Sex and Videogames: A Case of Misappearance

By Tanya Krzywinska

Great brief overview of the area of sex and videogames, especially since it doesn’t dwell on sex-as-a-reward games.


Daily Mail (etc) tends to have the notion games are a thread for sensational news. Lots of victims of seeing “sex and violence in videogames”. Tanya Byron’s report is also “protect child from violent and sexual images”.

So, looking at how sex appears and the conventions used, what it’s formal function is, what is regarded as sex which is all needed to go beyond the normal notions of sex in games being bad.

Big absence of real sex / fornication. Why?

  • Development costs in a competitive markets
  • Regulation economics – ie; BBFC/PEGI
  • Net-based Cybersex opportunities/alternatives
  • Games require input – masturbation input generally requires one hand input (and this is a core difference to other forms of porn).

Sex hasn’t been entirely suppressed.

Representation of sex

Generally the improvements of graphics technology allow improvements so less dependant on text, things are made to look and feel more sexy. Graphics are also tending towards a hyper-real sexual bodies.

First on graphics is nudity – there are some conventions from film being used in games, where it hides the genitals. Beowulf covers the penis in the naked fight scene – incredibly choreographed. Very phallic imagery still however. Secondly The Simpsons has Bart’s penis in cartoon form.

In games you can’t quit do the masking way of doing it, except in cutscenes. Most games have cutscenes for the sex scenes. Fable 2, Mass Effect. Hot Coffee mod is more hardcore 80’s like. Also some more babies-like things like Viva Pinyata which has dances. Same kind of conventions as cinema.

Mass Effect generally is a cutscene (of a very limited amount of game time in a very long game) with limited action. The alien is the most tender one to, interestingly, more intimate.

Almost all other games just avoid it entirely – “What does Master Chief do?” – all just set in the action.

Sex as a mechanic

There are games when sex is central to a games progress and win condition. The Playboy Mansion is really The Sims but with sex as a mechanic in the game. Relationship building game (with taking pictures, having sex).

Japanese dating games (“Ero-games”) are essentially collect loads of things – money, clothes, kudos – to get to the end game where it turns into a sex game. A tycoon-based game, to acquire enough to access the porn at the end.

A lot of games where sex is part of the mechanic but buried, where people have to be reproduced – usually in a very hidden way. Warcraft RTS – you build a house, and they are built.

There are a lot of cybersex games out there,but generally not successful it appears and many examples are not there any more. A lot of other games open enough have sex in them in addition.

Sensuous Textures & Erotic Rythms

There is a lot of implied erotic poses, positions, actions in games. Assassins Creed as the example, adding a song over some footage makes it very sexual. A lot of grace and tenderness in violence.


Q – How about the charge brought up in multiplayer when you know there is another physical body?

Not in a position to say, but the anonymity is one part, and it crosses over into real life is also interesting.

Q – Also The Path has the girls involved in such situations. Charged sexuality when they are killed.

Fairytale and set around dangerous things are interesting. (+some other comments I didn’t note)

Q – Didn’t really feel inspired by the Assassins Creed clip, so what about the personal perspective?

The artists perspective from the flow and actions there, and trying to evoke the silky soft and sensuous as well as hard and phallic actions. There is clearly an intention – even if it is not your bag. There’s not a 1:1 correspondence of course. Whether or not you buy this is another matter.

Q asker – Would read more into the player and playing position rather then the interpretation.

Yes, does one speak from ones own position or the position of others?

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