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Men's Health

Jason Lewis Reveals the Guy's Side of Sex and the City

The hunky star tells all -- about playing Samantha's lover, his love of the outdoors, and his new foundation, Operation Amped.
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Playing "Smith" to Samantha continued...

"A lot," he laughs. "When I first landed the role, I watched all five seasons back to back over one weekend. It was plenty to digest! But the show does what good storytelling is supposed to do: It offers a voice and a platform. And not just for women, or from a woman's point of view. … The biggest discrepancy I had with Smith was during the episode when he's downstairs listening to Samantha having sex with her ex-boyfriend. I was prepared to play it all pissed off, but the director was like, 'No, you need to be light and free and open.' And I was like, 'Huh? Why?' But Smith comes from a place where he simply wants to care for someone who's hurting. Sucks for me, though, because now women have certain expectations because of him. He's tough to live up to!"

What does Lewis make of Samantha's infamous kiss-off in the first film that set blogs ablaze last year? (For those who missed the movie, she broke up with Lewis' character with the following soliloquy: "I'm gonna say the one thing you aren't supposed to say: I love you. But I love me more. I've been in a relationship with myself for 49 years, and that's the one I need to work on.")

Feeling Empowered in Relationships

Is Samantha being selfish? Or is her message to women empowering?

"Neither," says Lewis. "[Director] Michael Patrick King follows the truth of his characters. He's written Samantha all these years to be just that. So why are we surprised when she needs it" -- it being sex without commitment -- "in her life?"

Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD, clinical psychologist and expert on WebMD's Sex & Relationships Exchange, weighs in on the discussion: "'Selfish' is the wrong word," she says. "It can be empowering for anyone -- man or woman -- to recognize one's needs are not being fulfilled within a relationship. What makes it constructive or destructive is the context. If you cut ties with a supportive person, you might be cutting out something healthy -- and you may have a lot to lose. And you have to be prepared for the consequences of that loss. It boils down to the individual, who must be able to look at herself in the mirror and say: 'I want multiple partners' -- or whatever it is that's missing. If you're OK with your choices and the consequences of them, that's all that matters."

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