Soap operas didn't earn the slogan "love in the afternoon" for nothing. Scandalous sex scenes are as much a part of the genre as comas, returns from the dead, and corporate takeovers. But have The Bold and the Beautiful, The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives, and General Hospital gone too far with their steamy sexcapades, or is it time for the soaps to amp up the raciness? Soap Central pulls the pants down on daytime bedroom behavior.
Sex sells. Just look at E.L. James's book trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, which recorded its 100 millionth sale early last year and is the basis for Universal's upcoming film series of the same name. Though the novels are riddled with controversial racy material (including kinky BDSM), they're some of the most popular and best-selling books of all time. But does that prove that America is hungry for mainstream erotic entertainment? And is there a place for such titillation in soap operas?
As B&B, Y&R, DAYS, and GH fans know, the current daytime serials are no strangers to provocative stories that have pushed the envelope. B&B featured an audible orgasm from Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) after she got hot and heavy with Deacon (Sean Kanan), as well as a risqué scene in which the same character and her daughter's boyfriend, Oliver (Zach Conroy), had silent mistaken-identity sex at a party -- while wearing masks. DAYS' Sami (Alison Sweeney) and E.J. (James Scott) had super-shocking love/hate grief sex following the supposed death of their son that included hair pulling, slaps, and tears of disgust. GH's Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) and Lulu (then played by Julie Marie Berman) had an intense and long-lasting romp that had Lulu topless by the time their mattress mambo began. And Y&R featured a shower sex scene between Nick (Joshua Morrow) and Phyllis (then played by Michelle Stafford) that was so graphic, it was on the other side of the "adults only" filter on YouTube.
The aforementioned scenes definitely got people talking, but are they for better or for worse? Sex might sell, but there is such a thing as going too far. For example, it was announced that Fifty Shades of Grey film director Sam Taylor-Johnson has chosen not to include one of the book's most talked-about scenes in the upcoming film -- the one in which Christian removes Ana's tampon so the couple can get it on. She explained that the decision was based on the sense that though explicit naughtiness is what prompted the books to explode, "there was too much sex" in the story, and she wanted to "balance the narrative correctly" for the film, which hits theaters on Thursday, February 12.
The remaining four daytime dramas also have to work hard to find balance between story and sex. On the one hand, seductive scenes showcase a natural human act and bring some viewers a fantasy element that they don't experience in their own lives. But on the other hand, many viewers feel that sex should stay behind closed doors rather than being blatantly blasted on their television screens. The latter was clearly shown back in 2004 after As the World Turns and Guiding Light aired bare bottoms of two male stars. The choice reportedly caused so much controversy, GL execs Comments section below, on our message boards, or by submitting Feedback.