For the past two weeks, I’ve been recapping the latest episodes of Insecure. This week I’m going to do a little of that, but there’s something much bigger we need to discuss.
Molly is looking for a new therapist and found a potential new suitor named Lionel (Sterling K. Brown in an awkward guest-starring role). Lawrence is told once and for all by Tasha that not only is he a “fuck nigga,” but worse, he’s a fuck nigga that thinks he’s a nice guy, which means we just might see him become a savage. Frieda is in All Lives Matter mode with We Got Y’all, stressing to Issa that even though their program is finally getting a good turnout, the group has too many black students and doesn’t reflect the school’s 86-percent-Latino student population.
I’ll leave all of these storylines open for discussion in the comments section (especially the devastating send-off Tasha gives Lawrence) because there’s something more pressing I want to discuss, and it’s not just about Issa on the show—it’s about Issa Rae the showrunner.
Last night we bore witness to Issa’s third time getting it in since the show premiered. This time she chooses to knock boots with Eddie, a guy who, like Lawrence, has a big forehead. To get in Eddie’s draws, Issa pulls the old “you left your charger at my crib when you came to the house party” move. Eddie is obviously true to this not new to this and lets Issa right in so they can fake watch season six of Gossip Girl while getting high before the two of them finally end up in his bedroom.
Like most sex scenes on Insecure, there is beauty in its rawness, but it has become disturbing to watch how raw Issa’s sex scenes have gotten. The pun here is intended. Ever since last season’s first sex scene between her and Daniel, the elephant in the room with these moments is that there is no mention of a condom and no showing of one being put on or unwrapped. Many fans of the show started yelling foul at the absence of a condom in Issa’s scene with Daniel last season, but I thought it was an overreaction. Creatively, we don’t need to see every detail in a sex scene carried out, so I gave it a pass.
This season when Issa and Lawrence have their moment of breakup sex, once again there is no mention or showing of a condom. Again it was noticeable, but in that scene, it wasn’t difficult to believe that a couple who has been together for years would skip safe sex and take their chances with each other. Even if we take into consideration what Lawrence had been doing with Tasha, sex—especially in heated moments like the one we saw between Issa and Lawrence—gets risqué.
But after last episode’s sex scene between Eddie and Issa, in which there is once again no mention or showing of a condom, I have to wonder why such a detail has been left out by the writers.
Insecure’s beauty, its greatness, is in its details. As someone who has seen every single episode twice, I can attest that there are not many stones left unturned in the show’s depiction of everyday black life. From the way the characters talk to each other to Issa’s brief depictions of her alter ego, Insecure has thrived because it depicts a reality that is drenched in awkward moments, and one of those awkward moments for anybody who has ever taken part in casual sex is what do with a condom.
In Insecure’s defense, most Hollywood sex scenes do not serve as a PSA for safe sex. There is also the the possibility that Issa’s character could have gotten the shot, is on the pill or is allergic to latex and Trojan hasn’t made Magnums available in lambskin. Maybe we just need to be patient for a new storyline to develop out of all these moments of Issa’s misjudgment.
Or maybe we’re all just overthinking this whole condom thing on Insecure. The show has gotten so much right—perhaps it deserves the benefit of the doubt when it comes to its conspicuous absence of condoms, but if that is the case, it would be a difficult choice to ignore.