Sex & Intimacy. My version of O-Lander

Let me start with saying everyone is entitled to their opinion. I believe our opinions are just that. Our perceptions. We all have them and they will all be different. I do not expect nor want everyone to agree with me, however, respect my right to say what I perceive…as I respect all of yours. 

One of the biggest discussions in the world of Outlander this season was the sex…or there lack of.  Many say “We didn’t see the love.”  “We were robbed of what makes Jamie & Claire…Jamie & Claire.”  “The love would never last 20 yrs if they don’t connect!”

Believe it or not, I have made a living talking about sex & intimacy in life & relationships. That is what I want to do now.  Class is in session.
Listen up!

Romantic relationships need TWO things to survive. Intimacy & Communication.  I didn’t say sex because sex is a product of these 2 categories.  Without intimacy, there likely will be no sex. Without communication, we likely won’t choose to have sex.

Let’s first keep in mind that Outlander the TV Show is that. The TV show, not a play by play of the book.  Conveying intimacy is something they can do in the show and it will turn out to have more meaning. The depth of talent that Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe have, means they are able to delve into that. Deeply.  Skin & sweating does not equal love & commitment. No matter how much we want to “see” it.

To reference being robbed, denied or missing something. These were never there in the first place.  What I mean by that is Outlander the TV Show has never existed before it did. 

But we read the books! Yes, I know, so did I…repeatedly.  This does not mean the TV show has been ‘built’.


These are both dogs. Definitely NOT the same thing.  Outlander, the show & the books. Like these two puppies right here.

If the argument is “They gave us all the sex in season one and took it away in season two.” I do see your point. I would like to reference that season 2 was a different relationship, a different set of circumstances and frankly, a different show with the same title. It wasn’t a bait & switch, it was an evolution. The evolution of a marriage. Those of us blessed  enough to have found a deep love have likely experienced something similar ourselves. Change happens & it’s not always comfortable.

Season 1 was an exploration of a building romantic relationship, which is undeniable more passionate. That, for visual purposes, should be seen to some degree.  Each sex scene in Season 1 had a purpose. The wedding. Each scene was given in stages.  First newness/awkwardness, passion/exploration & then falling in love.  The scene in which they were having sex away from the group, distraction. The scene in which they have sex after the spanking scene, is not only forgiveness but also ferocity. 

Season 2 was a marriage. The people in the marriage had been through a huge trauma. Jamie’s rape along with the fight to keep him alive was one that could have easily broken a marriage apart. In the start of the season we saw that.  Sure, it might have been nice to see a little skin here and there, however, it wouldn’t have made a lot of sense.

Those who are dealing with a physical trauma such as the one portrayed in the show, more often than not, lack the desire a) to perform b) have someone THAT close. No matter how much you love & trust them.  It isn’t about the partner, it is about the victim and their ability to process.  When a sexual assault happens, very often the victim is loathe to put themselves back in that vulnerable position … especially when they are still emotionally coping with the trauma.

The beautiful thing we love about the visual exploration of these books should be the writers ability to see that the human experience will need to over rule the labido.  

What we saw a GREAT deal of in season two was intimacy.  I am not referring to the fade to black or the scene in the blue room. I am referring to the looks, touches and conversations/arguments that took place.  It is in these moments that our characters become the lovers that can not bare to lose one another.


The ability to fight.  Jamie & Claire did that. Expressing anger can be quite a passionate act between partners.  It encourages us to say what is on our mind, it encourages us to not only say but show with emotion what our true feelings are.  An example is when Jamie was upset with Claire for working at L’Hôpital des Anges.  The argument was a conduit for deeper understanding which creates intimacy, which creates a deeper bond. Even when our partners say & do irrational things it causes us to think of the deeper issues. Disagreements tend to open lines of communication which in turn leads us to healthier relationships.

Another tragedy befalls Claire & Jamie.  It is the loss of a child.  Hurt, anger, pain -both physical & emotional will cause a rift in any relationship. What truly matters is the bridge back to one another and crossing it together. For when they do…it cements the relationship into something more permanent. Something that could span lifetimes.


Loss + Forgiveness + Love = Solid Love Lessons

There was a WHOLE LOTTA story to tell in 13 episodes.  We need to speak of the actors commitment to their characters.  Caitriona Balfe & Sam Heughan have said they will not do gratuitous love scenes for the sake of them.  They understand they are telling a story and that the scenes, whether sexual or violent in nature will not be over done.  That is something I am personally grateful for.   It is when shows start throwing in ass shots for the sake of ass shots that they lose credibility.  Honestly, we know that Claire & Jamie are having sex.  Like any other married/loving couple…but we don’t have to see them do it to know they are. It’s like bathing…we really don’t have to see the act, the flies aren’t gathering so we get it.

Conveying the depth of their relationship is more important to the story than sexytime.  


I would encourage folks to examine logistics of the end of the season as well.  Cold, hungry, weary and focused on changing the future.  Having sex for the sake of having sex isn’t exactly what any sane couple would do under the circumstances.  There is no doubt in my mind that they were, as their intimacy & connection showed greatly in those episodes, however, it was probably pretty un-sexy & the telling of that story was far more important.

The sex at the stones was much like the sex in the book. Fast…intense…and final. That kind of sex is never like a movie, its more like a punch in the stomach. Which I believe they captured perfectly.

I would love to end my view on the sexual world of Outlander. O-Lander if you please. Some of the most intense and intimate moments in books…don’t involve “sex” at all.   *cough* Get ready for the print shop folks. *cough* 

Too skip even further ahead to what I believe to be one of the most intimate scenes in all of Diana’s books…the final passage of  The Fiery Cross.

**Book Spoiler—if you haven’t read to this point in TFC, it is up to you to continue**

FYI-   Fun/Heartwarming Trivia —Diana Gabaldons husband is the one who uttered the final line of this particular passage. It is a testament of a well balanced marriage.  Translated to Claire & Jamie, we have watched the start of it & will continue to enjoy it.

“I sat down beside him, close, my hand on his leg, and his hand on mine. We sat thus for a bit, side by side, watching the rain clouds roll in over the river, like a threat of distant war.  And I thought that whether it was choice or no choice, it might be that it came to the same thing in the end.

   Jamie’s hand lay still on mine.  It tightened a little, and I glances at him, but his eyes were still fixed somewhere past the dooryard; past the mountains, and the distant clouds.  His grip tightened further, and I felt the edges of my ring press into my flesh.

   “When the day shall come, that we do part,” he said softly, and turned to look at me, “if my last words are not ‘I love you’–ye’ll ken it was because I dinna have time.”



@ABOotlanders Founder

28 thoughts on “Sex & Intimacy. My version of O-Lander

  1. Perfectly put! Thank you so much for sharing – my feelings exactly (especially the gif about the child having a tantrum – because it wants what it wants. Take heed, people. I, for one, agree with you completely!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do believe that while the sex scenes is season one were beautifully portrayed by Balfe and Heughan, the scenes bordered on gratuitous, and that’s why in season two, some fans felt set up and manipulated with the scarcity of sexual intimacy (although the lack of sex was understandable given the trauma Jamie had experienced).


    • I understand some thought they were gratuitous, though, again…this stems from perspective as well. I honestly believe we are lucky to get a story that so closely resembles the books however we should be aware that it is the TV show and things are going to be different. Thanks for reading 😀


  3. This has to be one of the most intelligent, articulate statements on the subject I have read. Deep, long term love relationships evolve over time as do the people in them. Intimacy and communication are the glue. If you are remotely invested in these characters as something other than fantasy fodder, the issue of demanding more sex on the show feels voyeuristic.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Apples and Oranges. Book and series. I understand time restrictions, picking and choosing, and even lack of sex scenes, but there was more to it than that. It was a true lack of connection. Even my husband felt it. He’s the one who mentioned it first. I’m not a professional anything, so maybe I’m wrong, but 45 years of marriage to a man I love more than my life, might qualify for something. This season was Disconnected!


    • First it was very well done. Everything! The newness of their love and relationship was still
      There and to almost ignore that affection/intimacy was obvious through the whole season.
      Yes, there were a few intimate moments and I don’t mean sex but not enough to even with his trauma imo. The intimacy did show up in the 2nd half, it was there, I noticed it was Suttle. I liked it. It was well played but the final goodbye was missing something to me. It was rushed! Not enough time allowed. I don’t mean nudity, I mean intensity of never seeing each other again
      As in (as I dare say) the last scene together in the book. Tv series or not. Having said that I loved it and can’t wait for voyager season 3. Well done to all involved in the show.


      • I hear what you are saying. I found the parting to be just the right amount of frustration & drama. In the book the parting was pretty rushed too but I see what you are saying about intensity. If I were to look at it from the characters perspective, I think how they were looking at one another through the whole exchange is pretty intense – to the ones doing it more so than those watching 🙂


  5. Yes, Diana has said that Outlander is the courtship and subsequent books are the marriage. Excellent explanation. Outlander is tryng to do something deeper and if we really watch, we might learn something.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I didnt think there was less sex between them. I think we “saw” less sex. I presumed that it had hone into thr background in the face of the catastrophic events taking place around them

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Like you said at the beginning, everyone’s perspective is different. I am one of those who felt the depth of the intimacy did not show through in Season 2…and I don’t mean the sexual intimacy. We’re talking about an epic love between these two that transcends the love most couples experience. What I saw was affection that didn’t even meet normal standards of love. Without the books to fill in the blanks, I just don’t know if as a viewer I would have understood what makes us book readers obsessive.

    I agree, you don’t need sex scenes to show this type of love and intimacy. Going back to movies before sex was allowed, you can see the depth of this type of love in movies like Gone With the Wind, West Side Story, Wuthering Heights, Splendor in the Grass, among others. Yes, we saw touches and looks and kisses, many on the forehead (which I actually love in the books), but without much/any of the J & C banter that goes along with it, those are gestures that can be bestowed on a child or favorite pet.

    IMO, the writers placed too much emphasis on the events surrounding the couple and not enough on the couple themselves. As you stated in your article, we don’t need to necessarily see the sex to know it’s happening, I don’t have to see one whole episode of men drilling to know it’s happening either. I would have preferred the events as background instead of J & C taking a back seat. You can only tell me so many times there is too much story to condense, while putting in unnecessary drivel (dildo scene, extra Laoghaire, e.g.) before I stop believing/trusting the writing/editing.


  8. Very much agree. The last lines of Fiery Cross got me as well and when I saw Diana’s husband gave her those lines….She’s killin’ me! Another of my favorite ‘love scenes’ was as Jamie was leaving Claire for Prestonpans. After the kisses, he bowed to her. Respect. And very romantic to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am one of those who felt there was too much distance between J&C this season. And it not about “skin and ass shots” as you say. It is annoying that people that felt this season to be on the cold side are being labeled this way. We did gain some closeness later.. one of my very favorite scenes was Jamie praying over Claire in Ep11. There was no “sex” there but it was the level of intimacy and closeness that was lacking most of the season. That WAS there season 1. .. Also you can’t pick and choose when to use the book for back up and when to say “this is the show, not the book” .. Either we are trying to stay true to the “spirit of the book” .. which they repeatedly say they are… or we are not. The spirit of the book is that the love and passion this couple has is not “ordinary” or “typical” .. it is special. Their connection is part of how they overcome struggles. Being married doesn’t mean the magic is gone. That is never Jamie and Claire. There is no way Jamie would be cut off from Claire sexually like that for 6 months. In the book, during the healing time at the abbey at the end of book 1, he fought to find his way back to her.. to prove to himself he could still be “with” her that way and not let the memory of BJR wedge them apart. In France, he dealt with nightmares etc.. but kept it to his sleeping time and continued to connect and heal with Claire. He was determined not to let this experience and BJR have power over him and Claire. In the show he did let it have that power.. and they were very distant the first 4 episodes and even after. That is just not how this couple operates. The problem is, that after that, like you said.. the problems around them get more intense which prohibits being able to show those moments. When she loses the baby, when they are in dire battle. You needed to show the closeness earlier, and during the Lallybroch time (which was brutally cut away from the story) that was the window to show those moments and they slammed it shut. I appreciate your points, many are surely valid. This was a very well written article and believe me, I fully understand the need to change some things when adapting.. no one is arguing that. But those that feel there was a lack of focus on the love story aspect of Jamie and Claire this season have valid points too. We are not just a bunch of pervs that want gratuitous sex all the time. We just want the spirit of the couple we adore and the nature of their passion, love and intensity to remain true.


    • I respect your opinion and I would like you to note that I said I understand the arguements but I do not agree with them. I also have not labeled anyone. I saw intimacy where you do not. Perception. Life experience, whatever that is. Your defensiveness was not necessary as I didn’t attack anyone, simply gave my opinions & counterpoints to arguments I have heard. This isn’t a debate piece, it is a conversation.


  10. Very well written analysis but I have one question…did you see the Entertainment Weekly cover story? It WAS bait and switch when the powers that be choose to publicize the story in this fashion and then present something very different onscreen. Talk about gratuitous…


    • I have seen it and I have a different view on that. People can tune in for the intimacy/sex that they portrayed in the layout and will stay for the story (which would be impossible to create a layout that attracted the same reaction) It isn’t bait & switch it is called publicity. I also recall when that particular cover story came out that there was more people upset by it than loved it because they claimed “The story isn’t all about sex”, “It’s not a bodice ripper.” I honestly believe that the production/marketing & writing staff of this show are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. This is not something reserved for this show only…one cover can not encapsulate what a show has to offer, however it can do what publicity is supposed to do. Get people talking and watching.


      • I do understand your point and you are probably correct in the “damned if they do and damned if they don’t” assertion…I am just in “the wish they had done” camp. Also enjoy the gifs and appreciate your efforts to continue the discussion.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t know if you mind your readers critiquing your views but how ’bout the set-up of the article? Mind you, this is just my own reading style but the gif’s (photos) were disconcerting and distracted me from the depth of what you were saying in your piece. I didn’t find them helpful to your point. I offer this information just in case you are open to hearing. 😊
    As far as agreeing with you, I think we are further apart than we are together. And that’s ok. When I read beyond the disclaimer at the beginning paragraph I was putting my fate in your hands, and it was my choice to do so. You aren’t asking for the opinions of others and I can, and will, respect that. It’s what makes our world so colorful. Thank you for your article…I could just do without the weird gif’s next time.


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