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Remember: Sex has no place in RP

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There's little doubt that the debate over how to effectively role-play sex is one of the most contentious points of discussion out of all the topics regarding in-game content. If you were to ask six people, you would probably get six unique perspectives as to its place in role-play, and how best to handle such situations from an IC perspective.

Some people will tell you that there's absolutely nothing wrong with role-playing it, while others will say that if it's done tastefully, there's not really an argument that can be made against it. Others will tell you that it has absolutely zero place in a role-playing forum.

Count me among those who believe that it has no place in actual RP. There are both moral and legal issues as to why the actual act of sex - the definition of sex I will be using is anything that exceeds what you would see in a PG-13 movie - should not be role-played in any way, shape, or form, censored or otherwise. Here are three classic arguments in favor of role-played sex, and the rebuttal for each contention.

  • But if it happens in real life, you should be allowed to role-play it!

This is the argument from many advocates championing the cause of allowing role-played sex to infiltrate RP forums. To some, it's a valid point, but not to me. If you don't role-play your character eating three square meals, drinking regularly, brushing his or her teeth, tripping and falling, reading, writing, sleeping, vomiting, urinating and defecating, then you cannot possibly expect this argument to be seen as valid. For the record, I have yet to see a single character in any role-playing forum I've visited do each and every little thing that happens in real life in explicit detail. You imply all of those things; you can imply sex and role-play out the ramifications. It's not a difficult concept.

  • But I don't get anything out of it other than the satisfaction of developing my character!

Give me a show of hands to see who does not get any personal stimulation from role-playing sex, and I'll show you a crop of delusional people and/or liars. Humans are wired to be stimulated by such things, regardless of whether it's via sight, sound, touch or sheer imagination. Don't be fooled by someone claiming that you can role-play sex without getting anything out of it personally, because they're probably just fibbing to gain acceptance and pave the way for their actions to become allowable.

No matter how much you try to delineate between IC and OOC, especially when it comes to this hot-button issue, bear this mantra in mind: if you decide to role-play the act of sex with your character, it is still you. It is still you reading the text, typing the words, and conjuring the thoughts in your head.

By the same token, the other character is another person, and you have no idea who that person is. It could be a 13-year-old child who doesn't know what they're getting into, a raging hormonal teenager looking for a 'good time', or a 30-year-old disgruntled husband or wife who uses role-playing sex as a form of cheating for which they can find some fashion of deluded justification. Needless to say, there is a huge moral responsibility which comes with the territory of role-playing sex, and not one of us are humanly capable of properly dealing with the 'scum of the earth' tag which will come from one or more critics of the behavior.

  • Morals? We don't need no stinking morals!

Aside from the moral and ethical obligation you have to your fellow gamers to not endanger their game-playing experience (or abet them in escaping their real lives in improper fashions), there are also legal implications for role-playing sexual situations in general role-play forums. To be blunt, if there's not an age verification to make sure that you are of legal age in whatever country the game originates (age 18 in the United States, generally ages 16-21 in other countries), don't bring it into the game. In most cases, it is a violation of federal regulations to introduce adult content into a place that's accessible by minors, tastefully written or otherwise. This not only gets you in trouble, but the forum you’re using will take some heat as well.

You can be sure there are plenty of 18+ role-playing forums (usually full of cyber-freaks who get their jollies from enacting all their fantasies in explicit detail) and porn fiction sites that would be more than happy to harbor your craving to write smut. Those places are designed for things like that. Your average role-playing forum is not.

Simply put, if someone cannot function in role-play without carrying out sexual acts, there is a problem that needs addressing. That problem should not be brought to light in means where a person can so easily corrupt the morals of another human being (or enable those who already corrupt their own morals), nor should it crop up in a venue where an entire game can be shut down due to legal concerns. Keep it out of role-play.