Sexuality: IC and OOC

  • Tutorialist

    I started to go ahead and start my own thread because a) I wanted to narrow the scope down to a specific topic, and b) I wanted one in the mildly constructive forum so we might have a bit more of a civil conversation.

    So thesis, or topic, or whatever: What are your experiences with either your OOC sexuality or your IC sexuality on games? What are some of the things you experience as, say, a bisexual player playing a straight or a gay character? What are your experience as a gay player playing someone straight? Someone straight trying to play someone who is not straight? (If people try to tell me there is no straight person out there who wouldn't try to play someone like Klaus in a game where you play FC I'm going to make you eat your keyboard, my friends).

    Here are some of mine:

    @Ghost said in MU*ginalization:

    @Cobaltasaurus said in MU*ginalization:

    @Roz said in MU*ginalization:

    This is a lot of words so I'm just gonna vote Yes as a general "yeah I've experienced sexism on a MU*" kind of response.

    Oh. My vote should really be "yes" then, since ive also experienced sexism on games. Also homophobia, toward my male bi character.

    Also bi-erasure toward the same character, and slut shaming.

    Eta: in the last two im talking about things that crossed ic/ooc lines since they were unthematic to the game. Not just IC unpleasantness you might expect in say a modern day game setting.

    @Cobaltasaurus @Wretched

    I, myself, have not experienced first or secondhand bi-erasure, but I could definitely see where that's come into play. Sucks that you had to deal with that. Thanks for the input.

    So here's the thing about it; it's just a thing. It happens a lot more than you think. When the situation happened, I actually didn't even realize it was bi-erasure happening until someone else told me. Or at the very least I didn't realize that was the term for it. And thinking back over my history of mushing that was actually not the first time I've experienced it.

    Back on Haunted Memories (one of the first nWoD games out there), I had a female werewolf alpha who had mainly female members of her pack. I was told, OOC, that people just assumed she was a lesbian. Despite the fact that her public RP hooks referenced a husband that she lost when she first changed, because he was a werewolf as well.

    I was incredibly young at the time and went out of my way to get her a male lover, to show people that she wasn't a lesbian. (This is real fucked up, young me why did you do stupid things?)

    I can't really speak to what gay men go through in this community but I imagine (from experiences of my own playing either gay or bisexual male characters on rare occasion) that it's a lot of stereotypying and female-players fetishizing gay relationships. My own experiences with female players telling me how "hot" gay sex was made me incredibly gunshy and disinterested in playing male characters interested in men until Arx (I have been mushing for nearly 15 years). With the exception of the one time I played a bisexual male on Star Trek: Gamma One who ended up seeing a PC I knew was played by a gay male OOC.

    ETA, I forgot to add before hitting post:

    I can't really speak to what lesbians go through in this community, because most of my female characters that are interested in other women end up also eventually being interested in men (I'm looking at you Cyto@HM and Nikki@TR), as an IC/OOC bleed through my pansexuality that I can't help no matter how much I try.

    But we ALL know the Elfbian Mafia Stereotypoes. I'm sure lesbians in this hobby have a difficult time.

    ETA2: FC, not OC. Whoops.

  • I've mentioned before the time I was outright shunned on a game because I wouldn't 'make' my straight male character gay. That since I was a female player, it was expected of me and since I wouldn't do so for the people asking, I was labeled homophobic.

    He was straight. 'Making' him gay felt even more insulting, IMO. But I got outright shunned out of that area (a Weyr on a Pern game) for not doing it for them (they thought he was hot, so...).

    I've had lesbian chars and had other women approach me asking me to 'teach' them how lesbian sex works (do u not google?!). This is what led me to keeping a lot of my chars' sexuality under my hat as it were.

    The most recent case that I would def. label 'bi-erasure' was a character who was very... protective of other women, but interested in both men and women. When she flirted with a guy, he had this whole thing of 'but isn't she a lesbian? She's only into chicks, right?' and seemed utterly and completely baffled that she could be interested in men, too. He largely acted like I was making it an OOC thing (as if I was interested in him, the player, vs the characters).

    I find that's how it 'works' most of the time on the bi-erasure front. Whoever people see your character flirt with (or even BE flirted with) first is what they assume of their sexuality. Not, I suppose, unlike the real world.

  • Pitcrew

    I have had a few weird experiences on my knight, who is bi. Lots of assumptions, lots of very weird shit about why she would seek to marry a dude (why would anyone be confused by this with hereditary nobility and marriage that usually doesn't have anything to do with love when one is part of it). Or people that were weird about her flirting with both genders, especially when it was subtle (oddly haven't experienced anyone commenting when it's overt, maybe because it's assumed to be joking). I have heard the same from other players of PCs who are also similarly open without smashing people's faces into it about being bi.

    I have had PCs of all kinds of orientations and arrangements, but usually only feel safe playing that out with other players who present or whom I know are female. Just because virtually every time I have done that with a male player it devolves into threesome fantasies (not saying those are bad either, I've had characters that would totally be down!) or their determination that their PCs penis would totally "cure" my PC's orientation even though TS was already off the table. I'm not saying that female players can't be sexually harassing asshats (they can be, totally). But I have found it to happen far less with other women. And when I think about people that I have enjoyed RPing about the tension of these various issues (what happens if you pretty much are always going to fall in love with a woman, but there's a demand that you stay within very strict complementarian or opposite gendered relationships ), most have been other women who I virtually NEVER have to worry about invasive questions, man-oriented porn-fueled stereotypes, ect.

    One of the things I LOVE about Arx is the potential to explore all kinds of those things (and have no one CORRECT way) in a culture that is for the most part free of gender and orientation bias. I think a lot of people assume it is flat/boring/oh yay everyone does what they want--but if you look at the expectations and theme closely, no--there's a lot of sacrifices that some people have to make, or think about, consequences to choices, ect. It's a very awesome opportunity to explore things THAT way (duty, politics, ect) while removing the usual focus of who possesses/likes what genitals.

  • Pitcrew

    As far as OOC orientation, I don't know. It's not a topic that I have a lot of conversation via pages or ooc comments about. I do think that most people assume I am straight rather than bi because I've been married for 18 years to the same dude and have 4 kids, and pretty much am the epitome of fat middle aged mostly-housewife who has run businesses "on the side" (at least they've never been MLMs?). I don't fault them for that, how could I? It's the life I live for the most part. Now if they had met me before this marriage they would be surprised, since I tended to date mostly but not all women, and ran in women-centric circles. Some of my friends who only knew me from that time were surprised when I a) got married for a second time and b) it was to a man. But they were much more "whatever" about it than I think most people who have met/known me casually through school or community orgs now would be.

    I have not met too many male or female players who have identified as bi. I am not sure if it's because they fear harassment or questions (It is always a concern, I think, since you usually can't really be sure of another player's gender and virtually everyone I know who HAS opened up has expressed fear about harassment from straight men because of past experience.).

  • I don't play straight. Ever. At most, I might play a bisexual guy if I'm apping a media character who's nominally straight but it's ambiguous enough or not explored enough to negate being bi. It's almost never been an issue. And it's never been an issue in the last 5 years. At least.

    But there are a couple times where it proved to be a problem in one way or another. Needless to say, roster characters can be a problem. Even on Arx, where many of them are written to not mention sexuality, many are. Those that have been played before almost always end up having a girlfriend or wife. And while they could be bi, it just feels weird to introduce that element when it's never been raised in game. Anyway...

    There was this one Star Wars game. Roster only. Not a single one was gay and staff resisted rewriting any of them so they were. They were willing (after a bit) to help create a new roster character but then came the discussion as to whether or not he could start with the same advantages/equipment as the existing ones did. In the end, it didn't matter as it turned out to just be a sandbox for staff and friends and every non-movie character was just a spear carrier to applaud what the FCs did.

    The other time it stood out was Ravenwood Academy version 1. There was a quota on gay characters. They wanted to maintain the same gay/straight ratio as existed in the comics. Unsurprising, that meant very, very few gay characters. I never played there.

    Now going back further is another matter. But things have changed a lot over the years and for the better. There's still a long way to go but I think it also depends on the genre you play. I really don't see any issues on the supers games I've played. I don't play MUDs and I never do WoW, LoL, CoH, etc where there's a lot of idiots, troll, and griefers. I imagine they're very similar to Youtube and I don't read the comments there either.

  • Pitcrew

    I'm an openly and flamboyantly gay, black female. When I mentioned casually that Acheron and I were dating (this was like, 9 years ago, mind you) I had a male player flat out accuse me of lying and then go into some pseudo-academic rant about mixed race dating. I had female players 'jokingly' assert that I was being greedy by dating a guy when I'd previously only dated women as an adult.

    Discussing baby names OOC on Firan, I was informed by some old whore (that's how I think of her in my mind, 'some old whore') that naming my kid the name I'd chosen would 'make her gay'. My kid is non-binary and gives talks about gender identity in elementary school. If it was the name, OH WELL. I only mention this one because deep down it still bothers me, a lot. Keep your judgments to yourself, even if the name is Mabel or Gertrude, you just say 'Oh, that's pretty!' or keep your trap shut.

    I mostly play gay male characters. I usually play them on yaoi-based sites, and by tacit agreement, most people pretend to be male in real life. Openly female players are often shunned due to a lack of 'authenticity'. This leads to very weird shit, like dubiously-male players making assertions about masculinity that are often wildly off-base, and sometimes harmful or abusive.

    When I play gay male characters on a MU, no matter how openly gay they are, they're still hit on by females with varying degrees of aggressiveness, in what feels like a double-standard in that if a guy was actively pursuing a character that identified herself as a lesbian, he'd be considered skeevy. I've only heard the jokes about not having met the right woman yet IC, so no abuse OOC that I can recall.

    When I play straight male characters, life is great. Drowning in attention, can be as much of an asshole as I want free of most repercussions, and any IC or OOC blowback can be attributed to the other party being a hater. My OOC harem, unrecruited, will back my every utterance. Being 'male' and a decent writer will honestly get you wherever you want to go in this hobby because the dick-drought is real and it isn't going anywhere, any time soon.

    There is a pejorative term 'mesbians' that relates to male players playing their fetishized female lesbian characters that are usually some sort of 'exotic' mixed race of white + whatever, average height, average build (but with big tiddies) shuns makeup because she's a natural beauty, wears thigh-high stockings with every single outfit, reads comics, disdains monogamy, and is an expert combatant. (This is an oversimplification for the sake of KISS, and I mean no overt offense to anyone male/female/otherwise that plays these types of characters) When I play lesbians, I feel fucking weird because the lesbian community in many games is often made up of female characters that don't feel relatable to me personally, so I wind up with fraudulent lesbian characters that aren't attracted to most women in their vicinity.

    My straight female characters are almost universally spaghetti-sexual - they'd only be straight until they meet a hot female and things get steamy. That rarely happens, sadface. So if and when they wind up dating a guy, this introduces a whole new level of awkward. Will my natural tendency toward being the aggressor scare them off? (Not usually, but it's still a fear) Will they bring up the idea of threesomes way too soon because they're assuming it's what I'd want? (Far too often, but I feel like this is less to do with me, and more to do with people living out their best fantasy life) Step the awkward up a notch if the player knows I'm gay. Will they be gunshy about hitting on my character, thinking she's not interested? Will I be FRIENDZONED? These last two seem most common for me, mostly due to my habit of only really RPing with people I know.

    Needless to say, my female characters almost never get laid. There is much weird going on in my head & I feel like most people are female-ing better than me.

  • For whatever reason, I feel most comfortable in a few sexual modes.

    When I play a male PC, he's straight. When I play a female PC, she leans towards lesbian. Most people presume that my female PCs lean that way, but I also haven't really had anyone try to pick them up.

    I mean, I'm pretty sure that Clarice is very fond of Count, and would entertain sexytimes with him, but I'm also pretty sure that Count fears for his genitals.

  • Pitcrew

    This is a really interesting topic. OOC, I'm a straight cis woman. On MUs, I play about equal numbers of male and female characters. Most of them are straight, which made me try to think about why exactly that is. Outside of sex MUs I mostly fade to black anyway, so it's not discomfort with typing out the sex, or with being particularly titillated by the sex. I read fiction with all manner of romantic configurations and enjoy it.

    Part of it, I admit, is the reputation "straight women playing gay men" tend to get on MU*s, and my own experiences with some of the worse examples of that demo (although nothing as bad as being shunned for not making a straight character gay!). So, even my male characters who are not straight tend to keep their non-straightness on the downlow and be discreet. Thomas on Darkwater, for example, was bi, but his successful relationships (to whatever extent any relationship with Thomas could ever be called 'successful' since he was a terrible person in so many ways) were with women; he had an unvoiced attraction to one other male character, and an outright crush on another, who turned him down. So I don't even know that he counts, since his bisexuality was more of an informed trait that I knew about, but I'd be surprised that more than a couple other PCs did. As for women attracted to women, mostly I've not found the right dynamic that clicks for me between two women characters thus far. I have played a couple of lesbian characters, but all of their relationships were off-screen with NPCs rather than onscreen.

    I've not really received a lot of harassment for my characters' sexualities, although people are sometimes surprised that I'm a woman when I'm playing a male character (and at least once refused to believe that I was, actually, a woman). I've had people assume that I'm gay when I play a male character who is attracted to women, but mostly on sex MU*s, if it happens to come up.

  • Pitcrew

    IC, I have played straight and bi male characters, straight and bi female characters. For some reason, never solely lesbian women or gay male characters. Roughly equal ratio of male to female.

    OOC, I am asexual, cis female. I've had two kinds of responses to this on the few occasions this has come to light:

    1. 'OMG why are you RPing someone sexy/having IC sex/being in a relationship??
    2. You're clearly not really asexual if you're involved in online sexy times

    The answer that I rarely get the opportunity to give? Because it's fun. Relationships, be they romantic or sexual or both or neither, are fun. They provide tension and give a space to play out interesting scenarios. But apparently, that's not allowed?

    Needless to say, I don't talk about it often.

    Edit: There was one time I mentioned it to the player of an IC lover, and he was cool with it (you know who you are!) So, one time out of about a dozen!

  • Pitcrew

    @Ganymede said in Sexuality: IC and OOC:

    I also haven't really had anyone try to pick them up.

    Now I know that isn't true. Maybe not try very hard, but I know at least one that tried nonchalantly.

  • I identify as bi RL, by which I do explicitly mean 'gender is just not a factor of attraction for me, I'm into someone or I'm not, and that person could be anything on the gender/sex/etc. spectrum/moebius strip/hula hoop'.

    I tend to play women, because I'm crap at playing men. The majority of my characters aren't what many people would consider especially feminine, either. Sometimes they're 'sexy', sometimes they're not, sometimes I think they are and other people don't agree, also vice versa, and so on. This is simply how it is for me; I neither lament or celebrate it, it's just 'what works for me'.

    I would like to be able to say I play bi characters, or lesbian characters, but I pretty much don't. I would like to be able to say this isn't because of the number of cringe-inducing male played lesbians and bi women in the hobby, but it is. It really is.

    Are there giggletwit horndog bi or lesbian women RL? Of course there are. I am not interested in relationships or intimacy with them RL, either.

    No, dude, most women I know don't actually think about sex all the time. Most women I know don't talk about how much they want to bang someone or would rather bang this person or that person on first introduction. Maybe I hang with some boring-ass girlfolk, but I don't think that's the case. I do not view everything through a lens of 'do I wanna fuck it' even though technically everyone could qualify without a gender/sex filter; consistently, I have seen men playing bi or lesbian women approach the world this way. There are myriad reasons I can think of that could account for this disparity, from men thinking of sex more often than women do throughout the day to men not having the social conditioning women do to hide their sexuality and sexual feelings under threat of being slut-shamed, but regardless of the cause, this difference stands out to me like a flare in ways that are a complete nope-o-rama to the notion of approaching the subject at all in play at this time and likely for the foreseeable future.

    That's GRRRARRRRRRR #1: A lesbian is not a quirky lounge lizard with a vagina. Stop acting like it.

    Grar #2 emerges because so many of the guys that do this go on about how 'they do it right' or 'they are too enlightened to fall into those fetishistic traps' and so on, while blatantly ignoring that difference in social conditioning re: sexuality that men and women experience is proof they are not so fucking enlightened as they think.

    They may not be 'pursuing the porno fantasy' directly, but ignoring this reality does effectively ramp up their porn-o-meter substantially. While the 'men think about sex every seven seconds' thing is complete bullshit, what little research has been done suggests it's about twice as much as women do. (Same goes for thoughts of food and/or sleep. So we are not thinking about these things as much, either! Grar! Ahem.) So, y'know... 'twice as much' is something people notice. And if you're going for sex twice as often as I wanna go there? Yeah, you can see the problem, I'm sure.

    And the NyQuil is winning, so this ramble ends here for now, to... maybe be finished later when the horrible snotmonsters fuck all the way off. Augh.

  • Pitcrew

    @Ganymede said in Sexuality: IC and OOC:

    I mean, I'm pretty sure that Clarice is very fond of Count, and would entertain sexytimes with him, but I'm also pretty sure that Count fears for his genitals.


    And sure, Count has prolly gone through a couple bottles of lotion thinking of Clarice, but fear has always been a thing with him.


  • I mostly play straight guys. Well, except for my vampires, who are usually either asexuals who might fake it solely for power/blood, or they're open for anything with anyone (as long as there's blood involved). I do play the occasional female character, and they've usually been bi.

    I don't really notice much difference in how I've been treated OOCly or ICly over the gender or sexuality of my characters. Or, that's not entirely true. My female bits will get more blunt solicitations OOC, while my male ones will get more round-a-bout kinds, but it pretty much amounts to the same thing. If anything, I prefer being able to shut down the blunt approaches. The long-con where you're chatting along only to realize belatedly that the other person is a crazy quasi-stalker type is more of a headache honestly.

    Edit: Belatedly one experience did come to mind: It was playing one of the aforementioned vampires, who was known to have gone both ways (his only inclination was attaching himself to powerful people he could use.). Anyhow, both my character and myself oocly was told by the player of a really aggressive gay character that you were either straight or gay, 'dabbling' just meant you just weren't brave enough to come out of the closet. And the right way to play my character was to play him on a journey of self discovery and ultimate acceptance of his homosexuality (obviously with this person).

  • Pitcrew

    Amusingly the most constantly talking about who they wanted to fuck and how much they thought of it were a bunch of mormon moms that I met when my older kids were in elementary school. Like I had been in poly and sex club groups in my life and never had anyone talk about what kind of edible underwear was the best tasting, or if crotchless panties caused chafing if you wore jeans so should you just wear skirts when you wear them or what. Until I hung out with them because our 1st graders were all friends.

    I really do not shock easily but it totally blew me away. But I bet some of you KNOW what is coming next.

    Yes, the MLM party invite. Before DoTerra, Young Living or LuLa, there was a sexy lingerie and toy MLM that was sweeping the community here. Fucking Hilarious. No that wasnt the name of it but it should have been!

  • Pitcrew

    @Pandora said in Sexuality: IC and OOC:

    Being 'male' and a decent writer will honestly get you wherever you want to go in this hobby because the dick-drought is real and it isn't going anywhere, any time soon.

    If I could upvote this a thousand times I would. Sadly this isn't the board for all that come out of that particular quote, but thank you for saying it.

    Most of my characters have been bi because there's something to be said about mental chemistry vs physical chemistry when it comes to MUing. There is also a freedom to exploring sexuality ICly whereas it might not be something one can do in RL.

    I have yet to play a male character, though I am very curious lately. Maybe my next alt.

  • Tutorialist

    @Pandora said in Sexuality: IC and OOC:

    There is much weird going on in my head & I feel like most people are female-ing better than me.

    I feel this on such a deep level. This might be a topic for another conversation, but I feel this so much. I'm pretty happy with my bits and don't want different ones but sometimes I feel like I do the non-physical, the ephemeral, or behavior parts od being female wrong or not as well as other women.

  • @Cobaltasaurus Yeah, I feel this one, too.

    I don't stress about it as hard as I might have once, though. It nags and needles some, but then... hey, I am female. My me-ness is as legitimately female as anybody else's femaleness.

  • Pitcrew

    I would be curious as to how many women feel that way. I do too (less so now that i'm old) but always chalked it up to being raised fundamentalist with impossible and rather gross standards. I liked to read. I didn't like makeup. I questioned things. I was told I had a rebellious spirit and unless I curbed it no real man would want me. I didn't really like dresses or skirts, even though it meant I was inviting rape, as was having any friendships with a male, wanting to do male things, ect. (I wonder why I wasn't particularly THRILLED at the prospect of being a woman given how lovely a picture of what Captivating Womanhood was painted for me as something to aspire to? Hmmmm.)

    But I think that maybe this is common, if not quite as gross and spiritually rapey, in non-culty environments too? I know a lot of women from a wide variety of backgrounds who I now can think back and recall them saying or apologizing for not being a "real woman" or feeling like they related to anything as a woman. Even though I am pretty sure any "feeling" that a woman has IS by definition how a woman feels! Intellectually I know that. I do wonder how common the feeling that one isn't "typical woman" or "can't do female right" is? I suspect it is pretty high. Even in people who most people would identify as girly girl.

  • I never managed to 'feel feminine' until probably... the last couple of years.

    I was definitely lectured and berated for not being a 'proper woman' by family growing up. Given all those religious-based books on how to be a 'godly woman' or whatever, primary gifts during Christmas and birthdays of dresses, told I needed to lose weight (from a v young age), dress nicer, yadda yadda...

    There was pretty much absolutely nothing that I would call a positive/strong female role model in my life growing up. Just a lot of 'god put men on earth to guide us' and that sort of crap. And my rebelling against it and preferring to wear pants and sneakers and enjoying science and sports often made me feel like I was 'wrong' and 'broken' (because I never felt like I wasn't a girl... but I was always told I was 'doing it wrong').

    But in more recent years I've realized that the women in my life growing up just fucking sucked.

  • I'm a straight girl creature IRL, as a preamble.

    I play male and female characters I feel like pretty evenly. I first started playing men largely for setting reasons and due to my feeling that it's good if characters support the 'norm' IC sometimes (because everyone wants to be rebel-rebel it gets tired for me). I like historical games and fantasy settings which are (frustratingly) often using European feudal gender norm tropes, so there were certain types of characters like knights and trench soldiers were just going to be men if I wasn't doing something designed to push against the setting in a certain way. I didn't always want to play that, so, boys. After awhile I started doing it just because I enjoyed it, felt like it gave me more colors to draw from as a player, and because certain concepts seem more interesting to me if they're male or female. I think I do it OK. I've had players I know are guys IRL tell me they didn't know I was a woman IRL when they initially met me on a dude bit because I wasn't fucking it up too bad heh.

    I've never played a gay guy for any length of time, though it's not really intentional. I've conceived a couple characters as gay dudes but didn't care for the games I apped them on for various reasons, so they were two of the many alts I've abandoned on the woodpile. I mostly end up playing straight men (an a bisexual dude who is buttoned-up and gets no tail at all for various reasons) and more variable straight/bi/lesbian women. I'm super self-conscious about whether or not I suck at relationship RP in general but idk I enjoy it.

    I get not feeling like a woman who knows woman things IRL though that's become less of a thing as I get older. Like Roxane Gay I'm a bad feminist and bad at a lot of girl things and that's fine.

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