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From Euphoria to And Just Like That to Bridgerton: Why has TV sex become so unsexy?

  • The euphoric part about Euphoria is the drugs, not the "hardly sexy" sex, says Lili Loofbourow. And Just Like That, the sequel to the sex-obsessed Sex and the City, featured hardly any sex at all. And Bridgerton "was shockingly sexless by comparison with its first, which revolved around the clinical question of whether a man would ejaculate inside his wife (and produce the heir he had sworn to never 'sire')," says Loofbourow. "We seem to be at a critical mass of buzzy screen fare where the narrative uses of sex, on television especially, are not what they once were," says Loofbourow, adding: "It’s as if the wide availability of sex—and porn—and frank discussions of various sexual lifestyles have all combined to render purely hedonistic or transgressive approaches to it as retro or passé or even quaint." Sure, Outlander, which used sex to chart its characters’ dramatic and emotional journeys, is still around. And Normal People, with its graphic sex scenes, only aired two years ago. "But to the extent that the romantic comedy or the 'marriage plot' ended in a cathartic kiss, a wedding, or its thrilling subtextual equivalent (sex!!!), our narrative conventions do seem to have changed," says Loofbourow. "If sex is no longer the answer in life or in our stories, we might be living through something like sexual normcore—where the sheer mundanity is the most provocative sexual experiment of all."

    TOPICS: Euphoria, And Just Like That, Bridgerton, Normal People, Outlander, Sex and the City, Sex