Let’s be real. One of the reasons why we love shows like Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black (OITNB), and True Blood, is because of all the steamy, sexy-time scenes. These three shows in particular challenge sexual norms, which is also another important reason why we are so into them.
For example, traditionally everyone on TV was either gay or straight, but a new generation of characters is helping to bring bisexuality mainstream. In Game of Thrones, the tragic and beautiful Oberyn Martell expressed his desire for a full range of sexual partners when he said, “Everyone is missing half the world’s pleasure. When it comes to war, I fight for Dorne, when it comes to love, I don’t choose sides.” OITNB’s female characters (many of whom are with male partners outside of jail) have no qualms about having sex with other women, and True Blood’s vampires definitely do not discriminate based on gender. And you know what? It’s awesome to see people exploring their sexuality, to see characters with realistic desires and to have a new “normal” portrayed on some of TV’s most popular shows.
Television is finally becoming more representative of all sexual orientations and sex lives. Not only are more men having sex with men, and women having sex with women, but we’re finally exploring the idea of bisexuality, and what it means. Like Piper Chapman says in OITNB, “You don’t just turn gay. You fall somewhere on a spectrum like on a Kinsey scale.”
In a recent interview with Larry King, Anna Paquin, who is openly bisexual and married to her True Blood co-star, Stephen Moyer, broke it down for TV’s older generation, when King asked, “Are you a non-practicing bisexual?”
Paquin answered, “Well, I don’t think it’s a past-tense thing. Are you still straight if you are with somebody? If you were to break up with them or they were to die, it doesn’t prevent your sexuality from existing. It doesn’t really work like that.”
In the same interview, she also described True Blood as having “a lot of sexual fluidity,” which, if you’re a fan, you know is true. A few episodes back, ladies’ man Jason Stackhouse has incredibly vivid sexual fantasies about Eric Northman. Pam, Eric’s salty progeny, has made it pretty clear she likes both sex with men and women.
This kind of fluidity is refreshing to see on television, because we just didn’t really see much of it before. If a female character was having sex with another female, it was because she decided to be gay for awhile (an example is when SATC‘s Samantha Jones decided to “try it out” with Maria in season four), because of a break-up with a man, or because she was really actually a lesbian. There was no spotlight on bisexual characters who were authentically attracted to both sexes. You went one way or another; it was very rigid.
Because shows like OITNB, True Blood, and Game of Thrones are incorporating more bisexual characters, bisexuality will hopefully be seen as normative. People who are bisexual won’t be labeled as “attention seeking,” nor will we associate the concept as a “gateway” into one definitive sexual orientation or another. In a Huffington Post interview from earlier in July, Paquin brilliantly stated, “. . .the more normal and, frankly, mundane and boring this stuff becomes, the better it’s going to be for everybody who is part of our community.” More sex on TV? I’m obviously not complaining.