The Sex on Sex and the City, Reviewed


For the 20th anniversary of Sex and the City—which premiered on HBO on June 6, 1998 and went on to become iconic prestige television—Jezebel is doing a week of posts dedicated to our favorite band of sexual women friends.

The first word in Sex and the City’s title is “sex,” but in retrospect most of that sex on the show is pretty vanilla. It’s possible that Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte normalized a lot of sex activity that wasn’t openly talked about in the ’90s, or that these band of friends made certain types of sex so mainstream that it got worked into people’s everyday sex vocabulary. But these days, there’s something sweetly innocent about how the women of SATC giggle about asshole licking over brunch.

Upon deeper reflection, I realized I’ve done basically everything on the show and most of it was not nearly as wild as promised. If SATC had a hand in making me more sexually free, well, thank you for corrupting my youthful mind. The student is now the master.

Here are my personal ratings of the types of sex on SATC, on a scale from 1 to 10—with 1 being as forgettable as Skipper, and 10 being it’s not TV, it’s HBO. *

Having Sex “Like Men” (Without Emotional Attachment)

This is sort of the opening premise of the show—women are free to fuck as much as they want now, but the series goes back and forth about how possible it is to do that without falling in love. Even Samantha, an inspirational sex pirate, catches feelings a few times. This is true to life—we all fall in love when we’re not expecting it. But SATC, much like society in general, often told women they must inevitably feel deeply, and consequently be hurt, after casual sex. I disagree! You CAN have sex “like men,” or like a human: just for the fun of it.

My Personal Rating: 10/10

Sex on Camera

Never my face, lord no. Mostly because I don’t want to know what my face looks like during sex. Who needs to be self-conscious about their weird orgasm eye-twitch? Being recorded in an intimate moment is fun, but then there are pics/videotapes, whatever, of your bod out there for someone to enjoy and review, even if they should no longer get to. That’s a lot. I would say, not worth doing unless it’s really your kink. Or if you were doing it before the internet really caught on, like Samantha, who demanded to be videotaped after finding out one of her conquests was taping women in secret. Um, actually, call the police, Sam!

My Personal Rating: 3/10

A Way Too Big Penis

Like Samantha, this is also how I made my first man friend. Just kidding, I’m not friends with men. On the show, the only way Samantha wouldn’t have sex with someone is if they literally couldn’t fit inside her, and I think she would approve this rating.

My Personal Rating: 2/10

Sex With A Much Younger Man

Not worth it sexually and embarrassing to admit to.

My Personal Rating: 1/10

A Way Too Small Penis

Would you really dump the love of your life, perfect for you in every way, because their genitals were not perfectly suited to your tastes? Please! I couldn’t believe Samantha was willing to throw away James because of a small peen (“His dick is like a gherkin!” Samantha exclaims). Who wrote that stupid plotline?

My Personal Rating: 6/10

Secret Sex

This is hard, because secret sex with a friend or roommate is absolutely thrilling—and it also always ends in disaster. If you love drama, confusion, and a kick in the teeth to your self-esteem, secret sex is for you. Mr. Big knew what he was doing when he took Carrie to that Chinese restaurant over and over.

My Personal Rating: 8/10

Sex With An Older Man

Young women, in their lifetime, will encounter older men. Some are hot. Some will be good at sex. Some you will look back on when you’re older and think, “What the hell was wrong with them?” It’s rarer that you date an actual geriatric millionaire like Samantha briefly did. They’re more often like Mr. Big—a little too old to still be on their bullshit. But if you escape intact, it’s a learning experience! Carrie never does.

My Personal Rating: 4/10

Threesome With a Man and a Woman

Threesomes make for fun stories and memories. You also often have interesting conversations with two other people when all three of you are naked in a bed. However, I personally find threesomes so stimulating, I can’t really relax and enjoy them while they’re happening, and have heard similar things from partners. Organizing is also a drag, but maybe people showed up in a more timely fashion for threesomes before texting.

My Personal Rating: 7/10

Threesome With Two Men

I didn’t pick two gay guys, like Samantha, so it worked out great.

My Personal Rating: 8/10

Watching Porn During Sex

In that episode with Miranda and the porn guy, they make it seem like porn is the problem, not that he was using her body as a masturbatory tool and seemed completely disinterested in her pleasure. It doesn’t have to be that way, but I think an open discussion about what kind of porn you want to watch together is good, because I’ve had people spring some shit on me.

My Personal Rating: 3/10

Anal Sex

Not for me, but it is certainly mainstream and worth giving a shot. You might discover a whole new thing to do with your anus, and discovery is what makes being human so special. But if the very idea makes you as upset as it does Charlotte, I think that’s a hard no. The decision shouldn’t require an emergency cab ride.

My Personal Rating: 1/10

Sex With an Exhibitionist

Hi, Will Arnett, yes, I will fuck you in a garden in the West Village.

My Personal Rating: 9/10

Butthole Licking—Giving/Receiving

Ten out of 10 times, I’d rather have my pussy licked, but sure, go to town, friend. Again, a nice thing to do for someone else, if they like it. It is still shocking to me that only Charlotte would agree with that.

My Personal Rating: 4/10

Dirty Talker

Dirty talk is the kind of thing you don’t even realize how much you enjoy until someone won’t speak up. Fully on the side of Miranda’s fella who wanted her to get raunchy and explicit.

My Personal Rating: 10/10

Finger in the Guy’s Butthole

Fine, until he got upset about admitting to getting a finger in the butthole. Please. Again, not for everyone, but definitely an easy thing to do for a partner who likes it. Just ask first.

My Personal Rating: 5/10

Faking an Orgasm

I didn’t think I had ever faked an orgasm, but then I remembered I did. This is the Skipper of sex.

My Personal Rating: 0/10

A Golden Shower

This is the prudiest prude moment in the whole series. Carrie, he wants you to pee on him. At his own house, in the tub. That’s such an easy request and clean up. Instead, you humiliate him publicly? I don’t even get off on pissing on people, but golden showers deserve a redemptive score.

My Personal Rating: 10/10

Sex With Someone Uncircumcised

They do not look like shar peis, gimme a break.

My Personal Rating: 9/10

Someone Who Just Eats You Out

Hell yeah. Charlotte, relax.

My Personal Rating: 10/10

A Weird Dildo

What was up with that dildo Maria gave Samantha? It looked like a favor at a bachelorette party. It’s hard to rate this one, because I don’t believe two people could have functional sex with that thing. But a real strap-on is fun. My score is cumulative based on experience and imagining wearing a pair of granny panties with a floppy plastic penis taped onto it.

My Personal Rating: 3/10

Did I forget anything? If so, I have the next 20 years to get to it. By then, sex with robots will be completely banal.

* Your ratings may not match mine. I expect a lively and respectful debate.

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