Jonathan Bailey has dished about the underlying meaning of Fellow Travelers’ passionate sex scenes.

Back in October 2023, LGBTQIA+ TV enthusiasts were treated to the critically acclaimed historical drama. 

Based on Thomas Mallon’s novel of the same name, the show follows the volatile romance of Tim Laughlin (Bailey) and Hawkins Fuller (Matt Bomer), two very different men who meet in the shadow of McCarthy-era Washington.

While Fellow Travelers was praised for its stellar acting performances and heartwrenching subject matter, the eight-episode miniseries also made waves for its graphic and steamy sex scenes. 

From toe-sucking and oral sex to unbridled threesomes and intense cruising moments, the show held nothing back when exploring the different facets of gay sex.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Bailey opened up about Fellow Travelers and why all the steamy love scenes were crucial to the story. 

“If you’re going to explore the oppression – and these people lost their lives, their jobs, their families – then the other side of that is the extreme need for connection, but also the celebration of the sexual act that supposedly deems them “unacceptable”,” he explained. 

“I always think about the scene where Matt Bomer takes a polygraph test. It’s so aggressively shot and so intimate, so why wouldn’t you match that in terms of the way you’re telling their love story? It’d be weird not to give the full experience.” 

Bailey isn’t the only member of the Fellow Travelers team to discuss the show’s layered sex scenes. 

Back in November 2023, showrunner Ron Nyswaner opened up to GAY TIMES about the inspiration behind the series’ sexual content. 

“For me, when I came out in the 70s, those were the celebratory days of the gay experience. It was pre-AIDS, and we were released,” he explained

“Sex is the way that we express our community. No one was going to get married. We were all going to live in communes. We had all raised children together. That’s what we all thought in the 70s, including my straight friends. 

“That connection that I got to have with other gay men, whether it was one night or a little bit longer, it was very powerful to me, and it gave me joy…. We wanted the sex to be powerful in Fellow Travelers, because I believe it is a really powerful part of the gay experience.”

All eight episodes of Fellow Travelers are now available on Paramount Plus in the UK and US.