Why I Like Watching Lena Dunham Have Sex

Alexandra Molotkow is an editor at Real Life magazine. She was a founding editor of...

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The world doesn’t need another Lena Dunham blog post, but this is just to say thank you. Thank you for running around on camera with no clothes on and wearing dresses that show off your thighs and for writing scenarios in which you have sex with great-looking people. I appreciate it.

I’ve heard women say that they can’t go anywhere without feeling gawked at and objectified. I sympathize; that sounds awful. But it’s not been my experience. Mostly I’ve felt ugly and embarrassed by my body and as though I have no right to a sexuality in the first place.

I don’t believe this is true, and on the page it looks like self-pity. I don’t meant to whine; I’m lucky in lots of ways and life is basically OK. This is just how I’ve felt. And if I’ve felt this shitty about my potential to be found attractive, then I can’t possibly be alone.

We all have body issues, men and women, but men have at least one thing that we don’t: proof through representation that it doesn’t matter. Katherine Heigl will still fuck you. You don’t need to lose weight; you don’t even need a job. I imagine it feels pretty good, as a chubby guy or a scrawny, balding nebbish, to watch a scene in which a chubby guy or a scrawny, balding nebbish has sex with an attractive woman and it’s not a joke.

As Navneet Alang wrote here few weeks back (in an essay that says a lot more than that), Lena Dunham is totally fine-looking. I’d argue she’s quite cute. But that’s beside the point. She looks ordinary. I look ordinary. And she has sex, just as I have sex, and the fact that she’s up there doing it validates the fact that I’m down here doing it. I shouldn’t need that validation, but it helps, because that’s the way society works. It feels pretty good to watch her have sex with attractive people and it’s not a joke.

So thank you for that, Lena Dunham. Also: thank you for making an excellent show.