‘Lost Girl’ Creator Michelle Lovretta On Rules for Sex-Positive TV

Maureen Ryan pointed out this Q&A with Michelle Lovretta, the creator of Canadian fantasy show Lost Girl (currently airing on SyFy) about a succubus trying to make her way among warring faerie communities. I was particularly struck by her explanation of the efforts she’s made to keep the show sex-positive, and to avoid falling into stereotype and error:

So, I came up with a few internal rules and I moved to Canada that first year to co-showrun the show (with the fab Mr. Peter Mohan) partly just to help institute them:

1. sexual orientation is not discussed, and never an issue;

2. no slut shaming – Bo is allowed to have sex outside of relationships

3. Bo’s male and female partners are equally viable;

4. Bo is capable of monogamy, when desired;

5. both genders are to be (adoringly!) objectified — equal opportunity eye candy FTW…

Bo has lots of sex, with men, women, humans, Fae, threesomes… and she’s still our hero, still a good person worthy (and capable) of love, and that’s a rare portrayal of female sexuality. Also, a show built around a bisexual lead doesn’t have to BE about her bisexuality — orientation can just be an interesting element of a story, and not the story itself, and that’s the central spirit of our show. I consider that “I’m here, I’m queer, and it’s no big deal” approach to a main character still fairly rare and wonderful, at least in North America. It’s also rare to have a female lead who is so honestly sexual, without judgment…I think the single element I will remain proudest of is just that we’ve been able to create and put out into the world a sex positive universe where a person’s sexual orientation is unapologetically present and yet neither defines them as a character, nor the show as a whole.

I would really like to see this sort of thing tacked up in a lot of writers’ rooms. And the fact that a show that starts with the intention of doing something better needs these as reminders is an illustration of how pervasive our default assumptions about women and non-straight people and sexuality are. Getting your head right is a constant struggle.