Fans of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s critically-acclaimed (and Barack Obama-approved) show Fleabag will be familiar with Andrew Scott, the “Hot Priest” who firmly cemented himself as a quite literally holier-than-thou sex symbol.
In the second season of Fleabag, we are introduced to the flirty, swearing, whisky-drinking clergyman when he becomes a foil to Waller-Bridge’s messy heroine, a woman who relies on the crutch of casual sex to plaster over her blistering grief for the death of her mother and best friend.
“Casual sex” is a phrase bandied about often these days, but Scott has revealed that the term doesn’t bode well with him because, he says, it can make people feel shameful about their sex lives.
“The idea that you can’t extract any kind of meaning from casual sex… I think that’s really dangerous because it invokes shame in people,” he said this week, speaking on the podcast How to Fail with Elizabeth Day.
Scott told host Elizabeth Day that he thought such negative stigma could be “really dangerous”, adding that casual sex can be meaningful and “really important”. “You learn from people,” he said. “It’s not about the length of time you spend with somebody.”
Scott praised how Waller-Bridge addressed the subject in Fleabag. “In a way, that’s what Fleabag is about,” he said. “You can have incredibly potent, lifelong effects from meeting somebody over two weeks, or one week, or, you know, three hours. You go, ‘Oh my God, I learned something’.”
“I think if you’re going through that situation where you’re having casual sex with people, sometimes that’s what you need to do,” Scott continued, adding that casual sex can be a vital step towards “understanding our sexuality” and talking about intimacy without the “taboo”.
“You have to be able to make mistakes and you have to find out who you are,” Scott said, then quoting relationship expert Esther Perel: “[Perel] says this great thing about the beginning of long-term relationships to ‘bring your kinks early’, which I think is really such a wonderful thing.”
“It just means to have an understanding in the same way you have tastes in what kind of furniture you might buy that you go, ‘This is what I like’.”
Image: Getty, BBC One