Dropping Petticoats: The 20 Hottest Sex Scenes In Period Dramas

Who says period dramas are all stuffy girls corseted up to the chin and foppish gentlemen with stiff upper lips? Probably people who don’t watch period dramas. The truth is that most period dramas are full of simmering sexual tension, bawdy maids, and torrid love scenes you can only find on premium cable.

We went through the archives and found our 20 favorite sex scenes in historic dramas.

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Sure, your modern love life is pretty complicated, but what if a one night stand could literally ruin your life? What if a love affair could topple an entire kingdom? In period dramas, these are often the stakes and it only adds to the dramatic–and sexual–tension in the story.

For instance, in our new summer obsession, The White Queen, a tryst between beautiful commoner Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson) and the handsome young rebel king Edward IV (Max Irons) changes the fate of British history. So, naturally, the couples’s sex scenes are gloriously hot.

When we chatted with Max Irons earlier this summer about the mini-series’s love scenes, he said, “You know, the romance in this was so easy because Rebecca’s such a talented actress. We actually did chemistry tests with twenty different girls for Elizabeth. They had me in meetings with all these people and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and it’s kind of inexplicable. But Rebecca…it was sort of instant.”

Even though the series has already started airing in the United Kingdom, American audiences watching it on Starz next weekend will have a different, more steamy version of historic events. “I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that there is a BBC version and there is a Starz version,” Irons said with a wry smile. “You Americans love a bit of nudity.”

Based on our favorite period drama sex scenes, however, it looks like the feeling is international and eternal.

The White Queen premieres next week, Sunday, August 10 at 8 PM on Starz.

[Photo Credit: Focus Features/Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox/Paramount, New Line Cinema, Showtime]