The classically modest I Love Lucy representation of relationships, marriage, and sex is long gone…
Nowadays, you can’t flip a channel without witnessing Lena Dunham’s breasts jiggle during a romp-in-the-sack or women exploring their sexuality behind prison bars. And it’s a good thing! Finally, there are mainstream media shows—some of which are primetime, others that make their way to us a la Roku—that depict an authentic female perspective of sex. After all, real-life intercourse isn’t the bashful version we typically see on TV—shirts on, covers up to the woman’s collarbone, post-shag chit-chat and cuddling.
These seven shows have struck gold in the vein of discussing the once-taboo subject of women’s sex lives and in turn, paved the way for more accurate, real-life, and messy depictions of getting laid.
Girls have one night stands and relationships. Girls are skinny and curvaceous, small-breasted and big-bosomed. Girls pee after sex. Girls get yeast infections and UTIs. Girls masturbate! Girls even have sex naked. (Like fully naked, even with their shirt off—gasp!) Thanks to show creator Lena Dunham, HBO’s Girls demonstrates the messy side of sex that we all experience—the emotional, the unconventional, and the unglamorous.
Jane the Virgin
Jane Villanueva might’ve been chaste when the series began (and when she miraculously became pregnant), but don’t let the title fool you. This show offers a lot of sex—sex scenes, sex discussions, and ample innuendos. Jane the Virgin explores women’s sexual liberation even if she’s hasn’t done it yet. Issues such as birth control, in vitro fertilization, pregnancy complications, and abortion are staple themes throughout Jane’s narrative.
Poor people bang, too. The sex on this Emmy Rossum-led Showtime series is just as its title suggests: without shame. People do it at work, in cars, in parking lots, on top of the dryer, while kids are home, in teachers’ offices, on webcams, in the grocery aisle, on drugs, against sinks, against toilets, on kitchen floors—you name it. Women run the show on Shameless; Fiona, V, and Debbie all crave intercourse and have a sexual appetite as ravenous as a man’s. Birth control, abortion, unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and masturbation are all topics given their due time on the series.
Orange Is the New Black
One might think there aren’t many parallels to be drawn from sexual relationships made behind bars, but Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black is one of the premiere sources of authentic narratives about relationships and sex. It explores women and men, women and women, and women by themselves. It deals with transgender issues, all facets of female sexuality, and the many branches of diversity: body, age, gender, race, and sexuality.
How to Get Away with Murder
Even people who are trying to get away with murder make time for sex! Anything mirroring an even remotely traditional sex life goes out the window when you unite a group of precocious yet reckless law students and a sexually-charged professor who have to work together to not only cover up a homicide, but to also prove their various clients’ innocence. The cast of the primetime show is diverse in race, age, gender, and sexuality, and some of the most unexpected yet steamiest love scenes shatter preconceived boundaries about how television should be portraying sex.
House of Cards
Imagine the President and First Lady having sex lives—EGAD! Now imagine their already tenuous relationship being fraught with sexual deceit, threesomes, bisexuality, and the kicker—threat of divorce. House of Cards shines a light on unconventional relationships both inappropriate and unfathomable—that between politician and reporter, two leaders of a country, a President and his security guard, and more. Claire may only be the First Lady but girl gets her own, whether the Head of State likes it or not.
Sex can be hard, rough, and messy and when you’re younger, it can also be fragile, cruel, and heartbreaking. Parenthood presents us with both. Crosby Braverman fathered a child he knew nothing about until a former one-night stand contacts him; Julia Braverman is unfaithful to her marriage; Drew Holt gets his college girlfriend pregnant and they contemplate abortion; Amber Holt gets slut-shamed mercilessly, particularly when she beds her cousin’s ex; and Zeek and Camille Braverman explore what it means to continue making love when you’re older. The Braverman family touches on all kinds of love and sex: young, old, fresh, mature, broken, strong, and all of the confusing spaces in between.
Which shows helped your understanding of what it meant to have sex as a woman?
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