Opinion Writer

I’d like to click pause on “Netflix and chill.” Actually, I’d like to cancel my subscription.

Ever since I first heard the phrase just a few weeks ago, it seems this trendy sexual euphemism is everywhere.

“Netflix and chill,” described by the ever-so-eloquent Urban Dictionary as “going to go over to your [partners’] house and [having sex] with Netflix in the background,” combines the modern stereotypical teenager’s favorite things: sitcoms and sex.

Perhaps I don’t appreciate this convenient term as I ought to. Perhaps I’m taking a slang term too seriously. Or perhaps our “anything goes” society would benefit from actually evaluating its habits and tendencies, and considering their deeper connotations and harmful effects. I haven’t seen much rallying behind the latter side – so, naturally, I’ll take that one.

It’s not only that I find the phrase slightly annoying – I find it dangerous. I know what you might be thinking: Don’t be such a conservative, Carly! However, I’m not trying to change your mind. Think of this as practicing a “[life] of thoughtful inquiry!” (That’s got to get me some PLU brownie points.)

“Netflix and chill” represents our society’s desire to make sex as casual and commonplace as possible. The phrase suggests that we treat something that should be meaningful as though it’s equivalent in significance to watching an episode of “The Office.” It accurately reflects this culture’s yearning to isolate the physical component of sex from its non-physical meaning.

You may be wondering why I view sex as so meaningful in the first place. Here’s why: my faith in God and belief in the Bible tells me God created sex and He created it for marriage. Outside of this context, sex is misused.

The Bible tells me that my body’s a temple, and I can either use it to glorify God or to ignore Him and give in to temptation. Rather than call our actions “wrong,” though, we humans like to make excuses for them. Enter the convenient philosophy of hedonism (meaning, if it makes you feel good, do it)!

A favorite excuse for misusing sex comes from reducing it to something as casual as a fun pastime (like watching Netflix). “It’s no big deal,” says this generation. “It’s just sex.” And the more present sex is in our media and conversations, the more casually we come to view it.

In cleverly stripping sex of its meaning, we’re left with all the thrill without the hassle. No wrongdoing, no need to commit or make any promises – just pure, fun sex.

“Netflix and chill” says sex is not so much a special bond between a monogamous, committed, (dare I say, married) couple. It’s a pastime. It’s 100 percent physical. You can do it with anyone. You can do it while watching Netflix. It’s basically green eggs and ham.

Regardless of moral or religious values, I believe most can accept that this increasing expectation to have sex without much hesitation is damaging to relationships. It tells us that the physical component of a relationship is its most important aspect. At this point, the relationship can all too easily revolve around sex. Which might be fun, thrilling and passionate at first. And then, void of meaning, the relationship will die. It will feel empty. The sex isn’t enough anymore. Now all you have is the Netflix, which doesn’t even have the Harry Potter movies.

The increasing tendency to make sex as casual as possible is a costly one. “Netflix and chill” may be written off as harmless slang – but I believe our language is reflective of our traditions and values. Thus, this commonplace catchphrase is evidence of a hedonistic culture embracing sex with open arms and no strings attached.
While some Lutes might – in the words of the recent ‘Sex Column’ – accuse me of being “sexually congested,” I’m not too concerned about my apparent sexual head-cold. I personally would rather have a stuffy nose than be blind. ◼︎

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