If you haven’t yet introduced yourself to the treat that is Bridgerton, do yourself a favour. Settle in on the couch with a bottle of wine this weekend and dig on in.
The series, which was ruthlessly snubbed in this year’s Golden Globes nominations, is one of Netflix’s most successful projects to date. And let’s be upfront about why that is: spicy drama and a whole lot of horny content. People have been stuck in their homes for a year, my friends. Audiences need something exhilarating right now.
There has been a lot of chatter (naturally) about the show’s many saucy scenes since it first dropped in December 2020. We even wrote a list of the best sex scenes in the series (yes, it’s worth a read). But what I’d like to chat about today is a little different. I want to focus on the sexiest quality of one particular character in Bridgerton: The Duke, Simon Basset.
If you’re thinking, “that’s easy, his sexiest quality is the way he licks a spoon” that’s a fair point. But it’s not what I’m talking about.
The sexiest part of the series (and the Duke’s character), in my opinion, is the way the Duke approached consent with Daphne the first time they had sex. Now, let me point out here that I know Bridgerton’s dealings with the topic of consent, in general, is pretty messed up. The scene where Daphne later forces Simon to climax inside her is quite literally the opposite of enthusiastic consent: it was marital rape. And then there’s the whole manipulative element where Simon doesn’t explain that his pulling out was stopping the couple from being able to have a baby. The show has a lot of problems.
But seeing the Duke respectfully and gently take his time as he guided Daphne through her first sexual experience with another person was a big ol’ plus in my book. Throughout the entire experience he checked in with her a number of times, and it added to the intimacy of the moment. There were a couple of points where the Duke asked Daphne if she wanted to stop – and when he did that, he physically pulled away to signal he was okay with that (something he certainly deserved in return, I should say).
Seeking enthusiastic consent was a very clear part of this encounter, and it was sexy! The Duke asking Daphne what she wanted and what she liked was threaded in seamlessly; working to dismantle ideas that discussions around consent are awkward and disruptive.
Bridgerton is certainly not the only series to do that, either. Normal People was a hugely popular example of consent being a turn on. And Sex Education has done a pretty wonderful job of breaking down shame around discussing sex and all the elements of it in an open, respectful way (at least, mostly).
It’s a nice shift we’re seeing in more content of late, and hopefully, it’s a trend we see continue to pick up steam.