Outlander showrunner on how the drama does real sex, “not TV sex”

"TV sex is not real sex. No one has sex like that," says Ronald D Moore

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There is a lot of sex on TV and it all looks alarmingly the same. Time-travelling romp Outlander, though, has been acknowledged for being different: more real, more authentic. Season two, which is currently airing weekly on Amazon Prime, has even garnered praise recently for its depictions of sex during pregnancy. 

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Showrunner Ronald D Moore was always insistent that his series should buck the trend when it comes to sex on screen. 

“The curtain drives me berserk. Why is there a candle in the foreground? Why is the curtain [moving]? Where’s that wind coming from? Why is she always on top of him like that?” he says of the clichés repeated in stereotypical sex scenes.

“‘We’re not doing TV sex. TV sex is not real sex. No one has sex like that’,” he told the show’s directors at the start of the project. “And they would all laugh and say, ‘Yeah, that’s true. So what do you want to do?’ I said, ‘Just do it like the real deal’.”

Instead, sex in Outlander endeavours to be closer to what goes on in our actual bedrooms and allows the scene to come from a female perspective. 

“When you actually restore [the female point of view], people go, ‘Whoa, this is a radical thing you’re doing! You’re blazing new ground!’ Where I’m not really trying to blaze new ground. I’m just trying to tell the truth and be honest about how these characters relate,” Moore tells Variety, adding that he only writes a sex scene into the TV series when it’s vital to the narrative. 

“Why are we going to do this? What’s the story reason? What’s the character reason?” Moore says. “It’s not just about getting to see them naked again, because we’ve seen them naked, and they’re hot. We get it.”

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Outlander continues on Sundays on Amazon Prime