I’m a straight male and all cultural objectification aside, I think sexual women are great. Sex with women is also pretty cool as well. The current state of sex in games however, is rather upsetting. Writers take a concept like love, sex, or romance and time after time will botch things completely. With massive amounts of incredible material out there on the subjects, you might think writers or even directors would know how to approach the ideas. You would hope that they could pretty easily write stories that mimic a real relationship and are compelling. It is much more common that rather than something actually interesting happening with sex, that women and sex are used as filler content, just because.

Don’t confuse the point I’m making; I am not supporting the classic “chastity and true love vs vulgarity” argument. I think bikini-clad girls playing beach volleyball is pretty swell as something detached from a cultural or contextual standpoint. I’m down with some “tasteless” jiggle physics. I’m arguing that I very seldom find myself interested with any sexual relationship in a game and that isn’t because I’m broken in some way, it’s because games are terrible at dealing with these topics.

Sex in games isn’t just bad, it’s regularly the worst and most thrown together parts of games. If it isn’t some one-cutscene long indication that genital touching occurred, it’s some ineffectual husk of a female person with her lady lumps being desperately thrust into the camera in attempt to stimulate the audience. Nearly no time is spent developing a female character to make her really loveable or spent cultivating a romance in a story that makes a player care about it continuing.

This is up for debate, but I’d say we haven’t reached a point where women are being made into believable heroes or characters. Nothing meaningful is going to take place when every character with a vagina has the emotional depth of a piece of cardboard. Take a heroine like the Lara Croft from the original Tomb Raider reboot. When it was being advertised as a more realistic prequel, I expected that she’d be vulnerable and human. I didn’t expect that she’d be behaving like a lost doe the entire game. This was especially jarring when she was stabbing people in the face. After a few days of being trapped on an island and setting men on fire no one would be coming off as wholesome and sweet. She behaved that way because a truly aggressive and threatening female hero, that acts like an actual person, is still threatening to a lot of people.

Further, Lara didn’t dress like someone who had been stranded on an island, desperately looking for a way to escape. She had to dress like an object for the entirety of the game. Why? What purpose did her being cute serve to the story or gameplay? It’s because having attractive women in games isn’t really about the eye-candy effect. Sexy women aren’t placed into plots because they’re sexy, sexy women are in games because male audiences like pretending to objectify. I can feel my privilege being played off of every time I’m playing a GTA game and some visually uninteresting polygon monster starts shaking her nuts and bolts at my face. I can’t remember the last time something in GTA was sexually interesting and that’s a series about vice. It’s not about it looking good.

In the west, censorship has a lot to do with sex creatively not being taken advantage of. If sex weren’t such a taboo, it would be easier for writers to access the type of resources needed to create a profound take on what it means to be in love with someone or have the desire to sleep with them. It’s impossible to paint a real picture when creative people are barred from touching so many subjects simply because they include a topic that relates to too closely to something involving genitals. In that way, games have ended up sloppily trying to get to those topics without fully being able.

Japan tends to be better at creating real relationships in its games, but those perspectives simultaneously find themselves objectifying and simplifying women even more than westerners. Japanese dating sims are the closest thing games provide as far as interesting romantic situations but also will frequently limit the female personality to around six personality types (shout out to all my tsunderes out there) and separate their ideals of women even further from what the realities are.

These are things that need to change. I don’t play games for the romance or depictions of women, but why should that be the case? As a man who likes sex and women, I would like to see interesting references to my experiences in games. We can do away completely with placeholder and unimpressive female characters that have become too common. A great game is a game that relates strongly to real emotions we feel and to do that we need characters who are capable of being sexual and interacting like real people.

This is just my take. If you disagree, what are some of your favorite love stories in games?