I recently did an article on how to introduce sex into role-playing games. In this article I’m going into why you might want sex in your games.
Like in the previous article, the word ”sex” is occasionally used as shorthand for sexual content, sexual acts, sexual relationships, sexual feelings and/or sexual tension. I’ll just write “sex”, that way I can say it with three letters, instead of 88 letters every time I bring up.
Why would you want sex in your games?
You could argue that sex is part of human nature, and that it is unrealistic to not have it as a factor in the game, blablabla. Bah. I’m not going to go there. For me it is about stories. What stories you want to tell, and how you want to tell them. Realism can be a part of the story, but it doesn’t have to be.
In my opinion you should include sex if it fits the stories you want to tell. Sexual content might not have a place in all stories, but in some kinds of stories, sex is important. Sometimes just hinted, sometimes as a part of the story in a very explicit way.
Think of your favorite movies and books. Often sex will have played some part in the story. In some stories, sex might be really central to the plot, like in A Game of Thrones. In other stories, sex might play a very small part, like in The Lord of the Rings where there are some hints of sexual attraction and a few sweet kisses, but nothing more. In some of your favorite stories, sex might not at play a part at all, like in Spirited Away.
All three examples are good stories. You can tell fantastic stories without including sexual content. But if you do say no to including sex, you are also saying no to all the kinds of great stories where sex plays a part.
What does sex add to stories?
Humans have a lot of emotions, some of them sexual. Sexual emotions change how people relate to other people and to the world. Sexual emotions make people act in ways they otherwise wouldn’t.
When you choose to include sexual elements, you get a whole bunch of a new ingredients to use in your games. Let me give you some examples:
- A tale about how someone is torn between duty and honor makes a fine story, and so does a story about someone torn between love and desire. It will be a different story, but with as much potential to be interesting.
- The relationship of a friend is different from the relationship of a lover. If you want to explore human relationships in games, then including sexual relationships gives you even more to explore.
- If you wanna play an epic heroic story, then using an antagonist motivated by desire will shape the story differently than having an enemy motivated by revenge.
- Sex is funny. Perhaps you want to include sex into a humor game just because you want to joke about it.
- Lastly, you as player or a game-master probably have a lot of feelings about sex. Having sex in the story might change how you feel about the game. Sometimes that can be the most interesting thing to explore.
Sexual content adds new things into the story you tell at the gaming table. It as easy as that.
“Sex is fine in movies and books, but I’m not sure I want it in role-playing games”
Reading the article, I suspect that some people will probably feel this way. I got two simple answers for you. First, if you don’t want sex in your games, don’t include it. Tell other sorts of stories. You are free to choose, and I think you will have a great game anyway.
Secondly, if you are not sure you want sex, but are a bit curious, you can wait until you feel sure you want to include it and include it then. Or you can try it, give it a chance, and then figure out if you want it to be a part of your games or not. If the subject feels embarrassing, you can check out my first article to get some tips on how to introduce it into your role-playing games.
Thanks to Vivian for proofreading and editing.