When we sit down to watch a specific TV show, we know what we want to get out of it. We watch
Girls to judge the four protagonists' questionable life decisions. We watch to ogle Ryan Murphy's distorted imagination. We watch American Horror Story to sympathize with an antihero and test our own moral compasses.
If there's a show for every mood, what shows can a person watch when she wants to be
turned on? There's no shortage of options. In the past decade, we've come a long way from the blurred-out sex featured on reality TV shows like The Real World. Now, pretty much runs the risk of becoming wildly embarrassing to watch with your parents.
In a TV landscape saturated with nudity and exposed buttocks, these shows stand out for portraying sex in interesting (and yes, explicit) ways. In some, like
Masters of Sex, human sexuality is the main focus. For others, sex is part of characters' emotional journeys. Either way, it's hot.
Give into temptation. Watch these sexy TV shows.
(2012-present) Scandal Why It's Sexy: Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) is powerful fixer in Washington, D.C. When scandal arises, she's the one willing to pull the strings and make it go away. But Olivia's actually perpetuating a scandal that, should it get out, cause a disaster. She's having an affair with the president, Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn). Hottest Moment: Olivia should know better than to sleep with the president, but she can't help it — that's how good the sex is. Though the sexiest scene of them all may be a fantasy Olivia has involving Fitz and Jake.
(2012-2017) Girls Why It's Sexy: Girls is sexy in the sense that it contains a lot, like a lot, of sex. But since the show refuses to glamorize the act, not all of the sex depicted in Girls is actually appealing. Still, it's fascinating to see bodies in action in a way that mimics the awkwardness and clumsiness of real sexual encounters, versus the manufactured sex of most TV shows. Hottest Moment: When Hannah (Lena Dunham) has a dreamy day with a stranger, Josh (Patrick Wilson)
(2013-present) Peaky Blinders What It's Sexy: There's quite a bit of violence in this period show about gangs in 1919 Britain, and there's also quite a bit of sex. Hottest Moment: Pretty much anything involving Cillian Murphy. Oh, yeah — and all the orgies.
Why It's Sexy:
These teenagers in Bristol, England are having the sex lives you
you were having when you were their age. While their parents are turning a blind eye, the high-schoolers are having sex just about everywhere: Laundry rooms, rooftops, classroom desks, parties. Though
is a show about fast-living, it's also about the kind of deep relationships that form in high school, when your real self is just beginning to poke out. Since
changed its cast and characters every two seasons, the relationships never grow stale.
Cook (Jack O'Connell) opens the door a nurse's office and sees Effy (Kaya Scodelario) sitting on the examining table. They start
having wild sex
, much to the horror of the patient sitting on the other side of the curtain.
Hbo/Darren Star Productions/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Sex and the City
Why It's Sexy:
As a sex and dating columnist, it's Carrie Bradshaw's (Sarah Jessica Parker) job to have an interesting love life. And have an interesting love life she does. She mulls over each encounter with her friends.
Sex and the City
is a show about the strong friendship bonds between Carrie, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis). But since the women
discuss their sexual exploits and dating lives, most of the plot concerns romantic encounters.
When Samantha fulfills her
— before he's called away, and Samantha ends up naked in a firehouse, that is.
(2004-2009) The L Word Why It's Sexy: Like Sex and the City did for New York, this show — lauded for its portrayal of queer sexuality — follows the sex lives of a group of women living in Los Angeles. Hottest moment: It's impossible to choose amongst the show's nearly 100 sex scenes.
(2008-2014) True Blood Why It's Sexy: Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) is just a charming (and psychic) waitress in Bon Temps, Louisiana, before she meets Bill (Stephen Moyer), the Civil War-era vampire who's finally come out of the coffin. Sookie is the first person in her town to experience a sexual awakening by way of vampire, but she's far from the last. Hottest Moment: In a dream, Sookie figures out the solution to her love triangle and has a threesome with vampires Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and Bill.
Starz Media/Starz Productions/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
(2010-2013) Spartacus Why It's Sexy: Like Game of Thrones, this Roman Empire-era show intertwines blood, guts, and sex to degrees we're surprised were allowed on TV. The show's inspired by the legend of a Thracian general, Spartacus (Liam McIntyre), who was sold into slavery and forced to be a gladiator. When telling the story of his revolutionary rise, the TV show sprinkles in lots of nudity. Hottest Moment: Wearing masks and body paint, Spartacus and Ilithyia (Viva Bianca) become sexual beings more than human beings.
(2011-present) Game of Thrones Why It's Sexy: The early seasons of this wildly popular medieval fantasy alternate between battle scenes and sexually explicit scenes. While the way sex has been handled historically on Game of Thrones has been problematic at times (see: Sansa's wedding night), there's no denying that sex is an intrinsic part of the show. Hottest Moment: When Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) culminate seasons-worth of sexual tension before Grey Worm leaves for war.
Sony Pictures Television/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
(2013-2016) Masters of Sex Why It's Sexy: Hello! It's practically about the birth of sexiness! Or, at least, the launch of the sexual revolution in the '50s and '60s. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and his assistant, Virginia Johnson (Lizzie Caplan), spend their days conducting sexual trials. Those trials seem downright clinical compared to the "research" Virginia and William conduct during their affair. Hottest Moment: When Virginia takes control in the bedroom and helps William overcome his sexual dysfunction.
(2013-present) Orange is the New Black Why It's Sexy: While serving time at Litchfield State Penitentiary, these women inmates come up with ways to while their time away. Aside from keeping track of shifting rivalries, sex is the inmates' most common approach to staying busy. Hottest Moment: From chapel sex to hate sex, Piper (Taylor Schilling) and Alex's (Laura Prepon) on-again, off-again relationship is the most reliable source of hot moments.
Why It's Sexy:
Noah Solloway (Dominic West), a married father of four, walks into a Montauk restaurant and locks eyes with Alison Lockhart (Ruth Wilson), a waitress. The rest? Well, the rest is an extremely hot, emotionally destructive catastrophe, told through the perspectives of the two people involved in the affair (reminding us that perception is reality).
It's easy to understand why
, the story of passion triumphing over responsibility and structure, is sexy. Rebecca Hendrix, a couples therapist, explained in
Women's Health Magazine
that "we crave passion, excitement, and the feeling of being desired. With
, we don't have to act on the urge—we can live vicariously."
We see how both Alison and Noah remember their extremely acrobatic hotel sex.
(2014-present) Outlander Why It's Sexy: After WWII ends, Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) reunites with her husband (Tobias Menzies) for a second honeymoon to Scotland. Long story short, Claire touches some mystical rocks and ends up transported to the 18th century. To survive in this new, inhospitable climate, Claire marries a local, Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). Hottest Moment: Hands down, Claire and Jamie's wedding night.
(2015-present) Versailles Why It's Sexy: At the age of 28, King Louis XIV (George Blagden) decides to open up the ultimate bachelor pad: Versailles Palace. Much to his wife, Marie-Therese's (Elisa Lasowski), frustration, Louis lives like a bachelor and springs from woman to woman. The fellow palace-dwellers are thrilled to partake in Louis' debaucherous lifestyle, but are slow to realize that by living in the palace, they're trapped under Louis' manipulative thumb. Hottest Moment: Versailles is more a relentless string of sex scenes than it is a TV show. Despite its oodles of x-rated scenes, the show hits peak sexiness with an orgy involving 14 women and 10 men. Stripping down those many layers of clothing must have been the ordeal of the century.
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of celebrity news, fun takes on pop culture, and trending stories on the Refinery29 Entertainment Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!