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What Bridgerton Tells Us About Young Women And Their Sex Lives

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Bridgerton Sex Scenes: Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgerton is now on the top of all the romantic stories and dreams. It has managed to be one of the top shows on Netflix with more than six million views.

Netflix’s original series is based on the book series of the same name by Julia Quinns and the first season closely follows the book The Duke and I. The Netflix series stars Regé-Jean Page who plays the role of Simon Barret, a Black man as a Duke who woos Daphne Bridgerton played by Phoebe Dynevor. Daphne is one of the siblings of the wealthy family living in Bridgerton in 19th century London. The show, however, is much talked about for its no holds barred depiction of sex scenes. It shows female masturbation to oral sex and everything in between, albeit tastefully.

The chemistry between the lead characters of the series and their lovemaking scenes have gained huge popularity. But is it for the right reason? Did the show miss out on important ideas of consent, sex education and awareness about female sexual pleasure? Here are some of the sex scenes that have managed to raise conversations:

Bridgerton’s Sex Scenes

  1. Season 1, Episode 1: The First Bump

The scene shows Simon Barret and Daphne Bridgerton meeting each other for the first time. Unlike a formal meeting, the two bump into each other which kickstarts chemistry that begins with annoyance. Daphne is unimpressed, she thinks that Simone is an arrogant Duke, who perceives that every woman just wants to impress and marry him. While Simon, proud of his Dukedom, considers Daphne as one of those eager women.

2. Season 1, Episode 3 Where Daphne touches herself

Although this scene isn’t a lovemaking scene, it portrays Daphne touching herself and knowing the idea of pleasure in sex for the first time. After a conversation about sexual pleasure with Simon, Daphne touches herself and embraces a discovery about her body. 

3. Season 1 Episode 3 When Simone and Daphne have hand sex

In this scene, it is probably the first time that Daphne and Simon passionately touch each other. As the scene goes, the two are looking at a painting while simultaneously losing themselves in love and passion as they secretly try to touch each other’s hands. The short but crisp romantic moment is, however, interrupted by a lady who pretends to faint in order to get attention from Prince Friedreich.

4. Season 1 Episode 4: Simon and Daphne kiss each other for the first time

Daphne is with Prince Friedreich, dancing. But realises that he is gonna propose to her… She realises her attraction to Simon, and runs away. Simon follows her and they both reach a garden. This is where the two kiss each other for the first time and finally realise that they have been smitten by cupid’s arrow. However, they were spotted by Cressida Cowper, another of the debutantes of the London season and it becomes a matter of honour for the Bridgertons.

5. Season 1 Episode 5: Simon’s swoon-worthy speech about his love for Daphne

In this scene, we see Simon and Daphne already in “love” and ready to tie the knot. However, they need to get the permission of the Queen to get an expedited marriage license. While Daphne tries to convince the Queen by saying that it was love at first sight for them, Simon is not satisfied with the small paraphrasing of their thrilling love story. He is interested in details. That is when Simon takes the lead in narrating their love story which is as swooning as a fairy tale yet as real as life. He elaborates how their love story began with arrogance, moved to friendship and now marriage.

A glimpse of the speech here: “To meet a beautiful woman is one thing, but to meet your best friend in the most beautiful of women is something entirely apart. And it is with my sincerest apologies, I must say it took the Prince coming along for me to realise I did not want Miss Bridgerton to only be my friend, I wanted her to be my wife. I want her to be my wife. And so I plead with you… not to make us wait.”

6. Season 1 Episode 5: When Simon and Daphne have sex for the first time

On their wedding night, Simon and Daphne finally make love. The sex scenes between the couple have often been in talk. Right from their first time till the sex that they have on a staircase, the chemistry between the actors never dampens. 

7. Season 1 Episode 7: Sex on stairs

The Duke performs oral sex on his Daphne his soon-to-be-estranged wife on a marble staircase. This is arguably the longest depiction of a man on woman oral sex in pop culture.

Why Bridgerton’s sex scenes are problematic?

At times, the scenes boggle the minds of the viewers for its ingenious use of locations – on the ladder, on rain-soaked ground, on the staircase and what not. But, they also depict an unequal dynamics between the couple. Before having sex for the first time, Daphne has no awareness about sex. At one point she confronts her mother for not providing sex education to her. So doesn’t the show raise question on how women are never really taught about sex, female orgasm or pregnancy before getting married when on the other hand there is so much pressure on young girls to find a suitable match and get married? Early in the show Eloise Bridgerton asks her best friend, Penelope Featherington, how someone can get pregnant, so they can make sure it doesn’t happen to them.

Moreover, it cannot be said that sex scenes involved informed consent from both the partners. Since the beginning of their relationship, Simon tells Daphne that he “can’t” have children. And Daphne probably perceives it as something to do with his inability and not his personal choice. But later Daphne realises that she has been betrayed by Simon because he hid the real truth behind why he won’t have a child. She didn’t even know why Simon used to pull out before ejaculation. So can we say that her sexual consent was an informed consent? And please remember pulling out is not a way of birth control.

Furthermore, later when Daphne forces Simon to ejaculate inside her, it is nonconsensual sex. Just because the woman is on top doesn’t make it legitimate.

It is 2021, still you will be very uncomfortable watching it with younger family members or parents. With the massive popularity of the show and the announcement of  season 2 can we use it as a conversation starter?

The views expressed are the author’s own.