“Netflix and chill” relationships call for communication, dialogue essential to healthy sexual practices

Valeria Pizarro

“Netflix and chill” has evolved from being an innocent joke about one’s loneliness to a term for hooking up. But in essence, the new euphemism is an attempt to replace a conversation, which can lead to a concerning lack of dialogue about healthy sexual practices.

“When you say ‘Netflix and chill’ that could mean literally Netflix and chill, it could mean ‘We fall asleep on the couch’, or it could mean a whole range of other things,” Erin Burrows, the prevention outreach specialist for Voices Against Violence, said. “What’s dangerous there is all the assumptions. Consent is about breaking down those assumptions with clear communication.”

This is noteworthy because not everyone has had positive encounters, which can lead to lasting yet easily preventable consequences.

A study titled “Sexual Regret in College Students” found that 71.9 percent of survey respondents regretted having a sexual experience, with 27.9 percent saying their reason was that they did not want the same thing as their partner. This highlights the issues of poor communication and mismatched expectations in sexual relationships.

In another study, researcher Kelly Avant of Fort Lewis College suggests that men caring for someone’s well-being is paradoxical to the pride of hooking up with someone. “For men to be valued in a misogynistic culture, they must reject all feminine aspects of themselves,” Avant wrote. “To express vulnerability and emotion is to lose standing with peers.”

The issue is further complicated by the fact that raising awareness is challenging where it’s most needed, according to biomedical engineering junior Nabeel Naiyer.

“I think the problem is that people who are willing to listen already know, and people who aren’t willing to listen don’t know and won’t care enough to try and learn,” Naiyer said. “They’ll be more closed-minded.”

Furthermore, someone doesn’t have to show visible or severe symptoms for their mental health to be in jeopardy, making the need for mindful communication important always. For that reason, communication is always relevant.

Trivializing and desensitizing serious issues damages both communities and individuals. We need to destigmatize all of these issues that make us so uncomfortable. Good communication can go a long way.

Pizarro is an English sophomore from El Paso. Follow her on Twitter @preciosx.