrong with needing some kind of emotional connection before you have the ultimate physical connection. But perhaps, as Nick says, it’s best to have both of these with the same person. It might take a date; it might take a little bit of Marvin Gaye’s sexual healing, or some Robin Thicke. But if you still feel out of your comfort zone or just don’t feel ready to get intimate, your body may be trying to tell you to find another partner.
Everyone’s got that ambiguously labeled playlist in their iTunes filled with the kind of slow jams you’d never listen to in public. “Nick’s Sexy Mix,” which is meant to serve as a fluffer for Jess, seems to do the trick. The real issue: if your platonic “friend” gives you a mix to play while engaging in sexy-time with another guy, are you still just friends? It’s one of the more pressing questions that plague my generation.
Bisi Orisamolu is an intern for the entertainment media department of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. She’s a Georgetown University undergrad and a social justice advocate who is passionate about a million things. She loves chocolate covered pretzels, discovering good books, and aimless wandering. Stay tuned for the resurrection of her personal tumblr boris321.tumblr.com. In the meantime you can find her on twitter @Bisi_O.