Baldur’s Gate III’s Bear Scene Proves It's Time to End Pop Culture's Worst Trend

Am I the pervert here?

Sex in media is too often defined by a fade to black or the cheeky innuendo-filled shot. But few sex scenes ever show the naked (pun intended!) truth of it all. In recent years and even months, there has been a widespread aversion to outright horniness in media, and games aren’t excluded. Reactions to an intimate scene from the upcoming RPG Baldur’s Gate III are just another example of this trend. But it’s about time games learned to be unafraid of being horny.

Developer Larian Studios held a Baldur’s Gate III showcase called the Panel From Hell on July 7 that showed off the game ahead of its August 3 release date. One steamy slice of the showcase involved High Elf vampire Astarion having a nighttime rendezvous with the Wood Elf druid Halsin (a party member).

The two prepare to get it on, undressing, at which point Halsin gets a little too excited and loses control of his abilities — transforming into a bear.

Why does the squirrel get to watch the hot druid sex but we don’t?

Larian Studios

The scene gives players multiple dialogue options but the one the crowd chose had Astarion encouraging Halsin to stay in his bear form while the two get intimate. Naturally, they start getting handsy and they can’t stop eye-fucking each other. But before anything interesting happens the camera pans away to a very shocked Squirrel.

While the lead-up to this moment is equally sexy, intimate, and funny it pulls the same trick that movies and TV have been doing for ages. Why don’t we get to see the druid sex that is enough to shock a squirrel into dropping an acorn?!

Back in 2021, RS Benedict wrote an article for Blood Knife titled “Everyone is beautiful and no one is horny.” The thesis of the article is that modern blockbuster entertainment has become all but sexless, despite the characters within media looking hotter than ever. The key example of this is the MCU, which is filled with actors on restrictive exercise regiments that make them look like Greek gods, but who rarely (if ever) get it on.

BioWare games contain some of the most sex scenes in the industry but still lack true horniness or any emotion.

Early in 2023, the internet discourse machine turned to the topic of sex scenes in media. There was talk of the pointlessness and even unappealing nature of sex scenes, with actors like You’s Penn Badley sharing with Variety his hatred of sex scenes on the basis that it doesn’t feel right while he’s in a committed relationship. Many shared the sentiment that the Hays Code should be reinstated.

In video games, the topic of sex has often been taboo. For the majority of the 21st century video games have been hornier for things like guns and over-the-top violence than anything related to sex.

Perhaps the most sex-forward games (in the AAA space) in recent decades are Dragon Age and Mass Effect, both from BioWare. While many fans have found meaning in the relationships offered in these franchises the mechanical purpose of a sex scene is often as a reward for seeing a questline to completion and picking the romance dialogue option enough times.

It isn’t very nuanced, even if it is better than something like the original Witcher’s portrayal of women as literal sex objects to be collected in the form of in-game nudie cards. It's rather boring — and leaves sex feeling like just another thing to check off on the to-do list of side quests.

There is no sex allowed between Jill and Clive in Final Fantasy XVI

Square Enix

There is an obsession with sex as a vessel for viewing perfect bodies in motion, but nothing more. Final Fantasy XVI (the mature one) features the most skin in the series to date, with multiple sexual situations between characters. But the game fails to truly do anything with the topic of sex and its place in this world or what it means for the characters. Like much of the game’s aesthetic, it is emulating Game of Thrones in its use of sex as a shorthand for edginess.

Baldur’s Gate III will debut in the thick of this discourse. Though the game may shy away from showing us full-on bear sex, Larian Studio’s penchant for well-written and complex dialogue that emphasizes player freedom could allow for a more nuanced take on sex and romance in games. The enthusiastic online reaction to the latest footage of the game proves there are a whole lot of players out there looking for some raunchy thrills.

Baldur’s Gate III launches on August 3 for PC and on September 6 for PS5.

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