Mayim MishegaasMayim Mishegaas

Sheldon & Amy and Virginity & Intimacy

Addressing some of the big issues in 'The Opening Night Excitation'
By Mayim Bialik     Published on 12/17/2015 at 8:47 PM EDT

[Editor’s note: Again, if you don’t know what happened on tonight’s episode of The Big Bang Theory, you must be living somewhere without access to the internet, in which case how are you even reading this??? 🙂 But seriously, if you’re looking for a Shamy-spoiler-free GrokNation reading experience, turn back now, because if you don’t know, we’re going to tell you. OK?]

So. Coitus happened. Yup. I know. It’s a big deal.

I don’t really know at all what to say about this episode, honestly! It feels so private. It is so private, even though it’s “just a character.” I don’t know if you know what I mean.

I come from a family where I was taught that sex was reserved for marriage. It’s my culture, it’s my religion, it’s the way I was brought up. We didn’t talk about sex in my house growing up, except when it was reinforced that that’s all guys want from you (said my dad) and that it’s for marriage. Other than that, I was kind of on my own.

I knew that lots of people had sex well before marriage, and I was the kid and teenager who just stayed confused about that for most of my young life. I was a very late bloomer and I felt a lot of shame about that. Now that I am a grown-up, I am grateful I was a late bloomer. It protected me from a lot and if I could do my teen and young adult years again, I would not change a thing.

My character Amy is also a late bloomer; much later than I was. She is in her 30s, I think, (her age has never really been stated on the show), and Amy has only kissed one person. There is nothing wrong with that, and I have enjoyed being in what I think might be television’s longest-running, intimate, romantic, loving relationship that didn’t have sex as part of it. I think it’s marvelous to have been a part of that.

Part of me will miss that. Now we don’t have that. We are like everyone else, or so we would be made to believe.

I’ve never done a “bed” scene like I did in tonight’s episode. I have never had to talk to the wardrobe department about things like “how to look naked,” which meant wearing a strapless bra and pulling the sheets up over it, for example.

I have never had to act “post-coitus” and I realized as I read this script for the first time several weeks ago that I am so glad my kids don’t watch this show: I am not ready to talk to my little ones about “coitus” and “post-coitus” based on my performance in this episode of “The Big Bang Theory”!

I commend our writers and producers for making this episode so gentle and so delicate and so well-thought-out. It’s not “just sex” for Amy and Sheldon. It’s the kind of kissing and loving that mommies and daddies do, as Sheldon says. We don’t belabor the “how was it?” aspects of intercourse (although the members of the press certainly did ask, and I’ll address that in tomorrow’s piece). We let those moments be private. I don’t know if it will stay that way because I don’t know the future the writers foresee for our show, but for now, here’s what this episode breaks down to for me.

  1. A relationship more important than Star Wars. Sheldon very rationally decides to show Amy she is more important to him than the Star Wars premiere. Wow! As someone who has dated more than one nerd in my life, this is a big deal and it’s something I wish for all of you ladies and gentlemen out there who are dating nerds…that your significant other prioritizes you over such pop culture milestones (as important and EXCITING as they are)!
  2. Be prepared. Because they have more experience than she does, Amy’s friends help her prepare. As someone who has never gotten a bikini wax, I can’t relate to that part of the script, but the notion of looking one’s best and feeling one’s best for such an event seems to be important. And Amy being surprised might have been disaster in this case, so it’s good they told her what they thought might be expected of her in that department!
  3. Honesty. Amy lets Sheldon know she knows he wants to be intimate with her as her birthday gift and that takes the edge off of the nervousness they are both feeling. That was so smart and compassionate on the part of our writers. It lets the episode unfold as one that’s not about just sex, but about the intimacy Amy and Sheldon are building and cashing in on. Sex is about intimacy, even if you think it’s not. Trust me, I’m a doctor. 🙂
  4. Privacy. We see that Amy’s hair is messed up in the reveal in the final scene. We see that she is tired and happy. The writers very delicately let me communicate the culmination of a lot of emotional and physical tension being released without it being gross or obnoxious. Sex is complicated, and so is intimacy.

In some ways, the loss of one’s virginity is sad. It is the end of a time in your life that won’t ever be the same. For some that happens very early, and for others it happens very late. That’s determined by circumstance and by cultural pressure and by peer pressure as well.

I hope that Amy and Sheldon’s intimacy can be inspiring to those of you who are late bloomers, and encouraging for those of you who have yet to be intimate. And for those of you who are past the stage of thinking about the first time you were intimate, I hope this episode reminded you of the tenderness and the closeness and the possibility we all once had. If we are lucky, we get many chances to have that closeness even as grown-ups. And it can still be very sweet.

Thank you for all of your support. I hope that you like how our writers handled this one. As for me, I’m glad it was handled with a certain amount of tenderness and dignity and care. That feels right. And if you ask me, that’s what intimacy should always include.

For more on this episode, go behind the scenes with Mayim.

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