Sexpositions and sexpectations in Game of Thrones

By Noort Bakx

Yesterday was Monday again, and yay, that means time to watch the new Game of Thrones! Over the last months, I too have become a big fan of HBO’s immensely popular fantasy drama series. Before I started watching, I heard many different thing about the show, but the one thing I heard from everyone was, sex. The sex and nudity on the show build up quite a reputation.



Starting with Sex and the City in the late 90s, HBO has made a name for itself producing ‘controversial’ shows filled with sex and nudity, not suitable for prudes. Boardwalk Empire, Rome, Girls, True Blood and so on. Basically, all HBO drama shows tend to show a little more skin. HBO is known for it. It has become the channel’s trademark, a marketing product, and a name it has to live up to.

And in the US, when they talk about Game of Thrones, they talk about the nudity in the show. Related to as ‘rampant raunchiness’, and ‘unnecessary nudity’, the sex on the show has become quite the topic of discussion. Not only would there be numerous sex scenes, they are extremely vicious and explicit, rough and often unnecessary within the scene. Girl on girl, boy on boy and some very violent stuff, we’ve seen it all. And all of that during prime time. Saturday Night Live decided to make a spoof out of it. As well as for satire, the show has proved to be the inspiration for some new vocabulary terms. ‘Sexposition’ as Wikipedia explains it is ‘’the practice of providing exposition – that is, background information required for the viewer’s understanding – against a backdrop of sex or nudity.’’ It wasn’t appreciated by everyone, the scene where ‘little finger’ talks about his childhood while two whores are listening while simulating sexual activity. The discussion about unnecessary nudity could partly be traced back to that scene.


But honestly, what is all the fuss about? Yes, compared to other American shows, HBO and Game of Thrones in particular, shows more sex and nude scenes than many others. But is it really that bad?

Like I said, before I started watching I was informed about the nudity and the amount of it. But honestly, I was less than impressed. I don’t know if the ‘Sexpectations’ (For those who wonder, yes, that is a SATC reference) were too high, my expectations after all that talk couldn’t live up to it.

If not the ‘sexpectations’ it might have to do with the fact that in The Netherlands, we are not as prude as in the United States, and there is nudity in everything. The stereotype of The Netherlands as the free and open-minded county definitely goes here. Dutch movies and shows tend to have a lot more nudity than any America production, and Game of Thrones therefore might have not shocked me as it did others. And also here, the discussion whether nudity is basically unnecessary is mentioned. Unnecessary nude, what does it even mean? If it doesn’t shed light on a character, or focus on pointing out oppression in society, or deflect women’s roles, does that mean it is unnecessary? If it’s part of the shows goal or character, doesn’t that make it necessary? Either way, compared to other movies or shows, I would say, Game of Thrones is really not that bad.

Game-of-Thrones-sex-2The numbers seem to be on my side. The Huffington Post looked through it all, and added up that within 20 hours of show, there is only about 15 minutes of ‘’literal and figurative, naughty bits’’. That adds up the figures of the first two seasons, and I haven’t done the math, but I don’t think season 3 is adding up to a much higher average. Moreover in recent episodes, it is not the sex-scenes that make the show rough, but the violence and torture that makes me and many other viewers want to look away. Looking through the development of the show, a girl like Daenerys Targaryen has gone from being harshly raped, to becoming the biggest power lady, on her way to dominate the kingdoms. Although the gender relations are not the topic of this post, how awesome was this quote: ‘’All men must die … but we are not men’’.


Too much sex or not, everyone is watching. Game of Thrones has become the third most-watched series in the history of HBO, reaching about 10 to 12 million viewers on average (not counting us downloading Europeans I guess). If Game of Thrones taught us one thing, it is that the same old saying always goes. Sex sells.

8 thoughts on “Sexpositions and sexpectations in Game of Thrones

  1. Pingback: Aaaaaand… this was 2013! | We should name this soon

  2. You know what “unnecessary nudity is. “Unnecessary nudity” is what producers add to a show in lieu of substantial content. Producers add it as bait when they are incapable of putting a good story together. I know a few people who watch it and each one looks forward to sex, or violence and tolerates the story. It is pornography legitimized by dressing itself as drama.

    The author suggests that those who do not like the nudity are prudes. Thus the author finds Game of Thrones tame compared to what is available in the Netherlands. To that I say that if Netherlands produces such great classic productions, why has the rest of the world not heard of them let alone care about them? Perhaps because films fill themselves with nudity and sex because the producers and writers do not put together compelling stories.

    A good movie will tell a story and if it needs to have sex, it can use subtext. Case in point, the ending of North By Northwest. If you’re with your lady/man when you watch it, you can’t miss it. If it’s not appropriate for you, you’ll miss it anyway.

  3. At roopgill…
    We’re you already drunk? Do you know what a boob looks like?
    Bc when I watched game of thrones I noticed tits and ass are shown with the frequency of strobe light flashes.

    Any more and I’d be on the floor seizing.

    There is porn for folks who want to watch it. Any time of day! Do they need to stick it into good shows? How about serving it for breakfast? Printing it on our toilet paper! Lets just paper out walls with boobies!

    Not everyone finds it as thrilling to see girl on girl or pairs of tits everywhere.

    Lets try somethig creative. I know another network with popular shows that doesn’t need to sink so low as to use the stripper/booby/male fantasy cliche.
    They just have talented writers!

    You have the booby assy legacy HBO. That’s all.

  4. Sex sells…. For SOME. Not for all. I enjoy watching sex here and there in movies when there’s a build up or it’s relevant to story.
    In this show its too much and I find it offensive.
    It’s done in a perverse and voyeuristic way.
    Our society is increasingly pornified.
    I just don’t watch the show. Period.

    Do I want them to take it off the air? No.
    Will I watch it? NO
    Would more people watch the show if there was less blatant rampant tits and ass? I think YES.
    The people who are already watching it would continue to watch it, and the people who like a little more plot with their Tits and ass would be more keen on the show.
    It’s too bad bc I love fantasy and myths.
    Ill stick with reading the books and steer clear of
    Jiggling boobies on HBO. A network that gives in to cheap cliche far too often.

  5. Pingback: LFL – Leave the lace off the field | We should name this soon

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