I lied to you, but now you’re here. In all my experience with gaming I’ve never seen romance come across as anything but uncomfortable for everyone at the table. Sex, while it happens, is not so much 50 Shades of Grey but more akin to a caveman version, let’s call it 50 Minutes of Giggles. I’m not saying that’s a problem; sex should be something we can laugh and joke about. Sex is a part of life, and should be presented as such in fantasy life, as well. What I’m trying to say, is sex in gaming has no dignity; it doesn’t even get a chance. In most of the campaigns I play, our time is spent focused primarily on survival. There’s not a lot of romance in the room, we’re there to smite evil and wreak havoc. It’s a time when several people I know; somewhat secure in our respective sexualities and gender identities get together and bang out an epic adventure without the judgment of our respective partners. Still, sex, love, and romance keep coming up, whether it’s part of the official module content or even if we’re free ranging. It might be that gamers are such intrinsically sexual creatures to the point that we can’t keep our armor on (in-game), even if we try. So why don’t we take in-game sex by the shoulders and lay a big wet one on its lips? Well to be honest, I think we repress for fairly good reasons.
1) Truth and Realism, aka, I’ve only seen you with your clothes on
In terms of realism we’re lagging, and not only in the sex department. While most of my characters have feasted well at a many a table, not many have ever been seated upon the porcelain throne. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I really don’t want to hear about Dustinopolis’s understanding of how dwarven hemorrhoids must feel like. Likewise, when VP Quinn’s paladin finally takes the throne and weds the blessed princess I don’t what to hear about how he thinks lovin’ should be done. I’ve got my own ‘game’ and I’m pretty sure it’s somewhat abnormal, but it’s still mine. Last thing you want to know is that the person seated beside you watches way too much Animal Planet.
2) Best Friends with Benefits, aka, This might get touchy
In this day and age I really hope we’ve come to the safest place as a community that sexuality and gender don’t play into problems around the table. I say this only about myself: it is really hard to get hot and inspired to role-play sex with my friends, because I think of them as my friends. Don’t get me wrong, these are good-looking people, but they helped me move a couple of times and we usually just kill imaginary baddies on Sunday afternoon for fun. It’s just hard for me to relate to them that way. I’m not saying it’s not a possibility for some people though. The only 2 ways I can see this working are if a person played in various groups without ever getting to know anyone, or if 2 people just genuinely fell in love (which must happen right?).
3) But my bed is so comfy, aka, The kitchen table can’t support our weight
Maybe we’re saving our energies for the real deal? It’s hard to pretend to enjoy a burger when you’re hungry for the real thing. The tabletop is great for adventuring but might lack the physical, social, and emotional support to truly fulfill our carnal natures. If you’re playing in a group that gratifies your yearnings, I applaud you, but I can literally come up with 10 better ways that marry the words ‘sex’ and ‘role-playing’ off the top of my head, and involve actual sex.
It’s hard to roll your true prowess in the sack. I know you’re rolling natural 20’s behind closed doors but does that transfer over to your gaming? Does it have to? We’ve all had laughs and knowing smiles whenever we are thrust into love’s haphazard ways at the table. Such a thing comes with the territory, but I dare you, the next time the person beside you rolls some persuasion with a giggle, to shuffle your chair a little closer, stare lustily into their eyes, and put your best game on.*
About Ryan: So I try to read about 50 comics a week, depending on my ability to pay the power bill. I try to read as much new and independent works as my tried and trusted favorites, and I’ve been doing this for years. Thus, I can roughly say that I am pretty decent at comicology, however I hold no formal degree. Luckily, degrees are no substitute for common sense and that’s how I got this gig.
*Blog Editor’s Note: make sure they consent to this sort of role-play, and if they tell you to stop out of character, make sure you do. In general, when dealing with topics like this that might be sensitive to some players, follow Wheaton’s Law, and discuss issues of concern as soon as they happen.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.