The Strange Case of the Misappearance of Sex in Video Games

  • Tanya Krzywinska


It’s common for news media to relish stories about sex in games in order to generate the attractions of salacious capital. The Grand Theft Auto franchise has been particularly good at soliciting such interest and making its own capital from the lure of sexual transgression. But despite the lurid copy, there has, in fact, been very little explicit sex in video games. This chapter analyses why this is the case. The first half of this chapter maps the conditions on which sex can be present in video games. I divide games from across a range of platforms, genres and era into those where sex is core to gameplay, those where the game itself becomes a mise-en-scene for cybersex and those where sex is not present in direct form but evoked tangentially to solicit desire. The second half of this chapter appraises why it is that explicit sex has been largely absent from the game arena, as distinct from other emergent media. Why should this be so? Are games so welded in the public imagination to childhood that ‘pornographic’ games are rendered too outré? Does ‘doing’ in games preclude the use of hands in other activities? Are games inherently more about promise and deferral than other media? When games are predicated on action and sensation, why is it that sex seems subject to taboo?


Video Game Sexual Desire Female Character Human Sexuality Digital Game 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ArtsBrunel University West LondonUxbridgeUK

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