14. Sansa and Ramsay
It feels weird to put scenes of rape on a sex round-up and yet if you didn’t include them on a Game Of Thrones list you a) would have two scenes to work with and b) would ignore one of the show’s biggest problems. Yes, we’re all here to remember the times hot men and women took off their doublets and made each other happy, but we shouldn’t forget how wrong some of the show’s coitus was.
This scene’s biggest problem – and the reason it earned wild backlash at the time – is that Sansa’s rape exists entirely as character development for Theon, who is the final POV we get of the scene. It’s further motivation for his arc the rest of the season, while actually giving us very little space to think about how Sansa reacts (compare, for example, with the rape of Joan on Mad Men: a scene that gave all of the focus to her, which is how it should be). Rape as emergency character development is dubious anyway, but rape that only exists to advance the men’s stories is deeply misogynist. Put it in the electric chair. This is the worst sex scene in the show’s history.
13. Jaime and Cersei next to the corpse of their son
The show really wanted us to know that Cersei is bad for Jaime. They really, really wanted us to know that. Despite that, Jaime raping his sister beside the body of their dead child still, with the show over, sits weirdly with me. Maybe because, oh, I don’t know… it didn’t do anything other than shock.
Is there anything sexy about it? Absolutely not. Does it further the storyline? No, it just compounds things we already know. Does it even exist as a veil for new information? No! Of the iconic sex scenes in this show, this one deserves to die a death. Well, this and the one before it.
12. The Greyjoys
A wise man once said you should try everything in life except fingering your sister on a horse and Morris dancing. At least Theon can sleep easy, knowing he died never having done a Morris dance.
The scene is… a fun twist. Fun? Not the word I’d use, but I’ve used it. It’s… well, it’s one way of letting us know a bit more about the Greyjoys. It’s not in any way sexy. It’s also not, really, all that crucial. But it’s something that only Game Of Thrones would ever feel the need to do. And for that? Praise be.
11. Theon’s threesome
A honeytrap designed to show exactly why Ramsay thinks castrating Theon will be a poetic punishment, the fact it ends with a man’s genitals removed really kills the mood of the whole thing. It’s also not, technically, necessary: we already knew Theon got around. So… it’s not looking great for this bad boy.
10. Ramsay and Myranda
Myranda, like a lot of the characters on the list, is one of those people whose entire role in the show was using sex and love as a Machiavellian tool. In this scene, it becomes clear she’s reached the end of her journey to power, as Ramsay Bolton will be marrying Sansa Stark: she’s angry, she’s upset and it’s clear she’s trapped. A bit of light S&M and some rape takes place.
The thing is… really, who cares? Myranda ends up playing a crucial role as the final gatekeeper for Sansa and Theon’s escape from Winterfell but… the show never really gave her much to work with. Yes, she’s unhappy with Ramsay, but of course she is. If anything it would almost be interesting to have watched someone be fully supportive of his disgusting behaviour. This sex scene feels like it’s designed to illuminate its central characters and actually it just muddies the waters.
Plus, rape isn’t very sexy. So…
9. Arya and Gendry
Arya and Gendry’s pre-apocalypse hook-up was more fan service than anything else and felt all the weirder considering we’d come to know Arya as a wee bairn so many years ago. While satisfying (briefly, before Arya blew off Gendry… not like that, thank you) it just… whatever, you know?
8. Jaime and Cersei in the tower at Winterfell
If there is a time in the show where sex is fundamentally crucial to the story of Game Of Thrones, it is this scene, in which an incestuous bonk sets the entire series in motion. This is the way you make sex into a plot point. At the same time, nothing about this scene is sexy (well, I mean… Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster Waldau are sexy, but anal in am-dram medieval garb less so). Plot relevance? High. Arousal? Falling faster than a ten-year-old future king.
7. Daenerys and Jon on a boat
At the end of series seven, Daenerys and Jon’s boat sex felt like the biggest moment, something we’d all been waiting for, and the cementing of a couple that would change the show. But Daenerys and Jon’s relationship was actually very flaccid in the series and we really only got to see the big, dramatic bits rather than anything that gave us a sense these two people had any real affection for each other. “You love each other,” characters kept telling us, without much evidence to back it up. When Jon killed her, it… well, it was inevitable, but it wasn’t much else.
This is all to say: the boat sex between aunt Daenerys and her nephew wasn’t sexy, was deeply weird and didn’t give us any sense that this couple mattered. It also, let’s be honest, was only there as a blunt strike to the head to make us understand exactly what Bran and Sam were saying about Jon’s parentage: an exclamation mark when a full stop would have sufficed. Absolutely nothing about this scene, in retrospect, feels worth it – even for Kit Harington’s lovely heinie (which we had, it’s worth saying, seen plenty of by this point).
6. Jon Snow and Ygritte
In the show’s continued campaign to make us think Jon Snow is a perfect man, he spends his first ever sexual experience with a woman engaging in cunnilingus that he has intuited might be a great time for all. He’s right but also… come on! As if Jon Snow is the only man in Westeros with a knowledge of the clitoris! (Well, except Podrick.)
Clearly, Ygritte and Jon Snow had some chemistry – Rose Leslie and Kit Harington, after all, are an actual couple – and the cave sex scene has become one of the icons of the series. While it’s intimate, and a blessed reprieve from the wastes of the scenes beyond the wall, it lacks some of the intimacy of some of our other more favoured scenes.
5. Ellaria and Oberyn’s orgy
While it was nice to see some celebration of queerness on Game Of Thrones and while both Pedro Pascal and Indira Varma could murder my family in front of my eyes and I’d thank them for the chance to be in their presence, this orgy is not the show’s greatest use of sex as plot.
In a sense, it’s not trying to be: it’s showing rather than telling us that Ellaria and Oberyn have a very open approach to sexuality and shows us how much fun it is to be Dornish. Without this scene, we’d have a lot less interest in these two characters and their journeys going forward.
Perhaps more depressingly, it actually doesn’t give us anywhere near as much queer pleasure as I think everybody wants from the scene. Beyond the odd slap, it’s actually a very tame scene in comparison to what something like Sense8 gave us. It says a lot more about how much the people love pleasure than actually showing us how much they love it.
4. Melisandre and Stannis
Melisandre tears down Stannis’ sickly wife and makes a lot of sexy promises before getting boned on a war table. The product of this coitus is, it would seem, the shadow monster that then murders Renly Baratheon, but it’s also the obsessive religious love that comes to define Stannis’ entire career on the show: a man who makes terrible decisions, in part, because the Red Woman appears to him looking like Tori Amos. It’s a very important scene, and I am also deeply attracted to Stephen Dillane, meaning that this scene does a lot of good things for me and me alone. However, there’s nothing very sexy about watching a woman have to push aside little wooden figurines of soldiers just so she doesn’t get a maquette lance up the tuckus.
3. Margaery and Tommen
In watching this scene again, I actually have a lot of time for Game of Thrones including what is – arguably – a weird moment for a show to feature: a grown woman hopping off an adolescent boy’s penis. We needed to know that Margaery and Tommen’s relationship went this far, but the show also does it in the best possible way: Margaery’s clear discomfort with the entire situation exists in an uncomfortable marriage (lol) with her desire to actually get to know her new husband, figure out if he’s a psychopath or not and strike a healthy dialogue between them in case she needs to call upon him at any point. Natalie Dormer does a phenomenal job showing her diplomacy, kindness, warmth, intellect and powerhunger, often at the same time, and Tommen reveals himself to just be a sweet young boy who has been asked to pretend he’s a man far too early.
There’s absolutely nothing sexy about this scene: again it is… sex with a child. But it’s one of the best moments in the show for seeing how intercourse can actually be a crucial part of how human relationships develop and grow.
2. Robb and Talisa
During Game Of Thrones’ airing, the Robb Stark and Talisa plotline felt tough to watch. The “man needs to do one’s duty but, look, an attractive alternative” plotline is well worn by now and watching it unfold in a show that otherwise zigged when we thought it would zag was… huh.
Watching it back now – specifically the scene in which Robb decides he loves Talisa, has sex with her and then promptly decides they’re going to be wed – it’s actually a lot better than it felt at the time. Oona Chaplin, for one, is an astonishingly talented actress: is this the sexiest explanation of CPR ever committed to film? I hope so. Her and Richard Madden really create the sense of being too burgeoning lovers having a DMC. It’s not… sexy, but it is, in its own way, deeply sensual.
1. Daenerys and Khal Drogo
Daenerys and Drogo’s plotline in the show’s second ever episode is one we very rarely get to see on Game of Thrones: it’s one about how to make sex better within a couple, rather than how simple it is to have it with whoever you fancy. Daenerys finds the (not entirely consensual) sex with her bestial husband a bit much and so asks for a sexually wisened maidservant to teach her. The roleplay between the two women has its own blinding chemistry, but it’s the sex between Daenerys and Drogo at the end that really sells it. Not only do we get a flash of Jason Momoa’s rear, but Daenerys manages to convince Drogo that sex with her lowering herself onto his penis will be more enjoyable and to both of their surprises it is. The joy and the relief on their faces is such a rarity in a world of one hit wonder bangs that you really can’t help but get a little into. Ten out of Ten, would scout out on YouTube again (I mean, I wouldn’t, there’s real pornography out there, but the still point stands).