bridgerton mirror scene

Thank you Nicola Coughlan For *That* Bridgerton Sex Scene

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Bridgerton knows good sex. That’s been a well-cemented fact for the four years it’s been running. It captures female pleasure, masturbation, fantasy and edging like no other show on telly. But its latest romp is the one that stirred me the most.

In Season 3 of Bridgerton, we track the friends-to-lovers trope between two adored characters in the show, Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton. Because we’ve seen snippets of their story in previous seasons, dancing alongside the leads, it’s like catching up with old chums on screen. They’re familiar, and they’re friendly… but for that reason, they’re definitely not in that ‘sexy’ space – which made me nervous about how their bodice-ripping scene would play out. 

But I shouldn’t have been worried. Because Penelope and Colin’s sex scene is the best Bridgerton bonk yet.

bridgerton season 3 penelope colin nicola coughlan luke newton

Colin and Penelope in Season 3 of Bridgerton. Image credit: Netflix

Sexual tension is built between the two after Penelope (who’s been pining after Colin for years) asks to be kissed by him. It’s a no-strings plea, as she’s worried after her scandals in the ton that she’ll die having never been kissed. Colin obliges and they peck, before launching into snogging territory. It’s a decent smooch that’s amplified by the classic string quartet chaos that Bridgerton plays behind every touchy-feely scene. 

From this kiss onwards it’s Colin who fantasises about Penelope – imagining them physically together practically every time he snoozes. This was a brilliant way to go about it, allowing Colin’s cravings for Pen to build up while Penelope is busy trying to find herself a husband. Of course, those who have watched all the episodes that have dropped so far will know that Colin goes on to admit to Penelope that he can’t stop thinking about her and he desperately wants to be more than friends. Penelope is shocked but almost instantly agrees to it and the two get very steamy in the back of a moving carriage. HOT. 

This scene is wonderful and progresses quickly with a bit of under-skirt fumbling, which Penelope seems to really enjoy, but this isn’t the sex scene I’m talking about. The one we need to unpack is the mirror scene.

Promotions for this season of the show had pictures of Colin standing behind Penelope with both staring at each other in front of a mirror. This image is replicated in episode five of Bridgerton, but this time a lot more explicitly. 

bridgerton mirror scene

The Bridgerton mirror scene. Image credit: Netflix

Colin and Penelope sneak away to their future marital house, to a room filled with furniture covered in dust sheets. Colin tosses aside the sheet covering a mirror and urges Penelope to look into it to see herself as he sees her. He says, “You should see it. You are the cleverest, bravest woman I’ve ever known. You make me feel seen in ways I’ve never been seen before. And then there is the way your hair cascades down your shoulder. The way your eyes shine when you look at me. The firmness of your lips parted just so. The softness of your skin.”

“And then there are other parts of you I’ve been dreaming about,” Colin says as his hands move down Penelope’s body. She turns and kisses him and thus begins the greatest sex scene I’ve seen on telly. Partly because the next line to follow is one of Colin asking for consent, which he receives enthusiastically. First hot box, ticked. 

Colin turns Penelope back to the mirror and begins to undress her. There are a lot of layers in regency fashion so this takes a wee while, but once the corset is untied a wide shot shows the two back in their favourite mirror-facing position. Penelope drops the corset and then she is fully naked. Boobs out, tummy out, standing straight to the camera. She has boobs like I’ve never seen on screen. She has boobs like me.

Colin lovingly whispers, “Lie down” and violins start playing as he strips down for her. There’s a slow belt unbuckling and an excellent gasp from Penelope before Colin walks over to her – both now completely starkers. “You are so beautiful,” he says before they kiss. Then comes a bit of dialogue where Penelope asks him to “tell me what to do” – she doesn’t want to be a passenger in this, she wants to know what to do and make decisions for herself. He suggests she “touch him” letting her explore his naked body for the first time before she heads down south and he abruptly says, “Not there! Not yet,” and the two giggle. This exchange feels honest, caring and like they might just crack up in fits of laughter together – the perfect tone for their first time. 

Colin then uses his hands on Penelope and I am speechless. The camera pans to a wide shot of the two of them, Colin on top of Penelope with the smallest of drapes covering parts of their bodies – but Penelope’s whole top half is exposed. You can see her stomach folded as she sits up to kiss Colin and her boobs move with her. I realise I’ve never seen a body like mine, shot like this, receiving pleasure on screen. This blows my tiny pea brain, because how is that possible?! I’m so used to hard, shiny, taut bodies that don’t fold, shake or flop, that seeing this on screen is overwhelming in the best way. If this is what I look like doing this, then I’ve never felt better about myself. Penelope looks incredibly hot and Colin is so into her and I don’t have enough words to describe how insanely happy that makes me. 

The scene continues and Colin says, “Are you ready?” and I’m honestly not sure I am.

Penelope and Colin move to penetration and handle absolutely everything perfectly. I have no notes. The dialogue is accurate and not at all cringey, the movements are organic and the length of time they spend thrusting away seems realistic to doing it for the first time with your best friend turned love of your life.

“Can we do it again?” Penelope asks. “Give me five minutes, maybe 10,” Colin responds with a laugh. As for me, I needed at least 15 minutes to process how incredible this whole scene was. 

polin bridgerton kiss netflix

Colin and Penelope nearly kiss in Bridgerton. Image credit: Netflix

I had the honour of chatting directly to Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton (who play Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton) about this sex scene, and was happy to learn that everything about it was deliberate. Oh, and that it took two whole days to film.

They were understandably nervous going into their season, aware that Bridgerton is known for its sex scenes, and they thought they would have longer to prepare – as the books that the series is based on run things in a slightly different order.

“It was a joke for us in Season 1 because we didn’t know if it would ever happen,” Nicola told me. “But then we found out at the beginning of shooting Season 2 and were like, ‘uh oh’.” 

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However, when their season started filming, they felt ready. “I think we were really mentally prepared for it. We had it marked on the calendar and we had incredible support too – an amazing intimacy coordinator who made us feel really empowered,” Nicola explained before letting it slip, with a chuckle, that during filming they “were loving it”.

And that confidence helped Nicola make a decision most actors avoid: to get more naked than the script called for. 

Nicola told Stylist she specifically asked for more nude scenes as a “fuck you” to body shamers. “There’s one scene where I’m very naked on camera, and that was my idea, my choice. It just felt like the biggest ‘fuck you’ to all the conversation surrounding my body; it was amazingly empowering,” she shared. 

“I felt beautiful in the moment, and I thought: ‘When I’m 80, I want to look back on this and remember how fucking hot I looked!’” 

Too right, Nicola. As the scene took over two days to film, she explained to the LA Times that by the end of the shoot, she and Luke were very comfortable with each other’s nakedness. “By the end of the day, we were both lying under a blanket, not clothed, just chillin’. We were like, ‘This is why nudists do it’,” she said. To know that she was so comfortable makes me even more happy that this scene exists. 

Thank you, Nicola, for pushing for more nudity, and showing your incredible body on screen in a hot, consent-filled, and loved-up sex scene so I can feel like my body deserves that kind of appreciation too. 

You can watch every episode of Bridgerton Season 3 on Netflix now.

Image credit: Netflix + Punkee