With all the stress and anxiety many of us feel around sex, it’s easy to forget that it’s meant to be fun. It’s essentially grown-up playtime — an opportunity to explore, try stuff out and focus on pleasure. Fretting about your performance is understandable, especially if you have a judgmental partner, or have had one in the past. But you’ll have a better time if you remember that sex is basically an enjoyable pastime like any other — only nakeder.
One way to access this mindset is through sex games: board games, dice games, video games, conversation-based games and more. Whether you play them alone, with a partner or with a whole group, they can open your mind to new kinds of pleasure and make it easier to communicate about what you like and want.
Why Play Sex Games?
Kenton, the product designer behind playful sex toy company Funkit Toys, tells me there are several reasons a couple (or throuple, or polycule) might want to kick-start a sex session with a game. “If you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, you’re in a bit of a rut and you wanna mix it up but you don’t know what to do, let something else figure it out,” he says. That “something else” can be dice, a spinner or whatever other element of randomness the game introduces.
That randomness also might make it easier for you to try things you’ve been scared to ask for, because you can always blame it on the game if it goes awry or isn’t well-received by your partner. “You can just be like, ‘Well, that was weird, but neither of us decided to do it, so we don’t have to feel weird about having done it,’” he says. Games like this are also ideal for times when you’ve just run out of executive function for the day and can’t seem to make a decision about what you want to do.
Sex games can serve an important function in group settings as well, and are worth having around if you ever plan threesomes, orgies (lucky you) or just raucous get-togethers with sex-positive friends. Leanne Yau, a writer and polyamory educator, tells me that she’s used them to break the ice at sex parties. “Sex games provide a fun and low-pressure environment for people to talk about their desires and fantasies without directing them at anyone in particular,” she explains, “and to signal to others who may also be interested to potentially approach them later.”
Some sex games focus more on starting dialogues about sex than actually doing it, too. “I’ve found them instrumental in getting people to talk openly and positively about sex, as well as to model appropriate consent practices for all the attendees,” Yau says.
Indeed, consent is a crucial consideration when it comes to sexy party games. “With so many of them, it’s like: Get a bunch of drunk adults together, roll some dice, draw some cards and maybe it takes consent into account and maybe it doesn’t,” Kenton says. “Like, sure, you’ve consented to play Truth or Dare, but you haven’t consented to everything that every person in the room might come up with, and then you’re the bad sport for not wanting to do it, and that sucks.”
Whether or not consent is mentioned in the official rules of a game, make sure the group knows that anyone may say no to anything at any time, no questions asked. Sure, it might make the game easier and less competitive, but sex shouldn’t be about competition anyway.
If sex parties aren’t quite your style, maybe you’d prefer to try some sexy video games available through Steam, Itch.io and other gaming hubs. “Video games are fundamentally interactive,” says Ana Valens, a writer specializing in sex and kink who also makes her own kinky video games. “And there’s nothing more fun than an interactive experience that lets us explore our desires.” This is especially useful in cases where your fantasies are off-the-wall and can’t really be enacted in real life — like the desire to fuck a manticore or hook up on the moon. “It’s one thing to fantasize about that or read a comic about it, [but it’s] another thing to control that scenario right in front of you,” Valens explains.
Up for some fun? Here are some sex games to try out on your next date night, at your next sex-positive gathering or just in the privacy of your room.
These games don’t require any special equipment to get started — just some stuff you probably already have. They’re great for spicing up a gathering of open-minded friends with some raunchy chat, or getting the ball rolling before group sex.
Consent-Based Spin the Bottle. Spin the Bottle is a classic — or it was before COVID made kissing randos a horrifying idea, anyway — but one of the fundamental issues with it is that it can get uncomfortably pressure-y sometimes. I say this as someone whose first-ever kiss happened with an awkward boy in an AC/DC T-shirt who I did not want to kiss, during an eighth-grade game on a playground. (He’s since had a major glow-up, I noted the last time I Facebook-stalked him, but the point stands.)
Here’s how to adapt this old-school kissing game into something that’ll hopefully feel comfier and safer for everybody. When it’s your turn, spin a bottle in the middle of the circle. Whoever it lands on, make them a proposition of something you’d genuinely like to do with that person, like “Would you like a hug?” or “Can I sit on your lap and kiss you?” That person then gets to either say yes, say no (in which case you can spin again) or respond with a counter-offer — e.g., “You can sit on my lap and give me a kiss on the cheek.”
Naturally, this relies on you being in a group where everyone’s comfort is clearly prioritized, and where hopefully people feel okay about saying no and know they won’t ever be shamed for doing so. When the people are chill and the vibe is right, this game can take you all the way from chaste acts like hand-holding to explicitly sexy stuff like stripteases or oral.
“Which Would You Rather Fuck?” A group of any size could theoretically play this quirky party game, although I find it works best with 5 to 20 people. Hand out pens and slips of paper to everyone (about two to four slips per person for a larger crew, or five to six per person if there’s only a few of you). Tell everyone to write a person, character, object, place, creature or concept on each slip of paper — these could be anything, from the concrete and real (“Jim Carrey circa 1994,” “a big-ass glass dildo,” “your high school crush all grown up”) to the more abstract or fantastical (“the feeling of taking a really good piss,” “a unicorn with a dick for a horn,” “Benedict Cumberbatch shrunken down to fit in the palm of your hand”). Get as silly and wild as you want.
Then put all the slips in a hat or other receptacle. On each turn, someone pulls two slips out, reads them aloud to the group and tries to answer the titular question: “Which would you rather fuck?” Often you have to get creative with your interpretations — what exactly does it mean to fuck a rainbow, for example? — but eventually, the person whose turn it is will pick the one they’d rather get sexy with, put it back in the hat and discard the rejected option. Then the hat gets passed to the next person in the circle, and you keep going around until only one slip remains; whatever’s on it is declared the winner. Some of the winning slips in past games I’ve played have included “a big house in a good neighborhood,” “Barack Obama” and “a giant parrot who’s really good at dirty talk.”
This game can teach you a lot about the sexual preferences and senses of humor of the people around you, and also just leads to some profoundly weird discussions about topics that would’ve never come up otherwise — like whether Mario is a top or a bottom, or if a sentient Roomba’s suction skills translate to sex.
Card Games, Board Games and Dice Games
Truth or Drink: Extra Dirty. Yau recommends this adult card game for sex parties. The rules are simple: Pull a card, ask the question on the card (there are over 400 to choose from) and players can either answer the question or take a drink. “This is a great opportunity to tell your funniest and most salacious stories and, if you’re among people you know well, you can direct the questions at those who you know will have interesting answers,” Yau continues.
The drinking aspect is contentious, consent-wise, but keep in mind that it’s totally optional and you should customize the game to work for you. “I would recommend not drinking something too strong (intoxication is never a good idea at sex parties), or forego the drinking and just make it a game of Truth,” Yau suggests.
Funkit Toys Random Encounters Sex Dice. Sex dice are a popular novelty item, often found in the impulse-buys section near the register at sex shops, or in goody bags given out at bachelorette parties and the like. Typically they come in pairs: You roll both six-sided dice at once, and they tell you what sexy verb you’ll be performing (lick, kiss, slap, etc.) and what body part you’ll be doing it to. Despite their ubiquity, though, they usually kinda suck. “There’s more than six sexy things to do, and there’s more than six body parts to do them to. But it feels as though many times [the dice designers] just run out of ideas part way through,” Kenton says.
That’s why he set out to create his own set of gender-neutral, anatomy-inclusive sex dice called Random Encounters. Each set comes with seven dice: a couple for different body parts to use, and one of each for hand verbs, mouth verbs, locations, intensity level and mood. You can roll as many or as few as you want, to generate nearly infinite different sexy suggestions to try out. In some ways it reminds me of sexy Clue, except instead of “Mrs. Peacock, in the billiards room, with the candlestick,” it’s more like “sucking dick, slowly, in the shower.”
Kinkopoly. In this kinky take on Monopoly, your goal is to collect as many kink implement cards as possible — by completing dares that range from silly to sexy, and often land somewhere in between. Consent and safewords are built into the game, to make it more comfortable and welcoming for kinksters of all experience levels and sensibilities. The art style of the board and cards is cute and friendly, and makes kink seem approachable rather than intimidating.
Sex!!! This explicit board game leads you through various foreplay activities as you race other players toward the end of the board. Whoever gets there first gets to spin the wheel of sex positions, and take their pick as giver or receiver in whatever position they land on (with the caveat, as ever, that consent and comfort are paramount).
Unlike many other games on this list, this one involves actual sex acts — so you should stick to playing it with people you’d be up for doing that stuff with. It requires two to four players, and might be the perfect kick-off for a threesome or foursome — but playing it as a couple is a fun time too.
Funkit Chess by Funkit Toys. When I think about games that are sexy, chess doesn’t exactly spring to mind — but Kenton somehow managed to create an X-rated version of this classic board game. Each piece is an insertable silicone dildo or butt plug, and the rules dictate that whenever your opponent captures one of your pieces, they get to tell you what to do with it. The queen vibrates, which adds an extra level of “WTF” when yours gets sniped. The Queen’s Gambit? More like “the queen’s rammed it” (I’ll be here all week).
Body-safe silicone ain’t cheap, so this set’ll run you a hefty $690. But you’re not gonna find a chess set better suited to stick into your holes than this one.
Video Games and Online Games
Dirty Drawing. Designed by perverts for perverts, this is a free online game that’s essentially an R-rated version of Pictionary that you can play over Zoom. The game generates a random sex-related word for you to draw, and then you have 60 seconds to sketch it well enough that your friends can guess what it is. In a world where many of us are still taking work calls galore on Zoom, it’s nice to be able to use its whiteboard functions for something that’s not work-related for once.
Dominatrix Simulator. If you’ve got the equipment to play VR games and want to use it for lascivious purposes, try this kink simulator. A virtual dominatrix gives you commands — like to kneel and kiss her feet — and motion controllers detect whether you’re following them. Tasks, punishments and rewards keep things interesting, but for submissive-leaning players, the real pleasure is in the overall act of submitting — even though their fantasy domme exists only within their VR headset.
Valens says this game is so “incredibly immersive” that the first time she played it, she actually dropped into subspace, the calm and floaty psychological state that many submissives crave and seek through kink. That’s high praise!
Koikatsu Party. This powerful anime character-maker lets you create your own “waifu” using a staggering number of adjustable settings. You can sculpt her body, customize her face and even choose her personality — and then you can woo your new creation in a variety of virtual erotic encounters.
Valens says this game “has a very diverse modding community that allows players to create their dream girl and then enact out things like lesbian public sex on a subway.” Games like this are terrific if you’ve got a fantasy that just wouldn’t work in real life — after all, who wants to get arrested by a subway-station cop for a quickie on the platform?
OMG Yes Essentials. While not exactly a game, per se, this sex education course has 11 different interactive simulations that allow you to test out new sexual skills that the course teaches you. You’ll watch videos of women describing and demonstrating how they like to be touched, and then you’ll have the opportunity to practice that specific skill on a virtual vulva, using your mouse or trackpad.
It might seem silly at first, but the lessons are research-backed, and teach you some useful sexual techniques, like circling the clit, maintaining a rhythm and edging. It’s very vulva-focused, so unfortunately penis-lovers are out of luck (though some of the skills are transferable), but it’s a cool and clever way to gain some confidence in your sexual prowess.
Ladykiller in a Bind. Valens says this romantic-comedy game is “a favorite among queer women in games and just a total classic.” It’s an erotic visual novel that leads you through an adventure involving dominance and submission, sadomasochism, bondage, cross-dressing and a whole lotta lesbian sex. “I’m a big, big fan of how the game displays BDSM and its flirty, slightly pulpy vibe,” Valens says. “It’s a game that unabashedly embraces kinky lesbian sex while also depicting D/s and S/M connections realistically.” If you think you’d be into sapphic sexploits on the high seas, give this game a go.