American Gods has been making waves since it debuted on Starz last month. An adaptation of Neil Gaiman's 2001 novel about a brewing war between gods of old and gods of new, the series was brought to life using striking, bold visuals and a script that adheres closely to its incredibly detailed source material. The result is a beautiful piece of artwork, and it seems like there's at least one scene each week that leaves fans' jaws on the floor.

In its third episode, Sunday's "Head Full of Snow," that scene was one that featured graphic sex between two Muslim men, a Jinn (Mousa Kraish) and a young man named Salim (Omid Abtahi). The scene might be the most erotic sex scene between two men ever seen on cable — and that's including HBO's Looking, which set the bar fairly high during its two-season run. Like most everything else in American Gods, the scene was lifted straight from the pages of Gaiman's novel, and according to executive producer Bryan Fuller (Hannibal), it was also one of the scenes he and executive producer Michael Green (Logan) were most excited about bringing to life onscreen because of the beautiful and powerful metaphors found within it.

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"When Michael and I first sat down to talk about things in the book that we were most dedicated to bringing to life as cinematically as possible, chief among them was the Salim-Jinn love story," Fuller tells TVGuide.com. "And it's so well-told. It's such a fantastic metaphor for a man who can't be seen waiting to be seen and then finally, for the first time, experiencing what it is to be seen by another man."

After an afternoon spent waiting for an appointment that never happens, a disenchanted Salim meets the exhausted Jinn, who came to America years prior and now, like many immigrants, makes a living driving a cab. While stuck in traffic, the two men form a bond, which eventually evolves into a connection that extends to the physical, at least for one night.

"[It] was an opportunity for us to challenge the audience to not look away from the beauty of this experience for Salim," says Fuller of the nearly four-minute scene. "We wanted to make it beautiful. We wanted to make it hypnotic. We wanted to create a sex-positive experience, not only for Salim but for all the men like Salim who have a corrupted sense of sexuality for whatever reason and can't truly be their sexual selves."

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Fuller and Green naturally felt an obligation to get the scene just right — not just for fans of Gaiman's novel, but for men (or women) who might see themselves in the character of Salim.

"We realize there was a tremendous amount of responsibility for this scene and what it could mean for people like Salim that are sadly many in the world, whether they are Middle Eastern or black or Asian or white, that can't come to terms with their sexuality because of some form of oppression," says Fuller. "We're rooting for Salim to have a happy ending."

Adds Green: "There was no agenda on our part other than to embrace sex-positivity and ... to make sure that it was so beautifully wrought that no one had a right to complain. Because they don't."

Omid Abtahi and Mousa Kraish, <em>American Gods</em>Omid Abtahi and Mousa Kraish, American Gods


Viewers might be a little shocked to see that the sequence truly holds nothing back, especially when it comes to male full-frontal nudity. The Salim-Jinn love story in "Head Full of Snow" marks the third appearance of a penis on American Gods, which makes it the third Starz series, after Outlander and Power, to go where so few shows are willing to go. The decision, according to Green, wasn't for shock value but rather an attempt at equality and representation, and Starz was completely on board from the beginning.

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"The network, they just said to us, 'Hey, if you're going to be doing any nudity, we feel like it should be equal male-to-female,' which was our intention going into it anyway," says Green. "For us, representation was important. ... We wanted to make sure that any sexuality shown in our show was essential to its storytelling, meaning that it had an enhancing effect to character or plot. That was going to go whether it was male or female."

However, there was at least one issue that arose that may have raised a few eyebrows.

"I think they only gave us one caution, which was that we had to artfully consider the intensity of an erection if a male was walking towards the sex partner, be it male or female, because that is where sometimes people like to define the difference between art or pornography," explains Green. "When we got to showing male nudity, like anything else we were doing, whether it was male or female nudity, we would share it with [Starz] and discuss it with them and if they had any issues or concerns, we would talk about it. But they didn't, really. So it was remarkably grown up."

American Gods airs Sundays at 9/8c on Starz.

Additional reporting by Sadie Gennis