Limit Break (Sex and Video Games)
Sex is a violent act. I say violent not in the sense of aggressive physical force but in the way of control and objectification. To have sex with someone is to oppress them into the form of an object, even if just for the period. It is violent in the way that language is violent in that it takes a formless object or concept and gives it form and meaning at the behest of the speaker, or the fucker, and in defiance of its own self. Sex is a violence upon and by both parties. Language is a violence upon and by both parties; a form of control. Sex is a language.
Within the AAA space, and outside of mere narrative driven formalities, instances of sex tend to be relegated to a reward status. The dating sim model that gives you control of the drive towards sex but not the sex itself is the same one that is used across genres, from Bioware’s romance plots to GTA’s girlfriends. Beyond the awkward arse manipulation in Fahrenheit, an occasional ‘press X to kiss your wife’, players are rarely given control of the act of objectification itself, as if to say that that is a step too far. We will let the characters remain their own subjects if just for this moment. Even as they force each other into being objects, even as we gaze upon them with our own objectifying eye.
The moment of orgasm is the release of the oppressed subject under the pressure of objectification. It shares this with the conceptual mechanic of the limit break. As a body in a JRPG is further subjected to the violence of definition it is reduced from a possibilityscape to a an object with an end. Which is to say as it is brought closer to death and the final collapse to pure flesh, a limit gauge builds up. Before full death then comes the little death of orgasm. The body contracts upon itself, becomes a thing of pure flesh, alone and whole and thus intrinsic to eternity and everything beyond itself. It is also a release of the self. An imposition of selfhood back upon the world and the beings that have been forcing objectification. It should not be a surprise maybe that the only mechanic in Hentai games is basically a version of the limit break.
Hentai games are strange, in that it is often not clear who is the subject of the commands the player is issuing, especially in oral sex scenarios or other games where the female body is active rather than passive. Is the player taking the role of the female body upon the screen or of the male body, issuing commands to the female body themselves? Who even does the pleasure meter correspond to? (It is almost entirely always a female body on screen and a male body off screen, although there are certainly alternative examples, while dating games allow for both male and female protagonists) The violence of sex is to create, rather than dissolve, boundaries. It is an active distillation of your sexual partner into their body.
So that you can manipulate that body and expel its spirit into a void where personhood is re-found in the totality of existence.
Consensual Torture Simulator is a final distillation of this. A re-skinned Hentai game that gives you post and pre-sex textual cues as an attempt to subjectify your partner, but the female body that you engage with is pure object. You are given a list of things to do to that body, but it is only your body which is shown to suffer. No matter what happens to her, she never says the safe word, she keeps on taking whatever you wish to give. Conversely, it is only when the player tires that the game forces a break. There is no money shot, but the pace and rhythm of sex is still in the control and the stamina of the fucker. No matter, it is not how long you can last that is important any more. She is herself, beyond you. Unattainable. Giving nothing, even as you feel nothing but your own exhaustion. Alone.
And then you have a nice cup of tea together.