2016 has been called a lot of things: A dumpster fire, a soul-sucking abomination, a relentless killer of heroes and the result of an ancient curse. 2016 has also been a monumental year for sex—in both great and no-so-great ways. We’ve seen our attitudes shift, adopted new technologies, installed new apps and discovered new kinks. From Amber Rose’s promotion of ass play to Anthony Weiner’s addiction to sexting, there were also a lot of WTF moments. But for all of the low points, the year boasted an equal bonanza of sexual highlights, including huge leaps toward a cure for HIV/AIDS and more public celebrations of body positivity than ever before.

For the last three weeks, we’ve been counting down the biggest moments in sex from this year. Here are Part One, Part Two, and Part Three. Now, we’ve reached the 25 biggest moments of the year. So…can you guess which moment was number one?


25. Plus-Sized Model Ashley Graham Posed for SI’s Swimsuit Issue

Every winter, Sports Illustrated warms up the frosty days of February with its annual Swimsuit Issue, a cultural touchstone dating back to 1964. This year, SI switched up tradition and got with the times. The magazine featured Ashley Graham as their first plus-size swimsuit model. Good on ya, SI. Ashley effortlessly proves that sexy comes in all sizes and shapes.

[Ashley Graham / Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/p/BGrPAx9TZ0R/?taken-by=theashleygraham&hl=en)

Ashley Graham / Instagram

24. California Voters Passed Prop. 64, Legalizing Recreational Weed

In November, California voters passed Proposition 64. Starting in 2018, Californians can puff, vape and munch all the recreational marijuana they desire. Why is this such a big deal? Marijuana advocates like to cite the old political adage, “So goes California, so goes the nation, and likely the rest of the world.” You know who has a bigger economy than Russia? The state of California, which is the ninth largest in the world. (Suck on that, Putin.)

The pot business is about to boom, and this will certainly change the nation’s sex game, too. As studies have shown, stoned sex is def better than drunk sex. Also, pot lube is a real thing.

23. Sexism Went on the Attack Following the Ghostbusters Reboot

This summer, when Ghostbusters was released with an all-female cast, sexist fanboys lost their minds. They whined that the actresses were ruining…um, their childhoods, or something. Some focused their sexist anger on star Leslie Jones. To get her back for making them feel bad, trolls hacked her accounts and leaked her nudes. But Jones is boss. Check how she made fun of her trolls on SNL’s Weekend Update.

We applaud Leslie for how gracefully she handled the attack. Attempting to shame a person by showing their nude body to the world that’s what’s shameful. It’s ugly and pathetic. Revenge porn should be left behind in the dumpster fire that was 2016.

22. Fifth Harmony Slayed in Vid for “Work From Home”

Fifth Harmony has been in the news after singer Lauren Jauregui got busted at an airport with pot. Shortly after, singer Camila Cabello left the group. Who knows what the future holds for the all-female British counterpart to One Direction, but for now, we have their vid from their song of the summer, “Work From Home.” It was ridic sexy.

21. The Peach Emoji Was Resurrected

This year Apple dropped a new update and changed the peach emoji so that it no longer looked like a ripe behind. Instead, it looked like, well, a peach. Quel dommage! For Playboy, Dana Hamilton penned this eulogy for the beloved peach emoji. We’re not saying this for sure, but it may have helped convince Apple to bring back the peach emoji a few days later.

20. Ivanka Trump Made a Gaffe About a Mulatto’s…(Cough)

It all started with a bit of gossip that slipped from the lips of BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti. He tweeted that he found Ivanka’s stance on her father’s casual sexism questionable since he supposedly once heard her say that she wanted to see a mulatto’s member.

Trump swiftly denied the gossip, saying, it “is a total lie.” Guess she missed it when biracial rock star Lenny Kravitz split his leather pants and showed the world his pleasure stick. Just google it, Ivanka.

19. David Bowie Took His Gender Rebellion to the Other Side

As a sign of how shitty this year started, David Bowie died in January. The legendary gender-bending artist was the first great one we lost in a year that took down iconoclasts left and right. There is no easy way to sum up what David Bowie’s legacy and his music meant to his fans, to the world and to culture, but this article does a damn fine job at trying. As a rock star, David Bowie was just as sexy as Elvis, but no single gender could contain him. He was gender fluid before we had a term for it. He came out as a gay artist in 1972. And then he exploded Western culture’s long-established ideas of what’s possible. We all owe a debt to David Bowie for being as sexy as he wanted to be.

18. Science Confirmed that Nice Guys Have More Sex

[Olga Kobzar by Ana Dias for Playboy](http://www.playboy.com/galleries/playboy-abroad-russia-ana-dias-pics/slide-1)

Olga Kobzar by Ana Dias for Playboy

Everyone knows women love bad boys. Well, yes and no. If you look at the data, turns out women are far more attracted to a nice guy. Aka men who are authentically kind, thoughtful and altruistic without expecting a reward of sex or attention. It’s true; all kinds of studies have confirmed it.

17. Bret Easton Ellis Examined the Fall of Nudity for Playboy

For Playboy, in March, Ellis penned “Modern Sexuality: A Case Study On Nudity.” In his essay, Ellis argues that our modern-day easy accessibilty to porn and nudity has changed our relationship to sex and naked bodies.

“There was a romance to nudity in the early days of Playboy, an ardency, an otherness and a specialness that are missing in the age of Tinder, with its speedy and Darwinian confirmation that men like only conventionally hot women and hunt for sex everywhere at all times. By comparison Playboy seems like a gentle and soothing fantasy.”

Meanwhile…

16. Nude Celebs Took Over Magazine Covers

Now that nudity is no longer shocking, as Ellis wrote, a naked body is more so an artful way to push the envelope. This year we saw a few celebs grab the world’s attention with their nude magazine covers. There was Kim Kardashian, her sister Kylie Jenner, Teyana Taylor, Jhene Aiko, Lea Michele, a pregnant Blac Chyna, and of course, that ESPN cover with NFL superstar Vince Wilfork.

15. Rihanna and Drake Got Sexy AF in Double Video for “Work”

Earlier in the countdown we mentioned how Rihanna and Drake (once again) failed to make love stay. But let’s remember the good times, the fun times, the goddamn that’s sexy times of summer. Here they are grindin’ to a song of the summer, “Work”.

14. An Orgasm A Day Was Proven to Keep the Doctor Away

Forget apples. Science determined that an orgasm a day will make you happier, smarter and healthier. So, get on it. Be good to yourself. You don’t need a partner. Even the tight grip of masturbation can help you fight cancer. We’re talking about your health, which is more important than your wealth. So, invest in yourself with an O today.

Side note: Science also made it clear that it’s very common for a man to fake an orgasm. If that wasn’t general knowledge until now, looks like it’s been men all along who are better at faking an orgasm. Meanwhile, women are out here over-acting to the point of it being a cliche.

13. Kim Kardashian Set the Internet on Fire With Her Shameless Nude Selfies

[Kim Kardashian / Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/p/BCpQBQROS5l/)

Kim Kardashian / Instagram

Much like Groundhog’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and New York’s Santacon, every year, Mrs. Kardashian West creates a spectacle that gets a ton of people talking about the same thing they did last year. The mother of two is still one of the world’s sexiest sex symbols. Famous for being herself, this year, Kim K did not disappoint with her nude selfies, her body-positive activism and one-woman campaign against slut-shaming and her photoshoots that captured the world’s attention. If you don’t think that’s a talent, you try it.

12. People Stopped Having Sex After the Election

President-elect Donald Trump has killed America’s sex drive. According to the data, as part of an unexpected post-election slump, Americans are now suffering a drastic decrease in the amount of sex we’re having. Early signs don’t make it clear if people are reluctant to have children under a Trump presidency or if just the thought of his presidency has made people not want to perpetuate the species. Either way, people aren’t fucking. Yo, Donald, this is no way to make America great again.

11. Pamela Anderson Covered Playboy for a Record 15th Time

Who better to be the last nude cover model for Playboy than Pamela Anderson? Blonde. Sexy. Canadian. One of pop culture’s greatest sex symbols made history when she went back to the Mansion for her January/February 2016 pictorial, which celebrated the Playmate’s long career and early dreams. Revisit Pam’s historic pictorial here—and then check out her previous 14 covers.

[Ellen von Unwerth / Playboy](http://www.playboy.com/galleries/pamela-anderson-2016-playboy-shoot-gallery/slide-1)

Ellen von Unwerth / Playboy

10. Kylie and Tyga Dropped a Sexy Christmas Gift

2016 marked the ascendancy of the youngest of the Kardashian clan, baby girl Kylie Jenner. She turned eighteen last year, proclaimed herself a sexy bitch, and never looked back. This year, she followed the family tradition of turning heads with her provocative sexiness, like this black-and-white photoshoot.

Just before the year became a memory, Kylie and her boyfriend Tyga decided to gift the world with some more sexiness, dropping this video. Yeah, it’s sexy, but just imagine what it could have been without Tyga. If you’d like to see more of her fast-blooming sexiness, here’s a compilation of Kylie’s sexiest moments of 2016.

9. The World Said Goodbye to Reluctant Sex Symbols George Michael and Carrie Fisher

Neither of them were particularly comfortable with their sex-symbol status. Carrie Fisher became famous for playing Princess Leia, forever arousing the erotic imaginations of sci-fi and fantasy fandom in that gold bikini. The image of George Michael amply filling the seat of his cut-offs became another iconic image—one of the new spirit of male sexuality. Yet, in both cases, the public’s fixation on their sex appeal somewhat obscured two truly beautiful souls: Advocates, fighters, philanthropists. Ironically, as sex symbols, their lasting legacy will not be their bodies but their unequivocal spirits of defiance and their ceaseless demands to be themselves.

8. Teyana Taylor Gave a Jaw-Dropping Performance in Kanye West’s “Fade”

“Fade”’s music video was hands down the sexiest four minutes of 2016. Teyana Taylor dances. By herself. In a thong and sports bra. And you can not look away. Oh yeah, and then there’s that shower sex scene at the end. It’ll steam your panties, or tighten your jeans, for real.

7. Playboy Debuted Its New Era With Cover Girl Sarah McDaniel and Playmate Dree Hemingway

In March, Playboy debuted as a more safe-for-work publication with the inarguably stunning Sarah McDaniel. Known on Instagram as Krotchy and unforgettable for her heterochromic eyes–one blue and one green, McDaniel immediately captivated readers—and even Stephen Colbert.

[Sarah McDaniel / Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/p/BBYY8tej8XX/?hl=en)

Sarah McDaniel / Instagram

Posing as the first non-fully-nude Playmate since the 1970s, model Dree Hemingway joined McDaniel in that now-historic March issue. If her name sounds familiar, yes, she is related to Ernest. Here she is talking about it.

Angelo Pennetta / Playboy

Angelo Pennetta / Playboy

6. Beyoncé Released “Lemonade”; World is Shocked to Learn Jay Z Might Have Cheated

Like, hold up! Who cheats on Beyoncé?!

Jay Z. That’s who.

Rather than go petty, Beyoncé used black girl magic to transform pain and humiliation into her greatest artwork yet. Lemonade is a visual album, part art film, part Southern gothic postcard collection, part study in the beauty of black women and an unflinching portrait of a woman’s emotional journey from anger at a partner’s infidelity to her choice of recommitment. Even Red Lobster got a bump in business after Queen Bey name-checked them by saying a trip to the seafood chain is how she rewards her man when he sexes her good. That’s how powerful Beyonce is: she legit made Red Lobster sexy.

5. “Game of Thrones” Aired the Most Epic Nude Scene of the Year

If you watch Game of Thrones, you already know what an epic scene it was. For those of you who don’t watch the popular HBO swords-and-dragons show, here’s something for you to grasp how full tilt the scene, featuring Emilia Clarke, was.

[photo courtesy of HBO]

[photo courtesy of HBO]

SPOILER ALERT: After the widowed young queen saves herself from sexual assault and certain death at the hands of truly brutal men, she murders those same men with fire by burning down the building they’re inside of, lighting the structure up like a funeral pyre. She walks out, unharmed…and fully nude. (The raging inferno that killed her rivals merely burned off all her clothing.) That’s the kind of badass death-defying shit you do when you’re the Mother of Dragons.

Clarke, a British actress who plays the role of Daenerys Targaryen, straight-up owned that scene and the internet was talking about her for days. For all the doubters, no, she didn’t use a body double. That really was her walking nude from that burning building. However, it should’ve been no surprise. As this photoshoot shows, Clarke is unafraid to be shamelessly sexy. In fact, she’s said GoT should have more nudity.

4. Rihanna Released ANTI, One of the Best Albums of the Year

Even Ta-Nahesi Coates said it.

2016 was one of the best years for new music since the 1990s, and part of that is thanks to Rihanna’s ANTI, a noted move from her previous collections of Top 40 dance fluff. ANTI is stacked with dark revenge fantasies, serious sex beats and achey, smokey songs of desire and longing. Rihanna always makes dope ass videos for her singles, and with ANTI, she upped the ante and dropped vids like this strip club murder fantasy. The message is clear: in a house of professional sexinesss, Rihanna slays. Same is true in the music world. And in pop culture. And in fashion. And anywhere she finds herself.

3. We Got Closer to a Cure for HIV

Sine the HIV/AIDS epidemic began, 35 million people around the world have died from HIV/AIDS. Presently, 36 million are living with the disease. Last year, 2.1 million people became infected. And according to reports, a shocking number of straight people don’t realize they have HIV because they fail to get tested regularly.

But in 2016, researchers at the University of North Carolina announced that they created a new drug to block vaginal transmission of HIV. That’s big news, due to the high risk for women who have unprotected sex. But the biggest news was the announcement of the potential for new HIV therapy regimens based on antibodies. A key factor in the body’s response to infection, researchers discovered an antibody in an HIV-infected person, called N6, that neutralizes 98 percent of the strains of HIV. They hope to isolate the antibody, clone it and create new therapies. Plus, since it’s not a drug, there are no side effects from the antibody-based medicine. Researchers are hopeful and confident they can soon treat—and possibly prevent—HIV infections.

For now, to keep you and your partners safe from infection, we have Mately, the new app that allows users to share their STD/STI status with partners. Think of it like a hall pass for safe sex.

2. The Pope Forgave Women Who Have Abortions

In a year when Ohio and Texas lawmakers attempted to limit women’s access to birth control and safe abortions, it was chill to see another lawmaker take a much different track. Of course, the law he rules by is God’s law. Since becoming the Holy See, Pope Francis, the Cool Pope, has renovated the image of the Catholic church like a fixer-upper on one of those house-flipping TV shows. Leading one of the biggest shifts in church doctrine, this year, Frankie declared that women no longer have to go to hell if they have an abortion. Priests are allowed to absolve them of their “sins”. That’s a monumental change and supremely important for the souls of billions of believers.

1. Prince Ascended Into His Purple Majesty of Sexiness

RIP Prince Rogers Nelson

RIP Prince Rogers Nelson

This is inarguable as the biggest moment in sex of 2016. In a year when death almost seemed destined to fall on all of our brightest, most brilliant iconoclasts, the world fell into shocked when Prince passed away at the age of 57. It was as if the world lost a color. To provide full context and to show us what the world looks like without him, here’s Bomani Jones laying out why there will never be another Prince.

Prince was a once-in-a-lifetime talent—and he was the undisputed sexiest motherfucker in pop music. After he passed, the world became way less sexy. But his legacy and his genre-busting, gender-twisting persona will always remain with us. He taught us to be sexier than we thought possible, and those lessons stay with you, damn it. Just like his song catalog, his demands for the freedom to be whom he wanted to be was a gift he granted humanity. We are all richer for having lived in his world.