‘Gilmore Girls’ Was Incredibly Sex-Negative When You Really Think About It

Gilmore Girls aired its first episode in 2000 and wrapped its final scene in 2007. During the show’s seven seasons, the writers tackled some heavy topics. While the show has gained a new fan base thanks to Netflix, there are some elements of the series that have not aged well. Aside from being politically incorrect rather often, the series was incredibly sex-negative.

The entire series was a cautionary tale about having sex

From the start, Gilmore Girls was a cautionary tale about sex. Lorelai, who got pregnant with Rory at just 16-years-old, never missed an opportunity to point out what a massive mistake her unplanned pregnancy was. She mentioned it to Lane, to an entire class of Stars Hollow High, and even to Rory. Emily and Richard Gilmore never missed a chance to bring up the disappointment that was Lorelai’s life path, either.

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During the show’s seven seasons and one limited revival, fans saw six pregnancies. Two-thirds of those pregnancies were unplanned and viewed as life-ruining experiences. Sookie is the only character that had planned pregnancies, for the most part. Sherry, Christopher Hayden’s girlfriend, found out she was pregnant and destroyed any chance of Lorelai and Christopher getting together, then she abandoned her child to take a job opportunity. Lane Kim’s unexpected pregnancy was also treated as some sort of punishment, while Rory’s pregnancy at the end of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was approached with great trepidation.

Teen romances were approached with shame and breakdowns

During the series, very few of the teens Rory spent time with were sexually active, but when it was mentioned, it was almost always in a negative light. Both Madeline and Louise were treated as vapid because of their interest in the opposite sex. Paris’s loss of virginity was followed up with an absolute breakdown. Paris even claimed she didn’t get into Harvard because she had sex with her high school boyfriend, Jamie. Later, Rory shamed Paris for hooking up with a much older professor shortly before she hooked up with her married ex-boyfriend.

The cast of 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life'
The cast of ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ | Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

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Lorelai’s response to Rory having sex for the first time left something to be desired, as did her response to Rory’s budding relationship with Logan Huntzberger. Later on, Emily and Richard tried everything to stop Rory and Logan from having “relations,” as they put it. Three young adults lost their virginity during the course of Gilmore Girls, and each time it was portrayed as messy and problematic.  

Sookie St. James’ third pregnancy was super uncomfortable

Gilmore Girls wasn’t just weird with the way it approached sex and pregnancy; it approached inappropriate behavior in a way that still makes fans uncomfortable. In season 7, Sookie found out she was pregnant with her third child. It was a surprising turn of events, since her husband, Jackson Belville, was supposed to have had a vasectomy way back in season 5. Jackson basically coerced his wife into a third pregnancy, yet, Sookie’s response was incredibly muted. Reproductive coercion is considered sexual assault, in some cases. One would think Sookie would be more than “a little resentful”.

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The series simply glossed over the problematic behavior and acted as if it was just another quirky event. That shouldn’t be surprising though, Jess pressuring Rory to have sex at a party in Season 3 was also handled with levity, when it really should not have been. Jess was great in a lot of ways, but this moment was not one of them, argues Bustle.