Fanfiction, cartoons and 'Glee': 'The Sex Lives of College Girls' stars reveal their 'sexual awakenings' in TV, movies

In episodes 3 and 4 of Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble's HBO show The Sex Lives of College Girls Season 2 (on Crave in Canada), Leighton has a strong hook up game, or "hoeing around," as actor Reneé Rapp called it, with the women of Essex College.

These episodes prove that when it comes to exploring sex and sexuality, no show does it better or more authentically than The Sex Lives of College Girls, including showing that sex isn’t really very sexy all the time.

“I think it's really nice that you just sort of see it as it is and I also think it's a testament to the girls and everybody on the show who just shows up and does their thing, and comes as they are, which adds so much to that," Rapp said. "Because we could come in and be these hyper, over-sexualized beings, and that works for the script sometimes, but I don't think that that's necessarily what we aim to do.”

“People are complex and never one thing, and especially in sex,” Alyah Chanelle Scott, who plays Whitney, added. “Especially for young women, I feel like so many times I watched shows and I was like, 'OK that’s sex, OK you have to do that,' and it's very performative.”

She has to look like this, she has to act like this, talk like this and move like this… It's awkward. It's messy. It's sometimes not sexy at all and that's what makes it great… I feel like we show a variety of versions of what sex is and I think that's so healthy.

The overarching awkwardness of sex in the third and fourth episodes of Season 2, specifically, comes when Leighton is dealing with the aftermath of hooking up with several women who have all dated each other, and eventually getting chlamydia.

Reneé Rapp, Alyah Chanelle Scott in
Reneé Rapp, Alyah Chanelle Scott in "The Sex Lives of College Girls" Season 2 on HBO Max in the U.S. and Crave in Canada. (Katrina Marcinowski/HBO Max)

'The Sex Lives of College Girls' cast reveal moments of 'sexual awakening'

As Leighton, particularly, continues to explore her sexuality in The Sex Lives of College Girls, the show's stars opened up about moments of "sexual awakening" in their own lives, from fanfiction to cartoons and French cinema.

"The O.C., that series was my sexual awakening, and my romantic awakening was all of the French New Wave," Pauline Chalamet said.

"I would watch Glee, Glee was a hot sort of things for me," Reneé Rapp revealed. "Also [ the cartoon Totally Spies], there's nothing about that show that is sexual, I understand that, but for me that was everything."

"I was like, 'oh three women that spend literally every single day together and they are all like really hot and tall'.... Amazing."

Amrit Kaur, Pauline Chalamet, Alyah Chanelle Scott, Reneé Rapp in
Amrit Kaur, Pauline Chalamet, Alyah Chanelle Scott, Reneé Rapp in "The Sex Lives of College Girls" Season 2 on HBO Max and Crave (Courtesy of HBO Max)

"I had a very sheltered childhood, my mother and father were very strict, I had like parental controls on every computer, every device that had the internet," Alyah Chanelle Scott said. "But I did read fanfiction and that gets pretty saucy, so that was my little story."

"When I was younger, I watched this movie called Dil To Pagal Hai, which was so sexual in not being sexual, it was amazing," Amrit Kaur shared. "Anything Aishwarya Rai, I was alway envious of her beauty. In North America,...the usual Kate Winslet in Titanic, I was like, 'where's my Leonardo DiCaprio, what's going on?'"

"But I would say in terms of bravery, because I think this is important, putting my little child aside, when I saw Kalinda Sharma in The Good Wife playing a bisexual character, I thought that was revolutionary. Because I hadn't seen a South Asian-American do that and at that time, I had only maybe seen Fire, which is from Deepa Mehta, which was two lesbian characters, which there was a lot of controversy around. So those two...I thought were very brave in sharing the expansiveness and humanity, and variation in the South Asian sexuality."