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Sex on TV gets a hard look – and yes, that’s what they said

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Laura Prepon, Emily Tarver in “Orange Is the New Black” — Netflix/JoJo Whilden

(NOTE LANGUAGE, CONTENT) While sex and sexual discussions on TV are nothing new, the sex-friendly site Roam analyzed some of the most popular shows in history to see how the act is portrayed, talked about and even joked about — all to see which shows are moving the needle forward in a positive way.

To that end, Roam’s experts scrubbed through some 10 million lines of dialogue culled from 40 different shows, ranging from The Office to Orange is the New Black, and made some interesting finds.

For example, the long-running Always Sunny in Philadelphia topped the others with some 231 mentions of sex, just one above How I Met Your Mother. Sex and the City clocked in at a comparatively chaste 173, good enough for third place, topping Friends (149). OITNB rounded off the top 5 with 94.

That said, there was a quality element, too. For example, Roam’s experts judged each mention on inclusivity and whether contraception or consent was mentioned. There’s “room for improvement,” the site’s experts say.

Sex and the City “was considered really progressive for its time,” the site’s expert says, noting, “Much like the other series we’ve covered [it] is a product of its time and … the conversation around sex and sexuality has changed a lot since it was on the air.”

In other words, in many ways it doesn’t hold up compared to today’s sensibilities. That said, it did get credit for leading the way in bringing female pleasure to the forefront.

OITNB was hailed with bringing LGBTQ issues to the mainstream, both in terms of same-sex relationships and bringing issues like transphobia to TV.

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