If nudity is here to stay, and at least on “Game of Thrones,” that seems likely, there is no legitimate reason to limit access to that pleasure to men.
And the thing worth noticing here is that it actually takes a huge amount of work to limit that pleasure to men. If we reflect on how the show specifically and slavishly caters to penises and their blood flow—if we think of that as a positive choice rather than a lazy but innocent default—it becomes a truly pernicious choice. (Try taking a picture of a naked couple and exclude the penis. It’s work!) We like to think of men as perpetual horndogs, which is hopelessly unfair to men when you think about how hard HBO is trying to turn them on. It’s weird how much effort goes into tantalizing penises with unnecessary naked women, and it’s weird how much effort goes into not showing any male parts in turn. None of that is natural, or realistic, or even slightly sane; it is not The Way Things Are. Producing those specific effects and no others takes extraordinary effort. The show is revolutionary in the painstaking care it takes to push the boundaries on (female) nudity and to provoke (male) arousal.
Lili Loofbourow, (“‘Game of Thrones’ fails the female gaze: Why does prestige TV refuse to cater erotically to women?” Salon, 6/2014)