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Breaking down the sex scenes in ‘Bridgerton’: What is truth versus fantasy?

Dr. Staci Tanouye
·5-min read
Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

Dr. Staci Tanouye is an In The Know wellness contributor. Follow her on Instagram and TikTok for more.

Bridgerton has dominated Netflix — and the minds of everyone watching. Sure, it’s a clever plot with beautiful people and some character twists, but let’s be honest about what we all are really seduced by: the sex.

Bridgerton cleverly combines sexual fantasy with the appeal of the forbidden and the mystery of the unknown, wrapping it all up in a very seductive little package. And viewers are all left with one question: “Why can’t I have that?” 

But it’s important to understand what’s reality and what’s fiction — especially when it comes to sex. So let’s break down the truth and fantasy behind Bridgerton.

Related: TikToker goes viral for her 'Bridgerton' outfits

1. Your first time will be a gracefully coordinated and extremely pleasurable act — FANTASY

Romantic dramas like Bridgerton glamorize sex — and set up unreasonable expectations for “the first time.” In reality, the beginnings of sexual experiences can be very naturally awkward for both parties, and this is OK. Disrobing a 19th-century corset can’t be that easy for anyone, even a particularly dexterous Duke. Fumbling with undergarments and body parts is the norm, so don’t forget how many takes there must have been before that garment became unhooked. And finally, the most obvious fallacy here — most people with vaginas will not easily orgasm within one minute of their first experience with penetrative sex and minimal foreplay.

This scene is clearly filled with romanticized myths, and therefore is FANTASY.

2. Parents often don’t educate their kids on sex, leaving them unprepared — TRUTH

“You sent me out into the world no better than a fool,” Daphne chides her mother in Bridgerton. “You taught me how to play pretend, but nothing of the realities of married life, of marital relations.”

Sound familiar? How many of you have sat through the awkwardness of the “sex talk” with your parents, only to leave with more questions than answers? That is, if you were lucky to have any kind of “sex talk” at all.

Discussing sex and sexuality has become so taboo in our society that we are uncomfortable discussing it in a straightforward matter, if we’re even talking about it at all. We often don’t get adequate sex ed from our schools or the trusted adults in our lives, and it leaves people to fend for themselves to just figure it out. This lack of transparency and understanding can lead to uncomfortable experimentation or even unsafe situations. We must do better with sex ed. Talk about it, clearly and honestly. Knowledge is power.

This depiction is TRUTH.

3. You can remain childless forever using the pull-out method — FANTASY

You couldn’t miss my eye roll with this one. If Simon thinks he can pull-out forever to convince Daphne he can never have children, he’s the fool. The pull-out method, also known as the withdrawal method, has a typical use effectiveness of around 78%. That means over the course of one year of using only the withdrawal method, 22 out of 100 couples will get pregnant. So even if Daphne didn’t play detective to figure it out, she still would have had about a 1 in 5 chance of conceiving anyway. Luckily, these days we have far more effective options for birth control. So please, don’t think like Simon with this one.

This is FANTASY.

4. Masturbation is worth exploring — TRUTH

In Bridgerton, Daphne discovers the power of touch.

Masturbation is the safest form of sex, period. And there are many benefits of self-pleasure besides the obvious: learning your own body, understanding what you like, ability to communicate pleasure to partners more clearly and confidently, stress relief and even pain relief. In addition, fantasizing about your partner or even someone else during self-pleasure is very normal, healthy and sometimes necessary. So fantasize away and explore what feels good to you.

This is most definitely TRUTH

5. Sex is always wildly passionate and mind-blowing — FANTASY

Don’t we all wish this were true?

But do you know why we all wish this were true? It’s because we’ve been programmed by Hollywood to think that’s how it should be at all times. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sex is often awkward, messy and, occasionally, uncomfortable. It certainly doesn’t always end with an orgasm. Feel free to fantasize about making passionate love in the rain or out in a field of wildflowers — but know that this is just not reality.

This is one that is OK to leave in the realm of FANTASY

6. You can create an herbal tea to abort a pregnancy — FANTASY

If you’ve been anywhere near social media, you have seen the trends of pushing various herbal methods with the hopes of ending an undesired pregnancy. And these myths have been around for a long time, as evident when Marina attempts to mortar and pestle an array of herbs, then believes it worked. But when Penelope finds her passed out on the floor, we cross into the reality of the danger of these home concoctions. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is healthy or safe. Many herbs and plants can be dangerous and even lead to liver toxicity. The doctor in Bridgerton is correct when he says that a tea cannot abort a pregnancy.

This myth is a hard pass (and is also a dangerous) FANTASY.

Enjoy the tingly feelings that Bridgerton gives you — but remember that it is OK, and maybe even better, to keep it as a fantasy only.

If you found this article useful, learn what to expect ahead of your first gynecologist visit.

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