9 Sex Lessons From “Downton Abbey”

I knew “Downton Abbey” was more than a period soap opera the moment we discovered Thomas was having an affair with the Duke of Crowborough. Scandalous! Of course, it all fell apart when Thomas tried to blackmail the Duke with their love letters. Bad move, Thomas. “Downton Abbey” may take place in the early 1900’s, but the Lords, Ladies and their staff have a lot to teach us about amorous matters. Indeed they do. In honor of tonight’s season three premiere of “Downton Abbey,” here are nine sex lessons we’ve learned from both those upstairs and those downstairs…

1. You can’t blackmail him back into your arms. If you’re a footman and you’ve had a homosexual affair with a Duke, he will most definitely deny it. Don’t even try to blackmail him with love letters he wrote you. Put them away for a lonely evening. Blackmail has never won anyone back. It tends to backfire on spurned lovers and it makes you look crazy. No one wants to be with the crazy person trying to sell a story to the tabloids to get back at your ex. Take note, Vera Bates, time to move on. Your attempts at blackmail have been all for naught. You have Mr. Bates’ money, now let him have Anna.

2. It can happen the very first time. In Mary’s case, I’m talking about death. In the scullery maid Ethel’s case, I’m talking about pregnancy. It only takes one round of intercourse to kill a handsome Turk and potentially ruin your reputation or to get knocked up by by a recovering war hero. Major Bryant, you are the worst baby daddy in the history of the world, by the way. Screw you and your stupid mustache. But back to Mr. Pamuk. I’m still dying (no pun intended) to know his actual cause of death. Cardiac arrest? Did he die before or after orgasm? Was he poisoned at dinner? Did Mary strangle him because he got too rough? They could create a whole new version of Clue based on his death. But the more important question: does losing your virginity count if the guy dies on you? I say no. Mary was gypped!

3. Your wife really can get pregnant during menopause. This is great news for Ramona Singer and Kim Richards of “The Real Housewives” who seem to be under the impression they are still capable of bearing children. As the doctor explained, a woman may have a burst of fertility before “the change.” If Cora can conceive, than so can 50-year-old women everywhere. Just keep the O’Briens of the world away, so the baby can can live. I’m terribly sorry for the loss of your heir, Lord and Lady Grantham.

4. You can get out of having sex with your husband if you marry him on his deathbed. Daisy, Daisy, Daisy. You don’t have to pretend to be some boy’s girlfriend before he goes off to war just to keep his spirits up, no matter what Mrs. Patmore tells you. She’s still grieving for her nephew and is living vicariously through William. But if you cave and do it anyway, you can get out of doing sex stuff with him if you marry him on his deathbed. You dodged an unwanted penis there, young lady. But I hope you learned a lesson. Lord rest his soul.

5. Have an affair with the farmer’s husband and you will no longer be able to drive his tractor, no matter how rich or powerful your family is. It was wrong of them. It was. Edith just wanted some attention. The farmer was celebrating his new life after his miraculous recovery from dropsy. I can’t blame them for wanting to have a little fun. I think the farmer really did like her. But he had a wife. And the wife didn’t like her. And now Edith is thriving at the convalescent home. Everything happens for a reason.

6. Do consider f**king the help, especially if he knows how to drive. If you have an intellectual connection with your Socialist chauffeur, don’t let your posh father find out about it. But do consider him, Sybil. Branson is hot and smart and really into you and probably wouldn’t mind if you wore those silly pantsuits all the time. And he has a car you can make out in. But Lord Grantham must NEVER know. Let’s hope Mary doesn’t spill the beans.

7. Speaking in subtle innuendo is great foreplay. Talking about sex is so much more fun if you can’t actually talk about it. “Everything in our garden is rosy again,” says Anna to her soon-to-be or already-has-been lover, Mr. Bates. Oh Anna, does that mean that Mr. Bates has been in your garden? Not that either of you would ever kiss and tell. God bless hard -to-interpret sexual innuendos.

8. Playing too hard to get can backfire. We can learn a lot from Mary, like how noble it is not to let your emotions show. Or how to be rational in matters of the heart. Or how you can fall in love with your cousin … and not just because he’s an heir. We can also learn that if you play too hard to get, a decent man, who just so happens to be your cousin, may decide you’re a snotty bitch, and take his affections elsewhere. And then us ladies, who often play too hard to get ourselves, watch Mary episode after episode, never reveal her feelings, and we yell at our televisions, “Tell him already, you idiot! Tell him before he dies in the war or sustains a spinal injury and loses use of his penis! No!! God noooo!!!” But all the while we admire Mary’s restraint. We wonder if we could be that disciplined with a person we love. We decide we can’t and feel momentarily consoled.

9. Owning a vibrator solves a lot of problems. I know what you’re thinking: Were there vibrators back then? Yes, there were. There was a steam-powered vibrator called the “Manipulator.” It was a large table, from which protruded a ball that was connected to a drive train powered by a steam engine. Sounds fun and easy to use. Like a glorified shower head. But it was mostly invented so doctors fingers wouldn’t get tired from massaging “hysterical” women’s clitorises. I’m not making this up. The Grantham’s could have benefitted by buying a manipulator for the household. It would be much more useful than the telephone. Lucky for us, vibrators are much more easy to come by these days. Amelia has seven! And not a single one of them is steam-powered!