TV has never been the sexiest medium. The nature of its mode of broadcast means that networks and censors tend to be fairly strict about how explicit they can be. But with the increasing dominance of cable shows, which are much bolder in terms of what they show, TV hook-ups are getting hotter and hotter...
[Warning: Things get pretty sexy in some of these clips, so you might not want to watch them with young children or your boss or in the middle of a political speech of some kind.]
You’re the Worst – Jimmy and Gretchen
In the pilot episode of You’re the Worst, one of the best sitcoms around, awful people Jimmy and Gretchen meet at the wedding of Becca – his ex and her best friend’s sister respectively. Immediately recognising similarity in each other, they engage in a night of at-first obligatory sex – “I’m not even attracted to you,” Gretchen deadpans at one point mid-coitus – but begin to form a genuine human connection. Part of what makes these two so hot is that the show is well aware of how great it can be to pair sex and laughter.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Buffy and Angel
There was so much build-up and unresolved sexual tension between Buffy and Angel that when they finally hooked-up in the ballyhooed episode “Surprise”, which aired as part of the show’s second season back in 1998. Let’s ignore the fact that boning Buffy causes Angel to lose his soul, because the catharsis of finally getting together is so great. It’s no surprise that this episode – beaten only by its second part, “Innocence” – is the second-highest rated Buffy episode.
Girls – Hannah and Joshua
Hannibal – Alana and Margot
It was slightly surprising to learn of Alana and Margot’s coupledom in the third season of the much-mourned Hannibal. The series had always had a strange relationship with sex, not least because at a root level it always just felt creepy as hell in context. But this expressionist, kaleidoscopic scene between Alana and Margot is both beautiful and sexy.
Looking – Patrick and Richie
There would be those who say that this entry should be between Patrick and Kevin, and those people would be wrong. The show was never hotter than in “Looking for the Future”, which spends a Before Sunrise-style day with the two new lovers as they sleep in and sleep with each other. Patrick has somewhere to be and tries to leave, but the sight of Richie in bed with a bass guitar would be too much for most to handle.
Outlander – Claire and Jamie
Much has been said about how this sci-fi series triumphs in part through its subversion of the male gaze. This episode, in which Claire and Jamie consummate their hasty marriage, spend its running time teasing out the feelings the pair have for each other, which quickly turns to intimacy.
How to Get Away with Murder - Annalise and Eve
How to Get Away with Murder is a patchy show, but it knows how to grab your attention. In a show known for airing gay sex scenes that are remarkably raunchy for network television, the most attention-grabbing has been the naturalistic way it introduced us to Annalise’s bisexuality, revealing that Eve, a lawyer from her past, is also her ex-girlfriend.
Sense8 – The Sensate Orgy [probably NSFW]
Netflix’s underrated sci-fi series centres on a group of eight disparate people in different places and situations who find their minds suddenly, inextricably linked. The show, co-created by the Wachowskis, uses this concept to explore fundamental human experiences. One of those is sex, and halfway through the season, we were treated to a telepathic orgy set to Macy Gray’s “Demons”. The scene is art unto itself.
The L Word – Shane and Carmen
The L Word was surprisingly explicit back in the day. Before the days of HBO’s apparent female nudity mandate, this show centred on the lives of a group of lesbians did what Queer as Folk had also done at Showtime, which was to depict same-sex sexuality with passion and intimacy. You could choose a number of couplings, but Shane and Carmen were a force unto themselves.
Masters of Sex - Libby and Robert
Most of the titular sex mastery on this show is between Virginia and Bill, whose research into sex leads them to begin an affair. But the most satisfying hook-up the show has depicted so far is that of Libby, Bill’s beleaguered wife, and her co-worker Robert. Not only is Robert “get it, girl!”-level hot, but the catharsis of Libby finally realising a sexual identity beyond her strained marriage to Bill make it emotionally satisfying as well.
[Please excuse the super cheesy music – but it is Valentine’s Day, after all.]
Not sexy enough for you? Check out the collection of extremely romantic (and quite sensual as well) films, Get a Room, on SBS On Demand.