Asexuality in COG/HG Romances

To be perfectly honest, this is my idea type of ace romance, at least one in a COG/HG that does involve sexual content! :sweat_smile: Having the option is always nice, and I think that, ideally, with an asexual MC perhaps where a sexual scene would be, they and their love interest might have a conversation about comfort levels and there would be a choice whether you wish to cuddle or something of that sort, or if you’d like to have sexual content. Though that’s simply my ideal and I figure that’s probably a lot of coding and writing—I’m just happy being able to have romance options at all, really :rofl:

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I wouldn’t say to act on it makes them demisexual, per se. They could be demisexual, but there are asexuals(not the umbrella term) and greysexuals who would also do the same thing since sex drive is separate from sexual attraction.

The way @poison_mara described doing it, keeping sex as a separate thing would be a good way to do it. It would allow aces to have romance, but also sex(or not) no matter where on the spectrum they fall on. Same for those on the aromantic spectrum, except reversed. Also sorry to hear you didn’t get the help you needed, Mara. That’s probably something that will have changed since the community has been growing, there will be more people here who are aspec.

I don’t feel that even if a game had aromantic options for your MC, that they should be locked out of romance. If anything, that should maybe be a separate choice. I’m saying this as someone also on the aromantic spectrum(demiromantic).

With all that said, I can understand why authors would tend to make selecting ace/aro as locking you out of romance, to include it in romances would add so much more they’d have to write with the possible variations. Add on top of that, people who aren’t on the ace/aro spectrum can have difficulty understanding fully what it means to be either or both aro/ace. But like others who have said, if you’re going to include it, please include it as something that doesn’t lock you out of romance with the characters. Romance lock out should be a separate option from selecting ace/aro if that’s a feature you want in the game, but if selecting ace/aro automatically locks you out of romance/sex, I’d just as soon prefer ace/aro not be included as I’d just play as a different sexual and romantic orientation if that was the case.

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I think many people don’t think on separate sex from romance for a cultural thing of not looking like the hearthless and cultural heritage of sex comes only in a patriarchal romance after marriage. That old remain makes that for many people Romance means having sex. and With the only people who you will have it.

Thankfully, nowadays is disappearing from society but sadly, not from culture media. Mass media still sells for Romance in video games means unlock sex scene.

My point is sex is more open than that there is an open relationship, there are friends with benefits. Or romances that don’t have a sexual life.

Separate sex as a different toggle from romance and friendship is more work, but I think is far more engaging.

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So to the ace players on this thread (and ofc all around the forum), what are some examples of good depictions of ace romantic content and relationships in the Choicescript format? WIPs, too, I would love to get an idea of what good execution of this looks like. Especially since one of the ROs I’m writing for my demo is ace romantic

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As a demisexual Semryu in Way walkers is a great example. You can romance him smooching him but tell him you are not prepared for something more physical. It is a romance that goes really natural and you don’t feel anything is missed from the plot.

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In terms of published games*, I thought Heroes of Myth handled aceness really well. Choice of Magics and Blackstone Academy both also addressed it directly, although I found flaw with both of them (Blackstone still allowed romance, but being ace locked out more physical affection than I’d have liked; Magics just had a couple pretty awkwardly written moments).

My favorite WIP in terms of ace content is A Thousand Miles of Sky, which has a romantic ace RO and a really good conversation about aceness with them.

And it’s currently in beta, but the posted demo of the first two chapters of 180 Files includes really good options for an ace MC–including whether they’re demisexual or aro/ace.

*That I have played and where the handling of aceness stuck with me, I’m sure there are gaps in my knowledge.

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Guinevere!! It let’s you play as aro and or ace and you can talk to other characters about it

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I’d just like to add that you can avoid writing a whole ton of extra content if you just write a mix. If you’ve got friendship, romantic, and sexual content anyway, you can just determine which bits come up, rather than having to write entirely separate scenes, so that would reduce the workload. For example, you could use most of the content of a date with a character for both an allosexual and asexual main character rather than needing to write out the whole date twice.

Labelling correctly sounds important, though. If you really mean “aromatic,” just say that. A lot of games don’t have sexual content anyway. (And if there is sexual content, it should always be a choice anyway, for obvious reasons.)

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I do completely agree with this post, as an asexual person myself. I do, however, think we should also cut the writers a little bit of slack, as it is quite difficult to portray asexuality (even for asexuals) in my experience. Maybe we as a community just need to offer more feedback on what an asexual playthrough would look like. I say this because I personally haven’t seen many people offer feedback on this type of playthrough, even when it is an option.

I unfortunately can’t give any examples in the Choicescript format, but I can give an example from a Netflix show if that’s ok with you. Spoilers for BoJack Horseman by the way, I’ll spoiler tag them just in case. I think Todd from BoJack Horseman is one of the best examples of asexual representation I have seen to date. He really wants to have a romantic relationship with this girl he has a lot in common with, but they just aren’t compatible because she wants a more physical romance, while he does not. Later on he meets someone who he has nothing in common with, but is also asexual, dates her for a while, but they eventually break up. I think this is pretty true to my experience as an asexual person at least.

Essentially, the gist behind what I said in the spoiler tags is, if you’re going to make an asexual character, give them more in common with the MC than just being asexual. While this can be an important part of a relationship, it is also equally important that the characters actually like each other and have things in common beyong their asexuality.

Also, I don’t know if this is true for all asexual people, but at least in my experience, I get quite uncomfortable when it seems like the only way to progress in a romance is to do something physical. Some things are totally fine, like hand holding, as I do that with my friends, but when it seems like the only way to move forward in a relationship is to get physical with the RO, I’m not really a fan.

There are other ways to show your love and affection for someone beyond just physically. For example, an MC that might not otherwise show much affection, even to their closest friends and family, might repeatedly tell the RO that they love and care for them. This is something that the MC does only for the RO, something that is unique to their relationship together. Having things like this can make it feel like an actual relationship, while not requiring a player/MC to do anything they would be uncomfortable with.

Edit: I would also like to add, if your book does have sex scences, even in a “fade to black” way, please don’t make the only way to opt out of it be “I’m not ready for that yet” or “I think we should take this slow”. This can definitely be an option, but to have it be the only option makes me feel not great as an asexual person. This is because it makes it feel like the MC is either leading the RO on, promising something they might not ever want to actually do, or it makes it feel like the MC is going to have to do this later on at some point, regardless of how they feel about it.

I think most asexual people, myself included, would, at the beginning of a relationship let the other person know what their boundries are. So adding an option to the scene saying “I don’t think I want to do that, and I’m not sure if I’m ever going to want to do that” to opt out would be nice. This can also start a conversation about the MC’s sexuality with the RO, if it was not previously discussed.

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I really enjoyed Dev’s romance in Heart of the House. Also, the way asexuality was approached in Guenevere.

Edit: Oh, and I enjoyed Dorian’s romance in Dragon Age: Inquisition because the post-sex cut scene was entirely optional. Skipping it felt more IC for my ace Adaar.

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I have to hold my hand up and say I struggled a little with including satisfying content for asexual and aromantic players in my last game.

Hopefully the groundwork was good - I allowed players to define themselves as asexual (with options then to also choose sexuality) or aromantic as distinct categories - and I tried hard to write some content specifically for them, replacing rather than simply cutting out the relevant scenes. Two ROs in particular have romantic scenes that can only be accessed by asexual characters.

That said, I still felt I could have done a lot better in this regard and it’s really interesting to read the opinions on this thread. For my next game I’ll be sure to reach out more explicitly for advice and feedback.

(EDIT: I just had to edit this post to change TWO instances of misspelling the word “aromantic” as “aromatic”! Although I’m sure everyone here does also smell lovely…)

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May I ask which game are you the author of? I am rather new on this community and there are a lot of titles to keep track of :sweat_smile:

Oh nvm! I clicked your profile and I see is the game called Ironheart? Forgive me if I am wrong :sweat_smile:

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Yes, that’s the one. :slight_smile:

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There was a point in time when I was really pumped about ace romance routes in CoGs/HGs and bought practically everything that advertised itself as such. However, after one big disappointment, I kind of gave up on it… Mainly because I didn’t get the feeling that anybody cared. :confused: (I mean the feedback re: asexual/aromantic/ace-aro being three different things, that’s been around for ages, right?)

These days, I’m only checking out games with premises that sound enjoyable, and if I’m lucky enough that it also features a well-written ace romance, then that’s dope as hell. :smile:

Sure, nobody owes me an ace romance route, but if it’s literally in the game description, I don’t think it’s wrong to expect some sweet ace content.

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As part of my personal resolution to do better with ace/aro options in my next project, I have a couple of questions I’d like to ask to players who prefer these routes. As ever, hugely grateful for any feedback and help you can give me.

  1. A couple of people have already mentioned in this thread that they might prefer an ace/aro route in general but appreciate the opportunity to “opt back in” to romantic and/or sexual encounters later in the game if they feel comfortable doing so. How many people would appreciate this and how often would they appreciate being asked? I can see how it would be nice to have this option kept open but equally I can see how frustrating it could be to have said, for example, that you don’t want sexual encounters only to find the author is constantly asking “Are you sure you don’t want to sleep with him?”!

  2. For the next game I’m (hopefully) writing, there will be a plot point which hinges on the player having accidentally witnessed a sexual encounter between NPCs. I think it’s more powerful in context if this is relatively explicit but there’s also no reason why it couldn’t be toned down. My question is: do players who prefer not to experience sexual encounters involving the MC also prefer to avoid graphic sexual content in general? That seems like a bold and unecessary assumption to make but I’d like to be sure. Is it worth including two separate choices at the game’s start - “Are you open to sexual encounters involving the MC?” and “Would you like to turn off all explicit content?”

Thanks in advance!

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For your first question: Something that I think could work during it is that during the first encounter in which this question could pop up, ace MCs could have a few different options.

1- Stating that the player is not interested and never will be, which would stop this question from popping up again.
2- Having the player agree with it right away.
3- A choice for the player to not act at the moment but state that they are open to it in the future, in which case the question would continue to pop up.

I think with choices like these, you could easily cover most ace players, specially since with the choices, the player knows what the question about having sex will continue to come up only if they choose so.

For your second question, I can only speak for myself, but I am not bothered by sexual content at all, I do think, however, that having the option to turn off explicit content is a good call :smiley:

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If I am forced to witness a sexual encounter between NPCs. That I need to be in a triggering warning. Because I have no interest in being a voyeur or a degenerate and I would personally feel really bad if I am in a Cog or a Hosted forced to be one.

If it were a novel, however, I don’t have so much problem due is not my character. But. sincerely, I don’t find cool fetishes like voyeurism. But I like normal sexual content chosen and optional of the player character.

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While having the warning before hand is great, I don’t think accidentally seeing something is the same as having a voyeurism kink :rofl:

I assume is more close to the lines of “oh shit, guys, I just walked into a room and there were two people fucking in there!!”

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I would feel so uncomfortable that To keep playing I need a choice killing the npc. If they are not murdered, I will not enjoy the game or my immersion is more complex.

Edit: Another thing is just having at the beginning a on-off for scenes that involve PC or involved Npc. So players who don’t want read npcs intercourse could just skip it.

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I think killing because NOPE! Is already immersion breaking. Most sane people would simply turn right around red as a tomato and never speak of it again.

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