From Normal People to Meghan Markle’s raunchy sex scene in Suits — the top 10 TV shows that set your pulses racing


IT was the TV drama that made Meghan Markle a star — and now Suits has been declared one of the raunchiest-ever shows.

Viewers who watched while hooked up to a heart rate monitor saw their pulses rise by 12 beats per minute.

Meghan Markle got pulses racing in sexy scenes while she starred in Suits

The US legal drama, which is on Netflix, was just one of the steamy shows that got participants in a new study the most excited.

Meghan — now the Duchess of Sussex — even gets it on inside a store cupboard.

Scenes in other hit dramas that caused pulses to race include lesbian prison romps, frisky shower sex and naked orgies.

And experts reckon that hot action on our screens is becoming the norm.

Psychotherapist Neil Wilkie says: “Sex scenes are becoming more frequent and more graphic.


“In the UK we have awoken from prudishness and want to see passion and intimacy.”

But some viewers’ hearts thump harder due to the awkwardness of watching explicit scenes with another person present.

Environmental psychologist and well-being consultant Lee Chambers says: “Sex scenes create an environment of high arousal and excitement.

“They can also create a level of anxiety if we are watching these scenes with others, which can also cause our heart to race.”

Normal People is the latest to shock Brits with its realistic sex scenes

Watching sex can have a similar effect on viewers’ hearts as frightening on-screen action too.

Lee added: “Programmes that cause us to enter a high arousal positive state, such as exciting scenes, cause our blood pressure to rise and our heart rate to increase.

“This is similar for programmes that cause a high arousal negative state, such as scary scenes.”

The research for online marketplace was carried out on 1,800 UK participants who had an average resting heart rate of 81 beats per minute (BPM).

They each wore a Fitbit activity tracker to measure their pulse.

Between watching sex scenes, the participants rested so their heartbeats could return to normal.

Here, we reveal the top ten sizzling shows that made viewers’ tickers go quicker and the average heart rate for each one.

1. Orange Is The New Black

Features: Lots of lesbian sex, a drug-fuelled threesome and sex toys

Orange Is The New Black has been crowned the raunchiest programme on telly

It’s lockdown, but not as we know it.

The women in hit US drama are banged up in prison – and their steamy scenes have officially made the show the raunchiest programme on the telly.

Sizzling action from the Netflix show, which ended last year after seven series, scored the highest on the measure of viewers’ heart rates.

Among the eye-popping scenes is a lesbian romp between Alex Vause (Laura Prepon) and her on-off girlfriend, middle-class lag Piper Chapman, who is played by Taylor Schilling, who also romps with Stella Carlin (Ruby Rose). The lusty couple even manage to get it on while in the prison chapel. Heavens above!

Stella Carlin is played by actress Ruby Rose in the US prison drama

Other X-rated moments feature romps between prison guards and inmates, a drug-fuelled threesome and a butch, middle-aged lesbian using a sex aid on herself.

Neil Wilkie, author of Reset: The Relation-ship Paradigm, says: “The scenes in Orange Is The New Black win the hottest contest because the sex scenes in the show were intense, unexpected and – as it was lesbian sex – unusual on TV.

“It was a shock, so they really got the adrenalin flowing and the heart pumping.”

BPM: 101

2. Shameless

Features: Threesomes, toys and a days-long sex marathon

Shamless, set in Manchester, featured a number of naughty moments

As you can guess from the title, Shameless isn’t scared to push boundaries. Set on a fictional council estate in Manchester, Channel 4’s black comedy follows the lives of the Gallagher clan.

Its naughty scenes include threesomes, sex toy sessions, a sex marathon lasting days and a hook-up on a professor’s desk.

Martina Laird played Michelle Critch- all, the owner of a male escort agency who wasn’t afraid of getting to grips with her employees, above.

The show is so raunchy that it has become a hit on sex site Pornhub, with a compilation of its more explicit moments amassing more than 2.4 million views.

BPM: 96

3. Game of Thrones

Features: Orgies, full nudity and disturbing incest

Game of Thrones was hugely popular for its complex and thrilling love stories

The fantasy series gripped the world with its epic scope – and frequent full nudity. A few of the many sex scenes stood out.

Oberyn, Ellaria and Olyvar enjoyed an orgy with several prostitutes in a brothel, while Daenerys Targaryen learned all about sex with her handmaid.

Daenerys, played by Emilia Clarke, and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) romped at the finale of the seventh series. Some of the sex scenes were disturbing, including a heated affair between siblings Cersei and Jaime Lannister.

The series also shows several gay sex scenes, with one between Loras and Renly proving particularly intimate.

BPM: 95

4. Normal People

Features: 41 minutes of ‘realistic’ sex scenes

Normal People’s Connell and Marianne have a lot of sex throughout the BBC Three drama

The hit BBC Three drama follows the turbulent love story of working-class lad Connell (Paul Mescal) and well-heeled teen Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones), both left, in a fictional Irish town.

Sex, kissing and foreplay takes up 12 per cent of the show’s screen time – but critics praised its realistic portrayals of intimacy.

Relationship expert Neil Wilkie says: “The first scenes show the awkwardness between Marianne, the shy, odd virgin, and hunky but uncommunicative Connell.

“The sex is unhurried and detailed. It feels real.”

BPM: 93

5. Suits

Features: Meghan Markle in a steamy workplace romp

Before joining the Royal Family, Meghan wasn’t such a good girl

Before she became a member of the Royal Family, Meghan set pulses racing with her sex scenes in the US legal drama.

Her character Rachel Zane has an intense relationship with her law firm colleague Mike Ross, played by Patrick J. Adams.

The pair have a passionate and playful time together – even stripping off for risky sex in a storeroom cupboard.

Meghan, now the Duchess of Sussex, is currently in lockdown in LA with Prince Harry and their one-year-old son Archie. She was so sexy in Suits that Harry was said to have lusted over her for two years before meeting her.

BPM: 93

6. Outlander

Features: Outdoor romp and nudity

Claire and Jamie Fraser are played by Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Fraser in the steamy drama

Starting in the 18th century, this US time travel fantasy spans 200 years – and it did not shy away from showing lots of sex.

The plot follows the love story of Claire and Jamie Fraser, played by Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Fraser.

Claire takes her husband’s virginity on their wedding night and they are seen getting intimate in almost every episode, including an outdoor romp. But there are a fair few disturbing scenes as well.

One, which is very close to the line, shows Jamie spanking his wife before she turns the tables and holds a knife to his throat as they once again get intimate.

BPM: 92

7. Sex Education

Features: Solo sex acts, lesbian kisses and ‘orgasm faces’

Netflix’s Sex Education is a huge hit among people of all ages

In an unflinching look into the sex-obsessed lives of hormonal teenagers, the Netflix series features intimate and often awkward moments – from first-time sex right through to experienced clinches.

Following the lives of insecure teenager Otis – above, with Ola – his sex-therapist mum and his pals, the show featured 15 X-rated scenes in the opening three minutes of its second series.

There are solo sex scenes throughout. It has been ap-plauded for its portrayal of LGBTQ sex, with numerous frank discussions between characters.

Stand-out moments include Ola and Lily’s first passionate kiss, Aimee finally discovering how to climax – while guiding her boyfriend through it – and the moment when Olivia finds the courage to embrace her “orgasm face”.

BPM: 91

8. Jessica Jones

Features: Rough, bed-breaking sex

Jessica Jones is full of passionate romps and shocking encounters

Even superhero Jessica Jones has raunchy sex scenes, like the one pictured, to set pulses racing, and this series from Netflix had them from the first episode.

Jessica (played by Krysten Ritter) enjoyed a passionate romp with fellow superhero Luke Cage (Mike Colter) in episode one, and it was just the first of many more to come.

Later they got so passionate they broke the bed, while another scene showed Luke throw her against a wall, breaking glass, luckily without injury. She is a superhero, after all.

BPM: 90

9. Queer As Folk

Features: Lots of groundbreaking gay sex scenes

Queer As Folk led the way for a number of gay shows which have inspired many Brits

The Nineties drama sparked controversy with its graphic gay sex scenes but is now regarded as groundbreaking.

It ran for two series in 1999 and 2000, charting the lives of three gay men living on Manchester’s Canal Street.

The most notorious scene featured Charlie Hunnam as 15-year-old Nathan and Aidan Gillen’s older guy Stuart.

A very explicit scene of the pair in bed ignited a storm of protest from some viewers.

BPM: 89

10. Girls

Features: Role-play, bathroom solo and kitchen sink sex

This comedy show didn’t hold back when it came to getting down to business

The HBO comedy drama series held nothing back when it came to its string of very X-rated sex scenes.

While at least two showed Marnie leaning over her kitchen sink for some very rushed sex, another awkward one saw Hannah’s parents get frisky in the shower.

Elsewhere, Hannah was seen energetically bedding Adam and attempting role-play as she wore an icy blonde wig to reignite her sex life, while Marnie was even filmed having rapid solo sex in a public toilet.

BPM: 88


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