A Board-Certified Gynecologist Reveals Lies About Sex in Netflix's Steamy Show Bridgerton
Trigger warning: The following article mentions sexual assault.
Oh, Bridgerton! How we love your corsets, NSFW scenes, and Duke of Hastings charm galore (sigh). Staci Tanouye, MD, a board-certified gynecologist based out of Florida, is nonetheless calling out a few misconceptions about sex and sexual health that the show promotes.
In the first of four TikTok videos, Dr. Tanouye said a person's first time will most likely not be as "graceful" and "pleasurable" as Daphne's (if you can recall, Daphne's exact words are, "I feel wonderful!"). However, Dr. Tanouye said it's perfectly OK because "good sex takes time, practice, and communication." Amen to that!
"Hollywood in general has given us a fantasy world of sex, which has skewed how people view how sex should be," Dr. Tanouye further told POPSUGAR, adding that glamorizing sex as "easily mind-blowing every single time" creates an unrealistic expectation and sets people up for disappointment. This is especially the case, she said, for people with vaginas "who feel inadequate over not being able to orgasm with penetrative sex when that is actually the norm." (Fact: only 25 percent of those with vaginas reach orgasm through penetration alone.)
Secondly, Dr. Tanouye called out Simon's faith in the pullout method as his only form of birth control with Daphne. In fact, withdrawal is only about 78 percent effective. "The pullout method has a failure rate of 22 percent," Dr. Tanouye noted, "so if Simon thinks he's going to be childless forever with that, eh . . . " Factors that come into play are pre-ejaculation, which may contain sperm, as well as improper timing.
Dr. Tanouye further told POPSUGAR that it's problematic to have this depiction of the pullout method because it's not an accurate portrayal of long-term birth control. "Obviously with historical period dramas, there are no other options, so it's understandable that Bridgerton would highlight this method. However, the duke presents it as a permanent long-term solution, which doesn't translate well into modern times," she said. "Typical-use failure of withdrawal is around 22 percent, meaning 22 out of 100 couples per year will become pregnant using this method."
As a Bridgerton fan, it's good to have these important reveals courtesy of an experienced doctor — and we didn't even need Lady Whistledown to do any snooping! Keep reading for more misconceptions explained by Dr. Tanouye.
Lies in Bridgerton: First Time and the Pullout Method
This video talks about the misconceptions we discussed above.
Lies in Bridgerton: Masturbation
While Dr. Tanouye pointed out that masturbation can decrease anxiety and help with depression — and that it's a good thing — Daphne wouldn't necessarily climax after a minute of trying for the first time. The time it takes to reach climax, Dr. Tanouye told POPSUGAR, is "different for everyone and also depends on your own comfort and experience. Practice makes perfect!"
Lies in Bridgerton: Teas and Pregnancy
One major misconception that Dr. Tanouye wanted to address (and said she still sees "all over TikTok") is the part when Marina tries to drink a special tea to end her pregnancy. In the show, she initially thinks it works, only to find out later that it did not. Dr. Tanouye said drinking an herbal concoction like this can be dangerous and potentially fatal. Read more about that here.
Lies in Bridgerton: Sexual Assault
There's a controversial scene in Bridgerton where Daphne shifts herself on top of Simon so he can't use the pullout method he's relied on throughout the show. He's clearly alarmed, and there have been many discussions criticizing the way this rape scene is depicted (in the novel on which the show is based, evidently, the scene is even more problematic because Simon comes home drunk).
Intimacy coordinator for Bridgerton Lizzy Talbot told Insider, "my job is the welfare of the actors and making sure they were safe the entire time. I think it's created a really great conversation around consent. And what it looks like, regardless of gender."
Dr. Tanouye said in this video, "If one partner is forcing the other partner to do something sexually that they don't want to do, that's sexual assault." She continued, "Depicting that scene as some part of power move against his will is wrong and false."