Arya Stark’s sexual awake on ‘Game of Thrones’ is a big deal

( CNN) A sex scene on “Game of Thrones” doesn’t commonly constitute news. Sex is practically punctuation for the HBO series — more noticeable in its absence than its presence.

In the scene, Arya first asks Gendry about his sex experience( he’s had sex with three women ), then expresses her desire to have sex. She kisses him, takes his top off, pushes him onto some kind of sack, then orders him to “take your own bloody gasps off.” It’s a powerful and refreshing piece of character development for Arya, but — judging by the reaction of many viewers — it also bears the weight of gendered expectations around virginity and sexuality on-screen, which we would do well to be rid of.

Some found it uncomfortable to see the former child character, who we first met in Season One at age 11, give such a visceral demonstration of her new maturity. Others celebrated watching Arya assume agency in a reveal which habitually objectifies young woman, uses their bodies as political currency and often deploys sex as a weapon against them.

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