Bridgerton sex scenes: How do the sex scenes in Bridgerton compare to other period dramas?

Bridgerton: Netflix announce second season of hit show

Bodice ripper Bridgerton has proved popular among audiences across the globe after the series landed on Netflix over the festive period. The drama is based on American author Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton novels which are known to feature some more raunchy moments. But how does Bridgerton stack up against some of the other period dramas out there?

Period dramas have varied in their sexual content over the years from the likes of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South to countless Brontë adaptations which keep tensions simmering below the surface and the rating decidedly PG.

More recently, the sight of Aidan Turner’s baby oil-slicked torso scything in field as Ross Poldark was enough to leave audiences weak at the knees but there wasn’t anything particularly graphic about the series.

At the other end of the spectrum are the likes of Versailles, The Tudors and Outlander all containing x-rated moments.

Even before then, there were the likes of Andrew Davies’ 1996 adaptation Moll Flanders, 1988’s Oscar-winning movie Dangerous Liaisons and Lady Chatterley’s Lover from 1993 filled with sex and nudity.

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Although Bridgerton isn’t one of the only period dramas to feature sex and nudity, it’s certainly started a conversation about the depiction of sex.

Until Bridgeton, many Regency-era TV shows – namely a myriad of Jane Austen adaptations – were chaste affairs with only suggestions of sex and sexuality. Read: Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy and his sopping wet shirt.

However, Bridgerton’s sex scenes certainly show a shift from the male gaze to a female one and has been praised by many for showing it’s female protagonist Daphne Bridgerton’s (played by Phoebe Dynevor) sexual awakening.

Additionally, the sex in Bridgerton is fundamental to plot and is used to further the story rather than simply being gratuitously added for titillation.

Season one is not only about Daphne’s burgeoning sexuality but also how her lack of carnal knowledge holds her back and essentially allows her husband Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) to prevent her from knowing about the truth about the birds and the bees.

Sadly, in the 1800s women were often kept in the dark about sex with ignorance equated to virtue and only learning about such things on their wedding night or from an older married friend or relative.

In an exclusive interview with, sex therapist Laura Vowels shared her thoughts and insight into the sex scenes in the Netflix series, explaining: “In comparison to other period dramas, Bridgerton offers a refreshing take on sex.

“As mentioned before, many of the sex scenes on screen today are overly-romanticised or only cater to a male audience, where women are often portrayed as sexual objects. Women who are shown to enjoy sex are often demonised.

“In semi-fictional movies such as The Other Boleyn Girl, producers will often rewrite the past to portray history’s successful women as virginal and saintly, when in reality this is not historically true. “And when those characters do come to have sex, it’s often portrayed as something they must endure rather than enjoy.

“Bridgerton, in contrast, shows how female sexuality can be embraced and celebrated. Period dramas with a female lead often put a relationship centre stage but negate the sexual desires or pleasure aspects that appeal to women.”

Vowels, who is a relationship therapist as well as working for sex therapy app Blueheart, went on to say: “The show offers a sex-positive narrative by presenting a wealth of different women and their enjoyment of sex, without making their pleasure a defining factor of their personality.

“This helps to remove the stigma and judgement around sex that often characterises period dramas.”

Interestingly, Bridgerton could be part of a growing trend showing more positive depictions of women enjoying sex onscreen in period dramas.

Outlander is another strong example whereby female lead Claire Fraser (Catriona Balfe) fully owns and embrace her sexuality without any shame.

Also, based on a series of novels, Outlander stands out for showing sexual moments within a long-term marriage, something which again isn’t often portrayed with the courtship and consummation of a marriage.

Bridgerton and Outlander are certainly changing the narrative when it comes to portrayals of female sex and pleasure onscreen in period drama, and this could a trend likely to continue on film and television going forward.

Netflix recently recommissioned Bridgerton season two with eldest son Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) becoming the focus of the story as he embarks on a quest for a wife.

The series will once again feature sex although whether it can again be from the female gaze with Anthony as the protagonist remains to be seen.

Bridgerton season 1 is streaming on Netflix now

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