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Horny for Bridgerton

By Melanie Greenberg, M.Ed, LSW

Why is everyone so horny for Bridgerton?

When I was a tweenager, going to the movies was one of the main highlights of my social life. Every weekend, my best friend and I would choose which movie we would like to spend our money on. Her parents would drop us off if mine picked us up. Once or twice, we would sneak into a second movie, believing it was the most scandalous thing we could do.

I was a tween in the early aughts–the height of the chick flick genre. I saw them all. I was a voracious reader at that time and began devouring my older sister’s chick lit during the week, and watching pretty women fall in love with pretty, and often problematic, men on the weekends. Somewhere along the way into my teenage years and early 20s, it became uncool to believe in romance. It got to the point in college where I’d convinced myself that romance made me uncomfortable. Give me sex and situationships and I could pretend with the rest of them that, “I like you but I don’t want a girlfriend,” was enough for me.


Halfway through graduate school, a friend of mine recommended that I try reading a contemporary romance novel for fun; she wanted my opinion on the neurodivergent main character exploring sexuality. I went into it with a purpose and came out on the other side with a renewed love for romance and reading.

I’m not sure why I was so reluctant to dive into Bridgerton, but I allowed season one and all of its fanfare to pass without a second thought; it was never even on my queue. Fast forward to season two’s premiere and I finally stopped trying to be too cool for historical romance. What started as a, “Fine, I’ll give it a shot,” response to my sister begging me to watch it, turned into a weekend binge of seasons one and two, barely leaving my bed between episodes. I came out of a haze on Monday morning, feeling like I had experienced a fever dream of gentlemen and ladies brushing noses and sneaking longing glances. So, what is it about Bridgerton that gets us going? Why are we so drawn in by the stories and characters?

Yearning. Anticipation. Tension.

After becoming a romance connoisseur, I learned there are several tropes and everyone has their feelings on their favorite trope. Season two dropped and it pictured an exquisite “enemies to lovers” story. Not only enemies to lovers, but forbidden. Eight episodes filled with heavy breathing, a brush of hands, grazing noses, getting so close to satisfaction and having to teeter on the edge and wait! What is it about yearning, anticipation, and tension that is so sexy?

Sexual tension is everything leading up to the act of sex (whatever sex might look like for you). It often happens when we desire someone but we do not act on those desires. It can often feel like butterflies or a spark. In my sex therapy circles, we sometimes refer to it as “a tingle.”

Feeling seen and understood can create safety and increases sexual chemistry. So much of Bridgerton season two relies on eye contact, one of the key signs of sexual attraction, a window to the soul. While holding eye contact can feel and be very vulnerable during intimate moments, it can trigger the release of the pleasure hormone, dopamine, creating excitement and happiness. Watching Kate and Anthony engage in moments of longing felt like being part of it.


The use of camera angles and choreography made it easy to imagine being on the other end of a look of desire and need. Since Bridgerton season two was released in March, I’ve assigned several clients the homework of watching Bridgerton and paying attention to signs of arousal. One of my clients, (whom I received permission to use a conversation we participated in during one session) stated that watching Kanthony interact made her realize that she wanted to feel desired and respected. We discussed how Anthony respected Kate but made it known that she was on his mind, infiltrating his thoughts. We dove in further, dissecting how frustrating and difficult it can be to exist in a world where men aren’t taught or given permission to voice their desire and need for a woman in a way that is respectful and hot. This opened up a larger discussion on how women are not taught to prioritize their pleasure and desire, but that’s a conversation for another blog post.

Bridgerton was created for a woman’s gaze, something our culture and society hasn’t prioritized for women historically. This is my theory on why Bridgerton made everyone so horny and excited–it mixed erotica with romantic context and created something enjoyable but relatable. Most people long to be seen, heard, and accepted for the parts of them that are incredible, and also the parts of them that are flawed.

If you are interested in exploring more about sexuality and pleasure, keep checking back on the blog as I will be writing more posts. If you are interested in any particular subject around sexuality, we would love to hear your thoughts! If you’re experiencing any distress around sexuality, reach out to Therapy for Women Center to book a session with me or our other sex therapist on staff, Fern Formel.