Fancy some steamy Christmas TV viewing?

Listen, I might be knocking gently on the door of ‘mad old cat lady’, and therefore not automatically the first person you would go to as an oracle for the best erotica to watch during Christmas 2020, but don’t judge a book by its cover, or their profile pic when it comes to that. 

There are some areas of erotically charged televisual entertainment that I am not particularly au fait with of course. Ten years ago, I definitely wasn’t the target audience for the angst teens drama Skins, and the fairly recent genre of ‘normal people going naked or having sex on screen’ like Naked Attraction and Sex Tape, frankly leaves me a bit cold.

But I do know a thing or two about TV, and the beauty of having watched a few decades’ worth of well-produced drama is that you have a fantastic library of material to refer to. So, here is a list of ten great television programs that have not only enthralled or amused the masses over the years, but have also provided viewers with some brilliant erotica. 

Not all of the shows included are packed full of tits and dragons, or people in various states of sexual excitement on their hands and knees in front of a mirror. Some deliver erotica in a storyline and dialogue full of suspense and intrigue, others use imagery that implies sex is just around the corner or just been indulged in’ normally via a barely glimpsed nipple.

The following productions were created for various demographics, and includes blackly comic observations on real life modern encounters, and historical dramas featuring both orgies and nuanced romance. Swinging all ways, there is something for everyone here: rippling biceps, sexual fantasies, passionate kissing, oral sex, sad sex and heavy breathing, all wrapped up in delicious dramatic storylines. We are all aroused or moved differently by different kinds of visual imagery, and, after all, what’s one man’s soft porn is just another lady’s period costume drama.

So grab some eggnog, mistletoe or whatever takes your fancy! This is erotica served up on the small screen in mainly bite sized pieces, so if you’re looking for a box set that leans sharply towards Debbie Does Dallas, I’m afraid you will be needing some different reference points. 

Have a wonderful steamy Christmas!

I, Claudius (1976)

Created and broadcast way, way before it’s time, this glorious (somewhat dated) depiction of life through the eyes of Emperor Claudius will be lodged permanently in the mind of surprised viewers who experienced the show during the seventies. Amongst many fascinating tales included in the series was the time that Caligula appointed his horse to the position of senator, and the sale of official statesmen and their wives for sex. When Caligua turns his palace into a brothel the scenes are not hugely intimate but the part naked sexual frolicking was the instigator of many a sexual fantasy at the time. 

The stellar cast of serious actors in the show was led by Derek Jacobi, John Hurt and John Rhys-Davies (aka Gimli from Lord of the Rings), and Star Trek fans should keep their eyes peeled for a handsome young Patrick Stewart in a toga.

Brideshead Revisited (1981)

This ‘adaptation from book to screen’ is a TV production of the very highest order, and a sublime televised version of a novel, which has rarely been surpassed in this sector of film. Depicting practically every word included in Evelyn Waugh’s masterpiece, the TV series Brideshead Revisited was broadcast in 1981 and starred the beautifully handsome Anthony Andrews as Sebastian Flyte and Jeremy Irons as the protagonist Charles Ryder. The story begins in the early 1920’s and Ryder, the narrator of the story, takes us through his sometimes fortunate and more often emotional friendship with a wealthy Catholic aristocrat, and his family. 

There’s no blatant shagging, just the occasional view of bare bottoms and sexually atmospheric nipples, but the intense and concealed romance between Sebastian and Charles is always enough to arouse even the most non-ardent of hearts. And the interloper Ryder’s cat and mouse sexual relationship with Flyte’s sister Julia, who so physically resembles her brother, keeps everyone guessing and swooning until the very end. 

Sex and the City (1998)

For a feisty, full-on lady who loves most pop culture from the 90’s, it’s quite strange that I didn’t actually watch and become obsessed with this iconic female TV phenomenon. I’m not sure why it didn’t appeal to me, but I do know I was thoroughly enjoying the hilarious but extremely un-erotic Will & Grace at that time. However, I have it from very good authority, from friends of all shapes, ages, genders and brain sizes, that this television show is a fantastic showcase of humour, city life and sexual fantasy.

Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis and Kim Cattrall as four forward thinking females, Sex and the City helped a huge audience to laugh at the trials of dating and get to grips with both uncomfortable and very enjoyable sexual situations. One of the few episodes I have actually watched featured the character Samantha, played by Cattrall, unexpectedly experiencing female ejaculation, whilst in a sexual tryst with another woman. As this subject has rarely been covered on mainstream television before or since, it’s fair to say that Sex and the City was clearly ahead of the game for TV viewers interested in female sexual empowerment and erotica.

Queer as Folk (1999)

This ground-breaking series must have been heaven sent for young gay men scouring the channels for drama and sexual shenanigans that would align with their social life and fantasies, at the turn of the last century. Queer as Folk was a delightful, moving and exciting show that featured the party loving friends Vince and Stuart, and the naive, enthusiastic, extremely young character Nathan. It’s a dizzying whirl of entertaining friendships and graphic one night stands that leave very little to the imagination, and must have led to a great deal of fantasizing and sexual awakenings. 

Queer as Folk wasn’t afraid to confront issues like drug taking, and the fifteen-year-old character of Nathan succinctly reminds us all that many, many young people are just dying to have sex. With the right person.

Tipping The Velvet (2002)

Ok I admit it, I still haven’t seen an episode of Orange is the New Black, but come on people, there’s only so much time in a TV week and I haven’t even started Breaking Bad yet for goodness sake. However right on OITNB topic, my next entry for ‘best inclusion of bite size erotica for the masses’ is the notorious Tipping the Velvet, that first screened in 2002. 

This production is a glorious yet candid depiction of a lesbian romance set in Victorian England, and if you like your erotica crossed with period drama, then this is the simulcast romp for you. Reviews of the show, after the first broadcast ranged from dull to wonderful and exciting, presumably dependent on the reviewer’s expectations and their inclination towards gay sex. This was one of the early performances from the talented Keely Hawes, who recently took to the sheets with Richard Madden in Bodyguard.

Spartacus (2010)

Trailing in the popularity stakes behind Game of Thrones, but very much a front runner in the stable of fantasy fiction, Spartacus first aired its glistening torso in 2010, and is a groupie favourite in the world of fantasy television. Far, far saucier than GOT, Spartacus was often a sensual broiling mass of naked bodies that interspersed a plotline of a slave uprising against the Roman Republic.

You will have to embrace some very gory violence if you want to get onto viewing the nudity and sex in Spartacus, which comes in spades throughout every episode. Full frontal nudity is generous, penises and vulvas abound, and if you don’t like a battalion load of thrusting and kissing, I suggest you don’t head to this particular coliseum of sexual erotica.

Game of Thrones (2011)

Of course it was so much more than just ‘tits and dragons’, but Ian McShane’s flippant observation of the TV phenomenon certainly helped to draw in additional viewers more interested in erotic titillation than fantasy fiction. This behemoth of the screen has achieved an important place in broadcast history for many reasons that include a captivating storyline and character portrayals from some of the greatest actors of our time. 

Game of Thrones has only recently finished airing and the end of Season 8 has left many a TV addict, this lady included, rather sad at the end of what has been an epic and sensational ride. But no spoilers here, other than the observation that most of the really sexy bits happen in the first couple of seasons, where medieval type brothel scenarios are very graphic, and every woman seems to have her breasts out. 

However, erotica, sexual fantasies and gratuitous sex is featured throughout GOT and the drama often also confronts difficult subjects including incest, castration and rape.

Girls (2012)

Back to the real world, once more in the city of New York, Lena Dunham’s controversial comedy drama bares every inch of skin and each emotion of four female millennials battling the tribulations of life. This television series never steps lightly around the reality of sex, and the viewer is delivered every sexual tryst in all of its glory, oddness, or unpleasantness.

The sex scenes in Girls are some of the most life-like on modern day TV and the six seasons of the program probably gave thousands of young people around the world the reassurance that not all sex is necessarily enjoyable. Although to be fair, it also confirms that an awful lot of it really is.

The Affair (2014)

This is a clever piece of television drama and if you don’t mind things fairly slow and moody, you are in for a real treat. Each episode of The Affair is told from the perspective of two different people, normally the male and female in the same relationship, although this does vary on occasion. It’s a very subtle and remarkable production that conveys the same storyline seen through different eyes, that cleverly illustrates how people perceive situations in life differently. 

The enigmatic Dominic West plays Noah, a married writer who falls drastically in love and lust with a waitress one summer, and changes the course of their families’ lives. The Affair is beautifully shot, the cast is superb and if you are checking in for the sex scenes, which are authentic and unsubtle, you won’t be disappointed.

Fleabag (2016)

When dark humour meets modern sexuality … and you really fancy the vicar. 

Fleabag won’t be ‘erotica in small doses’ for everyone that’s for certain, it’s crude comedy will put some people off, and not many of the programmes sexual encounters are delivered with much seductiveness.

Not all of us, after all, wants to witness a bland non-sexual running commentary to camera from a main character, whilst she is experiencing anal sex for the first time. Fleabag was filmed with the remarkable Phoebe Waller-Bridge delivering her perfect lines direct to camera, a format that creates a sometimes awkward viewing scenario.

However, the two series of Fleabag also includes a vast wall of plaster-cast penises, aggressive sex around the back of a confessional box, and Andrew Scott as the hot priest, who any woman, with a pulse, should absolutely find unbelievably attractive. Unless you are officially dead inside. Or looking for a different kind of erotica on TV of course.

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