‘My Husband Won’t Fit’ Netflix Original Review Tight Squeeze

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Summary

Despite a provocative title, My Husband Won’t Fit is a sensitive and understated exploration of big questions, but its a bit too sterile for its own good.

My Husband Won’t Fit is about, perhaps unsurprisingly, a husband who won’t fit – his *****, that is. But it isn’t because he’s lugging around a gargantuan hog or because he can’t get it up or anything of that sort; he won’t fit because his wife can’t accommodate him. Ah, Japan. Never change.

This is an old story, and apparently a true one. It has its basis in an autobiography and has been retold a few times, in a manga and now in a ten-part live-action series, with a slightly less provocative title. Here and there you’ll see the older, more explicit title, My Husband’s ***** Won’t Fit, which I suppose gives things away a bit.

Besides, My Husband Won’t Fit isn’t exactly what it says on the tin. Despite the inherently comical and provocative title, this low-key Japanese drama isn’t a comedy, although it can be funny, and it isn’t particularly sexy, even though it contains sex scenes of a kind. “Contains Attempted Sex Scenes” doesn’t have the right kind of marketing ring about it, I guess, and in any case creates the wrong impression. The hook is already there, after all.

And the hook is misleading. People will have a shock when they see the title, but they’ll probably have more of a shock when they tune into the first 45-minute episode (subsequent ones are shorter) and find a glacially slow, awkward, and fumbling J-drama, without any of the suggested sensationalism. Kumiko (Natsumi Ishibashi) and Kenichi (Aoi Nakamura) meet in college, where they enjoy a careful and considered romance that isn’t cute so much as realistically mundane. Whey they inevitably venture into pantless territory, they discover that they are, at least physically, incompatible. And from there My Husband Doesn’t Fit is about what that means.

It isn’t so interested in who to blame. The root of the problem is unusual, though to the best of my knowledge based on a real-life condition, and the series handles it sensitively. The leads are likable and considerate of one another. But the problems that emanate from a marriage that isn’t able to be consummated are predictably painful and also quietly tragic. The show has a similar tone. This isn’t upbeat television; it’s a melancholy exploration of what sex means, whether or not it constitutes love, whether long-term romance can flourish without it, and whether celibacy, as a choice or an unavoidable consequence, can or should be embraced by one or both partners.

There’s a lot to like here, the understated performances in particular, and My Husband Won’t Fit shirks a lot of the gonzo excess that tends to characterize Japanese film and TV. But ironically enough it failed to captivate me because of how weirdly sterile it all felt; how sexless, how unrepresentative of life and the people who live it. I laughed sometimes where I’m sure I wasn’t supposed to and switched off when I knew I should be paying attention. Perhaps this is partly due to the unfamiliar rhythms of international media, and some nuance lost in subtitled performances. But even though I was reading the lines it still never felt like there was anything between them. It’s a complex subject approached frankly and with care, but I never located a deeper thesis beyond it all that wasn’t obvious and trite. Some people will get more out of it than me, though, I’m sure, and maybe that’s the point.

Jonathon Wilson

Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.

25 thoughts on “‘My Husband Won’t Fit’ Netflix Original Review

  • Pingback: Monday, March 25, 2019 – Globeloafing

  • March 27, 2019 at 9:19 pm
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    I’m currently watching this. Although I thought it meant not fit in her life. I suddenly figured what it meant. And somewhat understand the struggles of having difficulties in making love with someon you love. For odd reasons, but it did hurt to watch them both cheat on each other as they struggled with their sex life. It makes more sense to discuss the issue and keep trying, but that didn’t happen. And I wished they did. I’m not done watching it yet

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  • March 27, 2019 at 10:38 pm
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    Everywhere l look, no explanation.
    Can someone simply explain why he could not fit into his wife.

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    • March 28, 2019 at 3:52 am
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      Because his wife has vaginismus.

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    • March 28, 2019 at 3:54 am
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      Because his wife has vaginismus

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  • March 28, 2019 at 2:48 am
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    Chelsea – the condition she has is called vaginismus . The muscles of the vaginal wall spasm involuntarily, so she cannot accommodate penetration.

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  • March 28, 2019 at 5:42 am
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    Jonathan you’re being way to tough on this delightful series. I think people should just tune in just to see the acting talent of Natsumi Ishibashi, I found her performance to be outstanding. The story did a good job of showing the struggles of two people trying to cope with a strange problem, and trying to answer the philosophical questions about sex and marriage. I give this show a thumbs up.

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  • March 28, 2019 at 1:12 pm
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    i finished watching today. i still dont understand why she never mentioned the issue to a doctor. a sensitive issue or not. It is one that can be treated.

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    • March 28, 2019 at 4:32 pm
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      I believe that her condition was so odd to her that she felt extremely embarrassed by it. She already had issues about opening up to people about things that weren’t that extreme, so imagine how impossible it was for her to speak about something she never heard of. Yes, she should’ve gone to the doctor the first time she had issues, since she had sex before that without problems. She didn’t do it because of her personality. In other cultures, any issues a woman has can be looked at a being her fault.

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  • March 29, 2019 at 1:55 am
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    I agree with Octavia. She seemed embarrassed about minor things, let alone a major situation like that. My wife is Asian and she has told me very difficult stories about how girls used to be treated. You saw her mother felt she had to apologize for having a damaged daughter. You saw in the story that her mother was basically throwing her away when she was a child. Her husband, I know he cheated on her which was heartbreaking. But he was truly caring and loved her. Both are wonderful actors. I’ve been trying to find out if this was just a 10 part series. I would like to see if they will go on with their lives in another 10 parts. I loved it

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  • March 30, 2019 at 11:20 am
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    Disappointed. I could emphatize with the cultural and even personality aspects of Kumiko’s character in dealing with the problem, but that’s all she is in the end: a character. My biggest issue was in understanding the point in portraying a 21st century Japanese woman carrying the full burden of an untreated medical condition, accepting adultery, hiding her frustrations for years from everybody, turned promiscuous by having sad and non consensual sex with strangers (she clearly said “no” and “stop” multiple times at that first encounter and he just carried her to bed and raped her). I stuck with the series hoping to see the light for her in the end, some influence of modern times or a glimpse of feminist thinking affecting her life as it has done for women in way less developed countries than Japan. But no. Only acceptance, resignation, shame. Did love win? Was that the message? Sex is not love? Love is not sex? Kumiko came out of this story as weak as she came in. She wanted sexual penetration, she wanted children, she wanted a career. She didn’t ‘rebel’ against society gender roles and expectations. In my opinion, her actions in avoiding issues and not solving her problems in bed or work are the greatest cautionary tale for women. Perhaps that’s the main message of this very disappointing series: watch it, learn it, do the opposite.

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    • May 10, 2019 at 3:52 am
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      I totally agree. I saw it as an exploration of a culture’s identity with sexual relationships and it certainly wasn’t a happy experience.

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  • March 30, 2019 at 1:33 pm
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    I stumbled on this series as it flashed up on my Netflix. I thought it was good. I like being able to see how other cultures different to mine deal with marriage issues. And to be honest, communication and trust, not just in marriage, but every type of relationship/friendship/situations hip is key. I guess if they were honest with each other, the result would have been different. I won’t spoil it for this who have not seen it.

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  • March 30, 2019 at 4:23 pm
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    I’m female firstly this really annoys me I love Netflix, however this is plain dumb ,she fuct other men ? No blood no problems,he went to ***** houses ? she dint see a doctor either? Most Pathetic thing I’ve seen on Netflix and I’m a actor not actress fed up with all the feminist crap *** sake take some weed n *** him hard

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    • March 31, 2019 at 3:51 pm
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      I feel like you’re vaguely ********. Is that right? Are you vaguely ********? Because that’s what you portray yourself as being.

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  • April 1, 2019 at 2:20 am
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    I am so confused on why 1. She didn’t seek medical help and 2. How was she able to have sex with other men.. but not able to accommodate her husband?

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  • April 1, 2019 at 2:27 pm
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    I don’t understand how she was able to have sex with everybody else but her husband. It doesn’t make sense.

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    • April 21, 2019 at 11:32 pm
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      It was possibly a psychological thing.she lost her virginity to a guy she didn’t know. Not even his name because of her thoughts about gossip and interconnections. The other men she didn’t like or even love just like her first they were never the same twice. (The one guy she saw more than once she didn’t actually sleep with) so somewhere in her mind a she’s rejecting penetration by the one guy she actually knows and loves. That’s a very badib idea but their could be several other psychological factors.

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  • April 1, 2019 at 11:38 pm
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    The couple is sweet, and I believe they do love each other. But he says that “love is not sex” and vice-versa, convincing her that they can have a happy marriage without sex; but he IS having sex, with women outside his marriage. This is hurting her and their marriage. I don’t understand how they cannot see that. He is NOT celibate, he is NOT giving up sex because his wife can not accommodate him.

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  • April 4, 2019 at 10:32 am
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    Well, if it is awareness that the author was striving for, i believe she has been successful i am an RN, knew of this condition & still never thought about it. I can imagine, for someone that has not heard of vaginismus, the fear, embarrassment & confusion that could prevent one from seeking help. It would be difficult for me to cope with, consider coping with it in any culture like hers – which i am unable to describe accurately and without inadvertently offending someone.
    If the author, and hence the series with its grab-your-attention title have done anything, it is perhaps to show someone out there that they are not alone! And all these comments are saying to seek help. Best advice- from my mom b4 my first Pap- the doctor has seen it all. You may FEEL like you are weird but it is just another day at the office for your doctor. They do not think you are weird.

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  • April 5, 2019 at 12:02 am
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    I’ve lived in Japan and I think, even by Japanese standards, there was something seriously wrong with this whole story. If he was just a herbivore-ish guy and she was an asexual woman, sure, I could’ve bought some of the show. That would have actually been more interesting. But two heterosexual people….who have access to healthcare and were into having some form of sex with other people (BTW- what was with the creepy “deer in head lights “sex that Kumiko kept seeking out? She could schedule hook ups, but didn’t have the brains to tell that it was a hook up site???? Uh… what? )….. C’mon! This whole series would have gotten the death it deserved with a 5 minute conversation with a doctor. And if she didn’t tell her PCP- why didn’t he ever mention it to anyone? Idiots are everywhere in this series. I was so annoyed by her ignorance- but the fact that we were all supposed to be in awe of the rando people who supplied her with lube (“maybe this is hope!?”)- that was so cringy. Did their parents sign them out of biology or sex ed? The ignorance and lack of assertiveness was unbelievable for 2019.

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    • April 21, 2019 at 11:22 pm
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      I agree it was frustrating but I wonder their relationship would have begun about the year 2000 as her scrapbook collection starts in 2004 after the wedding. So I wonder, how long you’ve lived in Japan and have you experienced the more rural culture. Kumiko was about 18 in 2000 so she was an 80s baby right? And lived in a small town so I imagine that has something to do with it. Not to mention this is based on an autobiographical book so the dates have probably been brought forward.
      I do agree tho it felt quite unnatural and would have made more sense if perhaps neither of them really wanted to but felt like they had to for the other or if they had tried more than just one position and lube.
      But maybe it would have made more sense set a decade or two ago.

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  • April 6, 2019 at 5:39 pm
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    I was really saddened by this show. Why everything is her fault. Why she didn’t get treatment. I wished her loved ones would not apologize for her. I wish they would have consoled her and encouraged her to speak to a doctor. And to reassure her to not have to apologize over and over for it. I wished she didn’t just accept her partner cheating and have the mindset “well it’s okay…it’s my fault anyways” This was a saddening show. I kept watching like a dummy, hoping maybe she would gather strength or find the support she needed, and rise above it by gathering help, self love, and strength to press forward and not let others degrade her for something out of her own control. A womans body is her own. Just like a man’s is his own. She is not created only to satisfy men, a woman should not feel so low and worthless for an out of control condition of her own body that has been left untreated.

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  • April 21, 2019 at 11:11 pm
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    I was disappointed with this series at parts I enjoyed it and it was interesting but what frustrated me is they didn’t seem to be trying all that hard. Litterall all they tried was one position and lube. She never seemed very turned on which most people know is a factor in these things. Like he could have tried after oral, different positions they could have at least gone to a doctor together and discussed it. The ending would have been more satisfying if they really had tried everything. Or maybe if in the first place neither of them wanted sex or children and they were just playing up for eachother then the same ending would make more sense.

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  • April 22, 2019 at 3:08 am
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    Binged watched the show loved it and it definitely kept me wanting to know more hope there is a season 2

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  • April 26, 2019 at 5:30 am
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    A lot of people ask “why didn’t they go see a doctor?” The complicated truth is Japanese culture is so very different from American/Western culture that some things that are completely normal for us, such as seeing a marriage counselor, are considered unheard of of even taboo in Japan.
    Likewise, some things considered “normal” in Japan, like that husband going to “soapland” brothels, is considered “acceptable” by Japanese culture and law. I’m not saying it’s correct or or that I condone that, just that there are *huge* cultural differences between Japan and a lot of other countries and that these differences make people think and act very differently than what is considered normal by American (or Western) standards.
    A lot of (Japanese) people in Japan have difficulty “seeing outside the box” set by their culture. It was a sad story and if the main characters had broken out of their mindset maybe it could have turned out differently.

    Reply

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