Sex. Games. Sex in games! Given how the video game industry has relished opportunities to embrace gore, horror, and violence for many years, it’s surprising how poor we are at depicting that other argh-no-don’t-make-me-watch-this-with-my-parents-in-the-room taboo: sex.
Despite elbowing for room at the ‘games are art’ debate, many titles fail to portray sex in an authentic or meaningful manner. Whether it’s the stiff (pardon the pun) animations, cringeworthy dialogue, the curious application of quick-time prompts, or a genital-mashing combination of all three, games rarely seem to get coitus right.
So, in the ruthless pursuit of investigative journalism, we’ve trawled through the very best – and the very best worst – sex scenes in video game history. For science, of course. Needless to say, you probably shouldn’t be reading this in work, near your parents, or anyone you’re trying to sleep with in real life.
Naturally, you’re welcome to disagree with our list, but please note that your opinion will almost definitely be wrong.
The best sex scenes in games
The best examples of sex in video games:
Mass Effect 2/3
Arguably one of the first series to fully explore sexual relationships in gaming, Mass Effect is renowned for its mature portrayal of sex, as well as the subsequent complications the act poses for those mixing work and pleasure (Pro tip: no good can come from dipping your pen in the company ink, even if you are stranded on a spaceship with a blue-skinned hottie).
With a bevy of male or female (and alien) partners to explore, your romantic successes and failures pretty much come down to being able to say the right thing at exactly the right time, just like real life. Refreshingly, it also offers same-sex relationships without any political or social commentary, with your sexual orientation entirely unimportant to the story. Yes, some encounters fall on just the wrong side of awks and yes, some of the animations are a bit, well, rigid, but we have so much to thank – and blame – BioWare for, eh?
Dragon Age Inquisition
While Mass Effect requires you to put a little time and effort into your romantic conquests, Dragon Age Inquisition’s The Iron Bull is a horny (yes) hulk of a thing that’s looking for a good time with anyone, or anything, that’ll have him – preferably without any of the emotional trappings, small talk, or, you know, dating.
Though built like brick shithouse and boasting pecs for days, The Iron Bull is refreshingly open to just about anything, as long as all participants are consenting. It’s good to know that even in Thedas pansexuality is so unremarkable – it’s not even a narrative driver. Bravo again, BioWare.
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood
It’s brief, this one, but plausible, playful, and with a touch of romance. Scenes like this from Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood help, ahem, flesh out a story, and bring a touch of vulnerability to an otherwise formidable character.
Yes, your no-pants-dance partner’s boobs inexplicably disappear after they get it on (I guess women really are difficult to animate, eh Ubisoft?) and I can’t watch it without thinking that a corset like that would’ve taken the best part of an hour to take off in real life, let alone get it back on again in a matter of seconds, but it’s a touching interlude nonetheless. You know, before the cannonball smashes into the room and destroys the moment.
The Witcher 3
There’s a line in Arctic Monkeys’ Fluorescent Adolescent – “Oh the boy’s a slag – the best you ever had” – and I cannot hear it without thinking fondly of our kid, Geralt. Up for anyone who’ll have him, Geralt’s the kind of uncomplicated lover unfazed by romantic conventions, and pragmatic to the core. “Good. Won’t have to fumble with fasteners,” he muses upon discovering strewn garments on the way to Keira Metz, only to mutter later “Hm. Shame. Coulda kept her shoes on,” when he finds those thrown on the pathway, too.
Beyond a bum cheek here and a side boob there, these encounters are mostly reduced to sounds and shadows, leaving much up to your imagination. It’s sweet, though; there are giggles, and afterwards, a little pillow talk. Oh, and there’s sex on a unicorn, too. Uniporn?
Assassin’s Creed: Origins
Yes, another entry from the Assassin’s Creed universe, this one from the latest in the series, Origins. There’s something so delicate and beautiful about Bayek’s reunion with his wife, Aya. By the time they get it on – and in spite of the horrors all around them, and what they’ve endured themselves and unleashed onto others – you know their relationship has only strengthened because it’s rooted firmly in a place of real affection.
And while there’s no doubt of what they’re about to do, Ubisoft doesn’t dwell on it, instead focussing our attention on the conversations before and afterwards. Assassin’s Creed: Origins is sex done respectfully and meaningfully, with superb facial (not like that) animations, an authentic script, and an intimate glimpse of the gentle, easy conversation of a couple in love.
The worst sex scenes in games
The worst examples of sex in video games are about as arousing as the thought of Luigi’s flaccid penis:
Few things can get the old heart racing like a cable-knit sweater and a guy who knows his way around a magic instrument (well, how else can you explain away the fact he’s playing an acoustic song on an electric guitar, eh?), and it certainly seems to work for Tiffany in Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy. A little conversation, a little wine, and a little music, and she’s ready for a rip-roaringly awkward quick-time sex scene.
“Take me to the bedroom,” she whispers, as the power chords of a soft-metal ballard kick in. Get it right and Tiff will moan in pleasure, the intensity – and speed – building right up until the climax you neither see nor hear, but is left entirely to your imagination. Which is probably just as well. I’m surprised Lucas bothered to take his socks off. There’s also a spot of necrophilia. Thanks for reading.
It feels a little uncharitable, putting Ethan and Madison’s sexy times in the best of the worst, as otherwise David Cage’s Heavy Rain – “press X to JASON!” aside – excels at painting a polished, believable world, populating it with realistic characters and the very best graphics Sony’s, oh god, hardware has to offer.
In this love scene, the audio and animation feel authentic, and while yes, there’s some comparisons to be made between quicktime and real-life fumbles (one wrong move can indeed ruin the whole night – we’ve all been there), the prompts don’t half pull you out of the moment. That, and the fact their kisses don’t ever really seem to land properly, making them look like trout out of water. The real immersion killer, however, is the fact they picked the stained carpet of a grotty hotel instead of the bed six inches away. Sorry, but no woman would do this. Ever.
God of War
Once again, passionate, sensual encounters are reduced to the fundamental acts of bump ‘n’ grindin’ courtesy of more ill-chosen quicktime events, this time in God of War. While you’ll get to see a bevy of well-endowed ladies – all of whom boast alarmingly small shirts that are unable to cover their ample bosoms – the real action takes place off-screen. Yes, this helps temper the inevitable embarrassment of an awkward sex scene, but instead you’ll be treated to a load of shaking bed frames, jumping candlesticks, wide-eyed peeping toms, and a particularly memorable scene that sees a fountain statue… well, spurt.
The video here not only demonstrates how Kratos manages to find himself in these predicaments time and time again, but also offers an unofficial developer diary of how God of War’s boob physics have improved over the years.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Buried in the code of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas lied the Hot Coffee scene, an initially inaccessible sex mini game. Eventually uncovered by a clever little mod, it went on to trigger so much controversy that it permanently remapped game ratings and shot GTA to the top of the shitlist of all the politicians seeking to quash adult content in video games (hi, guys!). Naturally, the mini game has now been made permanently inaccessible, but… well, the internet never forgets.
The scene itself? While we can only commend Rockstar’s commitment to portraying sex as sex and not lovemaking – not to mention oral sex, which even games with sex tend to avoid – CJ forces his girlfriend’s head down (not cool, bro), and then gets busy by rhythmically pushing up and down (detecting a theme here, dear reader?), flipping positions (with stunning speed), all without bothering to take his jeans off. Classy.
Ride to Hell: Retribution
There’s so much to love – and hate – about Ride of Hell: Retribution’s sex scenes. Beyond the fact that each encounter kicks off with a deliciously ‘70s porn soundtrack alerting you to the fact that sexy times are a-coming, each woman Jake finds himself with boasts the kind of proportions that would likely snap her in half if she was real. I mean, just look at them; only Barbie can rock such a huge rack and miniscule waist. And what’s with all the Daisy Dukes?
Once again, we have a guy able to take his women to heaven and back while both he and his lady friend are fully dressed, and once again, he’s unfussy where (the pool table’s my favourite), when, or with whom. I’m also unclear why the mechanic would have a bed in her place of work (complete with posters of car engines, for Christ’s sake), or why everyone at the orgy was too impatient to stop to remove their clothing, either. A Ride to Hell indeed.