Sex in Video Games: How far will it go?

A look into how far games will go with sexual content. Why they do what they do, and why it matters.

We've all seen it in most video games, that 'M' for mature. But how far will the games go at displaying sexual activities? A few games that come to mind for myself include the Sims franchise, God of War, Fable Series, and a bit in Assassin's Creed: II.

So parents, I know that M is rateable for blood and gore as well as sexual content, but you might want to take a better look at what games your children are playing. God of War for example, is definitely full of blood and gore, but also has sexual themes in specific parts, which don't terribly affect the game story.

Harmless Fun

A great example of harmless sexual presence in a game would be Assassin's Creed: II. In the opening scene, you see a man coerce a woman. It doesn't show anything but I think we all know what's going on. This scene just starts out the story of Ezio Auditore, and is found as very harmless and not so out-there. A way it can be seen as harmless is due to the fact it's not optional. It's a story-mode.

Another game that has a tiny bit of sexual themes includes the Fable Series. Although you become a great hero or villain, you have the choice of selecting someone to marry and have a child with. It is just harmless, yet pretty uncomfortable, flirting. Unlike The Sims, the game doesn't evolve in such way, and it's more of an achievement-type activity, than any for game-value.

Seriously, why is this even here?

A game in which sexual themes don't really matter would be God of War. An optional part in the beginning of the game is to jump in bed with a few women, and although the game doesn't view the activity, you can hear the noises in the background. My question would be, why include this within the game? It doesn't particularly add to the story, it's more of an easter-egg type of feature that only a few would find if they were curious enough.

Where sex matters

Some games out there count on sexual themes to separate them from the herd. One to name in particular is The Sims. The game is based around living the life of a person, and sexual themes are bound to come up. They can censor it as much as they want, but it's become a key activity in the game. Meet a Sim you like, court them for a while, then do the dirty deed. Not only does that make a key factor in the game, but it also counts on the idea of family, and that requires reproducing (unless you plan on Sim-adopting).

Why does sexual content matter?

Personally, I don't have a problem with games that include this material, but I wouldn't distribute it out to my younger family members. I find that they can sometimes take a great game and smack that M rating on it for silly choices, that don't per say affect the game's story or goals.

A funny video comes to mind that I found on YouTube, Warning: Sexual Content, named La Vie Sexuelle des Jeux Vidéo (Sex in Video Games), by Suricate. It slyly mocks games that have sexual actions. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. What games do you think share this useless nonsense, or do you think it heightens the game? Comment and share your opinion.

Featured Contributor

An online college student studying Business Administration and International Business at SNHU. I play a lot of different games, but I prefer management ones, including Minecraft, RollerCoaster Tycoon, Borderlands, and Assassin's Creed.

Published Nov. 8th 2021
  • Stainlessoyster
    Mass effect and Dragon age both kind use the sexual content as selling point. Like in Mass effect 3 it was big news that you can go to bed with another man while playing as man even though you could go to bed with another female while playing as female from game Mass effect 1 if I remember correctly.
  • Raxiam Zaltharius
    Let's not forget Grand Theft Auto. ;)
  • Courtney Gamache
    Featured Contributor
    More games I haven't played that have sexual content! Gosh darn it, the list just goes on and on. I've heard of Mass Effect and I never had that come to mind.
  • Courtney Gamache
    Featured Contributor
    Raxiam dear, let's not open that can of worms.. :P
  • MyNameIsProjekt
    Some games definitely make a selling point for their by including sexual themes into the game, and like you pointed out most of the instances do not really add much to the game itself. God of War uses it as a selling point and a kind of "Look at what we've included!" I love the gameplay and story of the some of the games you included, but I definitely agree with you wrote.

    If the game company includes sexual themes in a way that compliments the game then it's cool, but really I think game companies are targeting less mature audiences when they add sexual themes. Which is the game company's business but I think it's stupid.

    Great article Courtney! :)
  • Courtney Gamache
    Featured Contributor
    Awe why thank you! Also yeah they do tend to target audiences with these features. I wouldn't have known about the God of War sexual parts if I hadn't seen them with my own eyes. I never would have expected it.
  • Destrolyn.Bechgeddig
    Featured Columnist
    Unfortunately, sex still sells. Despite a lot of us grown up gamers having a lick of social awareness and maturity, studios are still very aware that the majority of their demographic are sore-wristed teenage boys, or grown men with a frustrated libido.

    I love how Maxis made the sex in "The Sims" amusing. When "The Sims 2" came about enabling you to play with genetics, the sex was unavoidable (sorry, "WooHoo"), but they made it charming. GTA is another series that made climbing into cars with hookers more of a ridiculous nuance in a game that was already heavily satirical of the glamorisation of gangster culture and a crude concept of "Americana", than anything else.

    The thing is, if approached maturely, sex can really be an integral part of a narrative. I recently reviewed a film where there were incredibly explicit sex scenes. However, the director used these to explore a level of intimacy and interaction between characters that many films have avoided because of the affect it'll have on its rating and distribution, or attempted but made it look cheap and unnecessary.

    I guess what I'm saying, is that it's all down to approach. Whether it's trying to explore a facet of the characters/narrative, or satirising, or making harmless amusement, sex can work. But with games like "God of War", it's a cynical and dreary selling point from studios wanting to make money, and/or designers who have quite a low opinion of their audience.
  • Courtney Gamache
    Featured Contributor
    It does kinda suck that sex does sell, even though people probably don't buy the game thinking that's what they'll get from it. I just find that they tend to prey upon the younger crowd with things like sex. For example, a very explicit game at times would be Lollipop Chainsaw. Not knocking it, I thought it was quite entertaining, but you know what crowd they're aiming for with that. Gosh those camera angles..
  • Raven Hathcock
    Featured Contributor
    1. I'm dying from that video. I really can't handle it.

    2. Fable makes me SO uncomfortable with the awkward really wasn't needed, but I'm not against sex in video games. I would really like to see it used properly in the future that actually benefits the story.
  • Courtney Gamache
    Featured Contributor
    Yeah, Fable has some content that really doesn't add much to the game except that creeper affect. If these themes were used meaningfully in a game that wasn't just meant to be a horn-dog it would probably do well in the game market.

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