sex on screen

Is Sex in Silicon Valley As Bad As Sex on Silicon Valley?

Only one person thinks this is going well. Photo: HBO

No less than Peter Thiel has called the gleaming center of America’s tech industry a totally sexless place. But people do in fact get laid in Silicon Valley, as the show Silicon Valley recently dramatized. After more than three seasons of existing in a sexless, screen-filled hell, bumbling programmer Richard Hendricks finally had sex: an illicit tryst with his main client’s fiancée, in an office conference room, late at night.

However, as Silicon Valley is our most honest, accurate portrayal of life among the coders, Richard did not emerge a sexual dynamo. He might have finally got to do sex on a living breathing woman, but there was no postcoital glow. “Worst sex I’ve ever had,” says Liz, the woman he mauled with his elbows. Also: “How many times did our teeth clink?” Also: “When I took my top off, you actually said the word ‘Gulp.’”

Was this depiction of angled, awkward, passionless sex accurate? The Cut asked women to share their experiences sleeping with men in the Valley, to find out whether Richard Hendricks’s sexual efforts seemed par for the course, worse than anything they’d ever experienced, or, gulp, better.

Silicon Valley writers, feel free to steal these for next season.

"Gyno-style clinical exploration"

Back in the day, I dated an engineer who seemed well-socialized enough … but by the time we got down to business, it was clear I might have given him too much credit.

We had kissed before and it wasn’t great, but I was willing to give it a second go, figuring that the first-time nerves could have gotten in the way. NOPE. Within seconds his tongue was windshield-wiping my front teeth and testing out my gag reflexes via some aggressive throat pokes. Then came the hands. Left hand grabbed left boob. Firm squeeze. Right hand reached for right boob, squeeze. (He did have some medical training … so perhaps he thought breast exams secretly turned on women?)

After he had repeated this tongue/hands combo once or twice, without warning: fingers to the vagina. Not for clit-caressing or the like … this was some gyno-style clinical exploration.

I put an end to this promptly, and tried to treat it as a teachable moment, but after talking/a few more attempts, he voiced that he actually preferred his technical sexual approach, and we parted ways.

"He asked me if I would shower beforehand"

My bad sex story with a tech bro was basically like interacting with the Keenan character from Silicon Valley. He was genuinely confused as to why he wasn’t getting exactly what he wanted, exactly at that moment! It wasn’t about actual sex — we didn’t get that far — so much as his demand beforehand. He was one of those brawny start-up higher-ups who definitely gets a lot of girls to do what he wants. I was mostly on the date with him because he was hot. I went home with him and he asked me if I would SHOWER beforehand, as if that were the most normal thing in the world. I was a little shocked but was polite about it — just said that didn’t turn me on and I didn’t really want to get my hair wet and was that really a deal-breaker for him? And he was like, “This is weird, I’ve never had a girl act so insulted by this request. Will you seriously not do this?” Not even hostile, just sincerely flummoxed like no one had ever refused him anything before.

Eventually I got visibly annoyed and he didn’t fight back, just sort of like shrugged his shoulders and said, “That’s my bottom line, I’m sorry about that.” Classic tech-bro entitlement. So I left. It’s a famous story among my friends.

"Free condoms from work"

There was this one guy from Google who wouldn’t buy condoms. He preferred taking the free condoms from work. And yes — there were blue, green, orange, and red ones, just like Google’s branding.

"It was too weird"

I was living in San Francisco and met this guy on some dating site — we hooked up regularly for about six months. He was the CEO of a gaming start-up. He had this very nice loft in S.F., which I would visit all the time, and he also kept a second apartment in New York. Once we ended up in New York at the same time. So I went home with him.

We walk in and it has all the exact same furniture as his San Francisco apartment. All of it. The same rug, the same weird dining-table bench. It was too weird.

We did not sleep together. I was like, “I’ll have a glass of water,” and I left.

"We all sync up our Google calendars"

I would divide most eligible men into two camps: (1) tech/engineer bros who are brilliant but lack emotional awareness, and (2) counterculture hipsters looking to add you to their polyamorous situations and NOT interested in conventional relationships.

I went out with a Big Tech engineer for a little over a year — super brilliant, Ph.D. in computer science, etc. Also, had never been in a serious relationship longer than ten months. Oh, and he had never had sex with anyone before. But somehow, very into cosplay! I feel like he was into every costume under the sun … professor/student, handyman/housewife, soccer player/ref … and of course GoT, naturally!

The polyamorous folk I have a little less patience for, because it’s usually under the guise of being Totally Alternative And Anti-Mainstream Because No One Has Ever Done This Before Okay? Also so much scheduling! I went on a few dates with a guy who tried to push polyamory on me (which is different than a simple open relationship, because it means multiple simultaneous relationships). He really lost me at the, “Well, we all sync up our Google calendars” bit. Not sexy!

"Being jackhammered"

I think Silicon Valley is spot-on. I think probably the super nerdy guys — like not the brogrammers, the super nerdy guys — are just really awkward in bed. I’ve spent ten years living in the Valley — I live in San Francisco now — so I’ve slept with my fair share. This isn’t like one or two guys; this is a number of them. They don’t like to change it up. It’s like the same thing over and over again — the same position, same routine, same movement. There is this whole, like, “Wow, am I getting laid?” attitude in bed. I think the most common way to describe sex with a Silicon Valley engineer is being jackhammered. That’s what it is. It’s not sex. I don’t know what this is but it’s not sex. And they’re so proud of themselves afterwards, I can’t even say anything mean.

"Where'd he go???"

I was recently hooking up with a “friend” in tech who’s kind of abysmal at communication. He’d been going down on me and then just stops cold and walks out the bedroom door. I’m feeling really awkward and self-conscious — like, Where’d he go??? And then I hear a wrapper being unwrapped. He’s just, like, walked away in the middle of this passionate moment to put a condom on without saying ANYTHING. I just can’t imagine being so awkward/bad at communication that you wouldn’t be like, “Hey, should I get a condom?” instead of just literally walking out in the middle of foreplay to go wrap it up, especially since this is the first time we ever had sex and we knew each other pretty well. Didn’t stop me from sleeping with him again (whoops).

"Multiple-orgasms great"

Honestly the only tech guy I ever hooked up with was … great. Multiple-orgasms great. However, I should note that he was short and not that nice and obsessed with his cat.

Is Sex in Silicon Valley As Bad As Sex on Silicon Valley?