Yup, you knew it was bound to happen. My friend Marcy and I talk about sex and gaming, including rape as a plothook and character backstory, gaming group relationships, flirting in character and out of character, respecting your players’ comfort zones, and the dreaded “Have you ever had sex in character?” question.
2 thoughts on “Geek Girls Rule! Podcast #6 – Sex and Gaming”
Good episode, very balanced and reasonable advice. My own experience is that the all guy groups I’ve been in, don’t talk about sex or romance, at all. It just doesn’t come up. I only know two, minor exceptions. One is between adventure ‘fluff’ as in, “what is your character doing, before we get together?” and one player responded, “He’s at a bar, surrounded by cheap hookers and empty bottles of whiskey.” That was about saying something about his character – the sex / romance never actually came up during the adventure. The other exception was a D&D game in which a Halfling had his gender changed by a cursed object. As a female Halfling he acted very promiscuous and slept around with NPC’s in town. There was never a description of anything more rowdy then his character dancing on table tops at the local inn and maybe a comment that “her” reputation was not totally unearned. He worked out an arrangement with the GM, in which a secret roll was made after each night of carousing, and sure enough – “she” ended up pregnant. The only thing that interrupted that plot was getting the “curse” lifted by a high level artifact and becoming male again.
In mixed gender groups, the topic comes up MUCH more often. Even with only a single female player, the issue of romance / sex in-game has come up and the group has to find some way to accommodate. Maybe this experience is unique – but this is what I’ve seen in my groups. The most interesting case (to me) was when I GM’ed a game (the system is called “The Puddle”) and a player had his girlfriend with him. She played a character, and though brand new to RPG’s did a very good job. It came time for a powerful queen to hand out boons to the PC’s for their success … and when the queen offered one of the male characters her daughters hand in marriage, he declined. The female players, female PC immediately piped up, “Hey! Why can’t I get her hand in marriage?” This took me aback, for a moment. Anyway, a good natured discussion of the issue was carried out on RPG.net (I can no longer find the link) and I ended up letting her do what she wanted; which turned out to be more about playfully exploring what was possible and not really about being romantic with a same-sex relationship.
As for rape … I can honestly say that has NEVER come up in play. Even villains are not portrayed as rapists. I’m not really sure why, the guys at the table are willing to talk about all sorts of gross and inappropriate things … but they never go there. On the other hand, if a group discussed it before beginning, then I’d want more details then just “yes it’s OK” or “no, it’s not.” There are different levels of involvement, of a theme like rape. For example, hearing that a distant village has been “sacked and burned, the villagers raped and murdered” is not the same thing as being chained up in the villains dungeon as an NPC is being raped, or having a PC threatened with rape, or (gods forbid) have a PC rape someone (another PC or NPC, either way)! In other words, when someone says, “Yeah, I’m OK with that theme being present in my game” it may well be worth it to find out exactly what they mean, because a bad assumption can lead to some very awkward situations.