Birds do it, bees do it, even educated flees do it, so it's no wonder that we see our fair share of rumpy pumpy on the telly these days, but why are some shows chock 'a' block with sex? And do they really need so much of it to keep the viewers coming back for more?
Let's get one thing straight here lads, I'm no prude. Having been raised on a healthy diet of So Graham Norton (back in the Betty days folks) and exposed to Sex and The City at a young age, I'm probably one of the most liberal minded viewers I know. That said, while watching a recent episode of smash hit US spy drama The Americans, I found myself rolling my eyes when the leading cast members went at it yet again. Is it really necessary to have that many sex scenes in one episode? I found myself asking.
When I thought about I realised it wasn't the first time I'd done that either: I raised the eyebrow just a tad when someone was already 'at it' within the first 5 minutes of Banshee, chuckled at the endless array of sex scenes in Game of Thrones, and burst out laughing at the sheer amount of nudity I encountered when watching True Blood for the first time. Don't even get me started on Rome: That was a historical laugh and a half.
Would these shows still be smash hits if you cut back on the old coitus? The US networks don't seem to think so, but the BBC took the gamble by toning The White Queen down for UK viewers. Sure, the series has its fair share of sizzling scenes, but star Max Irons explained that they were nothing compared to what US viewers would see on Starz. "You get a lot more arse in the Starz version - the cameras kept rolling after the BBC stopped the scene" he told Metro's Life&Style supplement. A spokesman for the series told the The Daily Telegraph that the camera had only kept rolling for an additional 30 seconds "on two or three" occasions, granted, but it's still interesting to hear what the US networks want.
Of course we can argue that more sex on TV is ultimately a good thing, right? It gets people talking, encourages people to ask questions, and can serve to shatter the old taboo status. And sure half the actors involved feel as though it's empowering to strip down and get steamy anyway: If you've got it, flaunt it, and all that jazz.
Take Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss for example: She returns to our TV screens in detective drama Top of the Lake this Saturday night. The show is primarily a crime drama, but there's been quite the hullabaloo about Ms Moss' steamy scenes with one of her co-stars. She admits that she was nervous about stripping down at first, but because the right director was behind the project, and the scenes were woven into the tale rather carefully, she ultimately had no problem with it. "You go through all this negotiation about what you'll show, and then you get there, three months in and tired, and you're just, 'Whatever, let's just do it'", she said.
Top of The Lake seems like one of those shows that has managed to strike the balance though: There's solid drama with the odd bit of rumpy pumpy thrown in. Maybe if a few others shows followed suit, we wouldn't find ourselves yawning every time two characters hooked up for the sake of it. Don't ditch the deed entirely now lads, but do leave the old nymphomania to Lars von Trier.
What about you TV viewers? Have you had your fill of the excess sex? Or do you think a healthy dose of action is just what TV needs?