Is it ok for my teenager to watch Bridgerton season three and should I talk with them about it?


Kate on May 29, 2024

Rated 16 with the content warning sex scenes might cause some parents of younger teens to let out a sigh of relief knowing your child isn’t allowed to watch this show while others might be asking what happens if they do see it? If you have older teens you might question if it’s appropriate for your 16 year old to watch and should you be talking with them about it?

The sex scenes in the first part of season three as with season one could be described as hot and steamy perhaps Mills and Boon-esque with lots of heavy breathing and close ups of lips and hands caressing bodies. Whilst both the sexual intercourse and oral sex is implied, and the majority of the scenes take place under covers or with women clothed either in lingerie or fully dressed there are a few more explicit scenes showing breasts being kissed. The sex scenes are central to the appeal of the genre with the climax (pun intended) of the first season ending with the long-awaited carriage sex scene between long standing central character Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton.

Some parents might be asking if they should watch the show with their teenager and I wonder if the above description answered your question? Talking about sex can be awkward not only for teenagers but also for us parents let alone sitting next to each other on the couch watching such titillating examples of intimacy. What we know from talking to parents about our research into pornography and young people is that there is a lot of awkwardness talking about sex and that if we are not careful about how we approach the subject it might shut it down before its begun. So perhaps a Bridgerton viewing party with your older teen isn’t the way to go but that doesn’t mean it’s not an excellent opportunity to talk about sex and relationships.

While the sex shown in Bridgerton may seem unrealistic and far from our own reality – why would a woman want to be presented to society for the sole reason to be married off? What we see in these scenes is sex that is grounded in pleasure with examples of what consent looks like. In the carriage scene for instance Penelope and Colin maintain eye contact as a means of checking in with each other with Penelope nodding to show that she wants him to go further. These are examples of sex that can provide a counter narrative to online pornography that our three part youth focused research project shows is a tool many young people are using to learn about sex. Explicit consent and pleasure of all involved is not something that is shown in porn. Counter narratives are important for young people to be able to access.

Now they don’t need to watch Bridgerton to receive these messages. As I said before it may be too cringe worthy or uncomfortable to watch it any where near their parents. But we can be using shows like Bridgerton as a springboard for conversation. Even with younger teens we can start conversations about articles we have read (or blogs like this one) that talk about the content of the series and maybe whether they think a 16 rating is appropriate given the access young people have to online porn.

Other conversations starters could include; Do they think shows like Bridgerton show healthy relationships? Which characters are the best examples of this? Can healthy relationships exist when the man holds all the power and status? What do they know about consent? Are there other shows or films they have seen that show consent? What about pleasure, is this something we see in shows and films? Where are young people are getting information about sex and relationships? In a perfect world where would we get information about sex and relationships?

And yes, these conversations can be tricky and make us adults feel uncomfortable or embarrassed as many of us didn’t grow up with an open dialogue about sex and relationships. This is where I want to reassure you that whilst being uncomfortable, this kōrero is extremely worthwhile and can have a positive impact on your child’s relationships both now and in the future – the payoff is really that great.

On the back of that I also need to note that these are not one-off conversations (sorry!) Instead, this kōrero happens little and often, changing with the age and stage of your child. The more you talk about sex and relationships in your whānau the more normalised it becomes and little by little it can become less awkward.

So gentle reader, take every opportunity you can to talk with your young person about sex and relationships and Bridgerton might just be one!

For more information on how to have conversations about what young people are watching and also about pornography head to our website:

Bridgerton, season three, part one (featured decision)

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