Sex/Life: the differences between the series and the book

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Sex/Life is the popular TV series available on Netflix, with Season 2 set for release in March 2023. The show follows the adventure of Billie, a married woman who starts doubting her life after entering the family & parenting routines, missing the wild experiences she had before. It’s based on the book 44 Chapters About 4 Men by American writer B. B. Easton in 2016. The book is autobiographical, meaning that the author talks about what happened in her real life, but the Netflix show brought the events forward, marking a difference with the book’s plot. Let’s find out all the differences in this article.

You can watch the video recap of the bravest scenes of Sex/Life Season 1 here on Youtube, whereas here you can find the trailer for Season 2.

Sex/Life: the differences between the series and the book

Sex/Life is based on the autobiographical book 44 Chapters About 4 Men by B. B. Easton. In this book, the writer explains what she did to spice up things in her married life after the birth of her second child, noticing that her life had entered a routine that took out some of the excitement she needed. So she started writing a journal, fantasizing about the wild sex experiences she had with her four ex-boyfriends before she met the one who’ll become her husband, Ken (a fictitious name). She used to intentionally leave the journal at reach in her laptop, knowing that her husband would have read it.

Whenever her husband read her journal, he organized something new and exciting to give her a part of what she was missing. This way, the journal soon became a “communication tool” through which the woman tried to guide her husband about what she missed and wished for. From this point of view, B. B. Easton admitted that publishing this book was a risky move, not completely ethical: she is a psychologist, and her journal could be considered a form of behavioral manipulation over her husband. Indeed, in the interviews, the author always suggests we just speak out frankly about our wishes and needs instead of trying to “manipulate” our partners through a journal.

The first differences between the book and the TV series Sex/Life are the number of ex-boyfriends and the way the husband starts reading the journal. In the Netflix series, Billie writes about one only ex, Brad, who represented the most important story of her pre-marriage life: a man with whom she had extraordinary physical chemistry but who left her many times, whenever her story required an effort/commitment; on the other hand, in the book, the ex-boyfriends are three (the four men in the book title include her husband), “a sadistic tattoo artist, a punk rock parolee, and a heavy metal bass player.” About the way her husband discovers the journal, in the series, Billie never wanted him to read the journal, he reads it for the first time by accident, and he’s shocked about it; in the book, the author seems to leave the journal available on purpose, so that her husband could find it and read it, chapter after chapter, using its content to introduce something new in their life.

We could say that the Netflix series is more or less aligned with the book for the first half of Season 1. The way the series evolves marks some other significant differences with the book: the book’s author doesn’t have any real-life encounters with any of her ex-boyfriends, so the part of Sex/Life where Billie texts and meets Brad are created on purpose for the TV series. The same applies to all the future evolutions of the plot, including the decision she makes at the end of Season 1, cheating on her husband with Brad. Also, Season 2 will represent a part of the plot that doesn’t exist in the book, with many evolutions taking shape after she decided to cheat.

Those were, in short, the biggest differences between the series Sex/Life and the book it’s based on, 44 Chapters About 4 Men. In the book, at some point, the author realizes that she no longer wants to change/manipulate her husband and embraces her life the way it is, and that’s the most significant way the series differs, with Billie intentionally deciding to get more excitement in her life, having sex with her ex-boyfriend while still being married.

B. B. Easton wrote three other books that continued the story started with 44 Chapters About 4 Men: Skin, Speed, and Star, each based on one of her three ex-boyfriends. The first book remains the best-selling one, though. It’s also the one that best guided the plot of Sex/Life, at least in the first episodes.

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