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Xander Harris and Sex

sosa lola

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Xander’s first time wasn’t great. It wasn’t romantic and there was no cuddling - something he will express a desire for in The Harsh Light of Day and will be shown to enjoy with Anya later in the series. His first time was fast, “like a blur”, but he clung to it because it was his first time, and he naively believed it was supposed to be special.

For a guy who talks about sex constantly and objectifies women a lot, it comes as an interesting revelation that he feels that sex must mean something, and should lead to a relationship and a deeper connection with the person he sleeps with. The only person he sleeps with other than Faith is Anya, and Xanya marks the longest relationship in the verse, so it’s safe to say Xander isn’t into casual sex, not with a stranger. This is clear in the way he didn’t brag about having sex with Faith to anyone, didn’t talk about it to anyone at all until it came up in Consequences as he believed he and Faith had a special bond just because they had sex. This innocent look at sex is torn to pieces when he goes to see Faith again, and the insignificance of his first time ever - which meant a whole lot more to him - crashed down on him like falling bricks because it meant nothing to Faith.



I was listening to Still Pretty’s review on The Harsh Light of Day and it reminded me of my post:

Lani: So we have Xander’s view of sex here, that it should be about connection and personal intimacy as much as about sex itself. It’s clear that despite his repeated grossness about women that this is how he feels. We’ve seen this before when Buffy tries to seduce him in Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, he turns her down ‘cause she’s under the influence. He wants to be chosen for himself, not just for the sex. And in the end he says about Anya’s advances, “Still more romantic than Faith.” Like he clearly requires some level of romance for sex. Like remember with Faith when he said, “We have a connection.” They’ve had sex. They didn’t have a connection, he’d misunderstood that as a connection, and when he tries to talk to her, she almost kills him. We see this element in Xander that sex for him is about more than just this conquest or this physical experience you can have with a certain person. For Xander, he really needs this romance and that connection.

Noelle: We’ve certainly seen him talk this talk of objectifying women, but when it’s there staring him in the face, it’s not what he actually wants. He wants love.



Xander’s grossness is just a facade, it’s just talk to make Xander seem manly, 'cause he thinks that’s how he’s supposed to talk, that’s what it means to be to be a man, it was how how father and society expected of him, and he didn’t want to be the exception. But it’s not who he really is! People call him Nice Guy, ****boy, Women-hater, Incel and all these new fancy words because of his comments, which are just a shield, the real Xander is the one who was massaging Willow’s head, and when she said, “Stop,” he said, and I quote, “Stop means no. And no means no, so, stop.” And he stops. That right there is the exact definition of respecting someone’s consent, and he understood it well.
 
Joan the Vampire Slayer
Joan the Vampire Slayer
Great post! Very interesting.

katmobile

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Xander’s first time wasn’t great. It wasn’t romantic and there was no cuddling - something he will express a desire for in The Harsh Light of Day and will be shown to enjoy with Anya later in the series. His first time was fast, “like a blur”, but he clung to it because it was his first time, and he naively believed it was supposed to be special.

For a guy who talks about sex constantly and objectifies women a lot, it comes as an interesting revelation that he feels that sex must mean something, and should lead to a relationship and a deeper connection with the person he sleeps with. The only person he sleeps with other than Faith is Anya, and Xanya marks the longest relationship in the verse, so it’s safe to say Xander isn’t into casual sex, not with a stranger. This is clear in the way he didn’t brag about having sex with Faith to anyone, didn’t talk about it to anyone at all until it came up in Consequences as he believed he and Faith had a special bond just because they had sex. This innocent look at sex is torn to pieces when he goes to see Faith again, and the insignificance of his first time ever - which meant a whole lot more to him - crashed down on him like falling bricks because it meant nothing to Faith.



I was listening to Still Pretty’s review on The Harsh Light of Day and it reminded me of my post:

Lani: So we have Xander’s view of sex here, that it should be about connection and personal intimacy as much as about sex itself. It’s clear that despite his repeated grossness about women that this is how he feels. We’ve seen this before when Buffy tries to seduce him in Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, he turns her down ‘cause she’s under the influence. He wants to be chosen for himself, not just for the sex. And in the end he says about Anya’s advances, “Still more romantic than Faith.” Like he clearly requires some level of romance for sex. Like remember with Faith when he said, “We have a connection.” They’ve had sex. They didn’t have a connection, he’d misunderstood that as a connection, and when he tries to talk to her, she almost kills him. We see this element in Xander that sex for him is about more than just this conquest or this physical experience you can have with a certain person. For Xander, he really needs this romance and that connection.

Noelle: We’ve certainly seen him talk this talk of objectifying women, but when it’s there staring him in the face, it’s not what he actually wants. He wants love.



Xander’s grossness is just a facade, it’s just talk to make Xander seem manly, 'cause he thinks that’s how he’s supposed to talk, that’s what it means to be to be a man, it was how how father and society expected of him, and he didn’t want to be the exception. But it’s not who he really is! People call him Nice Guy, ****boy, Women-hater, Incel and all these new fancy words because of his comments, which are just a shield, the real Xander is the one who was massaging Willow’s head, and when she said, “Stop,” he said, and I quote, “Stop means no. And no means no, so, stop.” And he stops. That right there is the exact definition of respecting someone’s consent, and he understood it well.
In the Passion of the Nerd video about Restless he makes the point in the conversation in his dream with Joyce that Xander views sex as both conquest and comfort. He's a damaged soul with an abusive homelife, no real positive male role models, no close male friends of and a lot of toxic mascalinity in his environment he does sometimes behave like a 'nice guy' entitled jerk towards Buffy and after they'd dumped him Anya and Cordy but he is seeking love through sex. He's complicated - a stand up guy who is brave and loyal and generous who saved the world twice but also on occasion a jerk who does a lot of damage that never gets acknowledged. In the comics he finally does something so messed up he can't deny it anymore and realises he needs help so he enters therapy and becomes a better person through addressing his issues.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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It is important to understand that Xander is very typical. He acts like he thinks a guy should act. But the real Xander is only partly in concordance with this. He is a teenager, so his lust after pretty much every woman he meets isn't an act. But he has a more sensitive side, too. Like Willow, he has a hard time at home and at school, so he is always reaching for contact.

Cordelia is quite similar. She plays the role of the ruthless popular girl, because she figures it is better than being all alone. People cut her a lot of slack, because of those few moments of authentic humanity she shows. If people were to give Xander the same consideration, they would see he is not that bad at all.

As for the Nice Guy, thing.... everyone is a bit of a Nice Guy. We like someone, and so we do something nice to them, hoping they will be nice back. That's like ... how society works. What separates a Nice Guy from someone who is not a Nice Guy is the ability to deal with rejection, because rejection hurts just as bad for people who are not Nice Guy. Xander acts like an entitled Nice Guy when Buffy turns him down in "Prophecy Girl," but that one scene (nor any other) is the sum of all he is. He is a young guy who is baring his heart for the first time. A few hours later he runs to save Buffy's life side by side with Angel. And he even forgives Buffy that cruel joke in WSWB and grows to become the most loyal friend ever.

I am not saying Xander doesn't do some pretty awful things, but every Whedonverse character has a struggle within themselves and sometimes does or says some bad things.

Concerning Faith, I think Xander definitely did brag, he is just subtle about it. The first rule of bragging is never to make it seem as though that is what you are doing. And I don't think he was quite naive enough to think they had a connection per se, but maybe he thought Faith had a bit of a thing for him, and that he therefore would be able to make her open up.

He seems very genuine when he comes to speak to her, and Faith responds by mocking him, threatening him with sexual violence and strangling him.
 

sosa lola

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Concerning Faith, I think Xander definitely did brag, he is just subtle about it. The first rule of bragging is never to make it seem as though that is what you are doing.
I don't know if Xander can be subtle about bragging, remember Dawn's crush on him and how he kept bringing that up? When Xander brags, he really brags. It's weird that Xander, as the kids from That 70s Show put it, finally did "It", and he never tells anyone about it. Perhaps it's because he and Willow aren't as close anymore - Willow knew he was a virgin in S1, so they must talk about everything. It's sad that he didn't feel comfortable to talk to Willow and Buffy about this.

And I don't think he was quite naive enough to think they had a connection per se, but maybe he thought Faith had a bit of a thing for him, and that he therefore would be able to make her open up.
He assumed that there were feelings involved in the "love" making, and feelings do equal having some sort of connection. As you said, he seemed genuine when he went to talk to Faith about being there for her in Consequences.
 
WillowFromBuffy
WillowFromBuffy
I take what I said back. Looking at the scene from "Consequences," it seems like he really doesn't want them to know. He seems very uncomfortable as they drag it out of him.

DeadlyDuo

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For a guy who talks about sex constantly and objectifies women a lot, it comes as an interesting revelation that he feels that sex must mean something, and should lead to a relationship and a deeper connection with the person he sleeps with.
Xander prefaced that with "and I'm actually turning into a woman as I say this". I think what's interesting is that, not only does HLOD contrast Xander with both Spike and Parker (both who use Harmony and Buffy respectively for the sex without actually caring for the woman), but there is kind of a role reversal in regards to Faith and Anya where they are the ones only interested in sex whilst Xander wants the emotional intimacy. In some ways it could be seen as another attack on Xander's masculinity.

What I also think is interesting is that Xander assumes the college guys in Beer Bad are intentionally getting Buffy drunk so they can sleep with he, despite the fact that not once do they try to coerce her into sleeping with any of them. They genuinely invited her over to drink with them to cheer her up. This suggests that what Xander views as "being a man" does not in fact match with reality because a group of men invited a woman over to drink with them and didn't try to sleep with her.

Also interesting is that Spike also craves a emotional connection with both Drusilla (which he gets) and Buffy (which he doesn't get in Season 6 and it makes him miserable), yet with Harmony he really couldn't care less about her.

This is clear in the way he didn’t brag about having sex with Faith to anyone, didn’t talk about it to anyone at all until it came up in Consequences as he believed he and Faith had a special bond just because they had sex. This innocent look at sex is torn to pieces when he goes to see Faith again, and the insignificance of his first time ever - which meant a whole lot more to him - crashed down on him like falling bricks because it meant nothing to Faith.
I think it came crashing down the moment Faith threw him out the door. It's essentially what's known as a "wham bam thank you mam". Faith just wanted a quickie and Xander was the nearest convenience, she never intended anything deeper than the physical act. She just wanted to scratch an itch.

Also Xander's first time is similar to Buffy's first time, in that both expect the sex to mean something, yet their sex patner make it clear it meant nothing (though in Buffy's case it did mean something to Angel and it was Angelus who was sticking the boot in) however both Buffy and Xander felt the same, that they'd just been used.

Xanya marks the longest relationship in the verse, so it’s safe to say Xander isn’t into casual sex, not with a stranger.
Angelus and Darla, Spike and Drusilla, and James and Elizabeth have all had a longer relationship than Xanya. Even if you don't count Dangel because it was very on and off, Sprusilla and James/Elizabeth still had longer relationships. Out of the scoobies, Xanya is still about the same length as Woz and Tillow which lasted multiple seasons. Buffy seems to have the least successful relationships out of all the scoobies.

That right there is the exact definition of respecting someone’s consent, and he understood it well.
Xander has always understood consent. It's why the love spell in BB&B was intended for vengeance (to hurt Cordy like she hurt him), rather than to violate her consent. It's why he turns down both Buffy and Willow because they were under a spell and couldn't give consent. It's also why it's annoying that Oz punched him for basically respecting Willow.

I also think it's another contrast between Xander and two other male characters in the series: Spike and Warren. Spike initially wanted to use a love spell on Dru before changing his mind and deciding to win her back in a more "honest" way whilst Warren used that device on Katrina (which is kind of like a love spell) and intended to violate her. All three men want to use a love spell on an ex for various reasons without much thought on the potential consequences of their actions.

Perhaps it's because he and Willow aren't as close anymore - Willow knew he was a virgin in S1, so they must talk about everything. It's sad that he didn't feel comfortable to talk to Willow and Buffy about this.
Given that he and Willow had an illicit romantic relationship that nearly destroyed Woz and did break up Cander, I don't think it would've been appropriate for him to tell Willow about sleeping with Faith even if he'd wanted to. Also it takes place during the Zeppo when Xander is feeling sidelined by the group as a whole so if he was going to tell Willow or Buffy about it then that would be the timeframe to do so, which obviously he didn't get chance and there was no way to just casually drop it into conversation.

Willow and Xander are still close because she goes to him for advice when she thinks Oz is starting to lose interest in her.[/QUOTE]
 

Athene

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I don't know if Xander can be subtle about bragging, remember Dawn's crush on him and how he kept bringing that up? When Xander brags, he really brags.
Well he does say that Faith is out to have sex with him again in ‘This Year’s Girl’ 🙄 So he definitely does bring up that he and Faith had sex more than once.
 

thrasherpix

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It frustrates me that I can't get all my thoughts out in 3 paragraphs or less, so I'll put it the very abridged version with little reason given on why I think it and pull out the other reasons later if it becomes necessary.

Xander is not some Incel, the very idea is ridiculous, and using words in the wrong way is going to do more harm than good when standing against toxic masculinity (which I would remind you is an affliction that hurts men as well, just as many dysfunctional and toxic notions afflict women by their upbringing) for reasons that can be explained in the classic story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

And objectification is NOT the same as attraction (and women do it as well). Objectification (which technically the Watcher's Council did to Buffy for different reasons) means not seeing the other person as a person, but like a child at best who must do as you say (or at least it's okay to manipulate them, and anything they want or want to do may be indulged, but is a privilege, not her--or his--right). He never tells Buffy how to dress (unless it's to make her unappealing to other guys) or to smile because he knows that's not his place (if he does tell someone how to dress than it's for a plan, not to be his eye candy).

Furthermore, insecurity comes about because we are a society of users that is actually promoted in mass media with "never settle" (even if you yourself are not the perfection you demand in others) so someone can always offer a better deal (and much romantic interest is more status seeking, money seeking which men can do as well as women, or ego propping). This affects all the characters of the show.

Xander was attracted to Buffy, but he didn't treat her as a child, nor did he take advantage of her as a Nice Guy would. His toxic masculinity put him in danger and made him a jerk, though it also saved Buffy's life as a happy accident. Though he handles rejection poorly and lashes out (I say he hates himself more than Buffy), that is because he's hurt and immature about it. His jealousy is unbecoming that makes him an ass at times, but the same can be said of Buffy over Angel.

As for Xander himself, I see toxic masculinity afflicted upon him (and Cordelia loves to afflict it on him as well, not to excuse what Xander and Willow do in turn to Cordelia, other than they're all kids who grow out of it), but that Willow being such a close friend (and thus a person) enabled him to grow out of it since he couldn't help but see Willow as a person, which conflicted with the expectations put on him by society.

(Yes, this is the abridged version of what I almost posted instead)
 

sosa lola

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What I also think is interesting is that Xander assumes the college guys in Beer Bad are intentionally getting Buffy drunk so they can sleep with he, despite the fact that not once do they try to coerce her into sleeping with any of them. They genuinely invited her over to drink with them to cheer her up. This suggests that what Xander views as "being a man" does not in fact match with reality because a group of men invited a woman over to drink with them and didn't try to sleep with her.
This view of men getting a woman drunk is very universal, especially college men. Let's look at Xander's experience with college men. In S2, a college man seduces Buffy to come to a frat party, only to drug her then tries to sacrifice her. Parker plays Buffy and then dumps her. Those college dudes in Beer Bad have just humiliated Xander and degraded him because he didn't attend college, he was just a useless, low-life townie for them. It's no wonder Xander would think the worse of them.


Also Xander's first time is similar to Buffy's first time, in that both expect the sex to mean something, yet their sex patner make it clear it meant nothing (though in Buffy's case it did mean something to Angel and it was Angelus who was sticking the boot in) however both Buffy and Xander felt the same, that they'd just been used.


*hugs Xander and Buffy* gifs by Solaleo

Out of the scoobies, Xanya is still about the same length as Woz and Tillow which lasted multiple seasons.
Xanya is longer than Woz and Tillow. It started in the 3rd episode of S4 and ended in the 16th episode of S6.

Woz started in the 15th episode of S2 and ended in the 6th episode of S4.

Tillow started in the 10th episode of S4 and ended in the 8th episode of S6 because they broke up, and only got back together for one single episode.


Willow and Xander are still close because she goes to him for advice when she thinks Oz is starting to lose interest in her.
That advice happened in S4. A long time passed since the clothes fluke.

But in S3, Xander and Willow tried to keep a distance between them after they were caught. Other than Willow's "I love you" in The Zeppo because she thought the world was going to end, they didn't share a scene alone together throughout S3.


Well he does say that Faith is out to have sex with him again in ‘This Year’s Girl’ 🙄 So he definitely does bring up that he and Faith had sex more than once.
That always read to me like Xander trying to show the gang that he's significant. This scene between him and Giles happened after Xander was blasted with electricity trying to fix a blaster for Buffy, and none of his friends noticed or even cared.
 

wolfpuppy

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Reading the comics, there's a story set right after the season three finale. Before Cordelia leaves she spends time with Xander and they seemed closer when she left.
It gave me a headcanon that Cordelia and Xander had sex after Graduation. Cordelia isn't a virgin on AtS, yet she and Xander didnt' have sex when they were together.
That they had a brief sexual relationship in that short time before she moved to L.A. seems feasible, and even strangely sweet.
 
r2dh2
r2dh2
I'd buy that. Except that during AtS S1, Cordelia refers to him as a loser or something like that, no?

wolfpuppy

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As for Cordelia calling Xander a loser, early S1 Cordelia could be quick with the insults. It seems unlikely she'd actually tell anyone she had sex with Xander, so being a little bitchy about him is just her way of deflecting suspicion, and that kind of behavior comes naturally to her.
 
r2dh2
r2dh2
Ok, I can also buy that :).
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