Malaysians Love Watching Sex (/Life) on Netflix

Dept. of Saucy Smutty Streams


Almost exactly a year ago, we were talking about how horny, repressed Malaysians had done their part in pushing the Polish humpfest 365 Days to the top of the local Netflix charts. Which, mind you, wasn’t all that surprising. Content that features sex, horror, Koreans, or a combination of the three, is a national preoccupation and always ends up trending in some way or the other. (If you haven’t yet seen 365 Days, it’s basically the kind of poor man’s pornography that is usually categorized as a “foreign film,” and shown on SBS Australia, at 3PM, on a Wednesday.)


Now, in the past, sex on television was a lot harder to come by than both horror and hallyu. Before Netflix, Malaysians had to resort to all sorts of criminality (mostly piracy) in order to catch a glimpse of a stray boob or an errant penis. These days we have unfettered access to more softcore action than we can shake our stick at. And what’s more, our horniness is now out in the open for everyone to see. I mean, it’s right there at number one on a top 10 list.

Which brings us to today.

As we find ourselves once again in an endless lockdown, along comes Netflix with yet more unfiltered smut to sate our quarantined cravings. God bless them.

Tell Me About Your Sex/Life


I know. I know. You don’t really care what this show is about. But this is Goggler and not Mr. Skin, so bear with us.

In Sex/Life, Sarah Shahi (Person of Interest, The L Word) is Billie, a woman who has the perfect life. She is married to Cooper (Mike Vogel), the human incarnation of a Ken doll, who isn’t just gorgeous, but also happens to be rich, successful, and the nicest person on the planet. She has two beautiful children, an all American home in the suburbs, and the kind of safety and security that – according to her best friend at least – “millions of women would kill for.”


Billie, however, is bored. She begins to question the idyllic life she leads, wondering if the role she’s playing as wife and mother is really who she is. A part of her yearns a return to her carefree and promiscuous past, in particular, to the time when her whole entire world was rocked, on a daily basis, by the hunky Brad Simon (Adam Demos). A man so hot they had to name him twice.

Oh, sweet Jesus.

When Brad unexpectedly returns to Billie’s life, it triggers a wave of explicit memories which she of course journals in great detail. When her husband discovers this secret diary, he responds in the most “male” way imaginable. Instead of addressing her feelings of insecurity in a meaningful manner, he decides to take it as a challenge, using her detailed reconstructions as a sort of guide on how to get her off. Which is, in some sense, progress, given that it might be one of the few instances in human history in which a man willingly follows an instruction manual.

Sexual hijinks ensue.

Tell Me What I Really Want to Know


But I digress. God knows I’ve teased you for long enough. Because plot schmot, what’s really important is that there is a lot of sex here. Eight whole episodes of “doing it” that range from nooky, to lovemaking, to rumpy-pumpy, to outright fucking. It’s long. It’s drawn out. It’s frequent.

It’s also surprisingly progressive. The female gaze is at the forefront of this series, with the focus being on Billie and what she wants. This show’s primary concern is her needs and her satisfaction. Female pleasure is rarely ever a priority on television and in movies, and Sex/Life stands out by knowing its target demographic and framing itself accordingly.


Sex/Life isn’t terrible like 365 Days. Neither is it pretending to be high minded like Bridgerton. This is all jubblies and bubblies, with an occasional whanger thrown it for good measure. It may not be great television, but then again, it never claimed to be. This is pure escapist fare that does exactly what it says on the tin.

Tell Me Why Everyone Is Watching This

What’s interesting about content like 365 Days and Sex/Life is that Netflix does very little to promote it. You won’t find these shows on billboards. You’re unlikely to see them advertised on social media. And while we don’t know if their algorithm does most of the heavy lifting in these circumstances, it doesn’t really matter. Why? Because we Malaysians love watching sexy things on Netflix. We will sniff that shit out like the raunchy rabbits that we are and binge the hell out of it.

365 Days wasn’t without controversy. Its ridiculous plot – in which a hunky Italian gangster stalks, drugs, and kidnaps a sexy hotel executive and holds her captive until she falls in love with him (spoilers: she does!) – and borderline abusive sex scenes, didn’t just spark a lively debate, it even prompted the musician Duffy to write a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, calling the movie irresponsible, and requesting that he remove the film from the streaming platform due to its glamorization of kidnapping, sex trafficking, and rape.


Most people. however, didn’t really seem to care. As demonstrated by the movie’s long stint on Netflix’s own top 10 lists in more than 90 countries, being the fourth most searched movie on Google globally in 2020, and the greenlighting of two sequels as Netflix Originals.

Who would have guessed that people could watch a movie with such a problematic narrative and not be influenced to go out and behave in a similar manner themselves. Hell, if a movie like 365 Days is somehow informing your worldview on sex and relationships, then you may actually have bigger things to worry about.

Sometimes, entertainment is just entertainment. It’s only real responsibility being to distract and delight. And sometimes, people just wanted to be left alone to enjoy their explicit sexual content in the privacy of their own homes.

Sex/Life is now streaming on Netflix.

Uma has been reviewing things for most of his life: movies, television shows, books, video games, his mum's cooking, Bahir's fashion sense. He is a firm believer that the answer to most questions can be found within the cinematic canon. In fact, most of what he knows about life he learned from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He still hasn't forgiven Christopher Nolan for the travesties that are Interstellar and The Dark Knight Rises.

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