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Sex and the City Culture
How HBO’s four girls from Manhattan changed sex, culture and love.
By: Heather King

“Who we are in bed is who we are in life.” – Samantha Jones

Sex and the City aired its first episode in the summer of 1998 and ran a total of 94 episodes over six seasons. And the drama hasn’t ended, Sex and the City crossed over to Hollywood with its first movie hitting theaters in May 2008 with talk of a sequel. Originally described as a romantic comedy, Sex and the City demolished that mold and became a smart, savvy response to sex, relationships, fashion and culture, defining the modern woman. The show regularly broke taboos, discussed everything from the clitoris to how the bonds of friendship are stronger than “the relationship”, sex vs. love and everything in between. Occasionally bordering on outrageous, characters remained true to the “real woman” perspective with global feminine issues. The show touched women around the world.

“When it comes to life and love, why do we believe our worst reviews?” – Carrie Bradshaw

While Sex and the City is primarily a sitcom for women, men everywhere benefited as well. Sex and the City explored sex in ways previously unaccepted in society. Women speak more freely about their bodies and what they crave without feeling ashamed. Giving significance to real love and relationships, Sex and the City also brought to light the old-fashioned views that, in the past, may have caused women to be ashamed of their proclivity.

“What’s the big mystery? It’s my vagina, not the sphinx!” – Miranda Hobbes

Sex and the City changed sex toys forever. The show created acceptance, awareness and, with a wink and smile, a sense of how adult toys could add a new dimension of fun and playfulness to a couple’s sex life. The most notable toy featured in the show was the Rabbit vibrator. The Rabbit, introduced to Charlotte by Miranda in episode nine of season one, nearly replaced men for Charlotte. The Rabbit vibrator is a Japanese design that provides dual simultaneous stimulation of a woman’s clitoris and g-spot to achieve ultimate pleasure. Another favorite toy, preferred by Samantha, was the Hitachi Wand Massager. In episode seventy-two of season five, Samantha’s vibrator breaks and it’s off to Sharper Image to replace the malfunctioning “massager”. Who can forget Samantha’s knowing smile as she asks for her “vibrator” to be replaced only to be corrected. “Massager,” the salesman says as Samantha smiles, nods and tells the salesman that whatever he needed to call her vibrator was fine with her. Samantha didn’t stop her experimentation with her Hitachi. True to form she also was the only character to experience what sex swings can do to help find new sex positions and stimulation.

“The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” – Carrie Bradshaw

Sex and the City’s cultural sweep was larger than a single television series. The show empowered women, informed and profited men, created new awareness about adult toys and helped change American and world culture. Not bad work for four women from Manhattan. The good news is Sex and the City will live on thanks to the power of reruns and DVDs for a very long time.

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