The Most Scandalous Network TV Sex Scenes Ever

The creators of Gossip Girl are no strangers to some carefully plotted-out controversy, and the news that an upcoming episode will feature three characters in bed with each other suggests that the show isn't backing off of its mission statement anytime soon. Still, while this hypothetical threesome is certainly eyebrow-raising, it's almost quaint compared to what could currently be found today on basic cable or any of the pay channels.

Therefore, Movieline thought it was time to compile a tribute to some of the most scandalous sex scenes (with video!) that network TV has ever gotten away with. The only criteria for making the list? Well, it's right there in the title: it has to involve actual sex (a controversial kiss is insufficient) and it has to have aired on one of the big broadcast networks. Here are six scenes that came to mind immediately:

Beverly Hills, 90210

Brenda loses her virginity to Dylan

Though the rebooted 90210 premiered last year with a strongly implied blowjob within the first ten minutes, its 90's progenitor was hit with its fair share of controversy simply for scripting an offscreen loss of virginity for Shannen Doherty's Brenda. "Do you know why I'm so lucky?" she cooed to Dylan. "How many girls get to have sex for the first time with someone they love?" What's even more striking is how happy she is after the act (though a pregnancy scare two episodes later would make that afterglow short-lived).

Without a Trace

Teen orgy

In the flashback that cost CBS millions of dollars in fines, a teenage girl remembers a sex party full of underage participants that some overzealous director-of-the-week decided to shoot as though it came straight from an Adrian Lyne film. The message, we think, is that this level of sexual precociousness is a bad thing, but who cares when these eroticized teenage girls are doffing their tops and having sex with two guys at once, am I right? Prompted by complaints from the Parents Television Council and the American Family Association (who may not have even seen the scene in question), the FCC fined CBS for $3.6 million.

General Hospital

Luke rapes Laura

Everyone knows that Luke and Laura's wedding was the biggest ratings event ever on daytime television, but this soap supercouple had a kiiiind of rough start when he, you know, raped her. (He also forced her to disco dance with him just before, adding insult to injury.) Still, audiences seemed so invested in the potential pairing that the two romantically reunited only months after the October 1979 rape. They married in 1981.

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  • The Thornbirds was the shit, man. I remember going on the schoolbus the next day and recapping what happened to all the kids whose parents wouldn't let them watch. It also turned me on Barbara Stanwyck.
    What does it say about me that I've seen most of these sex scenes?

  • andreazuckerman-vasquez says:

    Yes, Kelly wore polka dot bike shorts, Steve had a mullet, and a certain sad newspaper editor favored acid washed jeans. And, yes, the first season featured special guest appearances by Maxwell Caulfield and Wanda from Doogie Howser. But 90210 premiered in 1990. Don't make me older than I already am.

  • Revenant says:

    A kiss is insufficient, huh? Take a step back 41 years; November 22, 1968 to be exact, and people would disagree. Television's first interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhura was scandalous. It should be on the top of the list.

  • Brent says:

    This wouldn't happen to be the NYPD Blue scene, would it?

  • David says:

    I love BtVS, but that scene totally ripped off one of my favorite movies of all time, The Human Tornado, a classic Blaxploitation film starring Rudy Ray Moore, in which they go at it so hard the entire house falls down on top of them, yet they continue. At one point, even the cieling falls down on top of the bed they are on and a lamp catches fire, but they keep it going.
    I know that The Human Tornado wasn't a t.v. show, but still...

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  • Koowie says:

    I remember the Thorn Birds was the mini series of the day too! Everyone, adults and kids talked about it.

  • oneandonly says:

    How about some comments on tv super-hardcore, like the "Pepper Dennis Show" orgy of July 4th, 2006, the elephant-fucking/child porner and double-pentration orgies in "V" in November and December of 2009, the orgies on "Lipstick Jungle" in December of 2008 and on "Miss Guided" in March of 2009, the "April Fool's Orgy" of 2010, double-penetrating and stacking on "Sparticus", execution porn and child porn on "Rome" in 2006-2008, the child porn "Brady Bunch Munch" of 1974, the 1976 200th 4th of July orgy, child porn for kids for 20 years on Channel 7 on "The After School Specials", and the 2010 Rose Parade 5-hr double-penetration/cum-squirt in the face/line-up a-thon on the Hawaiian float a year and a half ago? Anybody for the Satanic conspiracy theory here, or have you been paying attention?--OneandOnly!

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