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The Time Games Helped Me Come Out

Ed Smith | 21 Mar 2013 09:00
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Sexuality is a broad spectrum. Some people like having sex with men, some people like having sex with women; some people, like this bloke who inexplicably shares my name, like having sex with cars (just to confirm, he and I are NOT the same Edward Smith - I'm much more of a hovercraft kind of guy).

But trying to figure out precisely who - or what - it is you like having sex with can be a long road fraught with peril. I can only imagine the emotional shitcoaster some people have to ride, going through high school and realizing they like boys instead of girls. Conversely, there are people who are married for 25 years only to discover that, you know what, they really like having people wee on them. If their spouse ain't into it, and conventional wisdom says they only might be, that can leave people unfulfilled, alienated and frustrated. Sex can be hard to figure out.

So thank your lucky anal beads that we have computer games, in my experience at least, one of the safest, cleanest ways to dick around with your sexuality that there is. I'm 22 now and still not totally sure what I'm into. I like women, yes, but I also quite fancy men (quick note to any family members I haven't mentioned that to - er, yeah, hi.) Looking deeper, though without going into specifics, I also have some, you know, preferences, preferences that might otherwise be hard to deal with, even with a trusting partner. But as much as these things are a part of me, I'd never even known they were there if it weren't for games.

It started with GTA III, not an openly sexy game, but a fun little toy nonetheless. There was a cheat you could use to rotate your character's appearance, making him look like any one of the other in-game NPCs. Firemen, cops, old ladies - you could be anyone. But what really caught my imagination were the women. Tap the cheat in enough times and eventually you'd land on a lady, suddenly sprouting boobs, long hair and a dapper black trench coat. A merely aesthetic difference, sure, but for a young kid like me, with a burgeoning interest in cross-dressing (er, yeah, hi, family) very important. Because imagine being that person otherwise. Growing up around other lads at school, there's absolutely no way you could talk to someone about those feelings. It'd be like saying you preferred Digimon to Pokemon; you'd get your head kicked in.

But not in GTA III. I knew, somewhere, I wanted to experiment with dressing up in women's clothes but had absolutely zero outlet. That game let me muck about with that emerging aspect of my sexuality. I could bung the cheat in, strap my heels on, so to speak, and masquerade as a lady to my heart's content. It wasn't real but it was; I wasn't actually cross-dressing, although, I was a bit. Some people look at porn, others go to nightclubs - I played GTA III.

And that was it for a while. I grew past the cross-dressing thing (well, that's the line I'm sticking to anyway, otherwise Christmas dinner will be fucking awkward) and started browsing around for other little quirks. I wound up in Second Life, which sounds like a sci-fi facility that wipes people's minds for them, but is actually an enormous online social hive packed to the wire frame with perverts. Some were bad perverts - some were the kinds of perverts that would end up on the news - but others were just common-or-garden normal perverts, perverts who were into leather and corsets and chains and that. Those are the perverts I fell in with.

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