Outlander may be set in the 18th century, but when it comes to tackling topics like sex and consent, the series is light-years ahead of its competitors and provides a welcome contrast to the recent real-life stories about abuse of power and sexual assault in Hollywood and other industries.

For three seasons, the Starz drama has been delivering what others (cough, Game of Thrones) have been trying and often failing to bring to life on screen: Culminating in Sunday’s season 3 finale, Outlander captures the essence of two vastly different worlds, both rife with sexism and sexual repression, without subduing female characters or limiting them to objects of male affection.

Instead, it celebrates sexuality and highlights the consequences of sexual misconduct in a way TV viewers haven’t often seen before, all the while remaining true to the period. Outlander allows characters to be promiscuous without shame, bask in the glory of true sexual chemistry and even fumble from time-to-time.

Claire (Caitriona Balfe), the show’s quick-witted, foul-mouthed, whiskey-drinking protagonist, is perhaps the most poignant example of this. When she’s introduced to viewers in the pilot episode, she’s quick to admit it’s sex that keeps her relationship with first-husband Frank (Tobias Menzies) alive.

As the show progresses, so too does Claire’s sex-positive attitude. After being thrust into the 18th century, she meets—and is eventually forced to marry—Jamie (Sam Heughan), with whom she’s expected to become intimate. Claire is understandably hesitant about a romp in the sheets with a relatively unfamiliar man, especially knowing the MacKenzie clan is just outside the door awaiting an update on the consummation of their vows.

Rather than hurrying along the plot point by forcing Jamie on his female counterpart, Outlander creator Ronald D. Moore chose to highlight the pivotal season 2 moment in a real and raw way, celebrating both the sensuality and gracelessness of their first time having sex together.

The pair spend the night enjoying each other’s company, talking about their personal lives and building a genuine connection before taking turns helping the other undress. Jamie repeatedly looks to his bride for the go-ahead, never allowing his desire to get the best of him. He even makes it a point to assure her he’d never force himself on her, which may seem like bare-minimum decency, but is a concept often forgotten in TV.

After the brief encounter, they discuss Jamie’s expectations for his first time, specifically whether they were met, and whether or not Claire was pleased. He’s surprised when, contrary to everything he was told about women’s attitudes toward sex leading up to the loss of his virginity, Claire proudly admits that she enjoyed herself.

In the sixth episode of season 3, after reuniting with his beloved after some time apart, Claire and Jamme head for the sack once more for an encounter that’s long-awaited, passionate, yet slightly awkward and all too relatable, and one that nearly leaves Claire with a broken nose.

After the pain subsides and the spark is reignited, Claire does the unthinkable and urges her beau, “Don’t be gentle.” While her assertive nature is only mildly, if at all, taboo today, it’s unusual but refreshing to see on a show set in such a sexually oppressive time period.

Outlander fans see Claire’s sexual assertiveness once more in Sunday’s season 3 finale, as she and Jamie soak up one another’s company aboard a ship headed for home. Claire approaches him as he’s about to begin shaving his beard and urges him to stop because, she says, she enjoys the way it feels when he kisses her. This sets in motion a whirlwind of dirty talk, guided by Claire. Talking leads to kissing, kissing ledas to hair-pulling and, well … you get the picture.

It’s clear, in these moments, that Jamie is unlike the tartan-clad brutes he surrounds himself with, and also unlike the male protagonists that TV viewers have come to expect. Plus, Claire is unabashed in who she is as a woman. She doesn’t need Jamie (or anyone else, for that matter) to defend her—though he often does—just as she didn’t need Frank. She knows what she wants, sexually and otherwise, and isn’t afraid to go after it, which draws Jamie to her.

Outlander hasn’t just managed to embrace sex and sexuality. The show has employed a narrative surrounding sexual violence that forces aggressors to face the implications of their actions. Its writers have successfully found a way to incorporate sexual violence and harassment into the storyline in a way that doesn’t glorify it, but rather shames or belittles the perpetrator.

Randall’s attempt to rape Claire in season 1, for example, is foiled when members of the MacKenzie clan come trotting along on horseback, knocking him out. In season 2, outside the room after his marriage is made official, Jamie encounters his tartan-clad brethren, who have no shortage of fellatio-related jokes and sexual innuendo—the likes of which Donald Trump would perhaps deem “locker-room talk"—to share with anyone who’ll listen. Rather than laugh or join in, Jamie shuts down the chatter and returns to his wife, much to the chagrin of his pals.

These moments, no matter how small, set Outlander apart from other period shows by forcing viewers to look introspectively at the physical interactions and conversations they have with others. The scenes serve as gentle reminders of the progress that Hollywood is capable of, and provide hope for the future of TV and film.