tagReviews & EssaysTop 4 Shows of 2013 for Taboo Sex

Top 4 Shows of 2013 for Taboo Sex


Author's Note: This is one of my submissions to the Winter Lovin' contest. In the spirit of ringing in the New Year, what's better than looking back at TV's edgy moments in sex and celebrating them. I wasn't thinking of it throughout the year, so if you like it enough to want one next year, I'll keep it in mind throughout 2014. In any case, vote it up if you like this kind of article, and if you like this one in particular!


With the year coming to an end, it seemed fitting to look back on some of the more memorable moments in sex on TV. But not just any sex. For this article, I'm looking at taboo sex. The kind that makes you swallow your breath with a gulp and pause, and you ask yourself, "Did they just do that on television?"

In case you hadn't noticed, television has gotten a lot edgier in recent years.

What used to be the foray of film has now found its place on television: Taboo. Even blockbuster movies have flirted with things like incest before. Do you really think it was an accident, for example, that sexual tension existed between Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia? The whole saga was an allegory about human psychology and behavior, just like the film that heavily influenced it: The Wizard of Oz. Had C3PO lamented not having a heart, it wouldn't have been out of place.

But television is different. With TV, more time can be given to flesh out a character. Writers and audience members alike are coming to realize this in a big way. Whereas before, the formula for TV used to be: "Nothing changes week to week, because viewers have expectations;" now the formula seems to be: "Let's play, and see where the story takes us."

And it takes us to some very provocative places. People are becoming increasingly interested in what some have referred to as "novelization" for television. Shows like Breaking Bad have just proved, without a doubt, that people now expect shows to have a beginning, middle and end. It also raised the bar on quality.

This gets interesting on shows where risqué material is introduced -- not to spice things up, but to explore sides of human nature that have largely been unexplored.

If we ever get a story about incest in film or in fiction, we don't spend that much time with it. It always feels fleeting. But what if we actually stuck with a character that has sex with a family member. For a whole series. Where would that take us?

More and more shows are doing just that. I first noticed it when this type of take-it-as-far-as-it-can-go writing ethic resulted in Brenda finally having a sex fantasy about her brother, Billy, on HBO's Six Feet Under. Then, not to be outdone, Nate has sex with his new step-sister. It was crazy-good writing, especially because of what happens next on the show. I won't spoil it for you, but the act was not just some kinky sex thing, but was actually a stroke of genius on the part of the writers.

Other shows like Arrested Development, Boardwalk Empire, and more recently Pretty Little Liars have all touched on incest in different ways.

Game of Thrones is not on the list this year, but it might as well be. It was in its first episode three seasons ago that we see Cercei, mother to the current king, getting fucked by her brother Jamie. On screen.

However, if I was writing an article about the best sex scenes in general this year, I might have to include the one from this year's season of GOT involving Jon Snow and Ygrette. Nothing is hotter than a wildling woman seducing a celibate man into breaking his vow and doing the dirty with her. He proves to be quite good with his tongue, which she states repeatedly with a smile. That he is more of a lover than a fighter makes that sex scene very revealing. And it's in a cave. Need I say more?

Truth be told, it was actually the commercial I saw for Lifetime's upcoming made-for-TV movie adaptation of Flowers in the Attic that pressed me to write this article. The movie doesn't premiere until January, but it has already become one of the most buzzworthy TV events in a while. Even enough to result in a positive article by Jezabel. And it's been a long time since we've ever said that about a movie of any kind made by Lifetime.

But make no mistake: 2013 has continued an upward trend of taboo sex unlike any we've seen. Some of the stories are very hot, and some are just plain fucked up. But they all reflect a desire to see stories we've never seen before. Without further ado, let's look at four of them...

Note: some of these scenes can be considered spoilers, as they may reveal a season's plot.

1. House of Cards (Season 1) -- Journalist with Daddy Issues

If you haven't checked out the debut series by Netflix, you are missing out. The story about a corrupt Congressman named Frank Underwood is beautifully filmed and directed by David Fincher. The show includes some of the most deeply complex characters ever presented in this type of setting.

The plot involving an equally ambitious journalist willing to sleep with the much older Congressman feels a bit fast and forced, but only at first. It's only because it isn't really explained just what might drive Zoe Barnes to do something so shallow, even in the world of American politics. Then, out of nowhere, a scene involving Zoe's father happens and takes the whole show to another level.

The Congressman meets her at her apartment to share insider info as they've done many times by this point, then eventually reminds her that it's Father's Day and that she should call her father. She does, but as she's talking to him, Frank guides her to the bed. He slips off her panties and pushes her dress up, and while she talks to her dad on the phone, he goes down on her. Her father asks if she's coming to Christmas dinner, and she says, "I'm coming," just as she comes.

After the phone call is over, she makes a comment about him not having any kids. He simply looks up at her from between her legs and says, "Don't I?"

That is the moment when you gasp and ask the question, "Did they just do that on television?"

2. American Horror Story (Season 3) -- The Undead Boy Toy

Sometimes when talking about taboo, it's easy to give the entire spotlight to incest. It's a big one, but so is necrophilia.

American Horror Story is an anthology series, which means each season is a completely different story with different characters. This means you can watch only the current season if you want to, but the two prior seasons are just as edgy.

The current season of American Horror Story is indeed all about incest, too, though. After all, it is about a witch's coven, so there's bound to be lots of talk of family and ancestry. In fact, Fiona, known in the story as the "supreme" because she's the most powerful witch, is a reluctant villain played wonderfully by Jessica Lange. In the very last episode that aired before the holiday break, we find out that a certain ghost has been watching her grow up in the very house the coven lives in. After she and the ghost make love, he reveals this all to her, even referring to her as the daughter he never had.

But the real story of kink is the story of young Zoe Benson, the young witch who is likely going to be the next "supreme." Right off the bat, we see her kill a boy when she tries to have sex for the first time. Turns out she's sorta like Rogue, but with sex. She even kills a bad guy in a hospital room by having sex with him.

But when her new love interest becomes collateral damage in an act of vengeance by Madison, a fellow witch, she brings him back from the dead. And she does so very, very badly.

The undead version is an uncontrollable brute that speaks gibberish. He returns home, much to the surprise of his mother, and we learn that the two previously had a sexual relationship. He kills her in a fit of rage, and it seems like a hopeless cause to save him.

That is until he fucks Madison, also back from the dead after having been killed herself. Zoe walks in on them, not sure if she should be jealous or relieved.

Madison later finds Zoe in the bathroom wearing a towel, and explains that he did it because they both came back from the dead. Or in zombie-speak: "You're dead, too? Ok, let's fuck."

But just when you think it's going to become some boring love triangle, Madison invites her to bed. She finds him on the bed, drops her towel, and the three of them have undead sex together. She has the first sex of her life with a man she knows she can't kill, and is joined by a sister witch to boot. Now that's television!

3. Top of the Lake (Season 1) -- Doesn't Work Out for Sister

Top of the Lake is the first miniseries to be screened at the Sundance Film Festival, and has received many awards and rave reviews. It is certainly one of the darkest and most twisted shows on television, and its treatment of incest is a good deal less erotic.

I can say that of the few incest stories I've written for Literotica, the response suggests that there are two audiences out there: those looking for fantasy and those seeking catharsis.

Some people are drawn to incest stories because they are forbidden, and just the idea of them is really hot. For example, there's a wonderful article here on Literotica written by the user "superstition", which is an attempt to defend why she writes and reads rape fantasies. It's not because she's been raped, wants to be raped, or has issues or any of that stuff. The reason, she says, is that it's just hot. And I get that. I get how the very idea of a thing can be titillating, even if the reality of it is not. There's a world of difference between the idea of sister-fucking in general, and wanting to fuck your actual sister. But maybe that's just me.

For others, though, the connection is much deeper. For some, real experience with incest makes the stories a necessary outlet, and an often painful one at that.

Top of the Lake is more geared toward the latter. It does not make judgments about characters, even to treat victims of abuse as somehow broken. Instead, it just shows them for what they are. Most of what they've become is under the surface, and much of the mystery comes from not knowing just what these people are hiding. Several very odd women set up a retreat by the lake, for example, and not much is known about the history of these strange women other than that they all have been abused in some way.

The protagonist, Robin, decides to investigate the potential rape of a teenage girl while staying with her dying mother. It becomes clear that her motivation for catching the guy who did it is personal. But where the story, much like Twin Peaks to which it has been compared, seems to focus on the sexual abuse of the girl (presumably by her father), the show takes a rather interesting and unexpected turn towards the end of its seven-episode series.

It is revealed that Robin has been sleeping with her half brother. But instead of becoming skittish around him and breaking it off, she curls up to him and says one of the creepiest lines on TV this year.

In a sultry voice, she looks at him and says, "Hello, Brother."

He rejects her, leaving her feeling as broken as ever. But suddenly, the presence of all of those odd women up at the top of the lake make a lot more sense to us as viewers. She curls up like a cat and cries, knowing as we've known about the other women, that it might never get better.

4. The Returned (Season 1) -- Lots of Sex With Lots of Dead People

This show might actually be my favorite new show on TV. It says a lot that a French show has now been syndicated on an American TV network as is, rather than simply remaking it, a la The Killing. It shows a whole new level of sophistication for American audiences that we don't mind foreign shows, so long as they tell a good story. Most shows you can listen to while you clean or cook and not miss much, because TV is all about the dialogue. But with a foreign show, you have to read and pay attention.

And pay attention you will.

This gem of a show is a take on the undead that really is something different. The Returned is a show about a small town that has secrets. It is some of the most compelling storytelling, so much so that I don't want to give that much away. Actually, for a taste of what the show has to offer, look no further than the first episode.

Four years after a school bus drives off a cliff, killing dozens, young Camille returns. She goes home, thinking it is the same day and not knowing what happened. The first time her mother sees her daughter alive in the kitchen, nonchalantly fixing a sandwich and apologizing for being late, she is positively petrified, but acts calm. It sets a trend that we see repeated on the show, which you don't normally see on horror shows: people reacting to fantastic situations with realistically abject denial.

You would think that she would throw her arms around her, overjoyed at seeing her daughter again. But think about it. Would you? Or would you fear for your own sanity? That's why, whatever sex happens on the show, it feels just on the other side of comfortable. Because the show gets under your skin, and never lets you forget that these people are D-E-A-D dead.

The scene later in the episode where her sister Lena discovers that Camille has returned still gives me shivers when I think about it. It gives me chills because of how honest it is. And much of what happens afterward only strengthens the bond between them as sisters.

But nothing says it as powerfully as the final scene to that first episode. It is a flashback of her on the bus just before it went over. It crosscuts between Lena, back at the house and having sex with the boy Camille had the hots for, and Camille on the bus feeling every second of Lena's pleasure. She feels her sister's orgasm, and it's enough to make her try and stop the bus to get off. But in her hysteria, she causes the driver to take them over the cliff.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, though. Things get stranger still when some of the undead begin to scar and rot. It is always more interesting to see how characters react to these things than to know what is causing them. But I have a suspicion that we have only scratched the surface of taboo on a show like this, and to really know what I mean you'll just have to see it for yourself.

Next year...

As I said, Lifetime's movie is going to start 2014 off with a bang. Who knows what the year holds, and what I may be writing about by this time next year? With Jaime back in King's Landing on Game of Thrones, we might once again see the re-emergence of the storyline involving him and Cersei. I know from the books that their secret comes out eventually, but what happens and how will be very interesting to see.

I am behind on shows like Boardwalk Empire, and I have never seen Pretty Little Liars. I did, however, just start watching a brilliant little show on Showtime called Shameless, and this is the sort of show that just might go to some of these interesting places I've mentioned. I'm only on episode four, and already the drunken father has moved in with the kinky mother of his son's girlfriend (potentially making the teens step-siblings). That could get interesting.

I'm sure there were more moments this year that I've left out, and there might have even be some other things on TV this year that are still very much taboo, even in our culture, that shouldn't be expected to make it onto television. If I've missed any, please let me know in the comments and I will check it out. But if you haven't seen any of these shows, I highly suggest you ring in the new year by grabbing yourself some egg nog, inviting some friends over and checking them out.

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