Sex has been a taboo topic for way too long. Almost everyone does it, but no one wants to talk about it. This has led to shame, stigma and anxiety around most issues surrounding it. Many people who are more sex-positive are stigmatized as being “loose” and some places think teaching abstinence is the best way to go instead of teaching young adults how to practice safe sex or how to enjoy the experience. So many people don’t even enjoy sex fully as they are too anxious or too worried about certain aspects of it that would not be an issue if society would simply admit that it’s a normal thing that we can and should talk about without being shamed.
For the longest time sex scenes or sex talk on TV were shown in a certain way (if shown at all) and that was the only way to go. Thankfully, more and more sex-positive and queer-inclusive TV shows are being produced today. The following shows are some of my favorite progressive TV shows, past and present, that are champions in normalizing sex and all shapes and forms, relationships, intimacy, sexuality and gender identity but also do a great job in talking about serious issues such as harassment and consent.
This brilliant British show fantastically revolves around young teenagers dealing with sex and sexuality. It truly is a show that manages to deal with a bunch of tricky and stigmatized topics in a respectful, educational, yet funny way. While the show is mostly hilarious, it also dives into serious topics such as the sexual harassment of one of the girls on a public bus and the trauma she subsequently experiences, which she finally is able to deal with due to the help of her friends. Other important topics the show explores are: STIs, homophobia, transphobia, racial stereotyping as well as issues faced by non-binary kids. Other sexualities aside from gay, lesbian or bisexual such as asexuality are also discussed—a rare occasion in the TV world. Sexual fantasies and kinks are also not a taboo on this show. The third season aired earlier this year.
The L Word: Generation Q
The first scene of Season 1 shows a lesbian couple having period sex. If that is not a groundbreaking scene in TV history, I don’t know what is. The L Word: Generation Q is a sequel series to The L Word, which at its time of airing back in the early 2000s was a groundbreaking show about a group of lesbians. Some of the original characters have returned for the sequel with many fantastic new additions. Generation Q is a lot broader and inclusive in representation of the LGBTQ+ community but equally as sex positive and taboo-breaking as the original show.
Grace & Frankie
The show will come to an end next year but it has given us seven hilarious seasons. It’s one of the few shows on this list that does not include teenagers or young adults as the main protagonists. Instead, icons Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin portray Grace and Frankie, two older women who never particularly liked each other but are moving in together after their husbands profess their love for each other and admit their decades long affair and want to get married. After everything seems to fall apart around them, the unlikely pair of women work together and have each other’s backs through thick and thin, through hilarious business adventures such as a vibrator for older women who suffer from arthritis and through so much more.
Grace and Frankie is a funny show about friendship, love and acceptance. Thanks to the outstanding cast including Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, it is a must-watch and a true feel-good show.
You, Me, Her
I really enjoyed this comedy show that lasted 5 seasons and ended in 2020. It’s the first polyromantic comedy, or at least it was advertised as such. The show revolves around a married couple who are unhappily stuck in their routine and who meet a woman that they both fall for and who in turn falls for them as well.
I cannot remember seeing a polyamorous relationship playing out on TV before that. Since then, shows like The L World: Generation Q have included throuples as well but You, Me, Her definitely paved the way for non-monogamous types of relationships to be talked about like a normal, acceptable way of life and to show that the sometimes narrow societal norms we live in do not work for everyone.
Gossip Girl Reboot
The original Gossip Girl already had a lot of drama and sex and to this day it is one of my guilty pleasures. While I am skeptical of most reboots, I have to admit that this reboot might become my new guilty pleasure. The new Gossip Girl is a lot more diverse and sexually inclusive than the old one while still serving the same Upper East Side shenanigans and all the drama we expect from a show about super rich kids with no parental supervision. The first season premiered in 2021 with it being renewed for a second season already.
Not a show for the faint-hearted, but HBO’s Euphoria is definitely a rule-bending, revolutionizing show. The teenage protagonists have to deal with a variety of serious topics, including mental health issues, drug use, bullying, body-shaming, trauma and domestic violence while also figuring out their sexuality and sex life. What Euphoria brilliantly does is to not put the characters’ sexualities as their main character trait the way many other shows have done in the past, whether they are transgender or identify as straight, gay, bisexual or anything else on the spectrum. Sex work in the form of one character having a side-hustle as a camgirl is also being explored which sheds more light on what sex work includes nowadays and it removes some of the stigma surrounding this line of work.
Orange Is the New Black
I am 100% sure that this prison drama has helped many people come to terms with their sexuality. 😉 One of my favorite shows while it lasted and still one that I like to go back to. Besides the drama, tension, sex and awesome queer content, I also really enjoyed that the show showed people of all shapes and sizes—“real people” if you will and not just the standard model-like standard female character of most movies and shows.
While these shows are my favorite sex-positive and queer-inclusive TV shows there are a bunch more out there that are equally as great and the list is getting longer and longer each year. Some honorable mentions of great sex and LGBTQ+ positive TV-shows that I could not include in this article are: Elite, Feel Good, Never Have I Ever, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Atypical.
There are some more sex positive and queer-inclusive TV shows that are supposed to be awesome but that I haven’t watched yet. These include: Young Royals, Easy, The Politician, I am not OK with this and Ratched.
Let me know which one is your favorite! 🙂
Also by Rebecca: What It’s Like To Be Queer In Dubai
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