john snow

Look, there are a lot of unrealistic aspects to Game of Thrones. Not the bits about how there are dragons and zombies wandering around left and right. I am entirely able to accept the possibility of a world with dragons and zombies and wolf people and whatever else is in Game of Thrones. 

I’m less able to accept some of the smaller oddities. This reminds me of Chuck Klosterman‘s essay on Saved by The Bell where he talked about how he was entirely able to accept that Zack Morris could stop time at will, but not that any teenagers would be good friends with their high school principal. In the same way, I do not believe that, even in a world populated by zombies and dragons, people would pause to give completely uninterrupted monologues on the nature of power every few days. I think that would get old.

I also don’t believe that, if a tribal queen was giving birth to dragons in a burning pyre over the course of the night, her entire tribe would fall asleep during the process (Daenerys Targaryen emerges from her pyre the next morning and the entire tribe is snoozingThere wasn’t one guy who wanted to stay up for 6 hours to watch a dragon get born? I’ve stayed up until daybreak reading Twitter).

And I really, really, really do not buy for a single second that male virgins are the best ever at sex. I don’t believe it no matter how hard Game of Thrones wants to push that idea.

They are pushing it, incidentally.

Tyrion Lannister‘s young page who has been dismissed by everyone as “being a bit simple” is rewarded for saving Tyrion’s life – pretty belatedly, as it was last season – with an all expense paid trip to the local brothel. Tyrion leaves money to pay for three prostitutes’ time.  The page returns with all the money telling Tyrion and his rascal-y friend (I don’t know why this sort of devolves into a bad buddy comedy) that the prostitutes enjoyed themselves so much they would not accept his money. Huh! Huh. Right.

Meanwhile, the non-simple John Snow who has been kidnapped by a tribe of Northern people seems to be the best sex some Northern girl has ever experienced in her entire life. This point is made over and over, as is the point that he was previously a virgin. Why? Why was it the best? Apparently, he “does a thing with his tongue.”

First of all, no. No, this falls into the “I do not believe that teenagers have a close personal friendship with their high school principal” school of thought.

Look, we know exactly why they’re doing this. They’re doing it for the same reason that discussions about power are often accompanied by lesbian sex scenes in the background. They’re doing this because there is still some notion that this is a fantasy show for pimply teenage boys who… may not have had sex yet.

But it’s not, or not at this point. If anything, George R.R. Martin‘s feminist tendencies mean that it’s a show that women are about just as inclined to enjoy as men. The portrayal of Sansa Stark alone is pretty damn nuanced.

And women know that being good in bed is a skill, and one that takes longer to develop than “never. Never before done this.” Honestly, setting it up as though it is a superpower you are born with seems pretty unfair to any pre-teen boys who are watching this. I would actually buy the whole concept much more if Tyrion’s page suddenly revealed, “Also, I have 23 fingers, many of them hidden on various parts of my body, but not in a creepy way, in a sexy, cool way, and that is helpful. And, I am part wolf.” This explanation would not be entirely unexpected on Game of Thrones. 

But if they’re not going to provide those explanation, then most women know that most men are not magically good in bed on their first go. And if they are, it’s not just because they are able to perform cunnilingus. I kind of feel like this is the problematic part of all of this is that the only explanation of these men’s goodness that seems provided is that “they did things with their tongue.” As though that is the only thing any woman wants in bed. Forget understanding her psychological state, or unique personal needs, just waggle your tongue around and you’re pretty much good to go.

In an age and a show where seemingly no one is showering.

This is not a great lesson to be teaching the teenage boys who are watching Game of Thrones and thinking, “That is how you make women enjoy themselves in bed.”

That said, the characters on Game of Thrones are living in a world where Joffrey, the other male virgin we’ve seen, is tying prostitutes to a bed and shooting arrows at them. So, yes, if we are working on a bell curve, doing tongue stuff and not killing anyone makes you better than that in bed. But it does not make you the best in bed ever because, well, because that is a skill.

I’m sure it’s still great for pre-teenage boys who want to believe they have a secret sexual superpower. It’s just horribly inaccurate for absolutely anyone else watching.