For the most part, sex scenes on TV are always the same: a cis-hetero couple going at it missionary style.
But as most people with a vagina know, missionary doesn’t always get the job done.
So why is it then, that shows are afraid to show other ways to achieve orgasm? Because as we all know, there are tons of ways for couples — all types of couples — to enjoy themselves.
Fortunately, a few shows have had great depictions of sex toys and how they can help you achieve sexual pleasure, whether solo or with a partner. Check out our favorites below.
1. Sex And the City
We’re going to start off with a classic — Sex And the City.
SATC had numerous moments in which they integrated sex toys seamlessly into the show. But perhaps the most notorious one was the episode in which they introduced Charlotte to the Rabbit.
Charlotte’s never owned a vibrator and the Rabbit completely rocks her world — so much so that she ends up needing an intervention!
The episode was so influential that women were quite literally lining up at sex shops to buy the Rabbit for themselves. According to Vibratex, the company that creates the iconic vibrator, sales increased by more than 700% in the years following the SATC episode.
The plotline is great because it shows how every woman — no matter how uncomfortable around sex they are — can enjoy using a vibrator. And although they do shame Charlotte a bit for going overboard (hey, everything in moderation!), the show mostly does a good job of encouraging female pleasure and self-exploration.
On top of showcasing vibrators, SATC also featured other sex toys, like the strap-on Samantha used while briefly dating a woman named Sonia. Sonia agrees to use one after Samantha realizes she misses vaginal penetration.
2. Broad City
Broad City has always been sex-positive, especially when it comes to female pleasure.
But perhaps the most memorable sex scene actually had to do with male pleasure, in which Abbi’s crush asks her to wear a strap-on so they can peg.
At first, Abbi is shocked. But with a little encouragement from Ilana (err, a lot of encouragement), she ends up embracing the idea and goes for it. Ilana is thrilled, as are Ilana’s parents — who also decide to peg in the end too!
The season 2 episode is still considered one of Broad City‘s best ever and has since become iconic.
3. Grace & Frankie
Grace & Frankie decided to not only tackle vibrators but also to destigmatize the idea that older adults are still horny as hell!
After discussing how solo play often gives them arthritis, the friends decide to create an elderly-friendly vibrator company called Vybrant.
Although their test subjects are a bit reluctant at first for fear of stigma, they eventually admit that they are thrilled to try the product and the company is a huge success.
The show does a great job of showing that women deserve pleasure, no matter what age they are, and deserve sex toys that are made just for them.
4. Master of None
Master of None is one of the few shows that introduced a different type of sex toy — the wedge.
In an attempt to spice up his sex life with live-in girlfriend Rachel, Dev decides to buy “the Liberator”, aka a wedge pillow made for a variety of sex positions.
According to the director of the episode, Eric Wareheim,
“They didn’t want to do a dildo or a vibrator or anything that was too out there. I feel like the Liberator is just the right balance of, ‘Hey, let’s spice it up,’ while also being so hilariously nondescript.”
The episode is great because it shows another way couples can use toys together, even if they’re not quite ready to bring out the big guns. It’s important for couples to know that there are sex accessories they can use, even if they’re just beginners.
5. Orange Is the New Black
Just because you’re in prison, doesn’t mean you’re not still horny! So the women in Orange Is the New Black have to get a bit… creative.
Many of the inmates end up having to craft their own sex toys. Boo creates a makeshift dildo out of a screwdriver and Doggett ends up using a cell phone to get off.
The actress who plays Boo, Lea DeLaria, said that the scene is so popular that she even has fans asking her to sign their screwdriver.
She once told Bustle,
“I was walking past the Ace Hardware on the corner approximately a half a block from my apartment. One of the employees came running out screaming, ‘Big Boo, Big Boo, would you please sign my screwdriver?'”
Sense8 has a really great sex scene between a lesbian couple, Amanita and Nomi, in which Amanita uses a strap-on. The two are celebrating Pride and are shown to be totally satisfied after sex.
The scene is particularly notable because Nomi is a trans woman (as is the actress who plays her) so the representation is really off the charts!
7. You’re the Worst
In only five seasons, You’re the Worst somehow managed to get in a ton of scenes of sex toys.
Vibrators seem to show up everywhere — Boone’s house, Jimmy’s car, everywhere!
Perhaps the most notable scene, however, was when Gretchen accidentally leaves her vibrator plugged in next to her Christmas lights and she burns her apartment down! Oops.
Of course, the writers couldn’t help but reference the scene several seasons later in season 4, when Jimmy realizes his car seat is on fire due to a bunch of Christmas lights and a vibrator.
That’s not the only memorable vibrator scene, of course. We also catch a glimpse of a mini vibrator at Boone’s house while Gretchen is snooping around. Gretchen jokes that the vibrator is “amateur” and later laughs about it with Lindsay, who calls it a “children’s vibrator.”
UnReal has perhaps one of the most realistic female masturbation scenes on TV and, naturally, it involves a vibrator.
While off work in the van, Rachel uses a vibrator as she watches porn on her phone.
The scene is so noteworthy precisely because it’s so mundane. The show makes it seem like masturbation is just a regular part of her day (as it should be!) and doesn’t make a bigger deal out of it than it should. It’s exactly scenes like this that help destigmatize the use of sex toys.
Feature photo credit: Martamenchini
The feature photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.