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."
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.