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As you might expect, I want to
start with a qualification, or rather, an unqualification. I've never played sex party games with
anyone, and I don't imagine I'm going to start now. I don't know anyone who describes themselves as swingers, and the
only information I have about swinging was a pretty funny documentary
television show by Louis Theroux I saw in the UK. So I am hardly in the target market for the Intense Games DVD. Nevertheless, it's an intriguing DVD and
some people might want to know about it.
The DVD has one main game on it,
with a couple of bonus games as extras.
It is based on a party game that uses cards. Players should have a banana, a vibrator, whipped cream, a
blindfold, an oral barrier, latex condoms, hand sanitizer, and a towel. It is possible to set the options on the
game to decide whether it includes female-female sexual interactions. The game is played by heterosexual men and
women forming couples and taking turns with tasks. The couple that gets the most points wins. The points are gained by successfully
completing challenges. There are four
levels of challenge, worth 1, 5, 10 and 15 points. The 1 point challenges are reasonably tame, although they still
go beyond polite conversation in mixed company. For example, a woman might be asked to tell the group the
kinkiest thing she has ever done with her man, or saying something suggesting
to the other players. Another task is
for the group to pass an orange around from person to person without using
hands. The 5 point tasks are more
sexual. For example, you might be asked
to simulate the 69 position, or initiate sexual games of Simon Says. Many of these games are timed, and the DVD
provides a timer that can be started and stopped. Here the aim is more clearly to arouse other people, and some
tasks, such as confessing a sexual fantasy, require that someone is turned on
in order to get the points. At the
third level people start exposing their bodies -- taking shirts and bras off
and couples touching each other. People
are asked to talk more about their own sexual lives in other tasks. Finally, at the highest level, it gets
pretty heated with tasks requiring women to perform oral sex on their partners,
or men to "lube up" their women.
Some of the tasks involve comparing the hardness of erections or the
size of men's balls. At the end of the
game, there are "End Games," which involve more explicit and
prolonged sexual activity between couples in the same room.
It's pretty natural to suppose that
it is men who will be wanting to play games like these, if either person in a
couple wants to explore them. So it is
interesting that the game puts women in charge, giving them the power to decide
what should happen in disputes. The
tasks are primarily addressed to women, who can then tell the men what to
do. What's more, the women form a
"Woman Council" who can help people increase people with their
comfort levels for performing the tasks, even changing the rules if they so
Nevertheless, one would have to be
pretty comfortable with oneself to enjoy engaging in sexual activity around
other people if like most people in America you have grown up being told that
sex is private and even being nude in mixed company is very strange. So it is not at all surprising that within
the DVD game there's a good deal of encouragement to drink, and presumably that
would reduce people's inhibitions. Of
course, the danger is getting pretty drunk might lead people to do something
that they regret later on. It is at least good that there's plenty of
encouragement within the game to use safe-sex techniques.
The central message that gets
repeated within the game is that sex is fun.
It aims to make people more comfortable with talking about sex with
other people, and to be sexual in public.
Obviously not everyone agrees with these aims, and many people see sex
as something essentially private, symbolizing and embodying love between two
people. Some people still think that
sex is shameful and should be restricted as much as possible. In some ways, the sex-positive attitudes of
the Intense Games DVD seem very liberal and refreshing, but at the same
time the design of the game seems to be oblivious about how many people are
very sensitive about their sexuality and are vulnerable to peer pressure. Sex certainly can be fun, but it can also be
a lightening rod for problems in relationships. If couples start to become sexual among other people, feelings of
jealously and inadequacy could be fueled, and rather than liberating people,
the games could cause damage in relationships.
All the same, it's possible that some people will
enjoy these games. The DVD is pretty well
designed, and is easy to use. The two
bonus games are crude, especially the "Sexual Roulette," which
encourages a great deal of drinking and seems to direct people to have
intercourse rather quickly. The
"Sexual Charades" game is just a charades game with sexual phrases,
and could be fun. There does seem to be
a genuinely random element in the selection of the phrases so it is not the
same each time you play.
I would not necessarily recommend
the Intense Games DVD, but for those who want a sexual party game that
is aimed at couples and does not feature pornographic images, it might be worth
trying. It could definitely be worse.
© 2005 Christian Perring. All
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is
Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island, and editor
of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on
philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.