Spoilers for the Feb. 9 episode of Jane The Virgin. For a show that's got the word "virgin" in the title, it's definitely no surprise that CW's Jane The Virgin (executive producer: Jennie Snyder Urman) talks about sex. A lot. But this time instead of Jane or Xiomara's love life being the topic of conversation, it's Alba who gets a lesson in "self" love in "Chapter Seventy-Four." That's right — Gina Rodriguez's directorial debut on Jane The Virgin is all about baby boomers embracing the sex-positive movement.
In the episode, Alba is still mourning the loss of her relationship with Jorge and sets out to create a profile on a dating site. But she's got some strict requirements for any man that wants to enter into her life — eh, a little too strict if you ask Jane. This is precisely why Jane makes it her mission to expose her Abuela to the sex-positive movement millennials have been championing and encourages her to live a little. Alba quickly rebuffs Jane's suggestions.
Unfortunately, Alba isn't the only Baby Boomer who shies away from talking about or pursuing sex and pleasure. According to a University of Chicago study, only 29 percent of people approved of premarital sex in the '70s, when Alba was still a young woman. And the average age at which women got married was just 21, arguably leaving less time for exploration of one's own sexuality outside of a single committed partnership. Another study found that Baby Boomers on average only spent 15 minutes per day on sexual or romantic activity. Alba is also a devoutly religious woman who grew up in a conservative community, giving her a different experience than Boomers who actively took part in the "sexual revolution" of the '60s.
The validity of these stats becomes abundantly clear to Jane when Alba tearfully confides in her the other reason she broke up with Jorge. It wasn’t just that Alba was missing her late-husband Mateo, it’s also been nearly 30 years since she had sex. And not necessarily because she didn't want to — solo or otherwise — but because she was raised to believe that doing so was shameful.
Back in "Chapter Thirty-Four" Alba confessed to Jane and Xiomara that she had sex with one other person before Mateo, and was subsequently shamed by her village. From there she adopted a traditional attitude around sex, that eventually passed along to her daughter — though it didn't stick.
So after Xiomara got pregnant with Jane as a teen, Alba made it her mission to teach Jane the beauty of the flower. This translates into not losing your virginity before getting married, because you can never get it back — much like how a flower is never the same once it has been crumpled. And although Jane managed keep the promise she made to Alba to stay a virgin until marriage, she was still able to cultivate an open-minded attitude towards sex.
So, in a sweet grandma/granddaughter moment Jane tells Alba that she deserves happiness as much as anyone, particularly in the form of some physical loving. And before long the two are off to the one place viewers never imagined Alba would be in: a sex shop. I know, straight out of a telenovela right?
From the edible undies, to the displays of lubricant and all of the vibrators, Alba is no doubt uncomfortable in the store. But the end of the episode Alba comes around and manages to let loose and enjoy herself, by herself.
Many shows today are willing to put sexual progressivism at the center of their storylines, celebrating the sexuality of their characters and skewering social taboos. Though, these storylines typically revolve around the millennial generation — so it's refreshing to see the older generation being brought into the movement.
Witnessing such progression on the small screen is not only wildly entertaining (Seriously, Alba in a sex shop? Priceless!), it's incredibly important for the growth of the sex-positive movement as a whole. And kudos to Jane The Virgin for leading the charge.