Does sex belong in video games?

Mass Effect Sex

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Tits and ass are incredibly prevalent in modern society. Sex is used to sell products in advertising, actors are shamefully primped into digitally crafted sex symbols and TV shows like Toddlers in Tiaras, stretch the definition of acceptable television viewing. Sex is everywhere, but oddly, not in our games.

With the recent pulling of No Reply Games' sex focused, interactive story 'game' “Seduce Me” from Valve's Greenlight service due to breaking of the terms and conditions – for being an “offensive” title – sex is back in the headlines of gaming websites the world over, all of them asking the question, “does sex belong in video games?”

It could be argued that games purely focused around sex are pornographic in nature and therefore warrant some sort of segmentation perhaps, in the way it is with websites and traditionally with stores that cater specifically to it.

But what about games that just feature sex as a feature or component of the overall experience?

Every time a popular title attempts to put anything sex like in its games that goes beyond a fade to black and some grunts, there's a problem. Look at GTA: San Andreas' Hot Coffee mod, or the blue side boob that appeared for a brief second in Mass Effect 2. It all gets blown out of proportion, people that haven't even played the game or seen footage of the event start screaming “save the children,” and to some it seems as if the world is going to end.

Of course it never does and children are as corrupted as their parents allow them to be. These games have age ratings for a reason and if parents choose to ignore them it's their responsibility to set it right, or at least explain things to their kids so they understand and learn about the adult activity in a constructive way.

But should it be there in the first place? Well the obvious answer would be yes, for a variety of reasons.

1: Taking into consideration the age ratings I mentioned earlier, the average gamer is in their 30s at this point. Not only have they had sex, they've been living with internet pornography for over 15 years. Believe me, unless you're doing a game adaptation of The Serbian Film, this is nothing we haven't seen before.

2: Unless it's Manhunt, where ritualistic killing was censored because... it's the game the lobby groups decided to go after, murder barely raises an eyebrow from anyone. Killing is rampant in games. Just look at the fast Paragon leveller in Diablo III. He's killed almost two million monsters alone. If he can commit mass murder, why can't a game have a sex scene in it?

3: Sex is a part of life. For anyone that doesn't know, it's how babies are made. Shocking I know, but we all began our life at a moment of parental coitus and society is slowly beginning to lose the taboo. It's still there – and enjoyed by many – but the simple fact is that sex shouldn't be considered a naughty thing any more. It's in films, in advertising, television and there is absolutely no reason it shouldn't be in our games.

However, despite these very obvious reasons that sex should be included in games and accepted by the public as a simple part of the artistic medium, the blame isn't entirely on the shoulders of complainers. Game developers could also help the cause out.

Despite the criticism for its leud content, Mass Effect actually has an incredibly impressive and deeply emotional erotic part to it but it is a rarity. More often than not, we get adventurers fucking hookers, or silly quick time sex games or button mashing to fuck harder. This isn't the type of thing that detractors of sexual content in gaming are going to agree with, probably ever.

No I'm not saying that because lobbyists and complainers have stale sex lives that games should be the same, but there isn't a reason that sex can't be used as an emotional connector between characters either.

Games focused around getting the clothes off of a digital woman should be just as allowed to exist in our gaming spheres as the latest AAA blockbuster, but they don't further the cause of sex in video games as much as they could.

Not only do I believe that sex deserves to be a part of gaming, I think it deserves to have more credit as a part of the emotional story within a game. It doesn't need to be your character just getting his rocks off, or a nudge-nudge-wink-wink from the developers saying “we know what you gamers want, digital titties,” but a real way for players to connect with a character.

We talked a few weeks about about how Lara Croft's surviving of an attempted rape could be used to delve into all sorts of new character emotions within a game. How about include a sex scene in that game not long after the rape and make it optional. Have it so that players can decide. If she goes along with it, perhaps Lara is emotionally distracted and merely trying to forget a horrific experience, thereby not building a relationship with the male counterpart. Perhaps if she says no, players can learn something about his character.

Sex is a massive motivator in human life and it should be used in games as well, not just as a treat or a laughable aside, but a real part of the gameplay. It can be part of the story and part of the world the developers create.

It doesn't always have to be, just as not every single racing game has to be a sim like experience, but just now and again I'd like to see some real effort put into sex.

That last line could have been phrased better.

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Comments

dangerous

I don't agree at all, when James Dobson interviewed the serial killer (who allowed an interview in prison) he explained that what messed him up was finding pornographic magazines that had been tossed out way before he was adult. He said the combination of sex and violence has a very addictive nature and there is no end to the degree one will go to satisfy the frenzy. Children should under no circumstances be firstly be exposed to violence and then cold sex without love. We hear about violence every day but that doesn't mean we should be watching it all the time. It seems you care more for your entertainment and money than any children.

dangerous

I don't agree at all, when James Dobson interviewed the serial killer (who allowed an interview in prison) he explained that what messed him up was finding pornographic magazines that had been tossed out way before he was adult. He said the combination of sex and violence has a very addictive nature and there is no end to the degree one will go to satisfy the frenzy. Children should under no circumstances be firstly be exposed to violence and then cold sex without love. We hear about violence every day but that doesn't mean we should be watching it all the time. It seems you care more for your entertainment and money than any children.

Seriously?

It's a fucking game! We play video games to escape reality or do things we can't normally do in reality. Cut the "socially acceptable" bullshit and let the creators create. "Oh my, Martha, would you look at this: it contains *DRAMATIC MUSIC* nudity!" *Martha faints* Don't fucking play it then! And surely don't buy it for your 10-year-old you dumb fuck!

The only reason why I don't like sex in (most) games

Lets be honest, the only reason why sex in videogames is getting more frequent is because sex in movies and t.v shows is getting more frequent, and these shows are getting popular. Its just a marketing tool, and no matter how deep and justified the relationship in-game is, I won't be able to see it as anything else out-game. It diminishes the meaningfulness of the character development because if you took the same game ten years back, the whole thing would unfold the same minus the sex scene, because it would have been deemed implied and unnecessary to explicitly make. Who cares if real adults have sex? Its a game. Real adults can't double jump in mid air. They also pay taxes and get cut down by one shot to the torso. There is no restart after it happens too. But if its a game about fucking hookers and stuff then its crude and probably for adults anyway so go ahead.

real adults do have sex.

I think it should have context. Sex, between adults, like that pictured between Shepard and Jack, is consenting and not a one sided affair. Shep and Jack become better when they fall in love and it starts with mutual attraction. When you get to see the culmination of this (Citidel dlc is highly recommended) It shows you how far they have gone. So yes, adults consider sex as not just a pleasant pastime but a way to deeply commit as did Jack and Shepard. Good use in an adult (rated M) game

I Bet Everyone Agreeing With This Article Is Male

Just to inform EVERYONE of exactly HOW sex, a natural part of life, is effecting women by being used in basically every type of media, here's a study done by a University. And don't even bother replying to this; if you all want to send me hate comments for actually giving you guys FACTS, then go back to 4chan. I'm sure you'd all enjoy the porn and FEMALE celebrity nude pics on there.

nice title

you obviously have a stale sex life you dumb feminist first of all your already being sexist in the title which shows you want to attract negative attention which makes you a even bigger loser. so you don't mean everyone you mean guys. you have a disease called ignorant hypocrititis. yeah im a dude i haven't had sex for 2 years you hear me bitching and whining. your spreading hate not facts. jees get laid. don't bother responding i want to think about what i said i want it to seep into your brain if you have one.

nice title

you obviously have a stale sex life you dumb feminist first of all your already being sexist in the title which shows you want to attract negative attention which makes you a even bigger loser. so you don't mean everyone you mean guys. you have a disease called ignorant hypocrititis. yeah im a dude i haven't had sex for 2 years you hear me bitching and whining. your spreading hate not facts. jees get laid. don't bother responding i want to think about what i said i want it to seep into your brain if you have one.

Erm, i'm not male but context counts for everything

I'm OK with games having sex scenes but they should be judged on an individual basis. In ME your character is risking his/her life to save the universe, during this time your character develops friendships with the possibility of an eventual love making scene. If I spent every day with the weight of the universe on my shoulders then i'd likely look for someone to remind me that life is worth living & fighting for. News sites around the world erupted with the shock/horror of man on man/woman/alien sex was possible but the forgot that it's entirely the choice of the player. In Far Cry 3 your male character drinks a drug (very silly idea), then after a very strange vision quest he comes around to find a woman is riding him, you had 2 choices either drink the drug or go no further in the game. This is clearly a case of drug induced rape but I don't recal any outrage. With consent = sex Without consent = rape Sex in games is often handled in a juevenile fashion & becomes crass but if part of a mature & developing character story arc it can be used to drive home the fact that we're all as vulnerable as each other.

it already is

sex appears in games already the same exact way it appears i movies. You can see tits and ass but they never show any actual sex ( that sort of thing is reserved for pornography.). So if movies and and tv handle it that way and we're all ok, then why can't commercial games handle it the same way? So yea sex is alreay all over video games.

really?

Sex is no more or less abundant in games than it is in movies/ tv shows. In no movie will they show a full on sex scene, You may see some nipples and some sensual kissing, but the same can be seen in video games. god of war and prince of persia had naked women.

lame

tits ass not if you leave out feet and heels then no it doesn't belong unless we all do And I feel the article is ignorant to the fact of not all of us like boobs

Wives don't like it either...

I can't play GTA V cause of the sex. :( Yeah, she doesn't like boobs bobbing around the screen for her own reasons, but don't want the kids seeing that either which means I'd have to lock myself in a room alone. Call me whipped or whatever, but if they are going to make sex a bigger part of games, they should be completely "skippable" and optional. Programmatically, that should not be all that difficult. Until then I guess I have to boycott raunchy games.

Raunchy? Sex in a video game

Raunchy? Sex in a video game is somehow raunchy? Does she also prevent you from watching the sex scenes in movies? Does she ask you to just skip over that part or does she tell you when you can open your eyes. Your wife is being unreasonable here. If she gets jealous of people that aren't even real, you've got problems. I had an ex that was like that. Turns out she was jealous because she actually did have a problem with fidelity. She wound up cheating on me at least one time I can prove. Beware man, people willing to get jealous over pixels are commonly projecting their own infidelity onto you. It's a way to make their own behaviors seen less bad.

Sidestepping the real issue here.

I believe that sex should be included in games that are age appropriate however I also feel like the author is side-stepping the actual issue which is over simplifying characters into sex objects. Including sex in games is very different than the rampant use of tits n ass in games.

I Disagree

Your assertion that the author simply side stepped the issue here is wrong in my opinion. The author specifically states that they would like to see more depth in the sexual relationships of characters in video games, something that helps drive a real emotional attachment to a character, not just using them as a one-dimensional sex object. You may have sidestepped an entire paragraph in this article, and ultimately the point of it.

Really?

The author of this is right, sex should be in games. Technically it already is a little bit, not really seen but implied. For example, Fable 2 or 3, Sims 3, Mass effect, and the GTA series. I mean what's so bad about sex? Its a natural thing in life, so how bad could it be. Heck some of the games we have today are the most brutal and violent games ever, its much worse than sex but yet its like its ignored in a way. Add violence to a game and we're cool, but add sex to a game and the world freaks out. If people don't want to see sex in a game or there kids to see it, then guess what...there's a thing called don't buy it! If you got a problem with it then just don't come in contact with it, that simple. Anyways sex could be used to bring characters closer and add emotion to the game, make it explode with that awesome emotion!!! Could make a game more exciting! :D

Eh

So long as the sexual content isn't strictly between a male and female then I don't care. But if our only options are hetero sexual content I would rather not. As many of the other commenters have said, no one gets a say in what i'm exposed to, i should be able to choose, etc.

evolution in action

The strong kill off the weak. This is evolution, survival of the fittest in action. We fight and kill, it is in our nature. It is how we keep the gene pool strong. The strong survive while the weak die off. It is a cold hard truth but it is what it is. Atheism, religion or something else, people will find any reason. A fundamentalist atheist killed a few muslims the other day. Go read Darwin, he makes this abundantly clear. We are animals after all are we not?

Apparently you haven't read

Apparently you haven't read anything from Darwin. Why does everyone get the whole "survival of the fittest" thing wrong? Its not about the strong killing off the weak, evolution is about the species that's best able to adapt to their surroundings.

sex in games

We have had games that depict sex, like Custer's revenge, since the age of Atari. The only company that seems to stay away from that stuff is Nintendo, which is a good move since the point of a video game company is to make money and a majority of their sales are to older women and children. By depicting sex in video games in a graphic way, you are limiting the people who will buy them. Games with an M rating cannot be sold to teenagers under the age of 17 without a parent, which is the second highest highest demographic. I wouldn't mind playing games with mature themes with my son or daughter, but I don't want to watch a porno with them. I'm okay with sex being depicted with games, but I guess only to the extent that television and movies would depict them, where you cannot see the genitalia, and the central theme is not the sex, it is just tastefully implemented somewhere in the middle. As we move forward, it is obvious we are going to see more of it in video games, though.

Well that's pretty much

Well that's pretty much exactly what the article was trying to point out. It can definitely be done tastefully and should be fine if the creator wants to put it in the game. I just think that a lot of developers tend to just stay on the safe side because of all the people who get butthurt over even the mention of sex, but that could stifle the artistic freedom of the developer. It is funny though how many parents disregard the ESRB Rating System when buying games for their kids only to get upset and complain about it later.

Sex In Games...

It is just my opinion, have been a dedicated videogame play for the last 25 years, but I think it is time we allow adult videogame players to decide for themselves to experience sex options in games. It should not be up to overly judgemental, non-gaming, women, or 40 year old virgins to decide what I, "33 year old gamer," am exposed to, it's my choice not yours!!! On that note, if you don't like the exposure to sex in video games, don't buy them anymore, and stop purchasing games for kids, or your children that don't meet the age standard on the game casing. DUH!!! Wake the hell up!!! Just an FYI!!!

Yup

Honestly I think that is what pisses me off the most. These 40 yr old "non gaming" moms who are fighting to take this stuff out of games and ruing it for us mature gamers. Well the game has an M rating for a reason. They are just to stupid to realize that, like movies games have an important rating system. They just automatically think "games are just for kids".

the author forgot a game

The author forgot the biggest game of all the games containing sex though probably not everyones idea of a game it has a pegi 7 rating yet exposes the children playing it to sex in a way its not called sex in game but woohoo and also has try for baby option in the sims 3 and hell if you have the seasons expansion and elevators they can have sex in an elevator too however you don't see much in the game the characters having sex go under the duvet it ruffles a few second then they reappear in there sleepwear and in the elevator it just shows the doors close the doors rattle a little and then the characters emerge in what they were in in whatever case this sims fun bar stat raises a lot afterwards to show they enjoyed it and ea have got away with it in this popular franchise

Always thought it funny..

I find it funny that people are able to go into a game and be an assassin from assassin's creed, a pirate, a soldier of fortune, a vampire, a mobster and so on who do the most ruthless things, but the moment sex comes up it is considered bad content. Sorry, but in a game where you can rip someone's throat out or stab them in the eye with a machine, showing two people doing something which is natural seems rather pale in comparison. Just my two cents.

Well in drgons dogma, it is

Well in drgons dogma, it is implied that you have sex with your character's loved one after saving them from the dragon, but it isnt shown, nor is it vocalized. But it is used to show a love connection to him or her, and that is the way I think it should be. Implied, but not obvious, and nothing shown on screen.

Opnions are like assholes

I personally don't mind the appearance of adult themes in gaming. You tend to see a lot of comments on articles like this in which opinions, usually heavily skewed to one end of the spectrum or another, are stated as though they are fact. The only fact that can be truly said is what your preference is. Whether sexual or violent themes should be in a game or not is not for any one person to say, rather, it will be, as always, up to the artist to decide what themes should be mixed into their medium of choice.

No

Sex in video games in not needed, you can make the innuendo but please.... If I wanted to see pixel-ated porn I would go watch Hentai. Give me the CHOICE to block that sort of content if you must put it in games.

Lame

If its got to the point gamers need to play virtual sex games instead of having real sex, you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Unless you're past that point, (which, if playing sex games you probably are)

very dumb reasoning.

Your reasoning is very flawed. Directed at just one of several possible points of yours, you really think the "killing" in Diablo 3 is in the exact same context as in Manhunt eh? Wow. Anyways, keep pushing games in the movie direction and people will eventually just stop playing them, they will no longer be massive cash cows and all these losers riding the "gaming is Cool now" wave will go back to television and other hobbies. I can't wait for that day actually. So by all means: more dating sim games, thank-you.

huh

First off I wanna say that I think the Diablo III thing was meant to be a bit of a joke, but why do you think people will only be watching television if they add tasteful sex scenes in games? They aren't talking about making dating sim games, they are talking about adding to the narrative of a game by adding sex as a means to give more depth to character relationships and make them have more meaning overall. I don't understand why you think a deeper story and more meaningful characters would drive people away from games, unless it's the kids who are just looking for FPS games where everyone runs around calling each other fags, we could all do with less of those people.

why not have the console

why not have the console itself edit content? make a rating adult - non adult for gamer tags or or accounts can be set Adult / Child then the console or game dosn't allow that content? this could keep children "safe" and adults can enjoy games the way they were intended.

You can do that, I know for

You can do that, I know for certain the xbox has a parental control feature where you limit what kinds of games your kids play. You can do anything from blocking a certain ESRB Rating from being able to be played, blocking dvd use unless authorized by the master account or even blocking access to xbox live if you feel they shouldn't be playing online. The problem is though that there are parents that don't take advantage of those features and knowingly buy games that are rated higher than what their children should be playing. Then those parents become outraged when they find something they don't agree with in the game and get butthurt about it. All the responsibility really falls on the parents to actually know what it is that they're buying and letting their kids play, be involved and limit what they can access depending on what you see as fit for their age.

what's the big deal?

I'm with the author in saying that sex is a natural part of life and that it's absence from mature titles is somewhat odd. It seems strange to me that ultra violence is seen as less adult than sex. I don't have a problem with either, because a game is fantasy, and art should be free of censorship. It's odd as a society we see sex as more evil than murder, but we probably have the bible to thank for that. I would personally like to see more sex in games as a way to add emotional depth to story and character relationships and to give the game a more real feel. The absence of sex in a story about adults to me is something that takes away from realism because it is such a large and natural part of human life. I do hope such scenes are done with class instead of some kind of cheap objectification though because god knows we have enough of that already.

Get over it

This article is one person's view, and all these butthurt comments from whiny 'anti-sex' gamers is sad. Why? Sex is a normal component of life no matter who you are. If you see a side boob or cleavage IRL, do you go 'eww' and run away screaming? No, you look, it's human nature. Enforce the game ratings more, to make it harder for young people under 13 to purchase it, or have parents do their damn job and be involved with their kids' hobbies to try and know what they play and why. Above 18 players, make it optional..one could play a more 'adult' version, or the tone downed where people can kill, steal, etc. without the T & A component. (I'm NOT saying make a porn version of a game w/the RPG pieces either.) Or maybe, if you could NOT BUY the frackin' game if digital/virual nudity and/or sex freaks you out. All this whiny preachy crap doesn't change anything, your wallets do. If game co. A sees they're losing $ over a 'sexy' game, they won't make another. Grow up and get a pair, or take 'em out of your mom's/GF/wives' purse and use 'em.

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