FFD: Is sexuality in games ever okay?

Sexuality in games is a weird topic right now – especially with the furore that happened with Overwatch recently; the complaints about Tracer’s butt, the remove of one apparently overtly sexualised pose its subsequent replacement by a pose that frankly just as sexualised.

I’ve seen complaint’s about Widwomaker’s sexuality, too – but in the context of the game, she’s supposed to be empowered, with her sexuality forming part of her character. Hmmm.

There are some that would have all overt sexuality removed from games, perceived, I suppose some sort of puritanical crusade to neuter the medium. It automatically brings up arguments of how violence seem to be okay, but prudes want sex removed from games, about how sex is a natural thing for humans to partake in, while homicide isn’t. (And while this isn’t about violence, I think we could do with more games that have us solving problems and conflicts without guns and knives.)

Here’s my stance on it all, and I invite you to say how I’m wrong in the comments.

I think sex is awesome. It’s something I enjoy and I have no problems with sex or sexuality in my games – where it’s appropriate and makes sense. And I don’t mean appropriate in that puritanical sense; I’m not looking for all women in games to have dresses cut to just below their knees, I just mean that there has to be context and reason to it.

In games like The Witcher 3 and Mass Effect, perhaps even Dragon Age which all feature sex, some of them relatively explicitly, it all (usually) makes sense.

Where it doesn’t, and where I start having problems with it, is the sort of overt sexuality that’s done purely to appeal to male gaze. Where you have women warriors who wear little to no clothing, armour that barely covers anything and would be wholly useless if worn by a real person, and the sort of teenage boy fantasy twaddle that the Dead or Alive games are known for. Where women (and men!) are reduced to little more than their sexuality, when it’s the only thing that defines them.

There’s no need for that sort of thing in the medium anymore, in a hobby that’s isn’t nearly as male dominated as it once was.

Games can and should be for everyone – and it possible to have games that feature sexuality in a way that isn’t offensive or off-putting.



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