Inviting someone over to your place to watch Netflix and chill might sound like an innocuous request. But anyone who's ever set up a date based on such pretenses likely has a different story to tell.
Just ask these dogs:
A duplicitous invitation: A popular Tumblr meme, "Netflix and chill" is a relatively new entry to the cultural lexicon, as it just made its Urban Dictionary debut about three months ago. (The site's definition: "Code for two people going to each other's houses and fucking or doing other sexual related acts.") Nonetheless, it's captured the hearts of thousands of Tumblr users, who are calling out "Netflix and chill" for what it really means:
"Have sex and have sex."
These three words say a lot: While the phrase itself may be young, the sentiment behind it is age-old. Had Tumblr existed years ago, the meme could have easily been something like "VHS rental and rest," or "drive-in movie and relax!" or "listen to elegant phonograph and lounge on uncomfortable-looking fancy sofa."
But whatever hookup partners of yore may have called it, the fact that "Netflix and chill" is having an Internet moment right now speaks volumes about how our generation is hooking up. Even though millennials are known for being the hookup generation that uses myriad apps to make it easy to find casual sex, the popularity of "Netflix and chill" suggests that we're still not quite comfortable being open about our sexual desires.
Whether they're driven by the fear of rejection or coming on too strong, plenty of people are trying to play it safe by using "Netflix and chill" as code for their ribald intentions instead of just coming out and saying, "Hey, do you wanna have sex with me?" But if you think you're being subtle when you invite someone over to watch Netflix and chill, you're fooling yourself.
"When someone asks me to come over to watch Netflix and chill, it's an invitation to fool around for sure," Farrah*, 26, told Mic. "It's very obvious."
Cecilia*, 30, added: "It just means 'fuck on the couch.'"
Let's just keep it real: It would probably behoove "Netflix and chill"-ers to take a more straightforward approach when communicating with potential sex partners. Putting yourself out there can be scary or challenging at times, but research tells us that clear and direct communication is essential to having a mutually satisfying sex life.
Plus, by not just saying "let's fuck," we're creating all kinds of opportunities for people to get confused about your intentions. After all, what happens if you invite someone over to watch Netflix and chill and they end up taking it literally?
Also, what if you actually want to invite someone over just to watch Netflix and chill? Do you now have to follow up that request with an explicit explanation that you absolutely, 100%, do not want to have sex?
So the next time you're tempted to dash those three suggestive words off into your Tinder date's inbox, consider taking a page out of the Marvin Gaye playbook and just ask if they wanna get it on instead. Even if the answer is no, you're better off hearing it before some poor sap comes over with popcorn in tow, ready for a night of binge-watching The X-Files.