Sexting refers to the exchange of sexually explicit or suggestive content on mobile devices. Although the word itself was first used in 2005, the practice has been around since humanity began mastering art and modeling clay. There are examples in all cultures and historical periods and some of these works are now displayed on the shelves of libraries and museums around the world.
Sexting is part of human nature. What is reprehensible, illegal and sickening is the violation of this personal form of communication, when the private sphere is made public against a person’s consent. A new Spanish show on Netflix called Intimidad, or Intimacy in English, explores what happens when a private sex video goes viral and shakes up the lives of its protagonists, Malen and Ane (played by Itziar Ituño and Verónica Echegui, respectively) and the people around them. Intimacy focuses on how this privacy was broken, but this is just one subject matter in a complex plot that brings to mind the case of Spanish politician Olvido Hormigos, who became the center of media attention after a sex video of her was leaked to the press. Or the tragic true story of Verónica, a Spanish factory worker who killed herself after her colleagues began sharing intimate videos of her.
With realistic dialogues, the eight episodes of Intimacy open different doors into many pressing issues such as sexism (from men and women), workplace harassment, bullying at school, suicide, children’s education, adolescence, homophobia, mental health, the dark side of our loved ones, the role of parents, relationships, and law and justice, which do not always go hand in hand... The list of topics that are fleshed out in detail is very long. There are teaching manuals on values and ethics with less content than this miniseries.
Netflix recommends the show for ages 16 and up due to its “references to sexual violence, sex, nudity and suicide.” But this is nothing that teenagers haven’t already seen. It’s a miniseries to digest slowly, stopping at every door that is opened, to watch as a family or even at school. The show has one clear premise regarding sexual violence. As Virginia Sánchez-Jiménez, a psychologist at the University of Seville in southern Spain, explains: “It must be clear that only the aggressor is responsible for the aggression. The victims should never been blamed.”