I’ll Say It: Bridgerton Could Have Had More Sex
I was promised the horny swan song of 2020.
Despite the best efforts of our puritanical society, in 2020 humans embraced being openly, unabashedly, and at times, insufferably horny. It makes sense, of course. We were all trapped inside, longing for human interaction. Eventually, we just began talking about it all over social media.
Typically this dialogue was spurred by innocent moments. Brad Pitt grabbed his ex-wife Jennifer Aniston's hand and everyone allowed themselves to fantasize about the two stunning celebrities reuniting … in all sorts of ways. When Harry Styles dedicated a video "to touching," then proceeded to stare into our eyes (read: the camera) while suggestively eating a watermelon, we knew what he meant.
So when 2020 came to an end and Netflix released its now-mega hit Bridgerton, I heard it was going to be the escapist, horny swan song of a year filled with absolute horror. A light, arousing, er, finish, to the year if you will.
It took me a bit longer to get around to watching the show than those 63 million households that consumed it over the holidays. But the promises of steamy sex scenes that filled my newsfeeds from reviewers to casual watchers alike piqued my interest. "So maybe don't watch #Bridgerton with your mom," one person warned. "All I'm getting from my timeline is that I need to watch Bridgerton for the sex scenes," another wrote. Count me in.
As I watched the first few episodes, I was confused … there was nary a sex scene in sight. Sure, we had some masturbation (which is cool!) and some seductive opera glove removal, but surely that wasn't what everyone was talking about. I posed the question to my coworkers via Slack. "I'm on episode 5 and where is the sex?" I asked. "It's coming," everyone replied, with the pun absolutely intended.
And so – spoilers ahead – I watched the show until the finale. Daphne and Simon do have plenty of hot, but mostly missionary sex. I saw actor Regé-Jean Page's butt and abs many times and can confirm they would make Fabio proud. Sometimes the sex scene was so drawn out it was almost like cheesy soft porn. The oral sex between the two characters was focused on Daphne's pleasure, which was a welcomed change to the typical male-gaze we get in television and movies.
Still, though, I sort of felt like the audience set me up for something else. We get a whiff of queer sex and a small hint of a threesome, but really, Daphne and Simon (and sometimes Anthony and Sienna) were really the only couple having fun. Nothing gratuitous. I was ready to be uncomfortable watching this with the volume up in my apartment, but really, it was relatively tame.
Don't get me wrong. I actually loved the show. The big "fuck you" it gave to every show that said diversity can't happen in period pieces was glorious. The costumes were stunning. Give me a royal in an empire waist or give me death. The satisfyingly soapy romance was everything I wanted to escape into. And don't even get me started on the glorious Gossip Girl-esque narration by Julie Andrews.
All I'm saying is that if I'm promised a horny show, I want to see the nudity spread around a little more. Luckily, it seems like another season is coming our way — sex scenes, awkward panting, and heavy petting for everyone!