If you search “Valeria Netflix” on Twitter right now, you’ll find multiple versions of the same joke. First someone claims to “watch Valeria for the plot,” name checking the brand new Spanish-language Netflix rom-com. Then, they introduce you to the so-called “plot” of Valeria: countless smouldering photos of its star/Spanish model Maxi Iglesias. There are photos of Iglesias giggling at the beach. There are photos of Iglesias pondering in-character as Valeria’s sexy architect Victor. There is even a photo of Iglesias wearing a hoodie and biting his thumb.
It’s deeply, um, compelling content — and there is some truth to the social media comedy. Once you start watching Valeria, it is difficult to look away from Iglesias’ off-the-charts magnetism as he attempts to seduce the series’ titular heroine, married author Valeria (Diana Gómez). However, Valeria isn’t simply resting on the sex appeal of one wildly attractive man. Instead, the series goes all in on the sex lives of all its characters, creating one of the hottest Netflix shows in recent memory.
As single people the country over are quarantined at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic — and therefore away from any of their usual means of hooking up — Valeria couldn’t come at a better time.
Valeria follows the Sex and the City model with a few important differences (both stories were coincidentally first written as a series of novels). As with the HBO classic, Valeria is about a struggling writer. But in Carrie Bradshaw’s place, the dramedy revolves around Valeria, a Madrid woman in her late 20s who is slowly realising just how unfulfilled she is by her marriage of six years. Valeria’s support group is made up of her three best friends: brash Lola (Silma López), nervous Carmen (Paula Malia), and repressed Nerea (Teresa Riott). In Sex and the City terms, they are respectively the Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) of the group.
Since Valeria is titled Valeria, it would be easy for the Netflix show to push Valeria’s friends — and their own sexual journeys — to the edges of the story. But, it does the opposite. Lola has some of the most intense sex of the series, as she finds herself in a messy situationship with married hunk and all-around jerk, Sergio (Aitor Luna). If extreme exhibitionism is your thing, Sergio manually pleasures Lola in the middle of a public (and populated) square during lunchtime hours. If semi-exhibitionism turns you on, the couple has a passionate romp in the control booth of Lola’s workplace. It is a moment so sexy, an older woman is scandalised to hear Lola and Sergio going at it through her headphones — and then immediately continues listening.
Hell, the first time we even meet Sergio, his nose is up Lola’s behind in some undefined form of oral sex. Carmen and Nerea also aren’t left out in the thirsty cold, as the former strips so quickly for first-time sex with her boyfriend he is comically shocked by her speed. For Nerea, her lust for living as an out lesbian is one of the most important stories of Valeria (and adds some hot queer sex to the proceedings).
Then, there is Valeria herself, who finds herself in the middle of a love triangle between her husband Adrián (Ibrahim Al Shami J.) and her crush Victor. Through Valeria’s relationships, the dramedy digs into the most frustrating parts of sex, from feeling sexually neglected to the awkwardness of a partner finishing in 20 seconds flat. By being honest about the pitfalls of sex, the highs of it seem so much more intense. Valeria’s quippy text flirtation with Victor is thrilling and their in-person chemistry is electric, even when everyone’s clothing is on. Then, when Valeria and Victor have their inevitable sex scene, it’s fearless. They not only have sex, but fuck. These are two people who desperately crave each other, and it shows — from the kitchen table, to a random hallway wall, to the shower.
The series captures not only the mechanics of sex, but the sharpness of desire that actually makes sex so tantalising in the first place. You never doubt the hunger that Valeria's characters feel for their sexual partners. As many of us are desperate for intimacy of our own, Valeria comes pretty damn close to supplying you the thrills you desire — without the daunting trip outside.