Why the Sex Scenes on Netflix's Mindhunter Are Such a Big Effing Deal
Sexy spoilers for Netflix's Mindhunter ahead!
Let's not get it twisted: Mindhunter is a series that focuses, first and foremost, on serial killers and their respective manners of thinking. Most of these killers' gruesome crimes are tied to their unhealthy sexual attitudes, and they reveal deeply disturbing ideas about women and consent while being interviewed by main characters Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany). But it's precisely these murderers' problematic sexual attitudes that make the protagonist's sex scenes in the first two episodes of the Netflix series so important.
Despite his increasingly obvious immersion in the twisted world of serial killers and violent criminals, FBI behavioral scientist Holden maintains a healthy sexual relationship with his girlfriend, Debbie. Though some aspects of the couple's sexual rapport — namely, Holden's lack of hesitation to perform oral sex on Debbie — are deemed "deviant" by his employer's standards, they are treated with a no-nonsense attitude that is refreshing not only within the show's dark context, but in the entertainment sphere as a whole.
Holden (clearly) isn't perfect, but the sex scenes with his romantic partner offer an all-too-rare look at a respectful, caring, and mutually pleasurable sexual relationship. In most onscreen representations of hetero sex, male pleasure takes precedence; it feels unusual to watch a man prioritizing a woman's orgasm, especially presented without some sort of cheeky reference to how "generous" Holden is during those intimate moments with Debbie. Their private life simply includes oral sex. Period.
Debbie isn't afraid to lead during her sexual encounters with Holden, either, vocalizing the things she likes and dislikes and encouraging him to learn from those preferences. She and Holden have equal agency and are active participants in the bedroom, which shows in their scenes together.
These sex scenes serve as a foil to the generally f*cked up sexual attitudes exhibited elsewhere in the series and even serve to make viewers question which side the men in their own lives fall on. Holden's relationship with Debbie also makes his own journey within the series — from respectful, curious, and relatively straight-laced to somebody who chummily discusses "getting that young p*ssy" with convicted serial killers — all the more jarring of a transition.
Holden's mindset toward sex no doubt continues to evolve throughout the show, but whether it's for better or worse is still up for debate. Since season two is on the way, though, let's just enjoy the gift we've been given . . . a few sexy scenes that empower both sides of the equation.