Last year, Netflix’s Bridgerton ushered in a new era of horny streaming content thanks to its now-famous regency-era sex scenes, which proved steamy enough to wind up making the rounds on porn sites and even inspired a spike in four-poster sales. With the series’ second season set to premiere in March, fans are eagerly anticipating the sexy surprises Season 2 may have in store, and the minds behind the hit show have assured us we won’t be disappointed. Creator Chris Van Dusen told Entertainment Weekly the new season boasts just as many “thirsty moments” as its predecessor, including some featuring more sexually experienced characters.
But while some critics may dismiss Bridgerton as little more than a soft-core raunch fest, there’s more to the show’s sex scenes than generating buzz and titillating viewers. According to the stars who make the magic happen on screen, the show’s unabashed approach to intimacy is a way of exploring and showcasing female desire and the oft-repressed interior lives of women. “There’s so many people who will go, ‘Oh yeah, Bonkerton,’” Jonathan Bailey, who stars as Anthony, told EW. “But the female gaze is so important because there are many ways people communicate by sex, and what sex means, and what your body means to someone else. It’s important that there’s an inversion of sexuality and how people are exploited in the storytelling of sex.”
For those who may need to brush up on Gender Studies 101, the “male gaze” refers to media that represents women as sexual objects for male pleasure, which, even today, is most of it. The “female gaze” to which Bailey refers, by contrast, is a perspective that casts women as independent subjects with agency. In Bridgerton, women are not just objects of male desire, but subjects with agency over their own sexual wants and needs.
“There’s always been a familiarity deep down with what Kate wants,” said Simone Ashley of her character. “That’s what I love about shows like Bridgerton and Sex Education: They might be touching on slightly taboo topics, but these characters know what they want.”
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