Admittedly for most of my adult life I have been a bit of a pop culture ignoramus. I have not owned my own television ever as an adult. The only times that I have had TVs in my home is when I happened to live with someone who had one. This is mostly because I think there are a lot more interesting things to do and also there has never really been much that felt like it was worth the time to watch. Girls, however, has my attention.
The show follows the adventures of a group of women in their 20’s as they awkwardly and sometimes gracefully navigate their transition into adult life. The show is created, written and co-produced by the wickedly clever and hilarious 26-year-old Lena Dunham who also stars in the show and directs several of the episodes.
OK, now back to the sex part. Sex has been a central theme in all of the episodes thus far–as it is for most 20 somethings. The first few episodes have addressed subjects like virginity, abortion, STIs and sexual harassment. The characters traverse between peaks of humiliation and empowerment in their attempts to figure it all out.
In its refreshing authenticity and humor around sexuality the show also manages to educate. In episode 3 one of the main characters discovers that she has HPV. HPV is a subject in which I receive a lot of questions about as a sexual wellness educator. I have had my own journey with HPV and coached numerous women around healing themselves. The information available about HPV is sorely lacking and has been largely convoluted by the agendas of the pharmaceutical companies that are out to push vaccines. The show unpacks some of the myths and sets some facts straight around HPV through the ignorance of the characters. When Hannah reveals in absolute devastation that she has HPV her more worldly friend Jessa replies, “All adventurous women do.”
Jessa is absolutely right, virtually every sexually active person is carrying some and likely numerous strains of dormant HPV in their bodies. There are at least 40 known types of HPV and a handful of those can cause cancer. HPV is a virus and it can shed or become active when the immune system is weakened. One of the best ways to protect yourself against HPV is to practice a healthy lifestyle and keep your immune system strong. You can learn a few more facts about HPV by watching Girls. Check out the clip below!
I hope to meet Lena Dunham some day and share sex stories over a glass of wine.