On January 11th, 2021, you may have heard the collective sigh of relief from women everywhere when HBO announced that Sex and the City would be returning to TV. This is the news we needed. It’s hard to believe it’s been 17 years since the series finale aired. It feels like just yesterday we were drinking cosmo's with Samantha, Miranda, Carrie, and Charlotte.
Along with many other women, I got most of my sex education for Sex and the City. It wasn’t something I was consciously aware of at the time, but looking back, it’s crystal clear. Getting a sex education from a sitcom doesn’t always spell success; however, with SATC, there were some solid lessons to be learned. In honor of its return to television, let’s take a look back at everything Sex and the City taught us about sex.
To use protection and get tested often.
The topic of safe sex was addressed in a few episodes. In Season 3, Episode 11, Carrie questions, “Is sex ever safe?” and Samantha finally meets her match in the bedroom. A man she describes as the “male version of herself.” To Samantha’s dismay, he refuses to have sex with her because she hasn’t had an HIV test. She was extremely anxious about receiving her results, but they came back negative.
Although it was concerning that Samantha waited this long to get tested, the fact that the topic was brought up was important. Later in Season 4, Miranda revealed she was pregnant and that even with one lazy ovary and one ball – it’s possible. These episodes highlighted the importance of protection and getting tested.
That Jackrabbit sex is terrible.
I’m so grateful to Sex and the City for giving us this term to describe this terrible type of sex. It’s believed that this technique is learned from watching too much porn and not paying attention to their partner.
Either way, women need to prioritize their pleasure, and if you are “jackrabbited,” something needs to change. Consider the wise words spoken by Samantha, “F—k me badly once, shame on you. F—k me badly twice, shame on me”.
To take control of our own pleasure.
Many women will remember the pivotal moment when we were introduced to “the Rabbit.”
It was a moment of sexual liberation and quickly became a best-selling item. Before Sex and the City, vibrators were more taboo and were certainly not talked about on TV. This episode found Charlotte, the more prim and proper character, introduced to the Rabbit by Carrie and Miranda – “Look! Oh, it’s so cute. I thought it would be all scary and weird, but it isn’t. It’s pink! For girls! Look. The little bunny has a little face like Peter Rabbit”.
Charlotte quickly became enthralled with her Rabbit Vibrator and stopped leaving the house until the girls held an intervention. The Rabbit is so special because it stimulates the clitoris and G-spot at the same time, resulting in incredible orgasms. Seeing this group of friends talk so shamelessly about self-pleasure and vibrators was revolutionary.
As women, we should embrace our sexuality.
For so many years, there has been a double standard for men and women when it comes to sex. A man with many sexual partners is celebrated where a woman is condemned. Sex and the City took a stand on this, thanks to Samantha’s strong sexual energy.
Samantha is a great communicator, openly expressing what she wanted and how she wanted to be pleasured. As a sexually liberal woman, she faced her share of judgment and wasn’t having it. One of my all-time favorite quotes was when she said, “I will wear whatever, and blow whomever I want, as long as I can breathe and kneel.” Preach.
You shouldn’t judge a person by their sexual fetish.
Before Sex and the City, you may assume that a man who liked golden showers would be strange and unhinged in more ways than one. Thanks to HBO, the show broke this stereotype down in one episode. Carrie’s boyfriend, a funny, charismatic, successful, and handsome politician, liked to be peed on. And although it wasn’t Carries thing, it showed us that you can’t judge someone for their sexual fetish.
It’s okay to be single in your 30s and 40s and still be having sex.
In 2021, it seems kind of crazy to think that not that long ago, women were judged for a) having sex out of wedlock and b) being “unmarried” in their 30s and 40s. Sex and the City was not about this, and although their age wasn’t ignored, it wasn’t the theme of the show nor a continuous plotline. One-night stands, casual sexual relationships, and sex within marriage were all shown on the SATC. No matter the relationship, sex can be both incredibly hot or dull.
As Carrie taught us, “Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with”.
That sexual health issues and conditions can happen to anyone.
Charlotte looked like she had a perfect life – Park Ave apartment, doctor husband, a job at an art gallery, and yet she was still diagnosed with vulvodynia. Charlotte experiences vaginal itching and burning, so she went to her gynecologist, where she received her official diagnosis. Although it is believed that this condition wasn’t accurately displayed, it did get people talking. With Charlotte's character, we also witnessed her deal with her husband’s impotence and later infertility.
Sex and the City helped friends and couples bring up these topics and start talking. Fetishes, anal sex, and swinging were finally put on the table. Thankfully we live a more sexually liberal world than we did in the 90s, and I like to think that Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte all played a small part in liberating us.