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The best sex games have to overcome a bunch of prejudices. Since Steam began selling uncensored adult games in 2018, there have been so many low-effort puzzle games with recycled hentai art released that it's tempting to toggle the Adult Only filter just to make them go away. If you do make the effort to try to separate the decent stuff from the slush, whether on Steam or itch.io or Nutaku or anywhere else games for discerning adults are sold, you'll have to wade through the kind of games that love boobs but hate women, and are packed with the bigotry and stereotyping that flourishes on the seedier side of the internet.
But there have been plenty of terrible sex games from their earliest days. My first experience of that came via Sex Games on the Commodore 64. That's literally what it was called: Sex Games. Published by Landisoft in 1985, it was about waggling a joystick back and forth while two bright pink cartoon people went at it like joyless jackhammers. It wasn't a great introduction to the idea that sex was a worthwhile subject for videogames.
We've come a long way since then—quiet, you—but there are still plenty of games about sex that are just as bad in their own way. The few that aren't deserve to be celebrated, because sex is as worthy a theme as violence or anything else that games explore. Sex can be playful and funny and exciting, and those are all things videogames can be too.
Today, Patreon provides funding for a lot of independent developers making ambitious adult games. It encourages a state of perpetual development, influenced by subscriber suggestions. While they may be labeled "in development", they can be just as complete as many other games are at launch, if not more so.
It's also worth noting that these are all "sex games" rather than "games that happen to have sex in them", if that distinction makes sense. The Witcher 3 is an RPG dozens of hours long that has some sex scenes in it, but it's not a sex game in the same way as NSFWare or Summertime Saga.
The best free sex games
Love Sucks: Night One
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Release date: 2021 | Developer: Art Witch Studios | itch.io, Steam
Imagine Buffy if it was about hooking up with vampires and demons instead of slaying them. Actually, that already describes a lot of episodes of Buffy. Still, if you swapped Sunnydale for Crescent Valley, the Hellmouth for leylines, and made it a visual novel, you'd have Love Sucks.
You play the local Xander equivalent—although a future update, which the creators plan to work on after finishing the sequel, will add a Girl Mode option so you can play as a woman. Pursued by two lady monsters, all you have to do is live through the night. The story piles on supernatural twists and character comedy setpieces without going overboard—it's anime, but not too anime, if you know what I mean. While this first taste is free, paid sequel Love Sucks: Night Two is currently in development.
Sex Advice Succubus
Release date: 2023 | Developer: NomnomNami | itch.io
As wholesome a game about horizontal jogging as you're likely to find, Sex Advice Succubus suggests that demons who feed on sexual energy would actually make natural counselors. Succubi and incubi want everyone to be having more and better sex, and one way to facilitate that is by working as online gurus of groping.
NomnomNami's game presents a single session in which you, a succubus with a frankly ideal work-from-home situation, choose how to advise a ghost who is about to meet her internet girlfriend IRL for the first time. Sex Advice Succubus is short and sweet, and feels like an ideal format to be expanded in a larger game some day.
Crush Crush / Blush Blush
Release date: 2016 / 2019 | Developer: Sad Panda | Steam, Nutaku / Steam, Nutaku
Who could have predicted Farmville-parody Cow Clicker would lead to a future in which there's an entire storefront dominated by incremental games where you click on cartoon boobs? They say idle hands are the devil's playthings, and it turns out that idle games are the devil's too.
Sad Panda's contributions, Crush Crush and Blush Blush, are a cut above the rest. They do contain the standard activity of clicking on anime ladies to make them like you more (or anime men, in Blush Blush), as well as the usual time-management math that buffs your stats and their affection meters. But while these are games about manipulating numbers so you can see more of a hottie, the characters are fun and so is their dialogue A lost time traveler asks who the current God Emperor is, while a man cursed to be a pegasus decides he's actually better off this way. And of course there's Bearverly, who is a bear.
Read more: There's a sea of hentai junk games on Steam, and then there's Crush Crush
Release date: 2016 | Developer: Robert Yang | itch.io, Steam
A collection of Robert Yang's minigames, Radiator 2 includes Stick Shift (about a dude driving a car he's way into), Succulent (about a dude eating a corndog he's way into), and Hurt Me Plenty (about spanking). While the third one straight-up simulates a sexual act, the first two are extended, unsubtle double entendres and both are hilarious. They're interactive music videos in which your mouse-waggling builds the visuals toward an over-the-top crescendo.
Yang's games delight in taking 3D characters who look like they belong in a shooter (his early work includes Half-Life 2 mods), then stretching and exaggerating them for effect. They're like sexed-up versions of an0nymoose's Source Filmmaker videos.
There's a bonus in Radiator 2, an extra game you unlock by clicking the condom on the menu screen. It gives you a sniper rifle that shoots prophylactics and sets you up across the street from a building full of men who need protection. A bizarre parody of modern military shooters follows. Sex can be funny, and Radiator 2 understands that like few other games do.
Read more: This public bathroom sim swaps wangs for guns to make a point about censorship
Release date: 2018 | Developer: Pierrec | itch.io
The WarioWare games are grab bags of Nintendo microgames a few seconds long. You're thrown into them at random, frantically trying to figure out the controls so you can land a hang-glider or saw through a tree or shave a moustache. It's like being trapped in a frantic Japanese game show. NSFWare is that, but with fucking.
Each microgame is a pixel-art trace of a scene from a porno, and you have just seconds to figure out how to mash the arrow keys to, for instance, spank someone in a pillory or jerk off two guys in an even-handed manner. The brightly colored pixel sex is absurd, the hectic microgames are unfair, and the combination makes for a perfect spectator sport. It's Sex Games on the Commodore 64 only fun, and it lets you do what Nintendon't.
You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter
Release date: 2017 | Developer: Seemingly Pointless | itch.io, Steam
Your parents are out, and the dial-up internet is waiting for you. A screechy modem is the gateway that connects you to AOL and all the slow-loading bitmaps of naked people you could want. You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter reimagines what it was like to be young in the 1990s when the internet was new, confusing, and kind of frightening. Then it casts you as a kid for whom sex is also new, confusing, and kind of frightening.
The pornography is all impressionistic ASCII art, the kind of porn I imagine characters looking at on those retro computers in Fallout. You explore it via increasingly debased categories while under time pressure because every noise you hear could be your parents in the driveway.
You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter is a singular recreation of a specific moment in time, one that's not so far away and yet fascinatingly distant with its domains like "fourecks.com" and quaint virus unblocker pop-ups.
Release date: 2018 | Developer: anna anthropy, Leon Arnott | itch.io
After the threesome an awkward conversation happens. How do three people share a bed when they're just trying to get to sleep? Triad is a puzzle game about arranging people with different sleeping habits on a single mattress, making sure the one who likes to roll around won't slip right onto the floor and nobody's face is next to the one who snores.
Then, once you've arranged everybody to your liking, you press the button to send them all to sleep and chaos breaks out. This person flips over with their feet on that person's head, the other ends up on the floor no matter how much room you gave them, and finally the cat jumps on someone to make the disorder complete.
Trials in Tainted Space
Release date: 2015 | Developer: Fenoxo | Website
Trials in Tainted Space (a name surely chosen for its abbreviation) gives you a spaceship and worlds to explore, but before it does that it puts you through a rigorous character creation process that includes detailing your genitalia in some very specific ways. No matter what you choose, you end up playing the version of Captain Kirk who exists more in memes than actual Star Trek—the one who spends all his time banging green alien girls.
It's a text-heavy game, with small character illustrations in the corner of the screen. (In a nice touch you can choose from several different artist's interpretations for many of the characters.) There's combat, and grid maps of planetary locations to explore, and a storyline about racing a rival heir, but mostly there's a lot of sex with a variety of weird aliens. Like, really weird. Everything is somebody's fetish and there's stuff in Trials in Tainted Space will make you say, "Wow, somebody out there wants to fuck that?" The answer is always, "Yes, somebody out there wants to fuck that."
The same creators are also responsible for Corruption of Champions and its sequel, which are the same thing but in a fantasy setting. The Dragon Age to its Mass Effect, if you will.
The best sex games that cost $$$
Memoirs of a Battle Brothel
Release date: 2022 | Developer: A Memory of Eternity | Steam, itch.io
Shadowrun crossed with Sin City, Memoirs of a Battle Brothel is an RPG set in a cyberpunk-fantasy city called MoonFall that has lore so deep there are probably krakens swimming in it somewhere. As a facilitator for a branch of the Courtesan's Guild, part of your job is managing and upgrading a brothel, but the majority of it is dealing with MoonFall's many factions and occasional outbreaks of cosmic horror.
The Courtesan's Guild is a well-regarded diplomatic institution, the one organization that has dealings with every level of society from the street gangs to the corporations, as well as occult cults and crime syndicates. With your party of well-trained fuckwarriors, you negotiate a dangerous political situation where earning the trust of any faction without losing another's is like walking an oiled tightrope.
Read more: I'm glad I looked past the name because Memoirs of a Battle Brothel is exactly what I want in an RPG
Ladykiller in a Bind
Release date: 2017 | Developer: Love Conquers All Games | Steam
There's a complex plot involving the reason you're disguise as a man and a popularity competition worth five million dollars, but what Ladykiller in a Bind is about is being stuck on a cruise for a week with a ship full of horny young people. Horny, kinky young people.
While you can spend the days pursuing votes in the popularity competition while dodging suspicion to maintain your disguise, you'll also be pursuing sex. No matter what happens during each day, when the sun goes down you choose one of two characters to share a room with, one dominant and the other submissive. Ladykiller in a Bind is an introduction to BDSM, and a great one. If you thought "subspace" was where Optimus Prime keeps his trailer you're gonna learn some stuff.
While a lot of sexy visual novels cast their protagonists as arrogant jerks or desperate losers, Ladykiller in a Bind makes you a suave lesbian womanizer who is confident and cool. Even if inhabiting that character isn't your fantasy, it's a fun space to explore and one that no other game does.
Read more: Ladykiller in a Bind review
Coming Out on Top
Release date: 2014 | Developer: Obscurasoft | Website, Steam (censored)
Coming Out on Top takes the kind of subplots the gay sidekick gets in a sitcom, then expands them until they become the A-plots. That guy at the bar last night seemed so nice, then you go to college the next morning and your new lecturer is that same guy. DRAMATIC MUSICAL STING. The plots are full of twists, but usually resolved in fairly wholesome ways. There's no problem that can't be solved by three roommates talking about it while throwing around one-liners.
I went on a date with a pop star who wanted to stay incognito because his fans didn't know he was gay, so we went to a country & western bar then did karaoke. It was one of the most romantic things I've seen in any dating sim. Then afterwards we went back to his hotel room and it got real explicit.
I called Coming Out on Top "wholesome" but it does feature actual raunch, which will be pixelated if you play the censored version from Steam. It also gets dark and weird sometimes. I don't want to spoil it for you, but the stuff with the goldfish really goes some places.
The best sex games in development
Release date: 2015 | Developer: Kompas Productions | Patreon, itch.io
Summertime Saga takes the traditional dating sim and rethemes it as an American teen movie: Fast Times at Tokimeki High. As a young man in his final year of high school, you have to budget your time between study so you don't flunk any of your classes, hobbies that raise your stats, part-time jobs that fund your social life, and, of course, dating. You have to take someone to prom, after all.
It wouldn't be a teen movie without complications, and Summertime Saga has plenty of those, from the local battle rappers and bullies to mobsters and hitmen chasing down your late father's debt.
Read more: The most popular adult game on Patreon is being made by someone who'd never played one before
Release date: 2018| Developer: Ghosthug Games | Patreon, itch.io (demo)
You're a semi-organic robot on the run in a cyberpunk dystopia who falls in with a friendly group investigating a mystery that might be the fault of an evil corporation's experiments, because this is cyberpunk after all. Where does the sex come in? Well, the mystery being investigated is that everyone in the city has become inexplicably horny.
Each day you choose whether to pursue the main plot or one of your new friends, who are of course romanceable. You can also just wander around the city, busting up surveillance droids for valuable scrap, talking to people, and, yeah, having quite a lot of sex.
Hardcoded is well-written, and it has a great pixel-art adventure game look. I'd recommend it even if it wasn't about sexbots who've just had their boobs upgraded and would like a chance to test them out.