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Let's talk about Sex (and the City)

It was the landmark TV show that changed how women talked about sex and desire onscreen but with it set to return, Meadhbh McGrath asks whether the forthcoming portrayal of the fifty-something women will be as honest as before

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Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall (AP Photo/photo released by HBO, Mark Liddell)

Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall (AP Photo/photo released by HBO, Mark Liddell)

Fleabag:  Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Andrew Scott

Fleabag: Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Andrew Scott

Lizzy Caplan in Masters of Sex

Lizzy Caplan in Masters of Sex

Chris Noth stars as Mr. Big, left, and Sarah Jessica Parker stars as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City

Chris Noth stars as Mr. Big, left, and Sarah Jessica Parker stars as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City

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Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall (AP Photo/photo released by HBO, Mark Liddell)

When Sex and the City arrived on our screens in 1998, sex was already on the brain for much of the audience. The Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal was dominating the airwaves, and talk of incriminating stains, wayward cigars and phone sex was ubiquitous in media coverage and water-cooler conversations around the world.

Yet while Lewinsky was cast as a laughingstock and a "tramp" - a popular perception that has since undergone mass re-evaluation post-#MeToo - Sex and the City (SATC) took a very different view of female sexuality.

Carrie Bradshaw was introduced as a sort of sexual anthropologist, investigating whether women could have "sex like a man" - that is, "without feeling". Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha were single women seeking sex for sex's sake, and they weren't punished for it, nor depicted as "fallen women".


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