Chapter 21 of Black Mirror and Philosophy: Dark Reflections
Contrasting institutionalism and sexual liberation is the essence of Black Mirror episode, Striking Vipers, which challenges the socially constructed boundaries imposed on sexual experiences in its consideration of how two conflicting lifestyles, traditional commitment and sexual openness, can cohabitate together. Through use of virtual eroticism, the episode takes the privileged standing of heteronormative monogamy and exposes its inadequacy as an institution without concluding that it must be jettisoned entirely.
By contrasting real‐world intimacy with virtuality, it considers the meaningfulness of sexual fantasies, thereby questioning the very definition of true intimacy. Striking Vipers ultimately explores the possibility that what is real may not always be what is most meaningful. Physical relationships can be just as artificial as fantasy, and imagination can be just as meaningful as reality. It concludes with the suggestion that neither heteronormative monogamy nor virtual escapism are fully satisfying. Instead, both romantic expressions may provide the necessary balance between monotonous devotion and unrestrained sexuality.