OPINION | Why The Gay Sex Scene On Last Night’s ‘Please Like Me’ Is Kinda Important

Let's talk about lube, shall we?

Mitch Feltscheerby Mitch Feltscheer

On last night's season premiere of the effortlessly heart-warming and truly hilarious Josh Thomas helmed ABC series Please Like Me, protagonist Josh and on-again-off-again love interest Arnold (Keegan Joyce) engage in some fairy-light illuminated, passionate first-time sex.

But, so what? It's 2015 and gays have been on our TV and movie screens for decades, can get married in an increasingly large amount of the world (*cough* get your shit together Turnbull *cough*), have pretty much the same rights as heteros and are now a completely accepted and equal segment of this, our vibrant and perfect utopia called Earth. What's one more depiction of dudes putting their peen inside another dude on TV, right?

Despite LGBTIQ equality obviously still a far off ideal and the further representation of the wide-range of rainbow identities on our screens of vital importance, last night's particular cinematic illustration of homosex, deserves to be commended for more than just its existence.

At the penultimate and spectacularly adorable, pre-penno moment between Josh and Arnold, something pleasantly surprising appears on screen, and, even if only for a moment, is a hugely important progression for gay sex on TV: a small, humble bottle of lube.

Gay sex on mainstream media, up until pretty much now, has been presented as a mostly fantastical melding of bits under bed sheets. The strong jaw-lined lovers engage in some rough smooching before removing just enough clothes and BOOM there's off-camera penetraysh and our two gentleman are Going. At. It.

Not until last year's sorely underrated HBO series Looking, had I ever witnessed someone on screen whipping out some god damn lubricant prior to slipping it in, (this includes the sickening amount of porn I, a gay millenial, have catapulted into my eyeballs) and I remember, during that particular Looking scene, for the actual first time in my TV watching experience, going "Hey, that's me. I do that" to a sex scene.

As any young homo figuring their shit out in the noughties would, I remember Brokeback Mountain being a big deal for me. I still recall secretly hiring the DVD from my local VideoEZY and huddling in front of my TV late at night to view something I still saw as "different" and "wrong", brought to life in full technicolour and surround sound.

At the time I viewed the famous tent-fucking scene, in which Heath Ledger's character spits onto his hand, quickly rubs it down below and dives straight on in to Jake Gyllenhaal for some passionate, fresh-mountain-air boning, as simply how it must be done.

Several years, and many regretful boyfriends later, I now know that spit-lube, much like the concept of "scissoring" between ladies (might be wrong on this one, feel free to @ me, lesbifriends) is not actually a thing and nearly all on-screen depictions of dude sex, is vastly unrealistic with nary a squeeze of a lube tube to be seen.

This is why Josh Thomas' inclusion of something so small as some KY in shot is much more significant than you might think. A primetime TV show on the national broadcaster showing realistic intercourse between guys is a glorious step in the right direction and has the potential to show young gay and questioning Aussies an honest impression of how this whole thing works between consenting adults.

Across its two seasons thus far, Please Like Me has introduced some wonderfully relatable and genuine characters, straight and gay alike, and so it's not a huge surprise that Thomas would continue to make praiseworthy steps moving into season three, but I feel this one in particular needs to be heralded as a big moment for Australian TV production, and the realistic depiction of LGBT lives.

With the discussions on sex-ed with a LGBT focus in schools continuing to move forward to a hopefully happy and progressive conclusion, perhaps for now we can take solace in the fact that even if the next generation learn about doing the dirty from TV and pop-culture, much like we all did, at least there are shows like Please Like Me, which, with a simple click of a lube bottle, are reflecting the truth of sex and relationships on screen.

Please Like Me airs on ABC1 Thursday's 9.30pm, is available now on iView and airs on the Pivot network in the US.