Bridgerton: Netflix announce second season of hit show
Netflix series Bridgerton has become as well known for its impressive production values and compelling stories as its saucy sex scenes. The show doesn’t shy away from the more racy moments, which come from straight from the Julia Quinn novels. But what about the onscreen depiction of sex in the show?
How realistic is the depiction of sex in Bridgerton?
The series is based on the first novel in the Bridgerton series called The Duke and I (2000) and each book concentrates on a different member of the titular family.
Season one follows Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor) and her sexual awakening after she falls in love with Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page).
Like most ladies of her standing in society, Daphne has been kept in the dark her whole life about the birds and the bees.
Her sisters show a lack of awareness too when it comes to sex, even her bookish sibling Eloise (Claudia Jessie) can’t understand how someone can fall pregnant when they’re not married.
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Daphne’s lack of knowledge is to her detriment as it means her husband has the upper hand and can continue his secret deathbed vow to his father never to sire any children.
Only after consulting with her maid does Daphne realise the truth about sex and where children come from, leaving her heartbroken at Simon’s betrayal.
Along with discovering how one falls pregnant, Daphne learns about masturbation and her own sexuality through various trysts with her husband.
The show has been hailed for showing sex and sexuality through the female gaze as something pleasurable and not over-romanticised.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, sex therapist and relationship Laura Vowels reflected on the sex scenes, saying: “Individual experiences of sex are vastly different so what’s realistic to one may not be realistic to someone else.
“However, one thing to like about Bridgerton is that it portrays female sexuality and sexual desire in a much more positive and natural way than many other TV shows.”
Vowels went on to say: “The show’s scenes depict what is viewed as pleasurable from a woman’s perspective.
“The fact that Daphne can be completely honest in her sex scenes with Lord Hastings – free of judgment and reproach – shows a healthy, positive attitude towards sex.
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“The show also doesn’t shy away from topics such as masturbation or oral sex, being more akin to real-life scenarios, or what women generally enjoy, than other popular period dramas previously aired on TV.”
While Vowels, who works for sex therapy app Blueheart, praised the show for its portrayal of women’s sexual pleasure, she did say Daphne’s masturbation scene wasn’t quite accurate.
Although it is natural to pleasure oneself, she said it wasn’t necessarily accurate to find the point of climax and what one enjoys so instantaneously.
Vowels explained: “In the masturbation scene, Daphne’s pleasure is immediate and intense which may be unrealistic.
“The scene does show Daphne exploring what she likes, what she finds pleasurable, and reclaiming power over her body by taking control of her sexuality.”
She continued: “What’s interesting with this scene, in particular, is how Daphne is masturbating for none other than herself.
“Traditionally, scenes such as these have been skimmed over in TV and film or designed with a male audience in mind. This new take is refreshing to see.”
The relationship expert also addressed one of the more problematic scenes of the show in which Daphne straddles and forces him to climax without withdrawing first.
She does so in the hopes of falling pregnant after learning her husband had been pulling out to prevent conception.
There has been criticism over the lack of consent with some describing the moment as male rape because Simon does not wish to have children.
Vowels explained: “The storyline is somewhat dampened by Daphne testing Simon by essentially forcing him to ejaculate inside her which in many countries today is a criminal offence – and forcing someone to perform a sexual act they do not consent to is never okay regardless of whether it is punishable by law or not.
“One thing most TV shows don’t do well is portraying good communication between partners and this is also certainly the case in Bridgerton and comes out most strongly during this scene.”
Bridgerton has made leaps and bound when it comes to bringing its depiction of female sexual pleasure to the masses, showing it as something natural and for oneself.
Additionally, Bridgerton depicts sex through the female gaze – something which is rarely seen on screen.
However, it is not perfect in its representation with film and television needing to do better when it comes to issues surrounding consent.
With season two focusing on Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), it will be interesting to see how the erotic and sexual scenes will be handled and if it will continue to be through the prism of the female gaze.
Bridgerton is streaming on Netflix now
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