Domestic Girlfriend, Episode 5: Would Natsuo Have Been Wrong?

For a guy claiming to have been a nerd just a year or two prior, Natsuo sure is getting a lot of action. The opening scenes of Domestic Girlfriend are of him and a beautiful girl, Rui, dressing after having a sexual encounter. Later, he kisses an older woman—the woman of his dreams, in fact. And in episode five, another beautiful girl, Momo, falls for him and is the one leading their relationship quickly to the bedroom.

Of course, something is off about each of these relationships, even the newest one, which is by far more normal than the other two. Momo’s number of sexual partners is twice her age, and because she’s engaged with so many boys, the guys treat her like meat and the girls like trash. How very typical (and accurate).

Even our nice guy, Natsuo, isn’t quite nice to her. Well, he is after first, but eventually decides to use Momo to try to get over Hina, the one woman he wants to be with. And since Momo is doing all the leading, and everything is consensual, isn’t that okay? It’s fine for Natsuo to use her if she’s giving herself over to being used, right?

One thing I’ve liked about Domestic Girlfriend, which walks that very risky line of being trash and wanting to be taken seriously as a show (or more accurately hops on either side over and over and over), is its lead. Natsuo is genuinely likeable. In the moment just before he goes “too far” with Momo, he sees scars on her wrists and stops. Basically, Natsuo comes to his senses—Momo is a human, and one who’s hurting, and he needs to treat her as more than an object.

But what if Natsuo didn’t see the scars on her wrists, indicating a possible suicide attempt? What if he didn’t see them, and the two proceed to have sex—would he have been wrong to do so?

I certainly have my thoughts—I’ve let some leak above, having to do with how we consider people and the way we treat them, but I want to hear yours. What do you think? Would he have been wrong to continue down that path? And why do you think that way?

In a society where talk is so focused right now on harassment, assault, and consent, I think it’s a fascinating question to consider. But it’s also one that if considered now, might affect us when we’re put into such a situation, one where decisions are made quickly but consequences that are deep and lasting.

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

11 thoughts on “Domestic Girlfriend, Episode 5: Would Natsuo Have Been Wrong?

  1. The real question isn’t whether this behavior would be wrong, but rather, how many different ways is it wrong?

    1. The biblical sexual ethic is that extramarital sex is sinful, period. Consent matters, but it can’t justify fornication.

    2. Someone engaging in self-harm or attempting suicide is unquestionably in poor mental health, and if a person isn’t mentally well, that raises serious questions about their ability to give genuine consent. Maybe the girl in this story “consented,” but to what degree did she truly consent?

    3. Even if the guy in the story were unaware of the girl’s troubles, ignorance is not a justification for wrongdoing. Ignorance may incline a judge to be merciful, but mercy is only relevant because the perpetrator indeed did something wrong. This also raises the question of how willful / justified the ignorance is. I mean, upon knowing that a person (I presume a teen?) has slept with so many others, my first assumption would be that there’s some serious trauma or other psychological issue involved. You mention “because she’s engaged with so many boys, the guys treat her like meat and the girls like trash,” which implies that even by Japan’s sexually permissive standards, the characters in the story realize there is something off or wrong about this girl’s behavior.

    4. Exploiting a person and treating as an object in order to gratify one’s desire’s for another is wrong, even with consent.

    5. No idea what age this character is, but she looks like a teen, which makes legal age of consent a factor as well; googling seems to indicate that legal age of consent can vary across Japan, but if the girl doesn’t meet the age of consent for wherever specifically the story is set, that’s another reason while this scenario is wrong.

    So yeah, wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.

    1. Thanks for sharing—that third point is of particular interest to me. There are more than enough signs there that tell the MC that something is up, that he should be careful in how he interacts with this young lady for her sake much less his own, though remembering how I was a teenager, I’m not sure that’s the most realistic expectation from a guy.

  2. Yeah. Consent is nothing more that the criteria to distinguish between a punishable crime and a non-punishable evil deed. This is a matter which has become obscured in modernity, so even the non-depraved can fall into such patterns of behaviour (using consent as a moral permission for lust, I mean) and think of them as normal. But to take a girl and unite to her in body and soul outside the commitment of taking care of her no matter what it´s cruel and a great injustice, no matter if she consents or not. It´s an intimate union, with physical, emotional and spiritual long-lasting consequences, it creates a very specific bond, and it tends naturally to the everlasting commitment. And it will affect her (and the guy) deeply. By allowing others to do such things, Momo is in a state of personal and social self-destruction by this point.

    Also, if a relationship turns physical this fast, friendship becomes almost impossible: one cannot adopt the role of the disinterested friend with somebody he has used (or not without a restoration), and therefore cannot help with wathever is going on. I admired that a lot about Toradora´s Ryujii. No matter if it´s a beautiful model or the girl he likes or none of the above, no matter what she wants from him, he will care for her and search for the way he can help her. Being in the state she is -and he knew about her social self-destruction and lack of bonds-, Momo deeply needs friends who truly care for her. To be in that position and use her instead is a “guardian of my brother” (sister, in this case) situation.

    In my view, to embrace sexual union with the intent of achieving the union with another is an even deeper level of evil: that´s the language of intimate love, and it´s personal. As a human being, she no doubt longs from somebody who will love her for herself, and to use her instead is like feeding her sand when she is hungry. Everytime she is used, the object of this longing fades away more and more, and she may accept worse and worse substitutes. To do this to her cannot but degrade the user. And lastly, in my experience impure love directly affects your sensibility in ways that make feeling God´s love more difficult, as His love is not avid and does not use or exploit. You need healing afterwards, sometimes for a very long time, and there will always be scars. It also makes the darkness, the guilt and the lack of meaning more immediate and emotional, so it can be a road to repentance too. But it´s a terrible darkness to bear with. That´s another important reason which makes purposefully tempting another person so harmful: you may make them blind to true love and degrade themselves for a long time.

    1. This is all very well said. Because God is usually removed from the equation when it comes to sex, these deeper, spiritual, emotional, and psychological matters are forgotten (or dismissed) as well. We need take sex seriously to simply be prude, but because it’s under God’s domain. When we honor God with it, we’re loving under his blessing, and when not, it’s no surprise that the curses you mention will come to fruition.

  3. I’ll just make this simple: It’s is wrong. People choose what they want to do in their lives, and she chose to have sex with a lot of men. She probably hates herself for selling out her body like that, which would lead to a suicide attempt. Natsou was right to stop, because she needed a genuine friend, not another boyfriend. It’s a lot to take in that she isn’t the only person like that, a lot of people has problems and have different methods of doing it. She doesn’t even get a full meal everyday and her parents is fighting. Counselors don’t necessarily help, so as I just stated, she needed a friend to lean on (especially since nobody talks to her) and it’s a good thing that the main character was made with that kindness.

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