Gen Zs are bored with the “oversexualised storylines” of Hollywood, says Barbara Ellen in The Observer. A recent US study found that almost half of 13 to 24-year-olds want to see less sex on screen, and also less romance: the relentless love narratives; the constant talk of “the one”; the “endless cheerleading for coupledom as the zenith of on-screen human achievement”. Instead, they’re after more “nomance” – asexual characters and platonic bonds. It’s presumably no coincidence that Gen Z Netflix favourites Sex Education and Heartstopper both feature asexual characters, whereas HBO’s The Idol, replete with “risqué self-throttling scenes”, was canned after one season.
Easy as it is to mock the so-called “puriteen” generation – especially given they’re renowned for defining themselves in terms of sexuality and gender – we older folk should be sympathetic. Young people have been “marinated and pickled” in internet extremes: unsolicited “dick pics”; genuinely scary hardcore porn; hours spent on dating apps “swiping your libido into oblivion”. Real-life dating is no picnic, either, what with the growing anxiety about sexual consent and the demands for a “pornified” menu of sex acts. Can you blame Gen Zs for wanting a break from it all when they’re watching the box? And for rebelling against the “happy ever after”? It’s to their credit that, in stark contrast to millennials’ “ultra-sex positive stance”, this lot aren’t falling for “the same old guff”.