Horny Discourse: jump with me


#1

I don’t know how to introduce this topic other than to say games media has embraced a certain level of what’s been affectionately referred to as “horniness” in the content it produces. This ranges to Griffin McElroy and Nick Robinson making Skyrim fuckdolls garnished with a Bandicoot voyeurism, to bastionfucks.com routing to Waypoint, to a thread on this forum’s first day about the Hottest Daddy in Video Games (Bowser).

I’ve seen some stuff said about this here and there—some twitter threads and such—but haven’t caught any Medium think pieces. And rather than just one person’s take, this is the kind of thing I’d like to see discussed more by people who consume the discourse rather than those who often generate it. (Though that perspective is welcome, too! @Danika did mention it on her appearance on Woodland Secrets )

Honestly, I’m just curious what people think about this gradual shift to a more sex-present games media. Maybe it’s not that much of a shift, and we’re all just giving a name to the general weird internet-sex crassness that’s always been brewin and stewin. But if it is a legitimate pivot, is it positive? Is it a well of jokes sure to run dry? Would that matter? Is it refreshing? Maybe most importantly, how does this kind of thing play with the fact that games have a long history of casual to explicit sexism and misogyny (not to mention transphobia, homophobia, biphobia, and just a general disrespect of the gender and sex spectrum)? Does games’ mishandling of these identities run separate from how games are being covered?


TL;DR—bastion fucks, thoughts?


#2

first off, Bastion definitely does not fuck. How dare you

Secondly, I think the shift has a lot more to do with the introduction of a lot more voices into the collective…eh, discourse, I guess. Could be something interesting to see discussed at length tho


#3

i think that there was a hard swing towards lambasting all horniness in games because it was almost always done poorly and in sexist ways, and now it’s coming back the other way because people are slowly finding out that it can be done well and in ways that are not offensive. Or at least that’s my general sense of how things are trending lately.


#4

I feel like it’s a combination of earnest sex-positive sentiment as well as playing with the humor and discomfort that comes with talking about sexual themes.


#5

The way I had perceived the issue, around when Nick’s Krystal tweet and FemFreq’s response to it, was that there’s a style of humor based on “horniness” that has been growing around queer women twitter, a very open and playful but extremely veiled in humor - something that grew out of, honestly, necessity, of being a queer person and not having any other outlet in your life to express that sort of thing. It quickly became sort of a “Safe Space”, but an open one.

Austin had gone out of his way to say that he, and Waypoint, as a point, wanted to elevate those voices and create that kind of content centered around games, since there are so many queer people who write and work for the site and read/view it. This put that “brand” up on display to a height it hadn’t been previously, and when you do that, you open up your “content” to be treated as such: content. memes. jokes. repeatable and reproducible. There was an entire thing so long ago at this point about “Polygon vs Waypoint’s ‘Horny’”, and it led to Austin giving sort of a teardown about what he was trying to do by elevating those voices through his platform and trying to be careful about appropriating that voice without care. No one, save queer people, knew what he was talking about because most didn’t know that context, so it blew over pretty quickly.

There was no issue addressed at that point, but the idea of “Brands” (or cis men) being “Horny Online In This Specific Way” as a New Cool Way To Brand Your Shit started showing its head. It kind of reached a head with Nick’s tweet about Krystal, and Feminist Frequency of all things’ response to it. The interaction itself was whatever. What was said doesn’t matter more than the principle of it reaching that scope. A queer woman very In The Shit of Queer Horny Online issued a public teardown on the whole situation at the time, explaining that it felt like not only men, but now Businesses were jumping on this bandwagon that was born as a way for queer women to find a voice, to find an identity in humor but also sexuality, that it felt like everything was being taken away and that they couldn’t have their fun anymore.

It feels somewhat of a similar vein to me as white people repeating back Vine memes, unaware in appropriating AAVE in their general humor, latching onto memes without understanding the context. It’s the nature of how content is shared and I feel like this Horniness Discourse is, or at least should be, a part of a much larger conversation, but that’s a separate Whole Thing. Queer women just don’t want their thing swiped, for fairly valid reasons, and I think that’s worth respect. At the same time, it’s not like anything can be done about it but sit and watch it get away from us. But it’s also not ultimately a bad thing if more people start embracing their sexuality and their identity and explore that through humor, as y’all are saying about embracing sex-positivity. That is a really good thing. Ultimately, it’s just a matter of the space an individual’s voice is taking up.


#6

This. It’s become somewhat of a trend and therefore almost memeified, but otherwise I think this is the root of it. I think it’s definitely a good thing because I’m very much for sex positivity but it’s also pretty funny most of the time.


#7

Its…largely positive, but I think that it escalates a lot of complex political issues about sex and sexualization and media designed for consumption that I’m increasingly unqualified to weigh in on, by virtue of not being part of the target audience whatsoever


#8

I think you’re super on point. As a queer non-binary person, feeling the space open up for this weird “horny” humor was, as I suggested it could be, refreshing (even though I didn’t take part in it—my twitter presence is weird), and the FemFreq/Nick Robinson moment is super illustrative of the bubble being punctured in a bizarre way where groups with similar motivations to give voice and space to queer groups couldn’t mesh, mostly because of the way you describe how it evolved—from a desire to be expressive about a queer, “nerd”-influenced experience of sex and gender, and the FemFreq side coming from a more mainstream end of that spectrum, whereas Polygon and Waypoint editors have the ability to slip into the fringe. Speaking personally, I think their ability to do that has been really crucial in my staying interested in games as a space for expression and community. It’d be hard to understate how the opening of these spaces has impacted the development of my personal identity.

The fact that horniness has become a “brand” is especially interesting to me, though, because I wonder what the phenomenon becomes over time. Does FemFreq (and, I guess, other established feminists of that ilk) continue to not realize their criticism isn’t really pointed in the way they think it is, or does a dialogue about this open up in a way that is more than just an appropriation for the sake of memes and jokes. It wouldn’t be a whole wash, I think, since I’m with you in that people examining their sexuality, however they arrive at that process, is probably a net positive for that person.


#9

Because one of my primary ways for thinking about media and art has been through my own (queer, trans, filthy as heck) sexual desires, I’m generally happy about the recent horniness in the video game discourse. I do wish it could be more in depth and explicit instead of so tongue in cheek–more personal articles about sex and games to go with the funny tweets–but I value the humorous approach as well. And, of course, a more explicit discourse would probably be more open to skeevy misogyny and co-option by people who aren’t as marginalized as queer and trans folks.


#10

Perhaps it’ll be the jokes first, serious discourse later, as a product of it feeling more normalized. That may still open it up to skeevy misogyny, though. Nothing’s really safe.


#11

I’m into it, and the only thing I’m concerned about is that the horniness will remain jokey and surface-level. I’m a straight guy, so pretty plain stuff going on over here, but the more I learn, the more I want to listen and learn more. I would love to hear more personal stories and deeper examinations of sex and games, and sex in games, beyond horny mods and shipping, which I kind of see a lot of. I guess I want to see it go beyond 140 characters, basically.


#12

I think a lot of my misgivings are really just a product of it all being filtered through Twitter.


#13

like most things it takes a certain finesse to pull it off well. I think games like the Witcher and the early Mass Effects did it well, but I felt like the newest Mass Effect was written by people who were maybe a little tooo into the romance from the first games and they kept trying to cram more of it in where it didn’t fit. And that’s besides a lot of the very basic issues they had in exploring certain horniness and sexuality


#14

I haven’t played the new Mass Effect, but from what I’ve heard it seems like it attempts to make games uh, too sex-filled too fast? And do so from a very surface level? Kind of, it gives off an immaturity to me when it comes to sex and what it means to connect to a person on that level, an inability to look at their romance options as the people they are.


#15

I definitely feel like games are still miles behind the discourse surrounding them, that instance of a trans character dead naming themselves in Andromeda being a prime example. A lot of that feels like posturing. The context people bring to games that often have nothing to do with anything we’re discussing in this thread is usually what’s most interesting to me. I thought the Hyper Light Drifter piece from a few days ago was a great example of this.


#16

I normally praise earnestness in media, but a lot of the Andromeda stuff I saw (secondhand, various sources) looked like it was just handled…clumsily. PB in particular.


#17

Ah, that’s exactly the kind of thing I want, yes. People talking about how this or that game helped them have a certain experience or realize something about themselves, or bring them closer to people they were more comfortable sharing things with. I can’t even imagine how many untold stories are out there about the most unexpected games that would add precious new context to them if shared at a place like Waypoint.


#18

I have feelings on two fronts.

In one way it’s weird that a lot of gay vernacular is making its way into video series’ that I watched featuring only straight people, but that is the oft repeated cycle (shade being the most prominent)

The other way is the adoption of horny by Brands in general which just seems sweaty to me.


#19

I think the more ways we find to poke fun at sexuality without being gross, offensive, or creepy the more we can get away from the general taboo of seriously discussing sexuality. I can’t tell you how many of my friends went from making fun of kinks, furries, or whatever only to discover later that some of those things are legit attractive to them. If we can get away from male-gaze focused, creepy sex-related humor (like Ryuji making grabbing motions towards Ann in a swimsuit) and replace it with more “I think this robot is hot as fuck” kinds of humor, it’d be for the better.


#20

I’m just here to encourage the brands to be freely horny and let them all know that butts are good and nice. Y’all need to talk about a good bum more often.