The Last Of Us Part 2 Proves Video Games Need Better Intimate Scenes

Video games have been horny for a long time. They include plenty of flirty banter, scantily clad characters, shirtless dudes with watermelon crushing thighs, and women with tits so big and buoyant they'd make a stripper blush. Everyone is just getting hotter, yet I can count on one hand the number of good sex scenes I've played through. What gives?

The Last Of Us Part 2 has two good sex scenes, while almost the entire rest of the triple-A scene is in the midst of a long dry spell. The first is an early moment when Ellie and Dina are out on patrol. During a blizzard, they take shelter in a warm cannabis grow, get high, take their clothes off, and have sex. There's no coercion, no wink at the camera, no attempt to titillate the viewer, just two people taking solace in each other's bodies and getting away from the horrors of the zombie-infested world.

Dina teasingly asks Ellie to rate their kiss from the previous night, the pair leaning closer together as the scene plays out. The lighting is warm, the camera holds the pair in frame, the mood is perfectly set and the sexual tension is palpable. Ellie grabs her face and starts kissing her again and the screen cuts to black.

When the scene resumes, the pair are lying in their underwear, running their hands over each other's scars, exploring their bodies intimately – it's the kind of mature approach to life the medium claims to strive for but often fails to accomplish. It's a beautiful scene that allows the two characters to connect on a deep level that doesn't pander to the male gaze. It's just a lovely sex scene.

Another aspect of Ellie and Dina’s scene that elevates it beyond typical video game romps is that we see the aftermath. It reminds me of the sex scenes from Normal People, a show about Marianne and Connel, a couple who orbit each other from school through university. We see so much of them right after the act. Cuddling naked in bed, drying off after a shower, and seconds after orgasm when Marianne is asking Connel if he fancies anyone else, to which he laughs, "I'm literally still inside you."

Sex isn’t just wham bam thank you ma'am like when Nathan and Chloe fuck in Uncharted 2. Dina and Ellie care about the body that's just given them their respite. They want to know more about it, its history, its secrets. It's a tender moment that demonstrates how sex extends beyond the act itself. It's the buildup and the comedown as well.

But sex doesn’t need to always be romantic and cute, something else The Last of Us Part 2 demonstrates. When playing as Abby, she finds her fellow Washington Liberation Front member and ex-boyfriend Owen sitting in his boat drinking. He tells her he’s leaving the WLF, he’s sick of all the fighting and killing for a cause he no longer believes in. The two argue and he cruelly mocks her earlier quest for revenge. She slams him into a cupboard and he grabs the hair at the top of her neck, pulling her head back.

As the pair slowly remove their hands from each other they begin to passionately kiss. They’re covered in dirt and rain, but they pull each other’s clothes off and Abby turns around to bend over a kitchen island. Instead of cutting to black, the scene remains on Abby, with Owen in the background, as they start moaning with pleasure.

This is more graphic than any other video game sex that comes to mind – outside of actual porn games – and it’s used brilliantly. God of War always used to feature sex minigames that had Kratos grunting and women shrieking in ecstasy, but that was never anything more than fan service, part of a power fantasy. Sex can be a natural human response to just about any strong emotion, including anger and sadness – Abby and Owen show that. The scene also sexualises Abby in a way that probably gave all the critics of her ‘masculine’ physique an aneurism. Muscular women fuck and men want to fuck them.

Those two scenes are pretty much all that come to mind when it comes to sex in video games, and they’re both from the same game. Boyfriend Dungeon explores consent in a nuanced and approachable way, and Hades offers up a hot bisexual threesome, so I’m aware indies are making strong strides in the right direction, but triple-A still has a long way to go – plus these aren’t really ‘scenes’ so much as they are ‘conversations’.

If triple-A gaming really wants to be as mature as it claims to be, then it needs to embrace sex. We’re all the product of it, and it comes in many weird and wonderful forms. Shying away from the act or simply joking about it isn’t helping anyone. Instead of emulating cinema by becoming bigger and more explosion-packed, video games should learn how to depict sex in nuanced and interesting ways so that they can better portray the human experience. Watching Normal People and The Worst Person in the World would be a good start.

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