Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sex and D&D ... the Steamy Edition

Discounting an earlier post I wrote on this subject, there really is no reason why sex cannot be part of a player character's agenda ... despite a general feeling that no one would ever want to take part in sex and gaming unless one were, as Roger the GS puts it, "goofy horndogs" ... despite, as he also says, the lack of mechanical means.

This continues to astound me, really ... but then matters of sex always do. For such a universal recreation; for something that undeniably offers the best feeling - however brief - that any human has a chance at obtaining, for free; and for something that yields the most rewarding experience and purpose that can conceivably be available, the insertion of life into one's family and care, this culture just baffles the living fuck out of me.

But then, I grew up in the 70s.

No one in the 70s thought that any of this moral crap was going to hold out much longer. Stonewall had happened, public nudity had broken the barrier, the powers that be were unable to hold back not only the spread of porn but the spread of all kinds of porn. The religious right had failed in their effort to stem the tide of swearing and sex in film, or to keep people from making fun of religion (see Life of Brian) and on the whole, generally, the majority was waking up to the fact that sex could be talked about, it could be admitted openly as something a person liked, and all those people who whined about it were clearly impotent and constipated.

Then ... the moral majority coalesced and went to war against the free press and media by targeting advertisers and money. AIDS happened and the public was deluged with misinformation that expressly misrepresented homosexuals ... and terrified heteros in their beds. Governments and especially the feminist right cracked down on kink with laws and invented morality intended to make everything sound like rape. And political correctness was invented.

So here we are. People still like sex. The porn is still everywhere. Homosexuality hasn't been crushed. Television and movies are full of nudity and kink. All the morality proscription failed in the extreme. Rule 34 reigns supreme. But four guys sitting around a table playing D&D can't deal with one of them saying he'd like to have sex with an Elven princess without being labeled a "goofy horndog."

Baffling.

I don't know if its because boys who play D&D are so socially inept with women that homosexuality is a constant, terrifying possibility - being that they cannot get within touching range of anything but boys - or if it is because D&D boys are so noticeably desperate that speaking out loud of the opposite sex brings derision and hatred because, well, We Do Not Speak Of Them Here. I've certainly been in some games where boys describing sex with women was a wild free-for-all, going back to our high school days when those things were funny as hell. I have it on good authority that there are some profoundly unpleasant moments at some tables for girls where the sex jokes are constant, blatant and abusive ... and so maybe that's the goofy horndogginess that occurs at Roger's table.

That kind of horndogginess would get you punched in the face at mine. Probably not by me - I'm all the way on the other side of the table. There are some boyfriends and women who would be a lot closer to you, who'd reach you first.

Sex is a part of the human experience. It's a huge part of drama, of purpose, of what makes us go. We identify in large part with the need for, and the results of, sex. This is why there is a lot more sex on the internet than there is D&D.

But it makes a player feel ... uncomfortable. That is the whole argument against. "We were playing the game the other day, and we had gotten into town after a hard battle. The DM said there were some prostitutes by the front gate, just to make us understand what kind of town it was, and Jeremy - he's new - asked how much they cost. We laughed, but he was serious. Oh my god. So the DM told him, and Jeremy said he paid the money and they did it in back of the guardhouse. Jeez, it just made me sick. What a fucking horndog."

And ... yeah.

It's not actually difficult to get into a discussion these days about sex. They happen at work, they happen spontaneously at the bar, they just sort of crop up here and there. Hell, I've had conversations about sex with my parents (after I got to be 40, they just loosened up, no idea why). Of course, there's the whole internet. And what's funny is that there are these vast, open landscapes of people talking openly about sex, and the sex they'd like to have, and when they'd like to have it, or when they did have it ... and none of them are snorting in comical shock when someone says "boob" or "pussy" - like a bunch of cheezy grade sixers.

We all know where these chat rooms are. And we know people go there when they'd like to stop being alone, and maybe meet someone of like mind.

I met my present partner of 12 years through one, back in 2001.

The "uncomfortable" argument is a powerful one. It transcends the table, it reaches out to the whole D&D internet, where Roger and many others sneer in disgust at the idea of a player choosing to step into the shoes of a HUMAN BEING. Yes, by all means, hack things to death. Yes, gloat over gold. Please, here, the door is wide open for any mind fucking game-playing you'd like to do with other players or the DM. Yes, welcome to the land of megalomaniacs, narcissists, gluttons and the pompous. "But we don't do that other thing."

The moody, dangerous Pirate Captain heads down to the beach, bottle of ouzo in hand, mourning the loss of her dead husband, whom the party briefly knew and whom they buried. The player character watches her, well aware of how violent she can be, how deep her feelings - and though she's been described by a male DM, the description is compelling, just like every description of a strong female character in a book or story written by a man has been since the dawn of time. And the player would like to do something. He's interested in where events might go if somehow this NPC were induced to be more than just a momentary distraction, but an ally too. But how to approach her. She seems to disdain everyone and everything. But clearly she is filled with passion. What to do?

Like any fighter girdling on a sword and stepping up to a lion, daring to face the thing in its lair, he marches forward and without any weapons at all. He knows she probably carries a dagger. He knows she's murdered men before. But he wants to believe there's more than that. He tells the DM he seizes her by the arm, and turns her around. He's a fighter, he's fifty pounds more than her, and the DM rolls a die. "I tell her to stop being stupid," the player tells the DM. "I tell her she cannot mourn his death forever. She's destroying herself with liquor and this endless sorrow. I shout at her, tell her to be alive now, to recognize that her dead husband would not want her to stay like this."

"She fights you," says the DM, and the player realizes that her hand might in that moment reach for the dagger she has hidden. "I hold on tight." The DM pronounces that the player is successful. The woman doesn't speak, and asks if the player says anything else. The player, daring, says, "I tell her that her husband left her." The DM rolls a die, says the woman breaks free and punches the fighter. He takes a point of damage. "DAMN YOU!" the woman says. The fighter doesn't give in. "He gave you all he had and now he has left you. He's left you here, alone, and you know that there's nothing else he can give you!"

A roll. The DM says the woman stands her ground, furious, trying with all her strength to hold herself together, but clearly she's too overwhelmed to speak.

The fighter says, "I speak to her very gently. I tell her she's not alone. I tell her there are others here who won't leave. Who will fight with you, win with you ... and die WITH you. If you will open your eyes."

She looks at the fighter. The DM announces that she is overwhelmed. He says that the woman lifts a hand, half-heartedly, towards the fighter.

The fighter responds, "I seize the hand. I use it to pull her tight against me. If she makes no protest, I kiss her hard. I make her understand I've meant every word."

The DM says she doesn't fight. She gives in. She yields. The fighter says, "I press her down to the sand. I'm very careful not to push too hard, not to hurry. I want her to understand that this is not sex, this is me caring for her. I want her to understand that I'm willing to be there for her."

The DM judges the moment, chooses 2d6, decides that if its a 7 or more, then she returns the feeling; if it's a 6 or less, she has merely weakened, but she is still thinking about her husband.

The DM rolls a 9.

"She understands," the DM says.





Goddamned goofy horndogs.

37 comments:

John said...

I'm libertine as hell, I'm bisexual, I would walk around nude if people didn't get so bent out of shape about it, I think sex is perfectly natural and healthy and normal. I still don't want to engage in detailed sexual encounters in an RPG because - like in your hypothetical - sexual situations are one of those times where more than any other the neuroses that make up a human being get aired out, and I'm not interested in dealing with that bullshit in that context from someone I'm not intimately familiar with. Sorry Alexis, I'm not interested in roleplaying a sexual relationship with you. Playing along with unwanted sexual advances is simply not any fun.

Alexis Smolensk said...

So, when you're killing a monster in my world, you're killing ...

Me?

I hadn't realized.

Ynas Midgard said...

It's a very interesting topic... Personally, the sexiest part we had in D&D was sleeping with prostitutes, either for fun or for gathering information (and also having fun).

Once my Dragon Age character, a rogue having a strict although unusual moral code, raped a defeated elven woman; it was part of punishing her, for they attacked us without provocation, captured 3-4 of our henchmen, and heavily tortured them.

In either case, the scenery's description was one simple sentence, nothing overly detailed.

There are games, however, where sex might be more relevant to the plot; in Monsterhearts (a game about sexy teenage monsters) there are even mechanics concerning sex from a system point of view. The genre justifies the focus, I suppose.

Diego Bao said...

In my group, we get in sex situation often. it's normal for our characters to go get sex at night when they are in a city. Or similar situations. It's natural for this characters to do so, most of the time they are just basically teenagers and you know how they are. This scenes are usually short and end up fading to black.
In one of our campaings one of our NPC allies was actually the owner of a high-end brothel, the first night each of us were with different girls when the brothel was attacked... It was funny as hell going out to fight almost naked and stuff. hehehe.

John said...

@Alexis: No. Generally speaking, people don't use RPG combat to act out murder fantasies, but if someone did, I would dislike interacting with that just as much as I dislike interacting with someone's sex fantasy. It's nothing to do with feeling uncomfortable roleplaying the target of their lust, it's that the separation of character and player always seems to become particularly thin with those who want to roleplay a sexual scenario in detail, and I'm not interested in interacting with a casual friend's sexual peccadilloes in the same way I'm not interested in arguing politics with a stranger on the bus.

refereeingandreflection said...

Here's my take on it: when my character kill a monster in your game, obviously it isn't me killing you. It's someone I'm pretending to be killing someone you are pretending to be.

If we roleplay through a sexual encounter, then I'm not actually having sex with you. I am, however, pretending to be someone who is having sex with someone you are pretending to be. This is close enough to cybering that lots of people won't be up for doing that with friends on a casual basis. I don't see that "I'm happy to pretend to be an elf with you, I'm not up for pretending to have sex with you" is at all a difficult line to understand.

Also, that pirate sex scene was kind of rapey, dude.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Kind of 'rapey,' huh?

Lust is a kind of ... mystery for you, isn't it?

YagamiFire said...

I always have to giggle at things like "What a fucking horndog"

Does that DM also say "What a fucking dangerously unbalanced psychopath" when his players readily, vividly and excitedly detail how they murder something with their nat-20 roll?

Hilarious.

Player 1 - "I take my sword and drive it into the gullet of the orc before twisting the blade to wrench it up and out, gutting him from stem to stern"

DM - "Cool. Blood goes everywhere as his entrails spill out and the orc warlord falls to the ground in a disemboweled heap"

Player 2 - "Geez after all that my guy's gonna try to unwind with some female company for the night"

DM - "Dude, what the fuck is your problem? Why do you gotta be weird and all graphic like that?"

It's weird...I'm not a parent, but if I were I'm pretty much 100% sure it's healthier for a child to see a naked human being than a flayed one...but apparently the majority disagrees. Yeah when looked at objectively that seems not totally crazy at all.

(Not sure if this is a repost...blogger was acting weird)

YagamiFire said...

"Also, that pirate sex scene was kind of rapey, dude."

...whiskey tango foxtrot?

Sometimes I think the definition of rape is now "You did not receive a notarized letter from the second parties lawyer".

Seriously, that statement that that was "kind of rapey" is absurd. Because women are such weak creatures that unless they initiate it must be them being forced by a big, strong rapist, right? Bullshit. It says right in the damn description that she gives in, does not want to resist, that the PC only goes ahead if she wants the act and that she may or may not, in fact, still be using the PC's character as a stand-in for her husband she misses. Yeah...she might be USING the guy.

Good lord...

I swear, everyone in the blogosphere is a goddamn expert on existential magic, non-existent fantastical creatures and the relationships between dwarves & elves (and will argue tooth and nail as if they're definitively right) but bring up the act of sex and they start blithering like junior high-schoolers.

James C. said...

I think everything is game in an RPG. Handling some things successfully, though will take a defter hand and of course the interest of the players. Some are interested in stretching the limits of the game or genre in all directions, others in one or a few directions and still others not at all. There absolutely is room in D&D for the scenario above. I don't see any difference between it and hex counting or delivering impassioned sermons or researching spells. In the hands of rubes or just handled poorly anything in the game will be shit. Nothing should be off limits, even something as horrible as what Ynes described above, which wssn't really the same thing as the original essay.

refereeingandreflection said...

A little disappointed that you've decided to latch onto one word of my comment rather than addressing my more substantive argument, but I can roll with this line of debate.

See, dude, I think I'm perfectly acquainted with lust to the extent where I know it when I see it and have a fair idea of how I experience it. I also think I can recognise grabbing someone forcing your attention on them, refusing to back down when they swing a punch at you and eventually wearing them down until they "yield" as being about something a little different than just plain ol' harmless lust.

Personally, I tend to associate lust with enthusiastic participation. "Yielding" does not read as "lust" to me. Nor does the dude talking partly like he wants to be this woman's armchair psychiatrist, partly like he wants to be her comforting daddy or something. That doesn't really get my gears going.

Which, incidentally, is another reason why people tend to be careful about this subject at the table. What's a smokin' hot story of lust and passion for one participant at the table may for other participants be boring and somewhat laughable - or even worse, reminiscent of something downright unpleasant.

James C. said...

Isn't all sex involving males rape nowadays? ;)

Andrej said...

Yagami, you are indeed on fire. :)

Alexis Smolensk said...

I did not address your "substantive" argument referee because it was so clearly and obviously hypocritical. Moreover, so what if it's "close to cyber"? What is cyber except rollplay. If I'm performing a play, and we both speak lines about sex, isn't that close to cyber, too? Should plays not include moments of sex? What about movies? In the book I wrote, Pete's Garage, where the male lead talks about how he loves the female lead, and kisses her, isn't that "close to cyber" also? You've established a completely ridiculous standard that addresses nothing but your own infantile turpitude, and faced with that I decided to ignore what a fucking moron you obviously were and instead point out what a fucking moron you obviously were by addressing your bullshit parting shot.

Hey, "dude" ... you know, if its fucking 'rapey,' how about sending the cops around and arresting me. Oh, wait, its not illegal to write about someone pressing a willing someone to the ground?

Then ... fuck ... off.

Andrej said...

"Personally, I tend to..."

I think this sums up where you went amiss above, refereeingandreflection. That is, you're not really seeing the situation described as the characters experience it, but how you personally would in your narrowly defined view of lust; all in an effort to stake out some moral high-ground. it's funny how morality is always the fallback when logic fails.

Alexis Smolensk said...

"I'm not interested in interacting with a casual friend's sexual peccadilloes in the same way I'm not interested in arguing politics with a stranger on the bus."

John,

Use as many words as you want to, but it still comes down to, sex makes you ... uncomfortable.

It is still a visceral argument. The only thing I've heard from anyone is a visceral argument. James's point about R&R's "personally..." statement is a visceral argument.

The thing about visceral arguments. They're full of shit.

You, you, you, you, you, you, you.

The post wasn't about you, John. It wasn't about your feelings or what "you" will or won't do. It was about D&D, and how there's a place for sex in D&D. The fact that "you" wouldn't means absolutely nothing in reference to someone else who would.

Let me put it another way. There are billions of people on the planet who do not have sex with me. Yet somehow, I still manage to have sex. Could it be because billions of people who don't have sex with me is completely irrelevant to the one who does? You think?

If you can, get the fuck out of your own prejudices and recognize that someone else might enjoy it, and that your personal feelings about it have no merit whatsoever.

That's why moral turpitude is always 100% full of it. It is based on the perception that if "I" feel this way, everyone must feel this way. And when you talk like that, you reveal what a selfish little crud you can allow yourself to occasionally be.

Andrej said...

Alexis, if my point was a visceral argument, is yours then an even more visceral argument being a longer version of mine? :)

Alexis Smolensk said...

Sorry, Andrej/James C. ... you're point was that R&R's point was a visceral argument. Your statement was not visceral. I have a tendency to write just a little slower than I'm thinking when I'm hotly debating, and I skipped some important words.

Andrej said...

No worries, my man. The smiley face was there so you knew that I knew that and was just teasing you and offering an opportunity to clarify for anybody reading along.

Fight the good fight with this one. There's a whole lotta ignorance, moralism and noise out there on this topic lately. I've been eagerly anticipating your cogent, clear view on it.

Andrej said...

Still this discussion is being sidetracked with concerns over comfort, mores, sensitivity to others... yes, yes, yes of course. None of us would have friends, players, significant others or gainful employment if we couldn't navigate the concept of there being other people on the planet that weren't us.

Can we please put it aside, give one another the benefit of the doubt that we're not misanthropes and agree that sex belongs in the game along with anything else? That's not the same as saying it must be there. A given group may ignore sex just as they might encumbrance rules, critical hits, familial relations, henchmen, descending armor class, domain rule and anything else that a given group may feel belongs or doesn't belong in the game as per personal tastes.

Lukas said...

I believe in the realm of RPGs, a realm of infinite possibilities, that everything is game.

There are an infinite number of settings, and an uncountable number of systems (ever increasing + the variations of homebrew rules) pretty much ensures that there is a place for everything.

RPGs are a great place to experiment with ideas and beliefs. It is a little sandbox where you can throw things out and see what sticks.

That said, it should probably be something the DM moderates to the degree that is appropriate for their real life environments.

For instance, in my work game I will not be including sex. I probably will not be including anything controversial. Perhaps in the future, months or even years from now, when I'm off site for my game it will happen. But not while my living is on the line.

refereeingandreflection said...

Andrej: I think the reason comfort zones/triggering/creepiness/goofy horndogs tend to be brought up a lot in relation to this topic is that sex is widely understood to be a hotbutton issue. Encumbrance rules, critical hits and descending armour class aren't examples of things which are likely to exist outside anyone's comfort zone; a better comparison would be the in-game depiction of violence, religion, or political issues which either parallel or are directly lifted from real-world political issues, all of which inspire furious debate about content in games.

For my part, I'm glad that there are sexy games, and violent games, and religiously provocative games, and politically incendiary games out there. But it doesn't serve anyone's interests when someone rolls up expecting one thing and ends up getting something they didn't sign on for - which is precisely why the comfort issue keeps cropping up.

Lumping sex in with descending vs. ascending AC doesn't serve anyone's agenda. Nobody was ever triggered by ascending AC. Whether or not a particular game used descending or ascending AC has never obstructed or supported the sort of roleplaying interaction Alexis talks about in the blog post. Deciding to include or exclude this sort of content isn't the same as making a call on which AC system to use because the subject matter you focus on in the game becomes what the game is about.

Alexis Smolensk said...

refereeingandreflection,

You keep making reference to this "showing up and expecting" thing as though to play D&D is some sort of contract that DM's have to observe with the moral position of the rest of the world.

This is a sort of nonsense. People in the world do not have a responsibility to tailor anything for the preconceptions of others. Arguing that preconceptions should be tailored for is again a very selfish argument by a selfish person who wants the world to suit them. The world was not put here to "suit" you or anyone else ... and if something doesn't turn out the way you expect, you're just going to have to roll with that.

I know that many people make the argument that you've made here. It's a clever little way to maximize control over people. It is still turpitude.

Lukas said...

Don't get me started on descending AC. I swear to god I still have fits trying to find out my base...

Jeremy Murphy said...

I've presented sexual and adult themes in games - WoD more often than D&D, but really - you put the option out there and if the players want to take it up, that's fine.

I do tend to have most of it happen out of scene, but that's just because that's MY comfort level on it. I'm not going to completely ixnay the whole concept because of some nebulous idea that somebody might be offended.

That being said, I do try to make sure that basic comfort is maintained for all players - if some (including myself) are uncomfortable, then I'll speak to the players to back off what is making people uncomfortable. It's a group game, after all.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Maximillian, and others.

I am putting an end to all further posts on the subject of rape, and here's why.

1) The subject of this post was not about rape. No actual real event was described, no actual person can possibly be described as a victim, and therefore no actual possible rape can have occurred, by the definition of law. Any opinion that the writing was rapey, rapish, rape-like or any other term is therefore utterly subjective, and therefore of no use to anyone.

2) There is no legal precedent that I know of that states that rape cannot be committed willfully or openly in a D&D game. Nor do I believe that an individual declaring a willingness for their character to commit rape says anything whatsoever about their personality or their belief system. A person who has a character rape an NPC is no more a rapist than a character killing an NPC is a murderer, or a character robbing an NPC's house is a thief. The kind of "special" rule application in this one case is, by me, FAR MORE INDICATIVE of the person declaring the situation special than the player having their character take the specified action.

3) Theoretical discussions about rape never produce results.

It is a shame if this makes anyone feel ill-used or in any other way muzzled. Nevertheless, here we are.

Maximillian said...

I do feel a bit muzzled, but only because I did get a bit worked up in that long comment I wrote, and I really didn't want that other statement to go uncontested. However, I also completely understand where you're coming from, and concede all three points, although the first is fairly narrow.

Roger the GS said...

Since my comment sparked this post, I thought I should clarify my glib remark and what actually goes on at my table.

I do not exclude sex from my game. PCs and henchmen (henchpersons?) have been offered the chance for sexual relationships or casual hookups and sometimes have taken them. I don't intentionally put sexual encounters into the game for their own sake; those hookup chances have all come from NPCs who were in the game for their own reasons, and quite often they arise as a result of boxcars on a 2d6 reaction roll.

Unlike Alexis I am most comfortable drawing a veil over the details via the equivalent of the literary three asterisks or cinematic fade to black. That is a personal choice, however, and one that works best given my gaming group's sensibilities.

BUT there is a world of difference between handling such situations as they arise as an aspect of non-mechanical free play, and setting up "sex traps" that assume certain motivations on the part of players. In the context of the original post on the Nibovian Wife that was what I was referring to - the presumptive image of the player as sexually driven that would motivate a GM to put a Nibovian in their way.

In fact, perhaps what I really should have objected to is the chilling effect that "trapping" free-play elements can have on a game. If there is no mechanical benefit from pursuing sexual encounters in character, and the real chance of mechanical woe, then rational play becomes opposed to fun, rather than facilitating it.

Anyway, thank you for giving me the chance to think these issues through better, and I'll add a more detailed post on the topic to my post-travel queue in the week ahead.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Roger, you're on one of the links that Brannan included, supporting a free openness that smacks more of this last comment then the one you made that did, indeed, spark this post (so did events in said campaign).

I don't have a problem drawing a veil. Note that the actual sexual description in the post has no actual 'sex' in it. What does "press her down to the sand" mean, exactly? Isn't it highly implied? Perhaps they made sand castles. Perhaps they wiggled their toes in the water next to the sand. Maybe they talked about a future of plundering shipping. It never says. If that isn't a veil, what is?

I deliberately cut if off there BECAUSE of the general attitude towards sex. Which, nevertheless, didn't keep me from still being called 'creepy.' Because for some people, even the most oblique reference to sex occurring must be.

I'd handle it exactly that way if a player brought it up. But I'm a writer. Like Arthur Miller, I've written porn. And if someone WANTED to go on, I'm freaking game. Because I don't care what it looks like. If the player is game, I'm game. That's the rule. Every player at my table knows that if THEY step up, I will step up.

What's veiled here, and not by you, is a sort of subtle dictation of what players are allowed to step up to, from DMs who have clearly never grown up, who like Mrs. Grundy sit in their stuffy little houses with their puffy panties packed hard around their sweaty groins, staring out their narrow curtain cracks and cluck clucking their tongues at other people.

It has ever been so.

I would ask, if you could, if you feel as you do, let's not cluck our tongues at the loud, impetuous (horny) young people who are only just finding out for the first time in their lives that sex is FUN to talk about - and if that's around a D&D table, then why the fuck not?

Not at my table, obviously. I'm not fifteen any more. But they are, and the boys and girls they're playing with are. Let's just shut up and play our shuffleboard quietly, hum?

Jomo Rising said...

I had a situation that I would like comment on. I ran an online game years ago, a horror based RPG. In that game, I had an NPC that gained certain mental abilities. Being psychologically unstable as he was, he told his companions (the PCs) in no uncertain terms, that he gained these abilities through sex-magic involving rape.
I then received an email from a player that said, in essence, that he had been sexually abused as a child. I reacted by redacting all of the 'rape' material and apologized for going there. This hasn't stopped me from returning to sexual content in game, and the fiction I write won't tolerate anything approaching Puritanism. Thoughts?

Alexis Smolensk said...

The real world isn't always neat and clean, and people in the game have all sorts of problems. I recently had a player drop out of my world so he could more thoroughly pursue a world of drugs; no one knows where he is now. His disappearance created a hole I had to fix, too.

I understand the redaction. I better understand that you haven't rated all sexual context in the campaign on the basis of this one player. I think that's a mature response.

Scarbrow said...

44 comments. And nobody said the scene described was: just. fucking. awesome??? Don't know what do I miss the more on my table: the player that would be so involved, or the DM that would allow and accompany it.

My favorite moment: Alexis: "That's the rule. Every player at my table knows that if THEY step up, I will step up."

Hell, if that doesn't make you "get" what a magnificent DM Alexis is prepared to be, nothing will.

This is just some simple praise, Alexis, because after this post, and after that troll fight, you deserve it. For the balance of things.

Bryan D said...

On a related-but-slightly-off-topic note, a very similar "comfort" issue arises in the discussion of fantasy novels. In A Song of Ice and Fire (example used solely for it's likely recognition) there are sex scenes. Rather explicit ones, in fact. Yet most people who discuss it with fellow fans feel "uncomfortable" discussing the sex scenes while happily discussing the violence. I believe this is symptomatic of very much the same double-standard as in role-playing.

tesseractive said...

I don't mind that my neighbors are having all the sex their hearts desire, but does it really make me a prude if I don't want to watch?

And yeah, cybering and phone sex are like roleplay, but I don't really want to sit through someone else having phone sex on speakerphone in front of me either.

Now, unlike the people you posted to complain about, I'm not judgey about it. If you want to RP sex in front of other people, or have phone sex in front of them, or even just go at it right on the gaming table, then as long as the people watching are consenting to the arrangement, I have zero problems with it. Whatever floats your boat.

But there is absolutely nothing wrong with my attitude toward sex just because I don't want to watch.

Robert Feather said...

If anyone were to 'just go at it right on the gaming table', then I hope they take a second to sweep away the d4s.
Those things can seriously cramp your momentum, when they pierce your buttocks.

Taren said...

Alexis, I love the scene you wrote. It's beautiful and passionate. The characters are complex and interesting. Plus it's yum ;)

Sex and how it's handled is an intrinsic part of a culture, and a good D&D world should have richly detailed cultures. What better way to express differences than sex? Sexuality kind of gets right to the root of the matter, yes?

The falling empire using sex to determine social status, i.e. tops vs bottoms irrespective of gender...

The decadent wealthy expressing their largesse through elaborate orgies...

The powerful church may use the control of sex - both curtail AND sanction - to control the people...

Phases of the moon and fertility sex magic in agrarian areas...

Awesome opportunities for play, here people!

We're all grown ups here, right?

And hey, where did those half-orcs come from, anyway? Parthenogenesis?

Taren said...

tesseractive, somehow I don't think that good roleplaying of an in game sexual encounter will actually be so detailed as to feel like someone is having phone sex or going at it on the table in front of you...

I don't think we'd be talking about, ahem, a blow by blow description. ;)

Alexis' example in the blog left everything graphic to the imagination, one reason it was so evocative. The sex took place in MY mind... and in that of other readers... Oh-oh, does that mean I should have called the next morning? ;)