Why Outlander Didn't Have As Many Sex Scenes In Season 4

outlander season 4 claire jamie starz
(Image credit: Starz)
(Image credit: Starz)

Outlander earned a reputation as one of the sexiest shows on television, and leading lady Caitriona Balfe even opined that the show has the very best sex on the small screen. So, fans generally go into a season expecting to see Jamie and Claire hit the sheets -- or really any other flat surface -- for a love connection. Surprisingly, Season 4 didn't have that many sex scenes between the two, and arguably the steamiest scene of the season went to Roger and Brianna.

Executive producer Maril Davis acknowledged the shortage of sex scenes in Season 4 and explained why it wouldn't have really worked for Jamie and Claire to hook up as often as they did in years past, saying this:

This season, we were introducing more characters, and there was a lot of story to get in. We've always talked about the sex scenes — we love them, too — but they have to be organic to the story. Sometimes that story, or the network or the studio, don't allow for those slow down times. In the book, you can slow down...You have enough time to do the quiet moments between Jamie and Claire, and sometimes we didn't have a chance this season.

As somebody whose biggest issue with Season 4 was its breakneck pace as it tore through the source material from Diana Gabaldon's Drums of Autumn novel, I can't argue with Maril Davis' explanation that there just wasn't time to slow down the story and let Jamie and Claire enjoy each other. Jamie and Claire hardly even had any time alone in any kind of safe place to let their guard down for a romantic rendezvous!

For the first chunk of the season, Young Ian was almost always around, and it's hard to throw stones at anybody for not feeling particularly amorous with a nephew hanging around while living relatively rough and in fear of attack from Native Americans. Then, the arrival of Lord John Grey and Jamie's secret son complicated things, and not just because John's illness required Jamie to take off with William for a few days. And then there came Murtagh!

The biggest variable that had to get in the way of their sex life was Brianna. The arrival of their daughter from 200 years in the future would have been complicated and distracting enough without the reveal that she was pregnant after being brutally raped by Stephen Bonnet.

Bree obviously became a priority, and then they had to take off on a quest to recover Roger after Jamie beat him to a pulp and Young Ian sold him to Mohawk, in a move that ultimately resulted in Jamie and Claire losing Young Ian.

Will Jamie and Claire have more time to themselves in Season 4? Difficult to say at this point. The departure of Young Ian -- while tragic -- may mean some alone time, especially now that Roger is back to occupy Bree, along with her newborn. Unfortunately, the Season 4 cliffhanger saw Jamie called upon to raise a militia and hunt down the leader of the Regulators... who just so happens to be Murtagh, who was at Jocasta's estate along with Jamie when he got the summons.

Still, Maril Davis has some encouraging words for fans about more sex scenes in Season 5. She went on in her chat with TV Guide and other outlets at the TCA press tour to say this:

I do anticipate a return, hopefully, to that [intimacy] next season. Every season has its different storylines and where we're going. We can't always re-create the first season, which was very special. It just has to be within the story and feel like its organic. That's something we work on and the actors work on. It's a collaboration.

While likely disappointing to any who were hoping for another season of Jamie and Claire as eager to jump each other whenever and wherever as they were in Season 1, Maril Davis' comments do reflect how much their circumstances have changed. When they finally came together in Season 1, it was as newlyweds, and Jamie had been a virgin before their marriage. Also, despite their status as outlaws due to Jamie's issues with the British, they were relatively safe compared to later seasons.

Even in Season 2 before their long separation and when they were younger, they weren't as eager to hit the sheets together as they were in Season 1, for understandable reasons. Jamie struggled with intimacy in the aftermath of his rape by Black Jack Randall, and Claire's traumatic miscarriage meant that she wasn't physically ready for sex for a while.

Of course, she was also not feeling particularly affectionate for Jamie after he was absent when she needed him during the miscarriage, so it wasn't really an amorous time for them. Their lives have not been easy over the years. Honestly, one of these days, they may be more in the mood for a nap in a safe place than a roll in the hay.

If Outlander's fifth season seemed likely to follow the events of the beginning of the next book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander book saga, called The Fiery Cross, then there could have been time for Jamie and Claire to take an hour or two to themselves without threat of murder or mayhem.

The Fiery Cross kicks off with more than a hundred pages of the Frasers at a local Gathering, and while that does present plenty of complications, it doesn't force them on another journey. The Season 4 finale indicates that Outlander is just skipping the Gathering storyline altogether.

Honestly, with Murtagh alive, it's difficult to guess where the storyline of Jamie and his militia will go. Murtagh was long dead by this point in the books. Even readers can't be certain in predicting what comes next. His romance with Jocasta was definitely a plot twist that I didn't see coming!

The good news is that Outlander has been renewed for Seasons 5 and 6, so there's no need to worry that the fifth season will be the last. The bad news is that Season 5 has no premiere date set at this point, and Outlander hiatuses tend to last a long time. At least there are plenty of viewing options to pass the time while we wait!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).