Foreplay: Elden Ring is a sexless game about sex | column

Try finger, but whole

Written by Erwin Vogelaar on

Whether you play Elden Ring or not, you’ve probably heard a lot about the difficulty, the freedom, and the bosses. But what about sex? Sex doesn’t play any role in this game and yet it’s all about it.

(Warning: This article contains minor spoilers for Elden Ring, but no more than what you might encounter in the early hours of the game)

When you step into the big wide world for the first time in Elden Ring, the very first character you meet says: “Too bad dude, you don’t have a girlfriend.” Or well, he says you’re maidenless. But that comes down to the same thing.

FromSoftware’s games aren’t exactly known for sex. The games are dark, gloomy, difficult and often quite dirty, but not sexy. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if I ran into some monsters making love to each other in the mud of a dark swamp. Slow and slimy.

No, in Elden Ring, most of the sexual tension consists of getting on your knees before a woman who then gives you a close hug. Not a touch to get excited about, but one that literally shrinks your life bar.

There are allusions here and there. Soon you will encounter Alexander The Iron Fist in Elden Ring. That sounds like an imposing boss that you fight and die dozens of times before you finally emerge victorious, but it isn’t. Alexander is also affectionately known as Pot Boy. It is a pot with arms and legs that is stuck in the ground.

When you answer his call for help, he says, “Just give a good smack from the rear, with something nice and big.” You don’t have to worry about hurting him with that, because he says he is well trained. If you hit him from behind with your sword, he’ll yell “Ah!” until he pops out of the ground with an “Ahhh!”.

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If I’m to believe the reactions on social media, I’m not the only one who sees more in this interaction than a pot stuck in the ground and in need of a sword blow.

Yet it is mainly the players who add sexual innuendo to the game. In Elden Ring, just like in the previous games from FromSoftware, you can leave messages in the world. These are scattered on the ground and you touch to read. Sometimes the ghost of the player making a specific move appears. For example, to point to a direction you can walk to.

But anywhere you add the ability to post content, it gets sexual. That is no different in Elden Ring. Every time a corpse is on the floor, you can also expect a message such as ‘try finger, but whole’. A message that returns in practically every FromSoftware game.

Someone writes ‘if only I had a lover’, while doing the praise the sun emote against a wall, making it look like the hole in the wall is turning into a glory hole. Another writes “chest ahead” if a female character is featured, or “rump ahead” if something resembles a butt.

fire ring

In an area where two suits of armor are next to each other, the message ‘Try two handing’ is displayed. You hope it’s a big two-handed weapon, but no: the player’s ghost spreads his arms, making it seem like he’s helping the two gentlemen in armor.

I played Elden Ring offline for a while. The Xbox version had some network issues around release and I hadn’t quit the game since then because of the handy Quick Resume. When I finally rebooted the game and automatically turned on online, the world suddenly changed from a cold, scary, sexless place to a playing field full of horny warriors.

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So it’s the players who make Elden Ring sexual, but not just in messages. Earlier we wrote about Buttplug.io, a way to make games with butt plugs work together. The creator of Buttplug.io has now turned to Elden Ring: “You want Elden Ring up your ass and we’re committed to making that happen.”

The result is an update that makes the butt plug vibrate every time you get hit in Elden Ring. That’s how it works. Even a cock ring works with the game, with the obvious name Elden Cockring.

But there’s something else: Elden Ring is a no-sex game that’s really about sex, and it’s deeply rooted in the game’s design. I don’t know how you guys play, but I find Elden Ring really exciting. When I play it my muscles are tense, my heart rate is high and my breathing is fast.

Constant anticipation of what may come. And then the long fights that make you sweaty and completely exhausted, with eventually that huge feeling of release when you beat a boss. Doesn’t that feel like you have to light a cigarette afterwards? That’s a lot for a game that is so good and grips you so much that once you start you won’t have sex for a while.

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