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Sex and Sexuality in Games

In 1975 M.A.R. Barker published the world of Tékumel, a year after the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons, and after working with Gary Gyrax on D&D (which is why the mechanics of the system are the same up to the magic system). Tékumel has a unique understanding of sex and sexuality right from the beginning. Sure women aren’t considered equal to men, at least not until they declare themselves equal. Tékumel is sex-positive. And Sexual fidelity is not part of the marriage contract.

Homosexuality and bisexuality are accepted. Polygyny and polyandry are both practised. Some regions and countries are more conservative about these topics but generally, it’s accepted, just not flaunted.

The most recent version of the world of Tékumel, “Bethorm – The Plane of Tékumel” has the following:

The Tsolyáni are also very tolerant of individual gender preferences. Such matters are rarely considered cause for concern, except as regards any related practical considerations. [the example is a political marriage].

Bethorm – The Plane of Tékumel

I believe the majority of games will leave the entire thing out, as it has no bearing on the ability for a group of persons to storm the castle, and take down the dragon. Only certain games that [run by certain people] will have anything to do with sex or sexuality, and I am happy about this.

I play in Dungeons and Dragons Adventures League (DDAL), which is organized play of D&D5e. I don’t believe sex or sexuality have any reason to be in organized play – you want a space to bring anyone and not have scenes of torture or sexuality.

I also run a home game with adults, and it does have some of those themes. Which I’m also happy about as it allows me as the DM to put elements of modern conversation into the story – and my players feel safe in the environment to role play as they wish – from descriptive narratives to saying they do the thing. And anyone can get the group to skip points by asking for the narrative to move the story along.

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