The Sex Was So Tame On Game Of Thrones This Season, & I'm Not Sure I Like It

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
So, Daenerys and Jon finally had sex, and it was...nice? Boring? Vanilla? That's not usually a sentiment I'd ascribe to Game of Thrones, which has been known for its gratuitous use of graphic and often violent sex. On the one hand, it's a good thing. Less rape and exploitation of women's bodies for the sake of plot exposition is a plus in my book. But somehow, it feels a little lazy. Why does a more sex-positive attitude have to mean bland soft-core porn?
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This entire season has definitely marked a shift where sex is concerned. As Vulture pointed out after the finale, not only is there less of it, but what we do see is tamer, less naked.
It does makes sense narratively. As the characters race towards the inevitable stand-off against the White Walkers, there is less time for sexual encounters, no matter how lovely. And yet, this is a show that has built up a reputation around a certain kind of storytelling. To suddenly shift that at the end, and seemingly in response to fan expectations, is disappointing. It falls short of what I've come to expect from Game of Thrones.
In fact, this has been my greatest gripe against the show ever since it went off-book. With no roadmap, the showrunners have taken the opportunity to respond to the online discourse swirling around the show. The result is something that feels more like fanfiction than original storytelling. Every joke is a wink, and moments that should be major feel stale because they've been passed around Reddit threads so many times. Beyond jokes about a hot and broody Jon Snow, this has meant a complete reversal in the portrayal of female characters. And while, yes, that's something to applaud in theory, it also feels tonally wrong, like the writers are going too far out of their way to amend earlier mistakes that should never have been made — like attempting to justify this Cersei/Jaime scene as consensual sex.
It's not that I don't want better, more positive sex on Game of Thrones. I just don't understand why it has to come at the expense of, well, sexiness. I was ready to jump on the Dany/Jon incest bandwagon. I was willing! Game of Thrones has primed me to defend this kind of relationship, and I am on board! But watching them roll around like hairless eels while staring into each other's wide, soulful eyes made me feel like I was watching an uncomfortable network sex scene with my parents. The sex spectrum doesn't go straight from rape to Danielle Steel — couldn't we just get something in between? Something hot AND consensual?
Obviously, there have been great sexual moments in Game of Thrones. Missandei and Greyworm's scene from earlier this season gave new depth and vulnerability to both characters. Jon inventing oral sex for wildlings was hilarious, but his scenes with Ygritte always left me wanting more. Daenerys and Drogo's relationship may have started off with rape, but that didn't stop their sex scenes from became loving, sweet even.
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Still, compare this scene, in which Daenerys takes charge of her sex life, to the one between her and Jon seven seasons later. Neither are rough, or particularly explicit. But one looks like a woman who is enjoying great, empowering sex. She is a queen, on top of the world (and her man). In the second, I see two people lying naked in a bed. Not even Jon Snow's perfect butt can save that.
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