I’ve just finished watching the equally heart breaking and heart- warming It’s a Sin. I haven’t cried this much at the TV since watching Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon in Stepmom. OK, I haven’t cried this much at the TV since our Netflix broke during Lockdown 1.
If you haven’t seen It’s a Sin yet I urge you to immediately. I know people said that about Normal People but this TV show isn’t just about watching really good- looking people have sex, (Nathaniel Curtis= SWOON), it has a wonderful, heartfelt message: wear a condom.
If only It’s a Sin was played in my secondary school as part of our Sex Education. If only they played it instead of the two- hour video they made us girls watch on periods and pregnancy and the ten- minute demonstration they made the boys watch involving a banana and the pasty white, shaky fingers of our science teacher Mr Spreadborough, (or ‘Spread Head’ as we affectionally called him after the aforementioned presentation) .
Kids need to be taught about condoms on dicks not fruit.
Don’t get me wrong it was always drilled into us to wear a condom but it came with the caveat, ‘…because you don’t want to get pregnant’. Why didn’t it come with the much more life changing, life altering and life-threatening caveat, ‘…because you don’t want to get AIDs?’
Most women have let one slip in not wearing a coat, once or twice when they have found themselves in the bed of a casual fleeting fling. You know the situation where a rendezvous which started out as having the best of intentions, (he said he ‘only wants to cuddle’), but then quickly escalates into a ‘Special Cuddle’. These sort of unprotected indiscretions happen only because the main thing we had drilled into us since we started menstruating is, ‘Wear a condom because you don’t want to get pregnant!’
Why weren’t the stakes higher?
Getting pregnant, it was to be believed was the single worst thing to come from sex. Yeah, we knew about sexually transmitted diseases like herpes which was basically the same as a cold sore, or HPV which isn’t ideal but we all know several women who have it, and Amy Schumer mentions it in her Special so it can’t really be that bad can it?
And, yes, AIDs and HIV were mentioned in Sex Education but it was said so fast and so dismissively it was like the terms and conditions voiceover in a car insurance ad.
So ultimately if you found yourself in the throes of passion sans Johnny, (but also with Johnny) you could be swayed into thinking that everything would be OK, because our internal monologue is only thinking ‘Pregnancy’ not ‘Pandemic’. So the voice inside your head tells you that your Natural Cycles period app says you’re not fertile for another seven days and yes, you know they are not entirely 100 per cent accurate but fuck it there’s always the morning after pill, abortion, adoption and of course the trusty pulling out method, failing all that, hell, it isn’t all bad, you could get a free council flat.
It’s a Sin made me think deeply about my sexual privilege. I might not have had quite as many unprotected casual drunken fumbles in my twenties as some of the characters, but I’ve definitely had at least one (or two), which could well have given me HIV. But I dodged a bullet, and it was only when watching It’s a Sin did I truly see how incredibly lucky I have been.
It’s a Sin taught me that it isn’t just women who get slut shamed.
Move over Monica Lewinsky because, actually, gay men and the AIDS crisis was the most horrific case of slut shaming to ever happen in our global history.
Guess who never get slut shamed? Straight men!
So thank you It’s a Sin for teaching me more sex education than the National Curriculum. That’s the real sin in It’s a Sin, the fact that the 1980’s saw gay men slut shamed and made to feel ‘other’ by the mainstream. Causing beautiful people to die with shame and indignity when all they ever did was Love.
On a plus side It’s a Sin wasn’t all doom and gloom, nice things did happen for the characters. They managed to purchase a flat for £42,000 in London for example.
Wear a Condom guys!
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