Satyr’s Mighty FantiSex Gaming Spectrum (NSFW)

Image Let’s face it: Fantasy is kinky. Even without the overt eroticism of bondage death–traps and chainmail bikinis, the Fantasy tradition (and its incestuous cousins Horror, Romance, SF, and Badass Action) brims with sublimated sex. Swords, wands, cups and caves, virile heroes and hungry heroines, vile wretches and lusty wenches – the tropes and characters of Fantasy provide exciting exorcism for our carnal urges. For obvious reasons, these elements crop up (so to speak…) in various forms within Fantasy-based roleplaying groups. Like sex itself, however, overtly erotic roleplaying is never truly “safe.” While Fantasy books and films are (like other erotic pastimes) essentially solo acts, roleplaying is (like still other erotic pastimes) interactive. And whenever stupid primates gather around erotic subjects, the stupid and primitive elements often win out. Is that the ways things always go? Of course not. Like any other art form (and yes, RPGs qualify as an “art form”), Fantasy gaming can address sexuality in all its myriad contradictions. It can be cheesy, playful, tragic, offensive, sensual, comedic, and often a mixture of all of them and more. Toss in the subtle sublimation and balls-out kinkiness of various Fantasy genres, and all potentials go through the roof. Although most groups prefer to apply some self-imposed element of “taste” to the proceedings, the line between “tasty” and “tacky” is very much in the eye (and other body parts…) of the beholder.

Beholder

(Don’t even ASK about beholder sex. It’s tacky.)

Though young men present the obvious Erotic Fantasy fans, anyone who’s read Jacqueline Cary or gamed with many of the female gamers I’ve met (including my partner, first wife, and most girlfriends) can attest that girls can beat boys (literally!) when it comes to imaginative carnality. The old saw that Fantasy-oriented females prefer chaste scenarios simply isn’t true. Anyone with a libido might want to explore their urges through Erotic Fantasy; gay men, straight women, try-sexuals of all potential gender configurations – Fantasy has room for everyone… at least in theory, anyway. For the most part, sadly, FantiSex remains het-based with occasional girl-on-girl action. When other genders are rightfully factored in on a large scale, someone inevitably throws a Dragon Age tantrum. Sometimes, we can be such children!

NSFW Bishonin

(Yeah, I got yer “straight male gamer” right HERE!)

Mass-consumption Fantasy hovers between a Some Adult Content, No Sex, or Cheesecake City approach. Gamers, though, like to tailor our worlds to personal tastes. And so, as with most forms of real-world sexuality, Erotic Fantasy gaming plays out across a spectrum of explicitness and consent. Pondering such dynamics at Stupid O’Clock one morning, I conceived of Satyr’s Mighty FantiSex Gaming Spectrum: a reflection of my personal experiences and observations about sex, gaming, and the way things go when eros and Fantasy gamers collide.

Not limited to the range between Harry Potter and hairy hentai, the Mighty FantiSex Gaming Spectrum depends on the desires and boundaries of all participants. At the top end, everyone’s on board for high-octane fun; at the lowest extreme, one or two group members traumatize the rest until the group implodes. Ideally, the balance should be easy to maintain; in real life, things often slide along the spectrum, hopefully asserting a comfortable dynamic wherein good times are had by all. And so, we reveal Satyr’s Mighty FantiSex Gaming Spectrum. Feel free to comment, link it, re-post it with attribution, and generally meme the fuck out of it. Sex usually works better when we understand what we’re doing. Enjoy!

SATYR’S MIGHTY FANTISEX GAMING SPECTRUM

CARNAL PARTY

Killer AbsGenerally common within adolescent all-male gaming groups (maybe adolescent all-female ones, too), the Carnal Party presents an erotic free-for-all wherein participants happily live out whatever sexual fantasies they please. Huge-cocked barbarian dudes pound away at melon-chested wenches (or perhaps other huge-cocked barbarian dudes) while nubile slave girls scrub one another’s carpets clean. Real-world consequences like pregnancy, disease and gravity are pretty much ignored – save for jealousy or betrayal, which make lovely plot devices. Everybody’s nekkid and nobody cares. The traditional dynamic within large segments of the Sword-and-Sorcery and Action Badass genres, Carnal Party is consensual, explicit, and in no way realistic. Typified by the Eros Comix approach, such Fantasy can be straight, queer, kinky, or whatever flavor floats the common boat. Unlike dynamics at the other end of this spectrum, this erotic threshold is absurd yet mutual. The key word here is “party.” If someone in the group feels offended, this dynamic slips toward Cheesecake City… or worse.

Of Gor MUTUALLY CONSENSUAL

Intentionally erotic but often more serious than Carnal Parties, a Mutually Consensual dynamic assumes an explicit “fantasex” atmosphere. The realm of Merry Gentry and Gorean roleplay, this style favors a more traditionally “feminine” approach than Carnal Party. Everyone knows what they’re here for, but emotions, relationships, physics and consequences do matter. This style often favors a stronger kink element than Carnal Party and is, in fact, the “default setting” for lots of actual BDSM play. Again, though, the key word is “consent”; regardless of the genders or preferences among its participants, a Mutually Consensual group fits the tastes and boundaries of all members.

NSFW

ImagePlayfully risqué and frequently explicit, the NSFW dynamic crops up a lot in mixed-gender groups from adolescence onward. Erotic content is common but not pervasive, frequently amusing, often absurd, and generally mutual. In my experience and observation, it often features a lot of half-serious (or all-serious) flirtation between players. Typical in certain manga, anime and romance-fiction genres, NSFW sexuality dynamics often revolve around misunderstandings, cheese- or beefcake, unrequited love/ lust, and “Oops!” moments where clothing and propriety wind up on the floor. Characters tend to be randy but not erotically obsessed, and the atmosphere favors comedy with occasional serious undercurrents.

MATURE CONTENT

Upon ProjectionMore “adult” than NSFW but not as pervasively erotic as Mutually Consensual, a Mature Audiences dynamic presents sexuality within a complex framework of emotions, relationships, violence, and other “gritty” subjects. Erotic content, though often exaggerated beyond real-life levels, appears as part of a larger world… in most cases, a dystopian one. Emotional and physical anguish are common in this setting, and participants often need to “sign a waver” when joining this type of dynamic. Explicit moments frequently fade to black, but don’t always do so… sometimes provoking real-life emotional responses, willingly or otherwise. The default position for Anne Rice or World or Darkness-style fantasy, this dynamic doesn’t have to be a downer. In the hands of a serious-minded group, it can be lots of fun. Still, it’s volatile territory, with a larger chance of sliding into offense than other safer or more playful options.

SOME ADULT CONTENT

ImageA middle-ground between MA and No Sex, Please, SAC features the occasional hot kiss or wild romp. Explicit eroticism, though, is left to the imagination. Cheesecake might appear – but if so, it’s tame. Kink, if present, winds up sublimated. There might be hookers, hook-ups and busty bar wenches, but no “dirty deeds” to speak of. Most comic books and fantasy films stick to this territory, ripe with exciting imagery but essentially kid-friendly. yoda

 

 

 

 

NO SEX, PLEASE – WE’RE GAMERS

The safest option on the list, this dynamic assumes that – with the occasional exception of mild genre tropes – erotic content is pretty much absent. Characters do not have sex, act sexual, or encounter erotic situations. They might experience romantic relationships, but naughty bits remain offscreen and emotions stay minimally complex. Star WarsStar Trek, Narnia and other “kid-itional” fantasy works fit this dynamic, as do serious-minded works by Professor Tolkien and other pre-Sexual Revolution fantasists who stashed their freak flags in the closet where they felt such things belonged. The preferred dynamic for kids under 16 (although younger kids tend to run higher or lower on the scale when adults aren’t around), NSPWG can get rather boring if adult fantasists prefer to get… adult.

CHEESECAKE CITY

Cheesecake CityThe Boris Vallejo school of Fantasy, Cheesecake City features stagy amounts of erotic exaggeration. Melon-chested warrior wenches pout and sweat-thewed swordsmen preen through adventures that would fill Freud’s notebooks three times over. Lots of folks wind up chained to walls, but there’s little actual sex to speak of. Though tame on the erotic scale, Cheesecake City can offend certain participants, especially ones who share an objectified gender or slandered ethnicity. The realm of Conan and his ilk, it’s a tradition with timeless adolescent appeal.

 

 

 

YKINMK

ImageShort for “Your Kink is Not My Kink,” this dynamic veers toward non-consent. One or more participants explore/ indulge their erotic preferences while their companions wince and shrug. Erotic content usually favors light fetishes or offscreen carnality on the part of one or two characters as the rest seek the No Sex, SAC or Mature Audiences dynamic. While not typically destructive, this sort of thing can be annoying; Your ‘Umble Satyrblade and a few of his partners-in-crime have stepped into this dynamic occasionally, to the accompaniment of rolled eyes and heavy sighs from fellow group members. The film Gamers: Dorkness Rising features several examples of YKINMK in action, one of whom is occasionally played by the lovely Jen Page 

EWWWW…

Royo HeadHere, things go wrong. One or more participants verge off into Not Okayland… and then stay there while the other members cringe. Unlike YKINMK, this erotic dynamic’s pervasive offensiveness winds up damaging the group. The realm of dudes who roll three 6-sided dice to determine cock size (and then have their characters run around naked, hugging people), this end of the spectrum is usually Boys’ Town. That said, I’ve seen the occasional girl gamer or female author (*cough* LKH *cough*) run loose at the turboslut-and-tentacle-rape end of Tropeseville while her companions groan, recoil, and eventually quit.

 

 

 

FANTASY RAPE-PLAYING

girlwiththedragontattoo_mtvgeek

At the squickiest extreme, an erotic dynamic can turn into psychological assault. Thanks to players (or Game Masters) who either don’t know or don’t care about other players’ limits, erotic content becomes grotesque, unsafe and occasionally traumatic. Players can and do feel psychologically assaulted within such games. This dynamic can trigger flashbacks to real-life violations; in the hands of a cruel player or GM, it might even be intended to be so.

Sadly, this dynamic crops up more often than it should; worse, it’s occasionally done on purpose. My all-time favorite gaming group formed back in college when one male player, jealous because a female player stopped dating him but continued dating someone else in the group, conspired with the Game Master to rape his ex-girlfriend’s character, kill his “rival,” and paralyze the other characters into watching the scene. Next game session, that player, his best bud and the GM had that particular game all to themselves; the rest of us had quit and formed our own group (with a Mature Content dynamic that occasionally veered into YKINMK), which gamed together for roughly five years. This sort of thing happens a lot with Fantasy Rape-Playing dynamics. Quite often, players leave such groups with feelings of real-world pain and fury. In short, don’t do this. Ever.

So, yeah – a range of possibilities. Like all things either gaming or sexual, it’s not definitive… but then, what ever is, anyway?

Cheers! – Satyros

———————-

Copyright (c) 2011, SatyrPhil Brucato. Permission granted to link or repost with attribution.

Advertisements

About Satyr

Award-winning fantasy author, game-designer, and all 'round creative malcontent. Creator of a whole bunch of stuff, most notably the series Mage: The Ascension, Deliria: Faerie Tales for a New Millennium, and Powerchords: Music, Magic & Urban Fantasy. Lives in Seattle. Hates shoes. Loves cats. Dances a lot.
This entry was posted in Art and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Satyr’s Mighty FantiSex Gaming Spectrum (NSFW)

  1. primalnights says:

    I learned a lot. Didn’t know half of this stuff.

  2. Does anyone else remember the old Dragon Magazine comic, “What’s New?” and how they always promised to talk about sen and D&D but never delivered? That you for being brave enough to write about it in an adult way. It makes me feel like it’s not just me and my wife that call it foreplaying.

  3. Pingback: GOAD E12 Sex & RPGs « GEEKS OUT AFTER DARK

  4. Diane says:

    I quit Dungeons & Dragons because the GM fantasy-raped my character. She had Charisma 18 and he and the other (male) players harassed me about it since the character was rolled up. Eventually she got jumped by three NPCs and the rest of the troupe, in and out of character, said, “Too bad, should a…” You know.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s