No series abides by the rule that sex sells better than the CW’s The Vampire Diaries, based off the books by L.J. Smith. It has some of the sexiest characters/actors and steamiest scenes on cable television. The fantasy/romance show, which airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST., just aired its 100th episode on January 23—episode 11 of season five, entitled “500 Years of Solitude.”
Throughout the show there have been a plethora of hookups, almost-kisses, breakups, fights, make-ups, steamy sex (foreplay) scenes and everything in between amongst different pairs of characters. Everyone in the show has had their fair share of romance—some more than others, such as the three main characters behind the love triangle at the core of the show: Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), and Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley).
In honor of this milestone day for one of the hottest shows on television, here are the top 20 best romantic scenes from 100-episode long show:
20. Jenna and Alaric kiss- Season 2, episode 3:
Up to this point, Jenna (Sara Canning), Elena and Jeremy’s aunt and surrogate parent, and Alaric (Matthew Davis), their teacher, have had a shaky start to a relationship. In the beginning of the episode, Alaric apologizes for letting his baggage get in the way of them being together, but Jenna dismisses him. At the end of the episode, he kisses her. This is a great moment because the kiss is sweet, simple, yet full of passion, but it’s also great because of the characters.
For Jenna, it meant that the kind-hearted woman struggling to cope with unintentionally having to raise teenagers, as well as the events that put her in that position, found someone of her own to lean on.
For Alaric, it helped solidify his place in the Gilbert-vampire universe and helped make him someone to really root for.
19. Klaus and Caroline dance at the Mystic Falls High School “Decade Dance”- Season 3, episode 20:
“Mark my words, a small town boy, a small town life, it won’t be enough for you.”
That is Klaus (Joseph Morgan) acting like a normal jealous youth, but adding his personal brand of rudeness and evil tone to it. The way he says it is evidence of how vulnerable and yet violent he can be, how he’s charming but twisted, so you don’t know whether to feel bad for him, fear him, like him or all of the above.
18. Tyler and Caroline have sex- Season 3, episode 1:
This kind of action between Caroline (Candice Accola) and Tyler (Michael Trevino) had been a while in the making. Matt (Zach Roerig) and her had broken up but she’d rejected Tyler. When she saw him with a girl at her party, she became jealous and snappy with him, eventually compelling the girl to leave. Tyler confronts her about it and they kiss, soon leaving the party for privacy and getting hot and heavy in a bedroom doorway. It was quick but steamy and came after shippers had already been calling for them to get together, so it was a welcome event.
17. Damon and Elena dance at the Miss Mystic Falls pageant- Season 1, episode 19:
Whilst Stefan is temporarily battling a blood addiction and thus, too distracted to attend the Miss Mystic Falls pageant Elena is competing in, Damon steps in as her escort. This is one of the earliest key moments in Damon and Elena’s relationship. You can already see how he feels about her in the way he looks at her, and you can see Elena’s attraction creeping through as well, and she confirms it when she suddenly steps back as if she’s afraid of what’s happening. Their chemistry literally leaps off the screen at you.
It’s also a perfect sample of a piece of how the love triangle works throughout the series—when Stefan isn’t being good, controlled Stefan, Damon steps up to help Elena. While she is attracted to bad-boy Damon, it is his good moments that make her accept and acknowledge he is someone worth loving, and many of those moments come when Stefan is having problems.
This is probably one of the first scenes that helped form Team Damon.
16. Klaus gives Caroline his blood to save her from a werewolf bite- Season 3, episode 11:
It’s one of the best moments of the Klaus-Caroline “romance.” In perfect Klaus fashion, he is both charming and diabolical at the same time. Even as she’s dying he takes the time to tease her about the feelings she won’t admit she has for him and to profess his love for her. Only someone not-so-normal would waste time like that before saving the one he claimed to love. And he continues his combination of charming-diabolical by telling her all the things she could do if she lets him cure her—trying to tempt her into loving him as she’s on her death bed and he’s about to save her. But even though it’s a little strange for him to be wooing her at that time and place, it’s sweet and sincere. It hints at Klaus’s rarely seen softer side—the part of him that dreams, hopes, imagines, and wants to share something with someone.
15. TIE: Stefan and Rebekah have sex- Season 4, episode 11 & Damon and Rebekah have sex- Season 3, episode 14:
First and foremost, the Stefan-Rebekah hookup was a good scene because it was just plain hot. Once they agree to start, they jump right into it, ripping each other’s clothes off like a switch has been flipped. And it’s vampire sex, so it’s extra steamy.
It’s also sexy because it was teased earlier in the episode so the audience had anticipated it.
The teaser made the actual hookup scene hotter because a)it brought up the history between Stefan and Rebekah, and everyone loves a couple with history, b)it explained what emotions were involved. Rebekah (Claire Holt) offers him casual, no-strings sex to soothe his pain and loneliness about not being with Elena. She has already accepted this kind of medicine to cure her own loneliness, so they share common feelings and frustrations, and c) it showed a true spark of chemistry between Rebekah and Stefan to make, perhaps even devoted Elena-Stefan fans or Rebekah haters root for at least a one-time thing between them.
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The Damon-Rebekah hookup was more emotion-free, but the playful randomness of it was a pleasant surprise. Damon initiates it by being his usual rudely charming self by first teasing Rebekah for getting rejected by Matt, and then cheering her up by implying that sex between her and Matt wouldn’t have been good, indicating he himself would be a better choice. After that simple conversation and a typical Damon smolder look, the two are shown bursting into a bedroom going at it. The buildup is less than it was with Stefan, but the scene is longer and there is more bare skin and action packed into it.
14. Caroline and Tyler’s first kiss- Season 2, episode 12:
It’s the first time Tyler and Caroline’s relationship finally moved out of the friend zone, and it came after some buildup. Caroline had been an amazing friend, helping Tyler deal with being a werewolf even if it meant risking her life, despite the fact that not long ago, when she started dating Matt, Tyler had done nothing but insult Caroline.
They were both in their truest form when it happened, making it even more delightful. Tyler asks her why she’d helped because he never felt truly loved or worth loving and couldn’t understand why Caroline cared, and she responds with a typical Caroline motor-mouthed rambling of sarcasm, sunshine and fire until Tyler finally kisses her. It is simple yet passionate at the same time, and Caroline makes it even more adorable with a quip about people kissing her (Matt had kissed her earlier).
13. Elena and Stefan at the cabin- Season 2, episode 14:
This scene was early in Elena and Stefan’s [second] relationship and though it wasn’t particularly steamy, it’s a great moment because even though they were dealing with some things at the time, it was before too much had happened, and it was a glimpse of a relaxed, care-free couple, a moment of reprieve. For a minute they were normal and happy, and it was great to see them so playful. The genuine sweetness of their lake house trip was indicative of what their relationship could have been like if Stefan was a normal boy, she was a normal girl, and Mystic Falls wasn’t a hub for the supernatural—innocent, pure and serene—and that’s what made it so wonderful.
12. Bonnie and Jeremy almost kiss- Season 2, episode 10:
Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) and Bonnie (Kat Graham) arrive at Jeremy’s house, with him injured after having done something to try to protect Bonnie. Bonnie is angry because his actions have gotten Stefan into trouble, and because he risked his own life. But he gently says he did it for her and approaches her. She tells him not to feel how he does but he points out that he’s not the only one with feelings.
They exchange additional words of concern (and unspoken but obvious love) for one another and he places his hand on her face and goes to kiss her, but she stops him just before their lips touch. She feels guilty because he’s her best friend’s brother, but clearly wants it, proving this further as she looks back on her way out the door. It is all the unsaid and undone things that make this such a great scene. The look and tone does it all (and the music and lighting helps). It is one of the most sincere moments in their relationship.
11. Elena tells Damon she loves him for real, not because of the sire bond- Season 4, episode 8:
In a moment of raw and rare vulnerability, Damon reveals his insecurity—his uncertainty about whether her feelings are real or due to the sire bond. After she insists they’re real and urges him not to say what he’s going to, he delivers a great line: “I’m not the good guy remember, I’m the selfish one…I don’t do the right thing. But I have to do the right thing by you.”
In one line we see all that is Damon—his bad-boy tendencies, his struggle and desire to do good, how it is Elena that makes him want to do good, how he loves his brother and hates what he does to him, his passion. We even see his famous smoldering look (one of them).
And the way Elena responds is equally powerful. She places his hand on her heart, her hand on his face and asks him if it feels wrong. It shows how sure she is of her love for him, and how deep it is. She convinces him (and everyone) that maybe the bond really is irrelevant.
10. Stefan and Elena break up for the second time- Season 2, episode 6:
Katherine has attacked Elena’s aunt Jenna out of jealousy revenge over Elena and Stefan being together—after she had threatened them not to be. In their very teary, heart-aching goodbye, everything is laid bare: how much they love and need each other, their desperation, how hard it will be to be apart.
In Stefan’s reaction, you can see his struggle between how strongly he feels for her and how understanding and righteous he wants to be. Even though it’s a low point in their relationship, it’s also one that reveals the depth of their devotion and love. It is a monumental moment in the story of Elena and Stefan.
9. Klaus and Caroline finally kiss- Season 5, episode 11:
Klaus returns from New Orleans for Katherine’s death. While he’s in the woods with Caroline he tells her he’ll leave her be forever if he gets a confession from her about her feelings towards him. She appears to reject him at first and then says “…yes I cover our connection with hostility because yes I hate myself for the truth so if you promise to walk away like you said and never come back, then yes I will be honest with you…about what I want.” He restates his promise and then she kisses him and the two jump into hot and heavy vampire sex against trees.
This moment is a long time coming and with Klaus in his best devilishly charming form and Caroline in her best spitfire spirit, it is a treat worth the wait.
8. Elena and Damon finally kiss (on her porch)- Season 3, episode 10:
This was a big moment for the Elena-Salvatore brothers love triangle. After a hectic day in which Stefan betrayed everyone by saving Klaus from their plan to kill him, in order to save Damon, Damon drops Elena home. He tells her that Stefan’s true motivation means he still can’t not feel guilty for wanting her. Once again his struggle between loving her and loving his brother appears on his face and you can see his torment. You can also see her desire.
Then Damon, giving an excuse before doing it, turns back to her and pulls her face into a passionate kiss. Elena doesn’t resist. As he says goodnight and walks away Elena is left with a look on her face—one of realization that she can no longer deny her attraction to him and the chemistry they have. The honesty of the scene makes it so powerful.
7. Klaus gives Caroline the best present- Season 4, episode 23:
Klaus meets Caroline at night after her graduation. The romantic setting of the field lit up sets the stage, but it is their interaction that makes this scene so fantastic—specifically an unforgettable line Klaus delivers.
He gives her a graduation gift: Tyler can return home without facing retribution. As excitement and surprise settles on her face, Klaus explains,
“He is your first love. I intend to be your last, however long it takes.” This is an admission that for once he will fight fair and do the noble thing. He will win her affection the right way and stop getting in the way of her happiness, which at the moment means having Tyler in her life. In that moment he sheds his macho, egocentric attitude for the kinder one that only rarely pokes through. He then kisses her on the cheek and offers to escort her home in a most gentlemanly manner. It’s one of those times Klaus almost makes you root for him, if he wasn’t a psycho killer who had plagued everyone’s lives for a couple of seasons or so.
6. Matt and Rebekah finally kiss- Season 4, episode 23:
Rebekah fell for Matt, for all the most human things about him—his loyalty, kindness, imperfections. She’s tried and failed for quite some time to woo him.
However, the two share a moment when facing danger thanks to a vampire hunter. Matt stepped on a device rigged with explosives and Rebekah helps keep him still. Trying to keep calm, they talk about seeing the world together. Eventually he suggests he’ll be fine because he has his ring to protect him from the supernatural (pretty sure a bomb is not supernatural). Rebekah pretends to agree to test the theory but first says, “the first rule of truly living… do the thing you’re most afraid of,” and kisses him. In those moments of distraction, she replaces Matt with herself on the device. She tells him to flee and then tells the hunter that she “finally chose one of the good ones.”
It was a moment of happiness Rebekah—and fans of hers—had been waiting for. It was a sensual kiss within a scene of sweetness and high-stakes drama, a strong combination.
5. Elena and Stefan say I love you (and show it)- Season 1, episode 10:
Earlier in the episode, Stefan mentions how he may have to move on someday so people don’t notice he isn’t aging and she says he should do it sooner rather than later. He later tells her why they can’t be together. But when he drops her off at the end of the day she says she loves him. He is so happy to hear those words that he tears up. They share a fierce kiss, but as they start getting further into it, his vampire primal nature kicks in. She says he doesn’t have to hide it from her, soothes him back into control and they continue their passionate encounter.
It’s a significant moment for the troubled pair, and occurs at a time before everything gets complicated and ruined—before Damon gets to Elena, before everything Stefan goes through. If fans want to look at Elena and Stefan at the beginning, this is one of the best scenes to watch.
4. Bonnie and Jeremy kiss goodbye- Season 4, episode 23:
They’re in a cave with candlelight. Romantic setting- check. They are saying goodbye, as Bonnie has to close the veil which means no more seeing the departed Jeremy Gilbert. Dramatic story- check. He says to her, “There are a million things I wanted to say to you but now nothing seems quite right,” and Bonnie responds by saying, “don’t say anything.” Adorable (albeit corny) line- check. Then they kiss for the “last” time. Passionate, steamy kiss- check. And then Bonnie sacrifices herself by switching places with him, giving his life back. Shocking ending-check.
This scene had all the elements of a great romantic moment. Even though the ending is sad and painful, it only adds to the power of it. Aside from proving the depth of Bonnie’s character, we see the strength of her and Jeremy’s love for one another and it is incredibly touching.
3. Elena and Damon kiss- Season 3 episode 19:
Elena, Damon and Jeremy are on a road trip, at a time when Elena is supposed to be working on getting back with Stefan. While Jeremy is out of the hotel, the two are looking at each other from across the darkened room. Damon goes over to the bed and lays down next to Elena, after a serious conversation. They share an important two lines— Elena says, “Why don’t you let people see the good in you,” and Damon replies, “Because when people see good, they expect good…”
And then just before they’re about to kiss Elena pulls away, but Damon then interlocks their hands, prompting her to flee out of the room. Damon follows her and when she says “don’t,” he says “why not.” She soon shakes her head as if letting go of her resistance and runs to him for a passionate lip-lock. The hunger shown in their kiss seems insatiable and they pause only for a look of sheer desire. They are interrupted by Jeremy before anything else happens but it is an unforgettable moment for Damon-Elena shippers.
2. Stefan calls Elena from his trip with Klaus- Season 3, episode 1:
This is another sad but strong scene showing the love and devotion between Stefan and Elena. He calls her from his road trip, during which he is struggling to keep his humanity and not become the murderous “Ripper” version of himself. He is in agony over it and calls Elena, showing how she is his rock, how even when he is losing who he is, he still knows he loves her, needs her.
He doesn’t say anything but Elena knows it’s him and says exactly what he needs to hear—that she loves him and he can’t let that go. Things are left unsaid, and it’s painful, but it doesn’t matter. Their connection is obvious and she provides the hope he (and fans of the show/the couple) need.
1. Damon tells Elena not to be with him, for the second time- season 4
This is a classic Damon moment, in the best way possible. He starts off his explanation of why he wouldn’t take the vampire cure by pointing out how selfish he is. But then he continues and the reason is incredibly touching. “I’d rather die right now than spend a handful of years with you only to lose you when I’m too old and sick and miserable, and you’re still you. I’d rather die right now than spend my last final years remembering how good I had it and how happy I was… there’s no apology in the world that encompasses all the reasons I’m wrong for you.” It his Damon’s sweet side being covered as usual by self-loathing and claims of selfishness.
Then Elena makes it an even better scene by finally stating exactly what she loves about him. “…knowing you has made me question everything, that in death you’re the one that made me feel most alive.” She then professes her love for him and they embrace in a passionate kiss. It is perhaps the best moment because it comes after the sire bond is gone, Stefan is not part of the discussion, and all the cards are at last out on the table, everything laid bare. It is perhaps the most sincere moment of their entire romance to date.
Where this show and its relationships will go is hard to say but hopefully it will stay as sexy, romantic and exciting as ever, with more hookups and what have you to come.