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Netflix’s "Easy": A Good Clean Love Take

“Only work on stuff you love ...When I don’t, I fight with my wife a lot more, I’m snippy with my kid.”

–Joe Swanberg, creator of Easy 

It seems like every time I turn around this week, I have been hearing the word “easy”... from my phone which continues to light up with texts from old friends I haven’t heard from in years... “LOL, saw you on Easy...”, to the shipping guy at UPS, who suddenly recognizes our name on the boxes (“No way, I just saw this good clean lube ... on Easy, right?”) Turns out, that we did in fact get this dream product placement on the premier episode of Easy, the newly-launched Netflix series which combines intelligence and humor while examining the convergence of technology and intimate relationships. Almost fulfilling our voyeuristic urges, we get brief glimpses into the sexual lives of a diverse collection of Chicago characters as they work to resolve the tensions arising from the modern maze of love, sex and technology.

In the first episode, our fabulous organic lube shows up in the bedside table of a couple who is trying to work through the classic dilemma of the loss of sexual desire that is so often associated with long-term relationships. Their obstacles to good sex have a universal ring - power struggles, gender roles reversals, unpredictable kids’ needs and the garden variety of sexual dysfunction symptoms including difficulty maintaining erection and vaginal dryness. Yet, heroically, the wife persists. Even going so far as to make her own private Halloween fantasy party with her man, who we see slowly warming up to her efforts.

Although the lube comes in handy for her masturbatory needs, it never makes it into the disappointingly short interlude they manage to pull off before the credits roll. It was painful to watch his short-lived climax, penetrating from behind with no foreplay, not even time to get naked together, to pull out the love oil and glide over each other’s curves, to inhale the scent of the other and wait for the tension to build. And while you find that kind of hungry, hot sex in other Easy episodes, I wish that it could be shown as possible for the family types, especially on a show called Easy.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but admiration for the tenacity of this woman to rekindle the sexy in her marriage, as well as compassion for her husband who can’t quite get there. But I found myself talking out loud to the screen, wishing they had read the love oil “how-to’s”... or better still, that they could have given themselves permission to have a real conversation about what they both wanted and needed sexually. Instead, marriage is again portrayed in the painful rejections, the isolation of not connecting, the disruptive cell phone, the easy access to porn, all paving the rocky road to finding one another.

That is precisely the powerful pull of Easy; no matter which episode you watch, the ease of our technology is always more complicated than anticipated when it layers over our heart and leads us into the bedroom. Easy shows us the conversations that we aren’t having, about all kinds of sex that we are and aren’t having. And like life itself, Easy doesn’t work to resolve the tension between the pace of intimacy and the modern technology that pushes us. Instead it invites us to dive deep into the sexual tension between being coupled or single, and how and where we want to live - in the small and intimate connections or within the allure of endless options. Maybe there is space for both, but now we know, it probably won’t be easy.