The Year’s Horniest TV Shows: ‘White Lotus’ to ‘Bridgerton’

On Marvel TV shows, some superheroes fuck.

Instead of being relegated to exchanging coy glances straight out of Production Code-era Hollywood, like so many Marvel characters have to settle with in the movies, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’s Jennifer Waters (Tatiana Maslany) actually gets laid in her show.

In fact, Jen also gets tea about Captain America’s (Chris Evans) sex life, which allegedly occurred off-screen in his first movie. Unlike the primarily sexless films, MCU shows have not been shy about letting characters like She-Hulk and Daredevil hook up. So when Matt Murdock aka Daredevil (Charlie Cox) stopped by She-Hulk earlier this year on Disney+, it seemed conceivable that maybe a new hot couple was in the making.

Flirting and eye-banging in a bar is always a promising start to these kinds of scenes. An actor who subtly stares at the object of their affection’s mouth is planting a flag, which Maslany does while Jen and Matt make small talk over drinks. But even with this build-up, I couldn’t let myself think that a Marvel coupling this hot would hook up so blatantly. Thankfully, I was wrong. She-Hulk certainly stumbled in its first season, yet it dealt with this guest appearance perfectly—right down to Matt’s morning-after stride of pride.

Jen Waters is far from the only character getting some. In fact, it has been a banner year for horny television.

We might be in the Too Much TV era, but this does come with the benefit of many different flavors of hot and heavy, from standard bedroom shenanigans to more adventurous trysts. With so many shows going at it hard this year, we wanted to spotlight the steamiest examples of this (most welcome) new TV phenomenon. There will inevitably be some absences—again, there was a lot of sexy TV—so think of this as a snapshot of 2022’s most scintillating (and occasionally jaw-dropping) hook-ups.

(Warning: Spoilers lie ahead for some of the year’s biggest TV series!)

Scripting a will-they-won’t-they slow-burn is a rite of passage for almost any series, and, when done right, it’s guaranteed to cause a jubilant reaction when a couple finally crosses that bedroom line. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel long toyed with Midge’s (Rachel Brosnahan) flirtation with Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby)—so long, in fact, that they seemed destined to be an unconsummated tease. At least, that is what Amy Sherman-Palladino wanted us to think.

Again, my cynicism led me to believe that sex was off the table. The season finale of Maisel in March proved me wrong. It is impossible to deny how much chemistry Brosnahan and Kirby share, and with each playful exchange, the electricity increased. My notes from that episode devolved into all caps before trailing off completely. The Maisel showrunners are no strangers to drawing things out (hello, Luke and Lorelai in Gilmore Girls), so I’m thankful they did leave this tryst until the final season..

Killing Eve’s writers know a lot about taking the long route, stretching its show’s flirty cat-and-mouse game over five seasons, before finally giving Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and Eve (Sandra Oh) a brief window into a happily ever after. In fanfiction, having to share one bed is a go-to prompt for telegraphing a sex act, so it seemed too good to be true when the former warring duo (hello, enemies-to-lovers) ended up snuggling in a single.

Rather than stabbing each other (a la Season 1), the duo scanned each other’s scars in an intimate exploration that would wind up being the roadmap that led to a long awaited kiss later in the finale. If this were a romantic comedy, the show would have ended there, with the duo pondering, “What next?” Alas, the nefarious Twelve still need to be taken down, and there is another target on Villanelle’s back. Killing Eve gave with one hand and definitely took away with the other, and vocal dissatisfaction dominated after it aired.

Not every tryst has been building for years. Hacks, for example, delivered a fleeting fiery encounter starring a ’90s teen fave. In Season 2, Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) leaves the safe confines of Vegas and, while touring new material, meets up with a man with whom she can forget Marty (Christopher McDonald), her on-again/off-again, friends-with-benefits paramour back home.

Nothing blows away the cobwebs quite like a new experience. A fortysomething stranger, played by former teen idol Devon Sawa, teaches Deborah about Uber, reminds her that post-coital beer is fantastic, and breaks down her creative barriers—and gives her a damn good time beneath the sheets in the process. Uncomplicated no-strings sex is everything she needs to get over her writer’s block. The day-after glow speaks volumes. (And the Hacks casting team did every millennial a favor by putting Sawa in this role)

Over on The Good Fight, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) signs up for ketamine-type therapy administered by the dreamy Dr. Bettencourt (John Slattery). Colors become sharper, and the brittle edges of the hostile world are dulled. Another side effect is that it makes Diane noticeably hornier, and she pictures herself in bed with Bettencourt and her husband, Kurt (Gary Cole). While a throuple or one-off threesome doesn’t become a reality, Diane fantasizes about a world where she could be with both of these handsome men.

The Good Fight creators Robert and Michelle King are no strangers to bending reality in the bedroom, as Evil can attest. In the third season of the twisty supernatural drama, newly ordained priest David (Mike Colter) thinks he had sex with his psychologist co-worker, Kirsten (Katja Herbers). Evil constantly calls into question whether events are actually happening in reality, so David being unsure about whether he actually got down and dirty with a demon version of Kristen fits within the show’s universe.

(This isn’t even the weirdest sex scene the husband-wife team has produced for TV. That honor still goes to my beloved BrainDead and the time Aaron Tveit’s character had to fuck the alien bugs out of Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s head while she ate a giant salami. This sounds like I am picking words out at random, but this did air on CBS and more of you should’ve watched the one-season delight.)

Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

From the surreal to the sublime, Ethan Hawke’s six-part docuseries The Last Movie Stars chronicles Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s 50-year partnership. It is a deep dive into the legendary couple’s on- and off-screen chemistry, with one surprisingly candid revelation about their sex life.

In the second episode, George Clooney reads Newman’s recollection of a home renovation project with a spicy twist: “She’d picked up a double bed from a thrift shop somewhere and a new Sealy mattress, and the room was painted some incredibly raucous color. She giggled shyly and said, ‘It’s called the Fuck Hut,’ and that’s where we go.” Newman pays tribute to Woodward for helping him tap into his own sexuality, which would then become a tool in his acting arsenal.

One couple with no say in an intimate conversation of theirs once again making headline news is the now-King of England and his future wife, Camilla. The infamous “Tampongate” scandal left many red-faced in 1989, but The Crown’s portrayal is far from embarrassing. It helps that Dominic West oozes sex even in this awkward exchange, and Charles should count his blessings that such a charming on-screen cad is playing the older version of him. (If this scene had occurred between the younger Crown counterparts, it might have read as more cringe.)

Even as The Crown creeps closer to modern-day with its new season, there was no shortage of costume drama romps in 2022. While the new season of Bridgerton was more chaste than its first, there were plentiful teases of sheer wet shirts and hot, antagonistic foreplay before its couple finally ripped each other’s clothes off.

The Gilded Age proved that marriage can be sexy, thanks to George (Morgan Spector) and Bertha Russell (Carrie Coon) still being so obviously horny for each other (and who can blame them). And on Ghosts, Hetty (Rebecca Wisocky), who is the left-behind spirit of the former lady of a New England manor, had no sex life to speak of when she was alive. With the help of her fellow ghosts, she finally experiences an orgasm, more than a century later. It turns out that death cannot stand in the way of pleasure when a loud, vigorous washing machine is on hand. Throughout Season 2, she has only gotten more turned on.

No self-pleasure scene this year, however, quite topped the outrageousness of 16-year-old Henry (Theo James) using his time-travel abilities to give himself a blow job in The Time Traveller’s Wife. While the series didn’t get renewed, it does enter the pantheon of ‘huh, so that happened’ sex acts in 2022. (See also: the exploding penis and everything during Herogasm in The Boys.)

Of course, James also starred in this year’s horniest show, The White Lotus. (Hulu’s college drama Tell Me Lies valiantly went for this title but is trying too hard.)

James summed up his character, Cameron’s, animalistic sensibility perfectly, saying, “There’s a possibility that he fucks anything and everything walking on legs.” Cameron and his wife, Daphne (Meghann Fahy), go at it like honeymooners. His appetite is so voracious that he even hires hookers when Daphne goes out of town for a night. Meanwhile in the adjoining room, former college roomie Ethan (Will Sharpe) and Harper (Aubrey Plaza) are in a sex drought.

Animosity and even jealousy bubble beneath the surface of the married frenemy foursome. (I thought something might happen between Harper and Daphne in Noto, but alas.) But there seems to be sexual awakenings happening all over the White Lotus hotel. The building’s manager, Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore), goes from wearing a knotted rope-patterned blazer to using her master key to get a birthday treat from Mia (Beatrice Grannò). And Albie (Adam DiMarco) ends up convincing himself he’s in a relationship with a sex worker who had also slept with and was paid by his father.

And that’s not to mention the season’s wildest stretch of sexual escapades, when Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) starts hooking up with hot hotel guest Jack (Leo Woodall)—only for her boss, Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge), to walk in on Jack “fucking his ‘uncle.’” (At least after all of that, Tanya does end up getting some, too—even if it kills her.)

Sicily in the summer might be the hottest destination for a good lay. But if the year of TV has taught us anything, it’s that horniness is for everyone—even superheroes.

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