The plot twist no one saw coming? Each White Lotus sex scene proves the HBO drama is horny now. The idea came to creator Mike White while he was scouting hotels. After visiting San Domenico Palace—the renovated convent in Taormina, Italy where the second season was ultimately shot—White decided it would be the perfect backdrop for an exploration of sexual politics.
“It gave me the idea that to focus more on sexual jealousy and adultery and infidelity and a more operatic kind of bedroom farce…” White told NPR. “The place sort of forced my hand in a way.”
The omnipresent ick is the only natural law of The White Lotus universe. You can catch a whiff of it in every torrid sex scene—excitement and unease, desire and desperation, sweat and the faint smell of stolen arancini. Season two is what happens when a social satire decides to buy a skimpy black bikini and become a sexual thriller.
Before the sexual tension reaches a fever-pitch in the forthcoming finale, feast your eyes on this definitive ranking of this season’s unforgettable sex scenes.
Episode Six: Harper and Cameron
Technically, this sex scene is a projection that plays out in the tormented mind of Ethan Spiller (Will Sharpe). But there may be some truth to his paranoid fantasies. Over the course of the season, Ethan grows to suspect his wife, Harper (Aubrey Plaza), is cheating with his college buddy Cameron (Theo James). In the season’s penultimate, he fumes imagining them hooking up on a table, then racing to cover up the indiscretion before Ethan finds out.
And frankly, can you blame Ethan for feeling threatened? In moments, Cameron definitely appears to be seducing Harper. Cameron undresses in front of Harper in the first episode. Later, he plays a light prank on her and openly admits his desire to be liked by her. At every turn, he goes out of his way to meet her cool, judgmental gaze with playful flirtation. And Harper seems to gradually warm up to Cameron in return. Their underlying motivations are opaque. Cameron is perhaps using seduction as a power play to show dominance over Ethan. Harper is perhaps playing along with Cameron’s advances in a strategy to expose his conniving behavior, questionable business dealings, and flagrant infidelity. Every glance between Harper and Cameron feels meaningful. Whether it’s lust or hatred in their eyes remains to be seen.