Free Sims 4 update will add growable body hair and sexual preferences

The Sims 4 High School Years expansion
(Image credit: EA)

The Sims 4 High School Years expansion pack is coming on July 28, but even if you don't want to spend $40 so you can relive the drama and trauma of high school you'll still be able to enjoy some of the pack's new features.

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(Image credit: Maxis, Electronic Arts)

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Alongside the expansion, a couple of interesting changes will be introduced to the The Sims 4 base game for free, ones the community has long been asking for. First, your Sims no longer need to look like smooth plastic action figures—body hair is coming to the game at long last, including chest and stomach hair, arm and leg hair, new facial hair options, and yes, even back hair.

This furry new feature isn't just a decoration you choose in the character creation menu—you'll be able to toggle an option for growable hair, meaning your Sim will go from a five-o-clock shadow to a beard and body hair will slowly grow over time. Naturally, shaving will become an option so you can keep your Sim neatly groomed as part of your hygiene routine, if that's your thing. It should be noted that while this is being added to the base game, players who purchase the High School Years expansion will have more body and facial hair options than are included in this free update.

Another long-awaited feature being added is the option to choose your Sim's sexual orientation—to a degree, at least. Despite pronouns being added to The Sims 4 recently, the game's underlying systems still consider Sims to be either men or women, and so the new sexual preference options still reflect a binary gender system.

"This is largely a technical limitation at this point in time," said lead designer on the expansion, Jessica Croft, during a presentation on High School Years and the new sexual preference features. "We don't actually have, mechanically, non-binary Sims." Croft said this new system isn't "the finish line" but more of a starting point for a more expanded and inclusive system.

(Image credit: EA)

With the options available, you'll be able to choose if your Sim is attracted to men, women, both, or neither, which will determine whether or not your Sim responds to advances from masculine or feminine characters. You can also choose whether or not your Sim is exploring romantically or not (useful for asexual or aromantic characters or players, or anyone who just doesn't want to purse romantic relationships for whatever reason), and choose if your character is willing to WooHoo (or for teen characters, "Mess Around" as it's being called in the expansion) with masculine or feminine characters, or both, or neither. These options can be changed at any point in the game.

It's certainly not a comprehensive series of sexual orientation options, but at least it's a small step forward and hopefully we'll see The Sims 4's systems grow more complex and feature more options in the future. These new features will be added to the base game when the High School Years expansion arrives on July 28.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.