Who’s better at sex than Claire and Jamie Fraser? No one. That’s who. Outlander knows how to do sex. What makes this show so good at it? Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan. Imagine if you had to pretend to have sex for work? And then imagine you’re really good at your job. Like, really good. Luckily, it’s not just good for them, it’s good for all of us. (*Lights cigarette. Then puts it out, because it’s 2020, why are you smoking?)
Their chemistry has been talked about for years, and honestly it cannot be matched. Anyone can do a love scene, but these two make you love every scene. And it’s not just sex — it’s intimacy, consent, and the focus on female pleasure that puts this show in a class of its own. The sex isn’t perfect. It’s awkward, slow, fast, clumsy, funny, and just plain enjoyable. Outlander struck gold in casting Balfe and Heughan. Separately, they are strong, but together they are unstoppable and you cannot look away.
A few months back, I recommended the show to a colleague, who then recommended to her mom, which resulted in the following phone call.
Mom: Your friend’s show is very good, but it’s a little erotic, Jenny.
To my friend, I apologize. To her mom, you’re welcome and yes, it is my show. I’m Ron Moore. But let’s get to it. We’re about to discuss our all-time favorite sex scenes in Outlander. Five years of sex! Let’s be like Claire and time-travel back to 2014… This is long. They have a lot of sex. But they’re so good at it, so enjoy.
When Claire and Jamie met 5 years ago in 1743 (I know, time flies), he was a virgin and she was married to some wank, er sorry Frank. (There were good points about Frank, I’ll admit, like that time he died. Kidding. Tobias Menzies was amazing).
But Frank hadn’t even been born yet technically, so Claire was single and ready to mingle. (Not really, she was being hunted by Frank’s twinning great, great, great, great, grand something Blackjack Randall and fate intervened and forced her and Jamie to get married. Thank you, fate.)
“Like a Virgin” Wedding Sex
Season 1, Episode 7 – “The Wedding”
You say, “the wedding,” to any Outlander fan and they know. The cast knows. Everyone knows. This is the couple’s first three love scenes. That’s right, three. Jamie is a virgin. Claire is not. But he learns quickly. Quick is the key word for their first time.
There are three types of sex shown here. One, awkward first time sex. Two, passionate, “omg I get to have sex with my spouse all the time” sex . Three, love. Jamie gives her a pearl necklace. No! Not like that. Sheesh. Though watch Sam Heughan try to keep a straight face when saying, “Pearl necklace.” He tells her the necklace is one of the few things he has left of his mother, “It’s very precious to me, as are you Claire.” And in that moment, you see that these two are it for each other.
Before they do it, Claire asks him where he learned to kiss like that? “I said I’m a virgin, not a monk.” Oh heyyyyy, confidence. And then he spins her around, and is about to go for it, when she’s like um, and spins herself back around so they’re face to face, and then they fall on to the bed for their first time. Claire tells Jamie he’s crushing her and he quickly learns how to plank while he sexes. Both he and Claire look happy and awkward. She probably could have used an extra few minutes, but he’s a beginner, he did his best! And then they have the cutest post-sex convo. He thought sex was done the back way like horses. And they laugh, and somewhere the horses do, too.
Jamie asks Claire if she liked it, and she says nothing. Jamie says the men must have been right, “Women don’t like it.” LOL. Claire admits to him, “I did like it, Jamie.” And just like that a star was born. JAMMF.
Their second time around, Jamie learns the art of foreplay. Claire tells him to take his shirt off, then walks around and surveys the goods. Jamie likes this and says, “Fair’s fair, your turn.” And then he sees a naked woman for the first time up close, and he’s pretty excited this is his wife. And then they do it. This must have required many drinks to film. They are super naked. And it’s super sex-filled.
This is the first time we see consent as a mainstay of their relationship. During their second time, Jamie thinks he’s hurting Claire, because she’s screaming out of pure joy. So he stops. In his defense, he’s never heard a woman orgasm, so he’s scared! Claire decides to show him, she’s not a regular wife, she’s a cool wife. As she bites him, she says, “Does that hurt? Do you want me to stop?” And that’s how consent works. Claire also treats her new husband to oral for the first time, and the expression on his face indicates he’s a fan for life. He falls asleep with a smile on his face. Welcome to sex, Jamie, you’re going to love it here.
Season 1, Episode 8 – “Both Sides Now”
When newlyweds Jamie and Claire are having a quickie in a field, Jamie asks her, “Does the wanting you ever stop?” Five seasons later, nope it doesn’t. Jamie also tells her, “I know why they call this a sacrament, because I feel like God himself when I’m inside of you.” Claire laughs, and then they continue their field fornication, until two terrible Red Coats interrupt them. And one of them attempts to rape Claire. That’s Outlander for you, gives us 1.5 episodes of happiness then tears it away with deeply intense trauma. Worst honeymoon ever.
Claire Teaches Jamie Equality with a Knife Sex
This was the very first love scene that Balfe and Heughan ever filmed together. And wow. Talk about hitting it out of the park on your first try. Earlier, Jamie and Claire had a huge fight, then Jamie thought it was his duty to teach his wife a lesson and he spanked her with a belt. She did not take kindly to this. And boy did he live to regret it. She sexiles him for days.
He apologizes, promises he’ll never hurt her again, and tells her that her wedding ring was the key to Lallybroch, his family home. But that he didn’t miss it, because Claire was his home now. And they were naked pretty fast after that statement. But Jamie didn’t assume anything, even after Claire kissed him, he said, “I want ye so much, I can scarcely breathe, will you have me?” She said, “Yes, I’ll have you.” And have him she did. Is that not the hottest consent talk you’ve ever heard?
Then they fall to the ground, and while on top of Jamie, mid-act, Claire grabs his knife and puts it to his throat and says, “If you ever raise a hand to me James Fraser, I will cut out your heart and have it for breakfast, do you understand me?” And of course he says yes, because while she’s keeping that knife steady, she’s rhythmically moving other parts. Sick power move, Claire. Let’s just say they come… to an understanding.
Other than the wedding, this may be the most memorable love scene of the series. Because equality is hot AF. In one second, Claire makes her and Jamie equals. Actually, scratch that, she’s in control. She always was. Side note: Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan got actual sex scene wounds doing this, in the form of carpet burns. Ow.
sam and caitríona’s first sex scene being THAT scene… iconic pic.twitter.com/THoTocc0Ik
— yakeen (@clairress) May 17, 2020
Season 1, Episode 10 – “By the Pricking of My Thumbs”
Claire and Jamie are enjoying a little morning sex when aggressive door knocking interrupts them. Jamie won’t be deterred. When Claire stops and looks at the door, he says, “No,” and slides her closer to him. Jamie’s focus here should have won some kind of “Will not stop giving my wife oral even if you knock” award. They finish, and Claire’s satisfied, and Jamie opens the door. It’s Murtagh, who flies in and sees an out of breath Claire with clear a post-sex glow and it gets super awkward.
“I’m from the future” Sex
Season 1, Episode 11 – “The Devil’s Mark”
What makes this scene unique is that Jamie believes this is the last night they will spend together. Claire doesn’t know it, but Jamie plans on taking her to the stones the next morning so she can return to her time. Jamie decides to focus only on her pleasure and tells her, “No, I want to watch you, mo nighean donn.” And it’s kind of the most selfless sex line ever. Props especially to Balfe because this must have been very awkward to film! I mean they probably all are, but she had to do most of the acting here.
Writer and executive producer Toni Graphia once said about Balfe and Heughan, “He’s very in-tune to Caitriona. They’re very in-sync. They just shut off what’s going on around them and focus on each other.” And that in a nutshell is why this show works so well.
“I love you” Sex
Season 1, Episode 12 – “Lallybroch”
Claire tells Jamie, “I’m not the meek and obedient type.” Yeah gurl, he knows. Jamie and Claire return to his home, Lallybroch, after Claire has chosen to stay with him. Jamie confesses to Claire that he loved her from the moment he met her, and is also a fan of her round butt. Claire then says, “I love you” to Jamie for the first time. And Jamie carries her off screen for some I love you sex.
“Your Honeypot, It’s Bare” Sex
Season 2, Episode 1 – “Not in Scotland Anymore”
When season 2 begins, Jamie’s suffering from PTSD and can’t be intimate with Claire. Earlier in the day, Claire gets her hoo haa waxed, and decides to surprise Jamie. He’s surprised and disappointed. “To rid yourself of such a lovely forest.” So Claire tells him to check it out, and he’s a fan, so much so that they start to get it on. But then Jamie sees Claire’s face morph into Blackjack’s and that moment of intimacy is quickly cut short. Claire tells him, “It’s ok, let’s just go to sleep.” Even when they’re showing their characters not having sex, it’s powerful.
“It was only a bite! Okay, two bites.”
Season 2, Episode 4 – “La Dame Blanche”
When a frisky Jamie comes home from a brothel, he leaps on top of a surprised Claire. But then Claire sees he has two bites on his thighs. And Jamie does the worst job ever explaining, and they have a pretty significant fight. Jamie goes to sleep in another room. Thankfully, Claire heads to that room, drops her gown and then she and Jamie finally reconnect.
The lighting in this scene is, “I’m Blue Da Ba Dee, Da Ba Doo.” There’s a blue light. There’s also a lot of focus on Claire’s pregnant belly. Here’s Outlander yet again showing a focus on the fact that pregnant women enjoy sex too. A lot. In fact, in their post-sex pillow talk, Jamie moves the sheet down to caress Claire’s pregnant belly, most shows cover pregnant women with sheets. Not this show, oh sheet yeah.
Super Pregnant Sex
Season 2, Episode 6 – “Best Laid Schemes”
This is a quick one, but important because Claire’s pregnancy is highlighted. Jamie talks to their in-utero little Scot, and says he can’t wait to meet them. And then he kisses Claire and asks if they can still… And she assures him he won’t hurt her or the baby.
Return to Scotland – Fireplace sex
Season 2, Episode 8 – “The Fox’s Lair”
This is the first time they sleep together since Claire’s miscarriage. Claire and Jamie return to Scotland, and everyone is celebrating their return, and also potatoes. That’s right potatoes. Claire told Jenny to plant them. And Jamie and Claire are weirdly turned on by potatoes. When Claire says they can be boiled, I have never seen Jamie so excited about a vegetable. They actually start making out in front of their fam. Because of potatoes.
Later that night, Jamie and Claire make out in front of the fireplace. Confession: I don’t understand how Sam Heughan doesn’t bump into that table, they not only have chemistry down but also blind balance. Who can make out and walk a perfectly straight line? Sam Heughan, that’s who. “Can make out while walking and won’t bump into furniture or drop my co-star.” I hope that skill is on his resume.
Stone Cold, Before We Say Goodbye Forever Sex
Season 2, Episode 13 – “Dragonfly in Amber”
“You are my home,” Claire says. And Jamie responds, “And you are mine, but this home is lost.” So this is also super sad sex. Jamie tells Claire he knows she’s pregnant and must go to the future. Claire’s like, “You tracked my period in the middle of a war?!” Whattaguy. Such attention to detail.
They arrive at the stones, and do it one last time. They tearfully say goodbye, and poof Claire is gone. And they don’t see each other again for 20 years! Similar to the Titanic “Was there enough room for Jack on that piece of wood” debate, I think they should have figured out a different solution, and galloped off on their two horses and not stopped. War shmor.
20 Year Reunion Sex
Season 3, Episode 6 – “A. Malcolm”
Jamie and Claire spend the majority of this episode having sex. It’s basically a 60-minute love scene. What happens when you have sex after 20 years? Well, for one you’re not as smooth as you once were. Jamie accidentally smashes Claire in the nose with his head. Once they get their rhythm back — and reminiscent of their wedding night — they do it three times in this episode. Maybe more, but we only see three.
The next morning, Jamie tells the waitress who’s arrived with their breakfast to come back later. Claire asks him, “Don’t you want to eat?” and he replies, “Ay,” then smiles and heads downtown. Ahh, the Continental breakfast.
First Wife, Damn right
Jamie and Claire have a fight with a 20-year build up. It’s sparked by the fact that Jamie failed to tell Claire he married Laoghaire when they were separated for 20 years. But the fight is more about the pain they both have from being separated. He’s jealous of Frank getting to be with his wife and raise their child. And she’s mad that he thinks she lived happily ever after with Frank. She didn’t, she went to med school, and seemingly didn’t have sex with anyone else for 20 years, except Frank twice, but she kept her eyes closed and thought of Jamie. Seriously, did Claire not have sex for 20 years? Diana Gabaldon, answer this question, please.
So, Jamie and Claire are both a bit aggressive here. He grabs her and desperately kisses her, which she doesn’t like, so she slaps him. They then wrestle, fall on to the bed, then the floor, and he says, “I love you and only you.” And even though Claire is still super pissed, they start ripping each other’s clothes off.
Then Jamie’s sister, Jenny comes in like a wrecking ball. Or more like a fricking fire hose. She wrecked Jamie’s ball, that’s for sure. (Ew. Sorry brother-sister ball jokes aren’t cool.) As Jenny throws water on them, she says, “Fighting and rutting like wild beasts and no caring if the whole house hears you!” Yes, Jenny, they don’t care, neither do we. Shoo. Let them finish their naked discussion please. Unfortunately, Claire runs off.
Season 3, Episode 9 – “Doldrums”
This was the first time they had sex since their big fight. Jamie spends most of the time after that, shot, on penicillin and seasick. Really seasick. But acupuncture cured him. As soon as he felt better, they were like, let’s find a tiny space on this boat and have sex. And they did. Claire shushed Jamie saying they were being too loud and someone would hear. Jamie said, “Let them.” Well, okay then. JAMMF wants the boat to know he’s getting busy. It’s super hot, too. Temperature-wise, so Claire says step on it JAMMF, let’s do this fast.
Turtle Soup Sex
Season 3, Episode 11 – “Unchartered”
After Claire’s “Castaway” journey, in which she’s stuck on an island talking to a coconut, Claire and Jamie are finally reunited, again. Claire injured her arm on a pretty sharp twig and starts running a fever. Jamie finds her penicillin pack, as she gulps down some turtle soup.
Claire tells Jamie to give her a shot of the good stuff in her bum. But, Jamie can’t do it. So Claire gives herself the injection. And then she looks at Jamie with heart eyes and tells him turtle is an aphrodisiac. How does Claire know this? Did they teach that in med school? Do I have to google this? Do I want to be the person googling, “Is turtle an aphrodisiac,” and have that in my work browser history? Well. Great. Now I do.
Claire tells Jamie to bolt the door. He’s like “Nuh uh girl, you’re drunk.” And she says, “I’m not.” But she is. But she don’t give a sh*t. Jamie says he won’t take advantage of her. So she grabs him down below, to show him that she’s fine. And then they do it, standing up in front of a mirror in probably the most fun love scene in the series. Willoughby interrupts to ask if they need more soup. They don’t even stop the turtle soup-induced sex while talking to him through the door! Jamie covers Claire’s mouth. She bites his hand. He says she’s had enough soup. She says she hasn’t. And then Willoughby realizes there’s some sexing going on beyond that door.
I know that it was probably that drunken turtle soup that was the aphrodisiac, but penicillin is an aphrodisiac for Claire. Keep this in mind as we continue on this walk down sex lane.
Season 3, Episode 12 – “The Bakra”
Balfe and Heughan have an ability to be in a crowded room and have Jamie and Claire look at each other like they’re the only two there. And though this isn’t an official love scene, it might as well be. There’s more intimacy in this scene where they are just staring at each other, than most love scenes you will see on television. These two would really crush you in a staring contest. They actually looked at each for a solid 18 seconds. I timed this only because I’m writing this super-scientific article and needed to back it with science. I’m basically a scientist. A sex scientist.
“I’m on a Boat!” Sex
Season 3, Episode 13 – “Eye of the Storm”
It all starts with four words, when Claire tells Jamie, “Don’t shave your beard.” And then Jamie explains to Claire what he’d like to do to her when she’s willing and on land. Claire’s like, “Hi, I’m willing, who needs land?” And points to the bed in their boat cabin.
outlander showing that CONSENT👏🏼 IS👏🏼 SEXY 👏🏼 pic.twitter.com/TJJtob2si7
— m. (@bossbalfe) May 20, 2020
Jamie jokes that Claire will most likely make “wee noises and pant.” And tells her it’s okay to moan a little to encourage him. Claire emphatically denies she does this. But then cue montage of Claire being loud during sex since Season 1. When he “takes down his breeches” and she does indeed make some wee noises. Jamie and Claire finish their boat sexing, then a storm hits and Claire is thrown into the ocean and floats to a watery grave. But then Jamie swims down and saves her.
Which brings us to the underwater sex, jk there’s no sex, there’s a kiss which might be an early attempt at CPR by Jamie or a weird time to make out. Seriously, these two still have chemistry 50 feet underwater, when one of them might be dead. How do they do it?!
And then they wash up on land, after legit almost dying, and still look hot AF. Claire coughs up a little lung water, and then they do their signature forehead touch that Twitter fan @sababaxoxoxo pointed out has happened in every finale. This shot shows that these two actors can generate passion just by looking at each other.
Sex in America
Season 4, Episode 1 – “America the Beautiful”
Jamie and Claire set up camp for the night and then in front of a roaring fire, and after some nerd talk about thermodynamics, they do it with reckless abandon. This is a fairly long love scene that has passion and intensity, and Balfe and Heughan were probably freezing while filming this. (It’s Scotland, not America. Outlander, we know). Gonna be honest, I would have been afraid of bears. They were not.
Season 4, Episode 6 – “Blood of My Blood”
Beyoncé once sang, “If you love it, then you better put a ring on it… even if she’s in a bathtub.” So Jamie put a ring on it, alright. Jamie had Murtagh make a new wedding band for Claire out of his mother’s candlesticks. The inscription reads, “Give me a thousand kisses.” And the he lifts her out of the bathtub, and walks over to the bed. She’s soaking btw. I feel like maybe he could have toweled her off, ain’t nobody want soaking wet sheets, James. I’m practical, sorry. The scene did an abrupt cut to black before Jamie and Claire’s usual action.
“I’m sorry I almost killed our daughter’s sorta husband, but it was Lizzie’s fault” Sex
Season 4, Episode 11 – “If Not for Hope”
Now that might seem like a long description for the type of sex, but it’s true. Lizzie is to blame. Claire and Jamie got in a two-episode fight basically, and it was Lizzie’s fault. After a few days of silent treatment, Claire and Jamie finally talk in their tent. She says, “I’m sorry,” then he says, “I’m sorry.” Then “I’m sorry” sex happens. And pretty sure Young Ian was in a tent three feet away, listening to them being “sorry.”
L.O.V.E. Montage – Bad Babysitters Sex
Season 5, Episode 1 – “The Fiery Cross”
Jamie and Claire decide to get it on whilst they are babysitting their grandson. Hi, randy grandy parents. In their defense, the baby was supposed to be asleep. And was at least 20 feet away. Caitriona Balfe revealed, “Originally (in the script), the baby was supposed to be in the basket next to the bed (while Jamie and Claire are having sex)! That’s just weird!” So it was changed. Might be Team Balfe on this one. Sophie Skelton dubbed them irresponsible grandparents, but even she admitted that Jamie and Claire have a very healthy sex life.
Some fans weren’t happy with the montage aspect. I can understand why. Murtagh and Jocasta’s scene was awkward. Clothed dry-humping is one way to describe it. Where is my career, when I just typed the phrase “clothed dry-humping?”
But one thing everyone loved was Claire shushing Jamie. Twitter fan @smshingteacups said it best, “Moany McMoanerson shushing her nearly-silent husband will never not be the funniest thing ever.”
Moany McMoanerson shushing her nearly-silent husband will never not be the funniest thing ever. 😂
— Danielle (@smshingteacups) May 19, 2020
Angry Stable Sex – Stop Scaring the Horses Sex
I’ve always admired Jamie and Claire’s stability. And by stability I mean their ability to have sex in a stable. Stability. Now, I am not criticizing the King and Queen of Love Scenes, but this is the only love scene that didn’t work — and for reasons that weren’t in Balfe and Heughan’s control. The direction of this scene was off. It was rushed and then ended with an odd wide shot of them that made it look awkward.
The show tried to take a book line and make it work. “Watch while I take ye,” Jamie says to Claire. Okayyeeee, I watched, but how did you take thee? Seriously, logistically with all those clothes, how? You two are good at sex, but not so good that you can do it through 14 layers of clothes. Knowing what I know about sex, even Jamie’s “Malcolm MacKenzie” can’t make that work the way they showed it. It could not make it through his pants. And if it did, we’d call it The Sisterwood of the Traveling Pants, or maybe The Sisterwood Traveling through the Pants. I’ll stop, I’m sorry.
This scene could have worked with one slight change: Claire’s outfit. Oh and re-filming it. Also dedicating more of the script to their actual fight, because it seemed like they just wanted them to fight but not explain why. The post-coital (did I just write that?) scene was actually much hotter because it went off Balfe and Heughan’s natural chemistry, and they added moments of intimacy that were likely not scripted, like when he kisses her neck because she says she has a sex bruise.
Birthday Tent, Before War, Sex
Season 5, Episode 7 – “The Ballad of Roger Mac”
How do Jamie and Claire like to celebrate milestone birthdays just before one of them goes to war? Singing and sex in a tent. Claire’s gift to her husband is to sing “Happy Birthday,” Marilyn Monroe-style while they discover just how happy his birthday can get. Claire wakes him up with a birthday kiss, and asks him if everything is working properly since he’s so old now. They take a joint look at his “Malcolm MacKenzie” below the border. Everything’s working just fine. Claire’s a doctor, she knows. Then she starts her naked birthday song in their tent. They really like tent sex. And tents are not soundproof, Claire bear.
I’m pretty sure those tents are not sound-proof, and knowing what we know about Claire’s noise level…. Happy 50th Birthday, James. And to the rest of the tents, sorry. The Colonel is busy!
“Making Love without Making Love”
So Jamie gets a snake bite. And comes very close to death. But before he goes, he asks Claire to touch him. When his heart stops beating, Claire does the only thing a time-traveling surgeon from the future can do, she takes off her nightgown, jumps on top of him and brings him back to life with a hand job. She has a PhD people, she knows what she’s doing. It works! Hi skin-to-skin hack, Claire really was ahead of her time. It’s one of the best scenes in the entire series. Sam Heughan referred to this as “making love without making love.” Jamie: Hey Claire, I’m dying, could you give me a quick hand?”
Is anyone else singing How to Sex a Life to the tune of How to Save a Life? (go on Grey’s Anatomy fans, sing it). No? Just me? After Jamie starts breathing again from her handy work, they lie together. And did Claire probably move her leg over Jamie’s snake bite, maggot wound? Yes. And do I care? No. Because that shot was probably the most intimate shot in the show ever. (Until the ending shot of the Season 5 finale, “Never My Love.” And together, those shots are actual art. Twitter fan @IamNotTrisha made them into art.) With what the finale episode dealt with, one would have thought it would be virtually impossible to show Jamie and Claire’s intimacy after that. But they did. And it was heartbreaking and amazing.
Claire wakes up having a hot flash and walks over to the window. Jamie immediately wakes up and realizes that she had been wearing her sexy time perfume, and he fell asleep before they could do it. So Jamie treats Claire to some oral, while she hangs out a window, with her hair blowing in the wind, which is why this scene will forever be known as “Windy, with a chance of oral.”
Again, Outlander shows women are sexual through every phase of life, from pregnancy through menopause. Jamie’s window treatment for menopause should be more widely used.
Jamie & Claire Have Had A Lot of Sex – More than 25 Love Scenes
And that’s why Outlander is better at sex than all of us. Two words: Jamie and Claire. Two more: Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan. Okay, that’s four words. Whatever, you’re not here for the math.
So from eye sex, fireplace sex, knife sex, window sex, carpet burn sex, tent sex, turtle soup sex to save your life sex, Balfe and Heughan have set the bar for love scenes. They are the bar. The bar is them. The end.
Go on, you can have a cigarette now. Except, oh wait, don’t, because it’s still 2020.
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Before you go, check out the all-time best ‘Outlander’ episodes you need to watch (or re-watch).