HBO's president of programming Michael Lombardo has defended the graphic scenes featured in Game of Thrones.
The US satellite channel's hit fantasy drama regularly includes explicit and often controversial scenes depicting sex, violence and rape.
Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, Lombardo said that the show's team have been expected to tone down the source material from George RR Martin's series of books.
"I personally don't see myself as a libertine. I don't think [graphic scenes] have ever been without any purpose. Dan [Weiss] and Dave [Benioff] are two very sober, thoughtful men," he said.
"They have books as a map. Which involve wars, violence, sex. We have certainly not given them an edict or a note that they need to tone down the sexual content in the show."
Addressing controversy over a rape scene between Jamie and Cersei Lannister shown during the most recent series, Lombardo said that HBO provides an "adult service", which paying subscribers expect to receive "uncensored shows" for.
"I appreciate there was some controversy and it generated a conversation about what consensual sex is and isn't," Lombardo said.
"People responsible for programming have two responsibilities. To be responsible, not to have sex and violence that's gratuitous. That is certainly not who we are.
"At the same time we don't want to be a censor that inhibits the authentic organic creative process by policing how many breasts should be on a show."
He continued: "My job is to be in business with responsible creative forces. And if I am doing that I trust their decisions about what is appropriate for the character or not. And I feel we made the right choice with Dan and Dave and they continue to try to be responsible.
"As long as I feel that [violence] isn't the reason [people] are watching the show, that it isn't a show trying to attract viewers with sex and violence, I am not going to play police."