25 of the Horniest TV Shows Ever Made

25 of the Horniest TV Shows Ever Made

Filmmakers understood the power of sex long before TV did — or at least, they actually made effective use of it much more quickly. The early days of the television medium were largely about all-ages programming. Families might have any number of children, but no obvious way in which they had come into being, given the chaste pecks exchanged between parents and the double beds in mum and dad’s bedroom. (Lucy Ricardo’s pregnancy was a topic of much discussion among executives — wouldn’t a pregnancy imply sex had happened? Perish the thought.)

By the 1960s, and certainly the 1970s, the production code had broken down enough that movies, though they’d gotten quite good at implying sexuality, no longer had to be nearly as coy about it. Television soon began following suit, if slowly, and with more subtlety.

As in real life, it’s entirely possible to be excessively horny without ever actually getting down to business; sexual tension builds just as well — or even more effectively — without exposed boobs and butts. We didn’t need to see Gomez and Morticia getting busy to know that their coffin was getting a workout every night. Modern TV is far more explicit about sexuality, but sexual tension (which is to say, unbridled horniness) is something else entirely. And these are 25 of the horniest TV shows ever made.

Sense8 (2015 – 2018)

In the sci-fi Sense8, from the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski, eight people from various parts of the world discover they’re deeply emotionally linked, being able to experience each others lives and sensations as though they were their own. Occasionally that means conveniently picking up fighting skills from someone in another country, but just as often it’s about forming more personal connections, including between people of different gender and sexual identities. Memorably, that led to moments in which the whole group would experience sex as a kaleidoscope of different perspectives (presented a bit like an orgy; horny, but impressively non-exploitative).

Outlander (2014 – )

Starz appears not for the last time on this list with this long-running adaptation of the Diana Gabaldon novel series, which leans into elements of mild erotica present in the books. The most passionate scenes involve time-travelling army nurse Claire (Caitríona Balfe) and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), the Highland warrior of the Jacobite era in Scotland, though it’s not exclusively the two of them desperate to keep warm in the chilly Highlands. What’s great about Outlander’s sex scenes is that they’re most often presented from Claire’s perspective, with her as a full, and fully enthusiastic, participant.

Bridgerton (2020 – )

Is it even period drama if every character doesn’t have sex on the brain? A chaste setting (like a posh Regency-era country house) is far too tempting a location when it comes to repressed longing, and Bridgerton is all about characters denying themselves until they’re completely overcome by lust that defies all logic, and that threatens their positions and social standings — especially with Lady Whistledown documenting every move.

The Tudors (2007 – 2010)

The Tudors may play fast and loose with history, but does remind us that the Tudors weren’t nearly as sexless as all those archbishops would have us believe. Henry VIII’s affair with Anne Boleyn is, of course, a turning point in history, but the king had a string of lovers at every point during his reign, many of whom are dramatized here. That Henry focus is a bit of a problem, especially when the show’s Jonathan Rhys Meyers is quite a bit hotter than the actual Henry, but many of the women characters give as well as they get (both politically and in bed), particularly Natalie Dormer’s Anne Boleyn.

P-Valley (2020 – )

P-Valley follows the lives (and dramas) of the people working at the titlular strip club in the Mississippi Delta. Katori Hall’s Southern Gothic-infused series deals with issues of race and colorism, and particularly the challenges facing poor Black people in the south, especially those who have strayed outside the confines of polite society. The show is impressively sexy, and sex-positive, with trans and gay characters in addition to its cast of cis/straight women.

Elite (2018 – )

With a bit of Gossip Girl’s juicy style, Elite follows a group of working-class friends who wind up with scholarships to Las Encinas, a fictional private school that is, in the show’s universe, the most exclusive in Spain. What they find there is snobbery, for sure, but also mystery, murder, and lots and lots of sex (among character of various sexual orientations and numerical groupings). The smart, but wonderfully trashy, show has been renewed at least through a seventh season, with an Indian adaptation on the way.

The Golden Girls (1985 – 1992)

The Girls weren’t all sex, all the time, but there isn’t a single episode in which sex isn’t at least a topic of conversation. And it wasn’t just Blanche getting around, either (though it was very often Blanche). Rose singlehandedly talked a date out of his erectile dysfunction and into bed (and also killed at least two men in bed); Dorothy’s sex with Leslie Nielsen was so good they named it; even Sophia pulled a well-above-average number of sex partners for a woman in her 80s. In the Reagan era, anyone owning their sexual power on TV was an outlier. For late middle-aged women to do so was something else entirely.

Queer as Folk (2000 – 2005)

The entire inciting incident for the show (both the original UK version from 1999 and this Showtime reboot) involves very gay, very sex positive Brian Kinney (Gale Harold) meeting his match in the too-young-for-him Justin Taylor (Randy Harrison), who all but falls in love with him after a one-night stand. They’re among the show’s horniest characters, but the innovation here was in its portrayal of gay characters (cis men, mostly) as sexual in a reasonable way, without shame or judgement outside the bounds of the type of bad decision-making that propels drama in queer and straight shows alike.

She’s Gotta Have It (2017 – 2019)

It’s right there in the title: This update of the 1986 Spike Lee classic stars DeWanda Wise as Nola Darling, sexually active and entirely unashamed but who, nonetheless, finds some challenges in keeping three very hot guys on the line at once. Writer/director Lee isn’t any more shy about sexuality than Nola is — just one of many reasons to be mad that Netflix let this one go much too soon.

True Blood (2008 – 2014)

Vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer) can’t even say “Sookie” (our series lead character, played by Anna Paquin) without sounding like he’s already out of breath — which may well be a case of art imitating life, given that the actors began a relationship while filming the pilot that’s continued ever since. It’s not just Bill and Sookie, though…it’s Sookie and Eric (Alexander Skarsgård), and Sookie and Alcide, Tara and Sam, Bill and Jessica, etc. The point being: it’s hot down there in Bon Temps, and everyone seems pretty anxious to take their clothes off.

Californication (2007 – 2014)

David Duchovny is an alcoholic writer who moves to California to get over his writer’s block; even though he’s still got a thing for his ex, he can’t quite help but partake in everything that sunny southern California has to offer in terms of drugs and sex. The comedy-drama can’t always decide whether Hank is a womanizer or just kind of a friendly hedonist, but he’s certainly horny.

Spartacus (2010 – 2013)

A surprisingly smart, but sweaty and quite bloody take on the sword-and-sandal genre, Spartacus dealt not just with the pressures of being a member of the oppressed class in an absolutist regime, but also with what sweaty, oiled gladiators do to kill time when they’re not fighting to the death. Honestly, if it were just the all-but naked grappling, it’d still be an incredibly horny show — but there’s also plenty of pansexual coupling out of the arena, as well.

The Addams Family (1964 – 1966)

It’s less subtle in later takes, but the chemistry between Gomez (John Astin) and Morticia (Carolyn Jones) is still palpable in the original, which feels far removed from other sitcoms of its era — none of those shows ever invite you to imagine what its lead characters might be up to once the kids are in bed, but there’s no doubt whatsoever that Gomez and Morticia fuck, and fuck often. Imagine the parents of a close-knit, loving family also having a healthy sex life? What might have turned off TV execs in the 1960s feels instead both charming and, dare I say it, wholesome?

Vida (2018 – 2020)

Two very different Mexican-American sisters move back to their childhood home in Boyle Heights, Louisiana following the death of their mother, who they soon discover was married to a woman. The show opens on an orgy and doesn’t get any less sexually charged from there. Significantly, Vida explores the intersections of queer and Latinx identities from the perspective of women, so the sex scenes (of which there are plenty) feel both real and essential.

Farscape (1999 – 2003)

Earth astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) gets sucked through a wormhole to a distant part of space, and lands on an escaping prison ship full of criminals, each with a greater penchant for tight leather than the last. His arrival kicks off a will they/won’t they relationship with Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black), a soldier for the repressive government who finds herself stuck among the escapees. That central relationship goes from a deeply thirsty one to, later, a very sexually healthy one, but there’s an impressive amount of lust and subversive sexuality among all of the major characters, especially for a show populated by Muppet-style puppets from the Jim Henson company. (It’s not for nothing that the primary villain dresses like the gimp from Pulp Fiction.)

Hannibal (2013 – 2015)

Under the careful eye of writer/producer Bryan Fuller, the relationship between Hugh Dancy’s Will Graham and Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal Lecter becomes a seduction, with secret-cannibal Lecter slowly bending the reluctant FBI profiler to his will. At first, Graham is a plaything; Lecter is fascinated by his empathy. Before long, though, a real bond begins to form that pushes Graham into increasingly uncomfortable areas. The Doctor’s art begins to focus on Graham, and a second-season stabbing is played like a consummation.

Star Trek (1966 – 1969)

It’s hard to say for certain whether the original Star Trek represented a new era of sexual liberation, or a straight, horny, middle-aged man’s version of the future, one in which space is positively packed with willing women in sheer gowns ready to drop at the slightest breeze. It’s probably a bit of both; regardless, sex was on everyone’s mind pretty much all the time on the original USS Enterprise — and it’s not just Kirk. The first aired episode had Dr. McCoy making time with a green monster with a suction-cup for a mouth. In arguably the series’ best episode, Spock goes so mad from literal horniness that he very nearly kills Captain Kirk. Modern Trek has sex, but isn’t nearly as horny, while Star Wars can’t be bothered with sex at all. Here? There’s just no question that shore leave was for fucking.

The House of Flowers (2018 – 2021)

The title isn’t really a euphemism: The dark comedy series is literally about a family flower shop, but the Dynasty-esque drama, which ran for three seasons, a special, and two spin-off movies, was a groundbreaker for Mexican television for its impressive level of sexuality, not all of it straight — the family’s bisexual son and his relationship with the accountant is a major thread throughout the series, as is that between Paulina, the family’s eldest daughter, and María José, a trans woman.

The L Word (2004 – 2009)

The first major TV series to feature all-queer, all-female characters, The L Word was groundbreaking in that representation, but also for its depiction of lesbian sex: coming hot on the heels of Queer as Folk, which mostly focused on its male characters, L Word’s creative team was largely made up of women. The show’s gay, bisexual, and questioning characters had plenty of hot sex, but without the otherwise inescapable male gaze of so many shows. The sequel series, Generation Q, is ongoing on Showtime.

Orange is the New Black (2013 – 2019)

For seven seasons, Orange is the New Black was both an addictive soap opera, and a show that dealt cannily with issues of race, sexuality, and gender identity while humanising incarcerated people and offering well-deserved jabs at our American prison-industrial complex. It’s also a show about people at various places in the sexual spectrum locked up together in a woman’s prison, and doesn’t look away from the (rather understandable) degree of sexuality inherent in the set-up.

The Vampire Diaries (2009 – 2017)

Like many YA-geared CW shows, Vampire Diaries is all about will-they/won’t-they lust among very pretty (conventionally so, anyway) people. It’s high school, and it’s vampires…so of course everyone’s horny all the time…for eight seasons.

Interview with the Vampire (2022 –)

The new take on the Anne Rice classic, in addition to other innovations that update and flesh out the story, does away entirely with the queer subtext of the earlier Brad Pitt/Tom Cruise take — or rather, makes it explicit (in every sense). Here, Lestat and Louis are explicitly a queer couple (as well as an interracial one, particularly significant given the show’s southern setting). Theirs is a fiery, troubled romance, but believably passionate.

Three’s Company (1977 – 1984)

The premise of Three’s Company involves John Ritter’s Jack Tripper pretending to be gay so that he can move in with two women (Joyce DeWitt’s Janet and, for the first few seasons, Suzanne Somers’ Chrissy) without offending the landlord. That’s the setup for the central, slightly problematic joke, right there — Jack’s not gay, and spends a fair bit of time skeeving after his roommates. But there’s more: Most of the jokes involve some sort of miscommunication/sexual innuendo. Two characters will be talking about screwing in a lightbulb in one room while another character will only hear the bit about the screwing. It’s not exactly highbrow, but it works. Everyone has sex on the brain pretty much all the time, except, perhaps, for level-headed Janet, who handles all of the shenanigans much better than I would.

How to Get Away with Murder (2014 – 2020)

It’s a network show, so the sex scenes aren’t nearly as explicit as those you might catch on streaming/cable; still, if Shonda Rhimes can’t quite get away with murder, her success and popularity as a writer/producer/showrunner mean that she can get away with an awful lot. One of the juiciest of Rhimes’ shows, Murder won a number of awards while pushing the boundaries for sex, both gay and straight, on network TV.

Insecure (2016 – 2021)

Issa Rae’s recently wrapped series, in which she starred alongside Yvonne Orji, took a funny, real look at the (often incredibly awkward) career and dating lives of two Black women in their twenties. The sexual shenanigans are plenty, but Rae and company understand that sex can be awkward, weird, and funny at least as often as it is hot. Insecure has been compared to Sex and the City, but for all its frank talk of blowjobs, minus Samantha, that show was about a bunch of uptight prudes.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


Leave a Reply