Sanditon Has Turned Me Into a Lunatic and I Need More Kissing All the Time Now Please

Sanditon Has Turned Me Into a Lunatic and I Need More Kissing All the Time Now Please
Image credit: PBS

Romance novelists have always understood what makes the Regency era so sexy: it's all those buttons.

And all those buttons are a metaphor for how repressed everyone is. And how repressed everyone is means that everyone just yearns for each other all the time. Not only are characters not allowed to have sex before marriage, they're not allowed to hold hands, be alone together, or say the word "legs" to a lady. You know what was scandalous in the Regency era? The waltz. Also everything else.

In contemporary stories, it's hard to make a romance feel high-stakes. In the Regency, meeting a gentleman in the garden unchaperoned and never touching is so high stakes it makes ladies faint to even consider it.

When I started Sanditon in 2020, the show had a little bit of that Bridgerton flavour of "throw some sex in there to make it sexier".

What they didn't understand, of course, was that they were messing with a genre so sexy that actual sex just undercut the inherent sexiness. Like its Netflix cousin, Sanditon pulled back on the graphic displays in Season 2 and returned to the essential truth, nay the very essence of eroticism.

Yeah, I'm talkin' bout women holding tiny glasses of lemonade while uptight men glower at them across a ballroom. DAYYYYYM.

Season 2 of Sanditon brought the return of the Regency Rules: restraint, women's hair never being down, and no touching allowed. Like much of the fandom, I was won over immediately by Alexander Colbourne and his "Soft Mr. Rochester" routine.

An outwardly stern widower with a Secret Tortured Past? He loves dogs and horses?! Look at how much he and Charlotte are staring at each other! They're staring so much! And now they're kissing you guys! They're kissing on the settee! Lit by candlelight!! KISSING!!!

Sanditon Has Turned Me Into a Lunatic and I Need More Kissing All the Time Now Please - image 1

Then they kissed again under a tree, and it was great. Then they touched hands once, but extremely subtly, because they were in public and touching hands is scandalous. SCANDALOUS, I say!

Ironically, all this illicit touching and Miss-Heywood-I-mustn't-call-you-by-your-first-name-for-I-am-a-gentleman talk has turned me into a raving lunatic, and I'm not the only one.

There's many a Twitter thread dedicated to that fireside smooch and its immediate aftermath. There are reams of fanfiction – and not naughty fanfiction, which would be normal. It's fanfiction with JUST THAT KISS AND NOTHING ELSE.

Every Sanditon fan could promptly tell you how many kisses happened between #Heybourne, and it's not because the number is small. It's because it's all we think about all the time. There are fans wondering "how many kisses" we'll get in season three, with the general consensus being that a minimum of 3 would be "only fair". We've all been Regencied into little old ladies who swoon at the idea of bare hands touching each other. We need help. Send help.

And by help I mean more kissing.