Why Grey’s Anatomy Is Great Despite All the Sex

Why is it always about the sex? People put too much stock in sex. They have an unhealthy relationship with sex. When a character on Sex and the City can get out of bed, have a spat with the woman lying next to him, and immediately conclude that “maybe I should just leave”… In what universe is that a response to someone you just made love to?

If Grey’s Anatomy is known for one thing, it’s the sex. You’d think that would make it an extremely boring show. Because sex is boring. Despite all the sex, Grey’s Anatomy is actually worth watching.

This is not about pop-culture morals (although it could be). This is about the nature of relationships. Love is not about sex. Love is about companionship, caring, and commitment. But here’s the clincher: What kind of a person would go to bed with someone she didn’t love? And I mean love in the “commitment” sense of the word. I don’t mean just the feelings and the passion. (Although they’re really cool, too.) I mean, what kind of a person would bring sex into a relationship that could end with a simple morning-after spat? That’s unhealthy.

Yet which of our favorite characters has not had an unhealthy relationship with sex? This is the irony. As human beings, what motivates us is love, not sex. Sex is boring. But what keeps us spellbound are the character’s problems. Healthy characters are boring. Disturbed characters are interesting. So when a character has an unhealthy relationship with sex, it’s the relationship part that motivates us, and the unhealthy part that keeps us glued to the TV set.

How can Grey’s Anatomy be such a good show even with all the sex?

It’s the same reason everyone slows down to rubberneck at an accident on the road (thus risking another accident). It’s why no news is good news. All the most horrible stuff that happens to a person, that’s what makes for a great story. And Grey’s Anatomy has represented in its heroes every last dysfunctional corner of the human psyche.


Sex is boring?!? OK, I guess you mean in the context of the show. But, SEX IS BORING??!!??

Hee hee. Okay… Having sex is not boring. Reading about it, however, usually is. Paula B on her podcast The Writing Show had a an excellent interview with Cher Gorman on the topic.


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