Early Aughts TV and the Rise of Sex-Positive Female Characters

sex and the city
credit: James Devaney/WireImage

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The 2000s were a decade filled with award-winning TV series. Though the period itself was filled with turbulence on a global level, things on TV screens made us feel safer. It’s not said in vain that the 2000s were defined as the new Golden Age. That’s how progressive and fresh the 2000s were.

With the variety of topics and genres TV shows covered, ones focused on women and sex positivity were a huge hit. The shows were filled with drama, love, and intrigue.

Read below and find out the reasons for the rise in shows that promoted sex-positive female characters.

Unprecedented Amount of Truth and Freedom

Since some of the TV shows from this article mentioned aired, the dating world has changed. Or better to say, the medium has changed. Dating is still as it was. Singles worldwide pursue casual relationships. But now, most do it on some version of a site for a local hookup because it’s easier to meet those who share the desire to have fun. Plus, they don’t live miles away. That’d be too much in the past. But these TV shows encouraged women to do what they wanted, with whoever they wanted.

Women loved shows that featured sex-positive characters because of their authenticity. There’s nothing worse thing than an overacted and unrealistic response to a situation the character faces. These TV shows covered everyday situations with honesty and often with humor (dark, sarcastic, absurd… you name it).

Some topics and scenes were controversial, but that’s the beauty of it. Freedom presented in the shows represented how we react and act in reality.

Relatable and Familiar

Being real and free resonates deeply with the viewers. The same goes with relatable and familiar situations many women can relate to. It’s one of the main ingredients when making an award-winning TV show. When watching a TV show, women often seek condolence or even advice for their situations from the characters. Since many shows cover everyday situations, some reappear but are covered differently. That way, some women like to collect info and act based on them.

We all experienced breakups or had our hearts broken. Nothing heals better than watching Sex and the City with a large pizza and a big bowl of ice cream on hold. Characters that can cheer you up mean everything when your friends aren’t here; or when you want to be alone.

Some scenes were provocative and pushed the boundaries but dealt with problems like sexuality, fidelity, betrayal, and even illegal acts. That helped a lot of women, and the public in general, to talk more about burning issues at that time. Many women stood up for themselves, some came out, and others decided to return to school. The impact TV shows have on lives is unmeasurable. Below we listed only three of them that stole our hearts forever.

Great Casts and Production Teams

To have a popular TV show takes more than a good script. Great casting and production are the ones that carry the show. Believable actors mean more viewers that stick to the show because of its authenticity. Read on and see what we mean.


satc sex positive tv shows

Everybody knows who Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) are. The legendary four ruled the streets of New York. Sex and the City premiered in 1998 and was an instant hit. The plot follows four women and their love lives. Viewers were often shown sexual scenes and how freely some characters dated. The show was also known for the perfect wardrobe the women wore. Some became instant fashion icons. Sex and the City destigmatized sex toys, which many considered very private and taboo. The show ended in 2004, but we still watch it when we want a good laugh and outfits.


desperate housewives sex positive tv shows

When we were done grieving the finale of Sex and the City, the TV gods rewarded us with Desperate Housewives. Show also follows four magnificent women, completely different from each other. The plot is set in a quiet suburban neighborhood that’s not so quiet at all. Women face affairs, divorces, and intrigues and welcome new family members and neighbors. Many situations are relatable and funny, so it takes away the bitterness. If you haven’t seen the show that ended in 2012, be sure to do so. Gabrielle (Eva Longoria), Susan (Teri Hatcher), Bree (Marcia Cross), and Lynette (Felicity Huffman) are eager to show you around Wisteria Lane.


Girlfriends premiered back in September 2000. The show was nominated for a BET Comedy Award in 2005 and won the Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series award. The awards kept coming, so the show could brag about winning NAACP Image Awards two times in the category Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Reginald C. Hayes). Tracee Ellis Ross won the award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series (2007 and 2009).

The show gives insight into the lives, loves, and losses of four different women, Toni (Jill Marie Jones), Maya (Golden Brooks), Lynn (Persia White), and Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross). The creator wanted to bring black women to the center of happenings in the shows. Girlfriends covered real-life subjects such as divorce, career highs, AIDS, miscarriages, and family dramas. The show lasted 8 seasons (172 episodes) and set the trail for others who wanted to feature black women in their TV shows.

Hopefully, we reminded you of your favorite TV show. Have fun and don’t forget the ice cream.