The Top Sex Trends of the Past and Future

by Lovehoney

on Dec 16, 2020

So many things can influence our sexual preferences – a partner, a sex scene in a movie, a new sex trend that everyone’s trying – but how have our sexual preferences changed over time? And what will they be in future?

Taking a look at search data, we can not only see what sex acts have turned us on over the past 10 years, but by gathering the top Google searches in 2020 for the most popular TV shows, movies and characters in the US*, we can see what may influence what we do in the bedroom from 2021 and beyond based on who and what we’re lusting over.

The Top Sex Trends from 2010-2020

It seems like something was in the water from 2014-2015, as these years saw searches peak for so many sex acts, including:

  • Blow jobs

  • Deep throating

  • Dirty talk

  • Doggy Style

  • Face sitting

  • Fingering

  • Pegging

  • Reverse cowgirl

  • Rimming

  • Threesome

With shows like Orange is the New Black and Mad Men really hitting their stride during this time, as well as the release of movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and 50 Shades of Grey, we may have been influenced by our screens.

The search for ‘golden shower’ saw a huge spike in 2017 after Trump was accused of a pee-laden sex party, leading many intrigued lovers to see what all the fuss is about.

We saw the return of a classic in 2019, which saw searches for the missionary position spiking.

The terms ‘anal sex’, ‘hand job’, ‘masturbation’, ‘bondage’ and ‘spanking’ have all been on a slow decline since 2010. But trends like ‘pegging’, ‘period sex’ and ‘edging’ have all steadily increased, making them the top trends of 2020, which indicates a move away from the more traditional acts and more towards progressive preferences.

Sexiest TV shows in 2020

TV shows

You’d be hard-pressed to find an episode of Games of Thrones that doesn’t have a sex scene. So, it’s no shock that searches for the show’s rampant storylines surge to almost 40k each month. Incest aside, this show is a plethora of positions and scenarios to have a go at.

A running theme of the top 20 that are laden with love-making are historical-themed TV shows. Spartacus, Outlander, The Tudors, Mad Men and Harlots are all based on periods throughout history, which apparently had a lot of sex. Maybe all the costumes will inspire some role play?

The spike of searches around pegging in 2015 conincides with certain scenes in Broad City, which aimed to normalize sex toys like strap ons in its comedic scenes. While one such other show that was one of the first to shine a light on sex toys like vibrators is Sex and the City, which continues to be a classic.

The demand for sex scenes that go beyond heterosexual couplings is evident, too, with the same-sex scenes of Orange is the New Black, the L Word and Queer as Folk all proving a hit.

Fantasy and sci-fi also seem to get us hot under the collar, as The Witcher, True Blood and Sense8 all make an appearance on the top 20.

Sexiest movie in 2020

sexiest movies

While Blue is the Warmest Color and Basic Instinct are renowned for their often-shocking sex scenes, you might be surprised to find Del Toro's Oscar-winning fantasy-cum-romance The Shape of Water making the top 10. This could see a rise in shower sex if any partners out there want to recreate the underwater scene.

Despite being released in 2015, Fifty Shades of Grey still gets us steamy for its left-field storyline and deft way of weaving an array of sex toys into the narrative. This could continue to open the eyes of audiences into 2021 to the possibility of adding some kink, like ropes or a sex swing, to their bedroom escapades.

Nostalgia also plays a part in the top 10, with nineties and noughties classics American Pie, Wild Things, Cruel Intentions and Eyes Wide Shut proving that some sex scenes never go out of style. And while we can all recall that hot apple pie scene in American Pie, any viewers inspired to try the same might be better off with one of these.

As with TV shows, the appreciation for homosexual love stories is evident from huge hits like Brokeback Mountain, Call Me By Your Name, Carol and The Favourite making the cut.

Sexiest female character in 2020

sexiest female tv characters

The 2016 release of Suicide Squad and the 2020 release of Birds of Prey propelled the unpredictable Harley Quinn to take the crown as hottest female character.

Alongside Harley, there are some other villainous ladies in the top 20 list, including Black Widow, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Mystique. Maybe being sexy is a symptom of having a dark side?

But among the anti-heroes, there are some badass women taking up saucy space.

Wonder Woman has been a long-standing icon with sex appeal, reiterated by the reimagining’s that continue to hit our screens. While Lara Croft has been on many a fantasy list for nigh-on 20 years.

Due to its chart-topping sex scenes, it’s somewhat unsurprising to see three characters from Games of Thrones in the group, with the Queen of Dragons, Daenerys, taking the lead.

The bottom of the list sees a step away from otherworldly women and into the everyday gal, with appearances like Penny from The Big Bang Theory as well as Rachel and Monica from Friends.

Sexiest male character in 2020

male characters_2

When it comes to sexy men, it seems everyone’s been feeling the spidey senses with Spiderman coming out on top as the sexiest male character.

In fact, there’s many a Marvel superhero in the top 20, with Batman, Superman, Thor, Iron Man, Wolverine and The Hulk all charting, too. Maybe it’s something about saving the day that tips these figures from heroic to hot, or maybe we fantasize about doing it with something supernatural. Either way, we love it.

When examining the rest of the pantie-dropping dudes, there seems to be a common thread in all of their characters: charm. From Jon Snow’s rugged but sensitive nature to James Bond and Christian Grey’s debonairness, each of these characters is charming in their own way.

The overall search volumes for sexy male characters are, however, much lower than the female characters volumes. Could this say something about societies attitudes towards sexy women in pop culture compared to men? The jury’s out.

_Methodology:_* after gathering a list of the most popular TV shows, movies and characters that are known for their sex scenes or sex appeal, we combined the name of each one with a combination of 'sexy' terms, for example:

game of thrones sex scene

game of thrones naked

game of thrones hot

game of thrones sexy

game of thrones kiss

game of thrones kissing

We then ran these terms through Google Keyword Planner to get the Avg. Monthly Search Volume for the past year (September 2019 - August 2020) and ranked them from most to least searches per month.

As for the trends, we analysed search queries for the most popular sex acts and positions to identify how their popularity changed over the past 10 years (2010 – 2020). Raw datasets are available upon request.


Written by Lovehoney. For collaborative posts between Lovehoney team members and guest authors
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Originally published on Dec 16, 2020. Updated on Oct 20, 2020