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Sunday, January 15

The Asexual Sheppard


Here's a really interesting perspective of sex in the Mass Effect realm from a person who describes themselves as asexual. 

"Back when Mass Effect 2 was a few days from release, I loaded up a New Game Plus of my main career to make all the choices I wanted to stick with me for the sequel. It was going so well, until I discovered I had said one friendly thing too many to Liara and hadn't the time for a do-over. And so I was left with making one uncharacteristic Renegade dialogue option after another to deter the poor, virginal asari, who was only trying to help and didn't realize I was genuinely uninterested in having sex with her.

The infamous dialogue trees in the Mass Effect franchise preceed it. Bioware's Ray Muzyka calls it "emotional engagement." I call it "treating sex as the ultimate stage of a relationship." I'm not against participating in game romances; as much as I feel we burden the two franchises by constantly comparing Mass Effect and Dragon Age, it's true the two are siblings and yet one has vastly different ideas on relationships than the other. Dragon Age portrays romantic relationships which unfold over time, which deepen, and which face challenges. Sex is generally a part of that, but never to the extent it seems like the raison d'etre of pursuing some companionship in Mass Effect.

"Why so uptight?" you might be wondering. "Are you a prude or something?" Good thing you asked. For a while I thought that that was exactly where my discomfort stemmed from, although it didn't line up with the rest of what I thought I knew about myself. It took some lengthy self-discovery to realize that I just don't place sex and love in remotely the same category, and that I was hurting trying to convince myself I felt otherwise.

I categorize myself as panromantic asexual. I once described this on my blog as being "a hands-off Jack Harkness." I feel no compunctions about forming emotional relationships with people but I'm not interested in sex."

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