To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Sequel Normalises Female Self-Pleasure

To All The Boys I've Loved Before

If you were like me on Valentine’s Day and stayed home to watch Netflix, you may have caught the sequel to cult film To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before — P.S I Still Love You.

And if you didn’t happen to watch it and are ready to question my choice in film, a survey of my closest single girlfriends (over the age of 28) showed that 98% of them were curled up on the couch, glass of wine in hand, watching said movie.

While the demographic for this series of movies — and novels by Jenny Han in which they are based — is most certainly aimed at teenagers, there’s no denying that anyone can love an ooey-gooey rom-com; steeped in crushes, sexual tension, teen love triangles and of course a heartthrob (ahem, Noah Centineo). It takes us back to our younger years.

In fact, our generation was raised on these types of coming-of-age films and television shows including 10 Things I Hate About You, Wild Things, Cruel Intentions, the American Pie franchise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gossip Girl, The OC and Dawson’s Creek.

So many storylines towards the end of the 90s and early 00s, almost always related to sex — having it for the first time, what it felt like, when should you do it and who should you do it with, but there was one thing it didn’t do well, and that was equalising sexual pleasure for both men and women.

And that is why during a sequence in To All The Boys I Loved Before: PS I Still Love You, I was surprised to see an entire scene dedicated to women and masturbation.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Chris (Madeleine Arthur) and Lara Jean (Lana Condor) in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: PS I Still Love You. Netflix.

On Valentine’s Day, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) shows off a locket that her boyfriend Peter Kavinsky (Centineo) gave her, to her enigmatic female friend Chris (Madeleine Arthur).

“I got you a little V-day gift of my own. It’s advice,” Chris tells her friend.

“Make sure you know how to rev your own engine before you let anyone under the hood. I’m just saying: Make sure you know how to look after you.”

I was floored. Finally, we’re praising self-pleasure. Normalising it, even. Giving young women the empowerment to satisfy themselves first before anyone else.

Take the American Pie film franchise for example.

The women are used as sexual playthings for the men to essentially pleasure themselves with. And the guys even make a pact that they must have sex by the end of their senior year — like it’s a massive prize.

But for teenage girls in these flicks, their story arc is always based around sex being a “mistake” or worse. Or they’re slut-shamed. Or their stories are surrounded in tears and despair — being used for their bodies and then never called again.

That’s why this movie is so refreshing, and one I would encourage any young woman to watch.

In an interview with PopBuzz, Condor admitted that she was proud of the way that sex is discussed in the film — and she really should be.

“I love it. They’re able to have tricky conversations. What’s so important to me about this film — which I hope people get — is that when you’re having these conversations about sex or anything; when it comes to your body, I want people to take away that it’s your choice. What you choose to do with your body, and who you’re doing it with, that is your choice and you should never feel pressured into doing something you don’t feel comfortable with,” she said.

So even though it’s bubblegum sweet, this coming-of-age film hits the right note when it comes to female empowerment and “revving” your own engines.

And if this is where teen films are headed in 2020, we are so on board.

WATCH: The full trailer for To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: PS I Still Love You. 

Read more stories from TheLatch— and follow us on Facebook.