‘Girls’ Shows Unsexy Side Of Sex

In second episode, Lena Dunham's HBO series continues to highlight emotionally fraught encounters.

If last week’s “Girls” premiere — in which Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver) got uncomfortably coital on a couch — raised a few eyebrows, then Sunday’s “Vagina Panic” likely blew them clean off.

The episode opened on Hannah and Adam naked and frantically in the throes of something we think might be passion — an awkward hook-up made even more so when Adam insisted upon a fantasy in which he was a drug dealer and Hannah was an 11-year-old girl he found on the street carrying a Cabbage Patch lunch box. That scenario likely told you everything you needed to know about the encounter, which ended with Adam offering Hannah an orange Gatorade.

If audiences felt uncomfortable during the intimate moment, Dunham did her job, which she recently told MTV News is to examine the often emotionally fraught relationships we embark upon in our 20s.

“It’s definitely going to evoke the feeling like, ‘Why is this self-respecting woman doing this, and if so, is she a self-respecting woman?’ But I do think that relationship statuses are becoming more and more ambiguous in our modern Facebook, texting, Twitter world,” she said. “And those relationships need to be explored because those relationships can be really interesting and can also be damaging, to have these relationships with someone who you don’t understand how invested in you they are.”

But even emotionally invested relationships have their nadirs, including the fizzling romance between Marnie (Allison Williams) and Charlie (Christopher Abbott). In stark contrast to Hannah and Adam’s energetic display, the longtime couple couldn’t have been less enthused about what they were doing between the sheets.

“It’s like I don’t even know how to make love to you anymore,” Charlie lamented the next morning.

“He’s so busy respecting me, he looks right past me,” Marnie later confided to Hannah.

But Hannah had other concerns besides Marnie’s lackluster love life. With her persistent “Forrest Gump”-based fear of AIDS and Adam’s admission that he didn’t always use condoms, Hannah decided she should get an STD test while accompanying Jessa (Jemima Kirke) to her abortion — an abortion, it turned out, Jessa didn’t need, as she got her period while being felt up by a random guy in a bar. Hannah did have her STD test, though, and we’ll find out those results next week.

But perhaps the most intriguing sex story line from “Vagina Panic” was the one that didn’t involve sex at all. Visibly embarrassed, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) confided to Marnie that she is, in fact, a virgin. “Seriously, it’s like everyone and their mother has had sex but me,” she complained.

“I hit a puppy once with my car. I only had my learner’s permit,”
Marnie offered, not sure what else to say.

And so it would seem that whether you’re having lots of sex or none at all, sex is and always will be a messy, complicated affair.