Often mired with controversies and some obvious outrage, several TV shows and movies these days go a little beyond the standard norm of the depiction of sex on television. Hulu’s new romance drama ‘Normal People‘ treads a similar path and as expected, many viewers initially had several complaints about its explicit content.
However, on the other end, there were also several viewers who appreciated the show’s realistic and grounded approach to love and sex. The way in which these scenes are structured throughout the runtime of the show is what makes them so iconic. In more than one way, each of these scenes reflects on either the mindset of the characters or the state of their relationship. And since these scenes play a major role in driving the narrative of the show, we’ll be walking you through all Normal People sex and nude scenes.
7. The First Time (Season 1 Episode 2)
At first, as a viewer, it’s hard to see Marianne and Connell as a couple. That’s probably the reason why they, too, find it hard to be with one another. Connell comes off as a jock and hangs out with the popular kids of his school, while Marianne just seems like a loner. Even so, as established later in the series, both of them feel alone in their worlds and find solace in each other’s company. Their complicated relationship starts with Marianne’s confession and soon after this, Connell asks her to come to his place.
This is the first time they have sex. The reason why this particular scene resonates with many viewers is that it’s nothing wildly unrealistic or cringe-ey. It’s simple and has been filmed in such a way that it perfectly captures the intimacy and passion between the two characters. Moreover, its depiction of consensual sex also sets a great example.
6. Connelly’s Lack of Commitment (Season 1 Episode 3)
For the first time, Connell feels something and later even tells Marianne that making love to her feels different. He confesses that he has been with other women before, but with her, a lot of his emotions are involved. In the third episode, even Marianne tries to change her loner lifestyle just to spend a little more time with Connell. She attends her school’s fundraiser event and that’s when Connell defends her from his schoolmates who always try to pick on her. Right after this, they head back to Connell’s place and make love.
This particular sex scene is not as graphic as the previous one but it starts to change the direction of Connell and Mariiane’s relationship. At this point, it almost feels like Connell is now willing to acknowledge how much he likes Marianne. He even tells her that he loves her right after they have sex, but still feels entitled to his identity in school and ignores her when they’re out in public. For obvious reasons, Marianne’s insecurities take over as Connell simply refuses to stop worrying about what others would think of him. With this, they eventually drift apart.
5. New Beginnings (Season 1 Episode 5)
The fourth episode marks the inception of a whole new journey for Connell. Following Marianne’s advice, he takes up an English course at University and almost completely cuts off from everyone in his school. He starts to realize that no one really cared about his relationship back in the day, but now it’s just too late to have Marianne back in his life. However, with a twist in fate, they meet again.
After realizing that they’re both in the same university, Marianne and Connell slowly start drifting back to their old selves, but after everything that happened between them, they resist their urge to be together. There’s a brief scene in the 5th episode where Marianne has sex with her current boyfriend. This scene just shows how Marianne is with him for the sake of it and her relationship with this boy is nothing compared to what it used to be with Connell. In its closing moments, Connell and Marianne find their way back to one another, but like always, don’t really label their relationship as anything.
4. When Love is Not Enough (Season 1 Episode 6)
Episode 6 has several sex scenes, all of which, are beautifully shot, emphasizing the authenticity of Marianne and Connell’s relationship. And the credit for this, of course, goes to Ita O’Brien, who also worked as an intimacy co-ordinator for Netflix’s highly acclaimed teen drama ‘Sex Education.’
With its depiction of intense intimacy between its two characters, the episode makes it pretty clear that they’re finally making progress. Connell begins to be more open about it and even displays his affection for Marriane when they’re out with others. However, tragedy strikes again and Connell is forced to move back to his hometown. After this, they drift apart again and start seeing other people. Even when they end up in the same town again, their misunderstandings keep them apart.
3. Marianne’s Fall (Season 1 Episode 8)
Months go by and that’s when Connell visits Mariannie, who now lives with her new boyfriend. In episode 7, there’s a scene where Marianne tells Connell that she plays a very different role when she’s having sex with her boyfriend, who is more into inflicting pain and dominating her in bed. She even compares this with everything that she had with Connell and tells him how everything between them just felt natural.
One big reason why there’s so much hype around the show’s sex scenes is because of the sensitivity with which it manages to portray these scenes. In the 7th and 8th episodes, the show creates a mild contrast between Marianne’s relationship with Connell and her new boyfriend. There’s a brief, graphic scene that shows Marianne having sex with her boyfriend and as she described earlier, she simply seems to be playing a role with him instead of actually making love with him. In contrast to this, at the end of the 8th episode, Marianne and Connell make passionate love again and Connell completely respects her boundaries. This time around, they don’t really end up together but this again takes their relationship in a whole new direction.
2. Marianne’s Recovery (Season 1 Episode 9)
After getting out of one toxic relationship, Marianne gets into another. Episode 9 has several graphic depictions of sex that are in no way titillating. These scenes just depict Marianne’s dwindling self-worth and how she has trouble recovering from the insecurities of her past. Knowing that Connell is now with someone else does not help her either. The new guy Marianne dates turns out to be even worse compared to her ex and the sex scenes of episode 9 perfectly depict that. When she finally reaches a breaking point, Marianne gathers the courage to end her toxic relationship.
1. A Final Detour (Season 1 Episode 11)
After being kept apart for too long, life brings them back together. Marianne starts doing much better, while Connell gets depressed after one of his school friends commits suicide. In his moments of grief and sorrow, it’s Marianne who helps him get his life back together. And it’s these moments that make them realize how much they still care about each other. They take some time to forgive and forget everything that has happened, accept that they feel less lonely when they’re together, and make love. Like all the other sex scenes of the show, even this one is shot with a heavy emphasis on close-ups and a lot of background silence, which adds more heft to the emotions of the two characters.
During this particular scene, a lot of camera space is also given to their surroundings which makes it look a lot more realistic. This scene also turns out to be the last sex scene of the show and just portrays that despite all of their ups and downs, there may still be some hope. ‘Normal People’ eventually ends on a bittersweet note. With which, it establishes that it’s not another one of those clichéd “keep-em-apart-till-the-last-moment” tales of romance. It is, instead, a journey that shows how falling in love may not always be the end of the story.
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