Polymorphously Perverse: One Man's Experience Playing a Sex Video Game (and other news)

Welcome to the Weekly Roundup where I pull together all the news involving women and gaming so you don’t have to! In the past week there have been quite a few interesting articles dealing with gender, race, and sexuality so I’m going to divide this roundup into two posts, one today and one tomorrow (I also have a paper due this week so I don’t have quite as much time to devote to posting as normal).

Adam Miller wrote an article last week entitled ‘The Sex Video Game Polymorphous Perversity Made Me Question My Identity”. The article can be accessed here via Kotaku or here on Miller’s site Clever Musings. For those of you unfamiliar with the game Polymorphouse Perversity it is an indie game created by Nicolau Chaud dealing with the Freuding concept of polymorphous perversity, the idea that infants sexually desire everyone and everything before they are taught proper modes of sexuality. A previous article on Kotaku explains:

The premise of the game is straightforward: you’d be a young guy with a sexual disorder who stumbles onto a world where everything is about sex. Instead of saving the world, you’d go on an adventure to ‘discover your sexuality.’ It’d be an RPG, only without battles in the traditional sense—you’d be fucking people (who can give you STDs as status ailments), and your performance is graded afterward.


Miller’s embarked on his adventure with the game in an attempt to explore the connections between psychology and libido, appropriate goals considering game-maker Chaud has a history in psychology. As Miller played the game, he quickly realized how problematic it was. While at first the turn-based comment that featured “fuck” as an attack was merely discomforting, the game’s portrayal of transsexual’s particularly disturbed Miller. In-game they were labeled as “trannys” a term most transsexuals find offensive.  Miller points out that

Worse, the transsexuals have very demeaning dialogue; transsexuals in this game are presented as sex predators because of it. They all sound like men during sex. You get HPV after being penetrated by them. Doesn’t all of this convey a rather narrow worldview?

Instead of encouraging a player to explore sexuality, the game merely encourages the player to direct a male character to “fuck” everything in site or risk dying through depletion of the “horny meter”. Wonderful game right? While the game seems less like an exploration of sexuality and more like male fantasy,the portrayal of transsexuals within the game stirred in him some emotions that he had suppressed for some time, namely that he was not happy with the sex assigned to him at birth.  This is a brave admission in light of how the gaming community usually reacts towards discussions of sexuality and gender. The comments are particularly delightful, one commenter saying

Having Adam review this game is like having an Iraq veteran suffering from PTSD review Modern Warfare 3. What are you THINKING, Kotaku? Did you put ANY thought into this? Why was a game that was created thoughtfully by a sexually active straight adult male reviewed by a VERY sexually confused virgin?

So basically, a straight white male should probably review every game because that’s typically the target audience right? Luckily many other commenters were supportive of Millerss admission of sexual confusion. I think some of Miller’s comments of the game are still very apt:

I don’t know if I’m happier identifying as a man or a woman. I don’t know if I’m hetero-, homo-, bi-, or pansexual. What I do know is what I’m taking away from playing Polymorphous Perversity: it’s okay to be yourself, just as long as you’re a sexually overactive male without decency or standards. Everyone else should be ashamed of themselves, including me.

So, if you are a straight, white, cis-male go play Polymorphous Perversity and have fun validating your sexuality! For everyone else (myself included), I’m going to recommend ignoring the game unless you’re using it as evidence of continued misogyny in video games.

Continuing with our apparent theme of gender and sex confusion, according to this article by Owen good, the Minecraft guy is supposed to be gender neutral.


While the default character skin has a goatee and is often considered male, most creatures in Minecraft are supposed to be either gender neutral, or portray traits from both genders. According to creator Markus “Notch” Perrson :

All other living things in the game are genderless, if not exhibiting the traits of both genders. “The chicken/duck/whatevers have heads that look like roosters, but still lay eggs,” he says. Cows have both horns and udders

One of the things that allows Minecraft to designate living creatures as one gender is the pixelated graphics of the game. The graphics don’t allow for must distinction of gender, so Notch made everything one gender so that gamers wouldn’t have to worry about it. Clearly gamers have created new skins designed to create the illusion of different genders for the base human model, but on a basic level, every living thing in Minecraft is monosexed. Take that gender binaries!.

I feel like discussing gender binaries is a good segue into feminism! I identify as a feminist personally, which you could probably tell from my previous articles. Jenn Frank wrote an excellent article last week (okay okay it’s been two weeks but I missed it for last week’s roundup) called “I was a Teenage Sexist” In the article Frank deals with her journey of being a woman in misogynist culture, and how she finally realized feminism was for her. This is a great article, but rather long, so here were some of the highlights of the article for me:

Instead, feminism – and other types of social justice, I figure – acknowledges that there is an invisible pattern of experience that comes along with being, very visibly, something else.

You don’t have to think of ladies as “victims” – I’d prefer you didn’t – and you don’t even have to think of some experiences as “baggage.”

But feminism does ask you, as an ethical human being, to objectively reexamine certain standards of behavior, which themselves are often based on an internalized, invisible set of shared beliefs and values.

Feminism isn’t about holding another sex in higher esteem than the male sex. Rather, it’s about anti-sexism.

It’s about making sure your child doesn’t grow up believing she is somehow subhuman.

And if someone ever makes your child feel like he or she deserves abuse, you better hope that kid is confident and surefooted enough to fight back.

Again, I would recommend reading the whole article, especially if you’re on the fence about your feelings of feminism. Frank does a good job of examining why feminism can be hard to embrace for many women, but why she feels (and I agree) it’s so important.

So those are some of the interesting articles that surfaced last week, I’ll continue to point out more articles tomorrow as I continue the Weekly Roundup!


  1. Great post! I am highly disturbed that a game like Polymorphous Perversity even exists. I don’t see how it shows sexual exploration when, as you said, is one perverted male’s wet dream in video game form.

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