Editor’s note: This content originally appeared on a site I used to write for but that site is no longer around. I was recently asked by a grad school student if she could use this post and the follow up post for a talk she’s presenting on virtual worlds and different perspectives. I’m reprinting the piece here so that she can use it. There’s some salty language here, so be warned.
For some reason I usually play as women when playing RPGs. Maybe it’s because I’m a man in real life, so playing as a woman represents a new experience. Maybe it’s because if I’m going to be staring at someone’s ass for 40 hours, I’d prefer it to be a female one. I truly have no idea. I don’t always play as a woman. In Fallout 3 I was a man. In Knights of the Old Republic I was a man. In Fable 2, I decided to be a woman, and it has been an eye opening experience.
I was intially wary about playing a woman in Fable 2 due to all of the various relationship stuff. Simply put, as a woman, I was pretty sure I didn’t want to have sex with a man. This isn’t a homophobic thing, more that if I was playing a rough and tumble adventurer the notion of having sex with a man seemed, I don’t know, too submissive for the character. Read into that all you want, but that’s how I felt. The notion of having a child also seemed off. Call it years of gender imprinting, but for some reason it seemed wrong to play as a woman and then leave my kid behind while I went out and traversed the world. I’m not saying it makes me a good person to think that’s ok for a man but not for a woman, I’m just saying how I felt. Now, truth be told, were I to play a man, I wouldn’t have any kids in the game for just that reason, but I’d probably be ok with the sex part.
After giving it more thought, I figured that playing as a woman would be a good way to address these gender inequalities in my brain, so a woman I became. Now, I’m not saying that I’m regretting the decision, but at the same time, I’m not so sure I would do it this way again.
My problems started when I got a little renown (Fable 2 rewards renown points when you complete quests to give you a measure of how well the world knows you). Getting a bit of a reputation combined with the fact that I wasn’t so evil, or so scarred from combat ineptitude meant that townspeople started noticing me as I walked about. Being a friendly sort, I’d do dances for them, or have my dog do tricks, things to just make people happy and to feel better. It didn’t take long before I’d have these guys following me around telling me about how they’d like to get closer to me and other such nonsense. I’d be trying to buy something in the store and have four guys pestering me for gifts, or telling me what they’d like to do to me.
Here I am trying to be friendly, and that’s all, and all they can do is see me as someone to have sex with. I mean, Christ, I’m a hard working, adventuring woman. I’m more than some strumpet that’s here to give you gifts and blowjobs. It got to the point where I was so pissed that they wouldn’t leave me alone that I slapped one of them and lit off a spell so that the others would run away. I don’t think it’s asking too much to be left alone in the tavern while I try to have a drink.
As I was working towards gaining achievements as well as playing the game proper, I decided to get married. I chose Tim the farmer, a loveable if somewhat daft older man from the village of Oakfield. We moved into Serenity farm, I gave him an allowance and as it was our wedding night, I decided to have sex with him.
After giving my sexiest “come hither” expression we retired to the bedroom. The screen goes black and I’m treated to the sounds of Tim moaning and groaning, no doubt as he climbed aboard and pumped his way to happiness. I kept waiting for my own sounds of pleasure but none came. Just more moans and groans from Timothy before the eventual groan de resistance. After that the scene returned to the bedroom with me standing by the bed. To say I was unimpressed, if not downright pissed is an understatement.
Where were my moans and groans? Where was my pleasurable experience? I’m not numb for Christ’s sake! I have a libido too you know and it ain’t gonna be taken care of by Timmy humping and pumping atop me. Where’s my orgasm? I am a strong, fierce, capable woman and I deserve, nay, demand an orgasm!
So, with Tim sated I decided to leave. Truth be told, I felt a bit bad about leaving him behind, but I set him up with a daily allowance and figured he knew what he was getting into when he married me. I wasn’t gone, maybe 14 hours, the time it takes to travel to Rookridge, when the game tells me that I should look at the “Families” section of the game and check up on Tim. I do so and there, at the bottom of the screen, in red letters it reads “Wants sex”.
Wants sex? Wants sex?! We just had sex! Like, not even a full day ago. And it wasn’t even good sex! And now he wants it again? Well, tough titty Timmie, mama’s got bills to pay. I go about my business, killing bandits and such and again the game tells me that again I should check on Tim. So I do so and I see that in all areas Tim is “Happy” or “Very Happy” but the overall relationship status is “Fine” and he still wants sex. Are you fucking kidding me? I work my fingers to the bone for this asshole who doesn’t do a goddamn thing but mill about the fucking house and even though he’s happy in every way he can be, our relationship status is “fine” because I’m not there to fuck him? Well fuck that and fuck him.
I am not your little fuck toy, Tim. I have a job, Tim. I’m sorry that your life is so meaningless that you can’t relate to me on any level other than sexual, Tim. You know, maybe this whole marriage was a mistake. I mean, I was young and I thought, I thought that you were someone I could build a life with and now, I find out that all I am to you is someplace to stick Tim Jr. Well I don’t need that. As soon as I get the Temple of Shadows open, you and I are taking a trip. Just don’t make any plans for the return trip, cause chances are, you won’t be taking it.
Whew! Sorry about that, got a little carried away there. Now, I’m not sure if the game behaves exactly the same way if you’re a man, but if it does, somehow I think it would be less annoying. As a man, having women giggling and cooing around you is the classic male fantasy, whereas when you’re a woman, the men following you around come off as creepy stalkers. As a man, being in bed with a woman who is vocal in her enjoyment makes you feel like you’re the greatest lover in the world. You know you’d be getting something out of it, even without noise, because, well, biologically it’s kind of hard not to. Not so for a woman, which is why my silence makes me feel like Tim ain’t holding up his end of the bargain and I ain’t having none of that. Luckily there are gay women in Albion so I may have to make haste for the Isle of Lesbos. At least then I can pretend that the pleasurable sounds are my own.
All in all, I’m glad I decided to take the plunge as a woman, even with the difficulties. It has certainly opened up my eyes to a small fraction of what it must be like to be a woman trying to make a living and be seen for herself and not as a sex object. It also makes me think back to my immature days when I, unfortunately, wasn’t above pestering my partner for sex. Again, I’m not proud of myself, but young guys aren’t the smartest, or most selfless of animals and I’d be lying if I said it never happened, as would any other man out there. I’ve gotten over it, and truthfully with two kids, a full time job and a part time job my libido often takes second fiddle to my exhaustion, but the next time me and my wife aren’t on the same sexual page, instead of being frustrated, I’m going to think about how annoying Tim is and get over it.
After all, I don’t want my wife leading me to the Temple of Shadows. That wheel can be murder.