Let’s Get It On: Why Sex Scenes In Video Games Is One Experience I Can Live Without

Video games offer another entertainment medium and outlet for escapism and stepping into the shoes of someone else’s life. I’ve played a fair amount of video games where I was a human Grey Warden, an N7 soldier, a crown prince trying to take back his throne, or a teenager attempting to get a handle on her time traveling abilities. In every role I assumed during my time with a game, it allowed me to really get inside the head of these characters and truly understand what their experiences were. But one experience I could probably do without are the sex scenes found in some mature video games.

One of the video games I’ve been playing during lockdown is The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. I’ve been inspired to give this one a go after finishing Netflix’s The Witcher series a few months ago.

I’ve been enjoying my latest role as Geralt, who seeks to clear his name of murder and restore the memories he lost. Before playing the game, I’ve been fully aware of the sex scenes that happen between Geralt and his chosen lover at the time. What I didn’t expect was just how graphic the sex scenes can be. Let’s just say I certainly got an eyeful twice over—once when I decided to let Geralt spend the night with a prostitute and the other being his hot and heavy tryst with the sorceress Triss Merigold. If these scenes are meant to be titillating, it actually comes off being painfully awkward and very cringey.

I thought watching a movie sex scene with a parent was bad. Well, it still is, but somehow watching two animated video game characters get down and dirty with each other is much worse. And this without a parent being in the room (thank goodness!).

Maybe this love scene wouldn’t be so bad if it had ended here.

The love scene between Geralt and Triss was agonizingly long. I had to turn my head away from the TV a few times, as if I were watching a horror film but the horror that was unfolding was, well, whatever the hell I watched. All I can remember were bodies and limbs bumping up against each other in a feeble attempt at sexy time between two computer animated characters. I was relieved when it was finally over and I could actually look at my TV screen again.

It’s a known fact that sex in video games are poorly done. Many video game writers have written about how bad those scenes almost always are. The love scenes in Dragon Age and Mass Effect have been made fun of, but are not as graphic as what I’ve seen in The Witcher 2.

Video games are good at giving us a lot of things, like fun gameplay and well-thought out stories and characters. But what they still cannot do is recreate an act of physical intimacy between two people that is both realistic and not cringey to watch. Sometimes even a simple kissing scene between two video game characters can be very lacking and unsatisfying.

Unless the technology improves significantly in the next ten years that will help sex scenes in games feel more organic and less awkward, maybe game developers should consider going without them entirely. Or at least not animate a love scene in such great detail. I rather that a couple’s sexy time be implied than shown. Besides, your imagination can easily fill in the missing details your eyes are spared from witnessing anyway. Less is always more!

Do you think more video games should skip the sex scenes altogether?

7 thoughts on “Let’s Get It On: Why Sex Scenes In Video Games Is One Experience I Can Live Without

  1. The only sex scenes in games that I’ve found to be any good at all have been in visual novels, but those are usually still CGs with sound effects and maybe voice acting over them. And the art and those scenes in particular might be a selling point depending on what kind of VN you’re playing, so they’d better be well-done. As far as these 3D action games go, I totally agree — I haven’t seen one yet that really makes this work. I guess sex is too complicated to make character models look convincing doing it if they’re mainly designed for things other than sex, which they usually are. As long as they can be skipped, anyway, the developers can write in whatever sex scenes they want as far as I’m concerned.

    1. I haven’t played any visual novel games, but it’s good to know that the quality of their love scenes are much better. Probably easier to make those look good as CG vs. 3D. I think not all sex scenes in video games are skippable, which makes having to suffer through them unbearable for the ones you can’t. I think for me personally, if there’s an option to skip I’ll probably do it almost every time until these animated scenes get a lot better.

  2. 100% agree. I’ll take an emotionally-driven romance any day over watching a cringe-worthy, animated sex scene in a game. (Dragon Age II got it right — lots of adorable/intense smoldering right up to the scene and then, blackout.) That said, I don’t mind if developers continue to try to get “it” right as technology progresses. However, I have a feeling cringey sexy time will remain until game makers who want to include such intimacy in their game feel as comfortable animating, um, male anatomy as they seem to be with female anatomy.

    1. Oh yeah! Dragon Age 2 did some really clean and classy fade to black love scenes. Might have learned from past experience with DA and Mass Effect to maybe not bother giving players a somewhat full experience on that front, haha! I would be interested in finally playing a game where sexy time gradually gets less cringey when, as you said, computer animators get more comfortable in animating the bits that might be blush worthy. 🙂

  3. I’m a sex-repulsed asexual so any sex scenes I come across in any medium make me feel very uncomfortable. I can’t really comment on game sex scenes specifically since I find all sex scenes cringey, haha.

    All I ask is developers give us the option to skip them easily, if we so choose. There’s a sex scene from Mass Effect Andromeda I can never unsee.. what I won’t do for trophies, haha.

    1. I think providing an option to skip sex scenes is perfectly reasonable. Not everyone necessarily wants to sit through them for a variety of reasons and that’s totally okay. If a love scene needs to be present, then yes the studio behind the game have every right to include it. But I do think that if they decide to include it, having a skip button would also be useful and nice for the players who aren’t too keen on them.

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