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SEXUAL ORIENTATION IN THE SIMS 4 - New Update to Feature Sexual Orientation in Create a Sim

EA_CadeEA_Cade Posts: 3,259 EA Community Manager
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Sexual Orientation in The Sims 4

Hi folks! I’m SimGuruJessica, the design lead on The Sims™ 4 High School Years Expansion Pack. Today I’d like to talk to you about the upcoming Sexual Orientation feature that will be available in the next base game update.

Past, Present and Future

As a team, we hold creativity, discovery, inclusivity and play as core values and strive every day to celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion for our people and community. With that in mind, we’re delighted to bring the Sexual Orientation feature to all Simmers. Between this update and the recent pronouns update, we’re taking several strides forward into being a game that respects and celebrates the nuance and color of everyday life.

It is important to acknowledge that these are steps in a journey that we are still mapping out. There is much further to go, and while I can’t get into the details of where exactly we go next, please know that we are committed to continuing to improve our representation of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Authenticity is a point that often comes up in regards to features like this, and rightly so. As such I’ll try to peel the curtain back a bit and speak to our efforts in making sure we got this right. Many members of the team, myself included, are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. That said, each one of us on the team represents only a narrow slice of lived experiences. As such we’ve worked extensively with GLAAD and the It Gets Better Project to ensure that we’ve captured the widest possible range of viewpoints on how to approach this feature in a manner that respects and elevates the community.

How It Works

With Sexual Orientation, you’ll be able to assign a series of attraction parameters for your Sim. Pictured below is how the Sexual Orientation feature will appear in Create a Sim.

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My Sim is attracted to:

This is a simple, affirmative statement of who your Sim is attracted to. If a Sim whose gender doesn’t match your Sim’s attraction settings attempts a romantic interaction with your Sim, they will be rejected.

You can check any combination of attraction boxes (including all or none) to reflect your sim's romantic orientation. Further down the line, we'll be able to expand this to include additional gender identities that we don't have at this time.

I understand that there will be concerns here around the initial options being gender binary. Mechanically, non binary Sims don’t yet exist in TS4. While we made great progress in representing non binary Sims with the pronouns update, we acknowledge that pronouns are not the same thing as gender identities. We recognize that we still have a ways to go in this regard. I’ll cover that more in the F.A.Q.

My Sim is exploring romantically:

This setting controls whether or not your Sim’s Sexual Orientation can shift through gameplay. There are two major stories we wanted to capture with this setting.

The first is the story of a person who has figured out who they are and has a firm and immutable sense of who they’re attracted to. This is reflected by a Sim who is not exploring romantically. Sims set to “No” for exploring, will not shift orientation through gameplay and firmly reject advances from genders they aren’t interested in.

The second story is about a person who’s still figuring things out. Sims with exploring set to “Yes”, will still have an initial Sexual Orientation setting per the previous step, but it can change through gameplay. As your Sim experiences romantic interactions, they may find themselves in a very different place than where they started.

My Sim is interested in WooHoo with:

This setting determines who your Sim can WooHoo with. If you’re trying to tell the story of an Asexual Sim, you could leave all options unchecked. On the flipside, you could tell the story of an Aromantic Sim by selecting WooHoo interests, but leaving all romantic attraction boxes unchecked. More on this in the FAQ.

You can also tell even more specific stories, such as a Sim who might be attracted to multiple genders but only interested in physical intimacy with one.

F.A.Q.

Do I need to own High School Years to use Sexual Orientation?

No, absolutely not. Sexual Orientation will be available to all Simmers upon the release of High School Years.

Why are there only two gender options?

This is a natural question to ask given that we just recently released the pronouns update.

I’ll try to be very transparent with this one. This is due to technical limitations. As stated above, mechanically, non binary Sims don’t yet exist in TS4. You still have to make a binary gender selection for your Sim at creation, regardless of pronoun settings. We hope that we’ve shown our commitment to improving representation of gender identities with features such as Gender Customization, which allows you to modify physical frame, clothing preferences, pregnancy and toilet use options. We look at the pronouns update as another important step toward better representation of non binary genders, but we also acknowledge that pronouns are not the same thing as gender identities.

TS4 is 8 years old at this point, and reliant on systems that were originally architected with a gender binary in mind. In the intervening years, we’ve taken important steps such as Gender Customization, Pronouns and now Sexual Orientation. It’s a journey still in progress, with many more steps to go. Proper mechanical systems to fully support non binary Sims is another step in that journey.

How do I WooHoo on a Sim that isn’t interested in romance with anyone?

Super important question since WooHoo is typically gated behind romance. To better reflect Aromantic Sims and a greater variety of lifestyles, we’ve added the ability for young adult Sims and older, to ask close friends to be WooHoo Partners.

If they accept, you can now perform WooHoo without the romance prerequisites. Stress on the “If they accept” part, as with many socials of this nature, it can fail and lead to an awkward conversation afterward.

I want to again acknowledge that these topics are complex and full of nuance. We consider this a version 1.0, and are absolutely looking forward to seeing what further tools we might add to allow players to tell a broader range of stories.

Can I manually change my Sim’s Sexual Orientation after creation?

Yes, you can use the “Change Sim” interaction on a mirror or dresser to access CAS and change any of the settings manually.

Where do I find this setting?

In CAS, under the ellipsis menu beneath gender selection.

How will this impact my game if I don’t change the Sexual Orientation settings?

If you change none of the Sexual Orientation settings, your Sim will romantically behave as they currently do prior to the release of this feature.

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Sims, prior to Sexual Orientation essentially use the above setting. They have no inherent attraction to a specific gender, they can have their attraction shift through gameplay, and they will WooHoo with any gender. This is still the default state for a new Sim.

Can I turn this feature off?

No. While we try to give players the option to toggle certain gameplay features, LGBTQIA+ identities are a fact of life and not a toggle to be switched on and off.

In conclusion

We’re thrilled to let you all experience this feature for yourselves. Please share your thoughts with us on socials as we continue building toward a more inclusive future together!

Source
Post edited by EA_Cade on
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Comments

  • EllupelluelluEllupelluellu Posts: 3,710 Member
    Very interesing :smiley:
    My love, my love, my fearless love, I will not say goodbye..
    Sea may rise, sky may fall, My love will never die..
    My heart, my heart, My drowning heart, Oh all the tears I've cried
    Oh I may weep forevermore, My love will never die..
  • CuddlyWuddlyMeCuddlyWuddlyMe Posts: 35 Member
    This is awesome! I can't wait to start using this and I love how the sexual orientation can change during our Sims lives. It makes sense as this is something a lot of people experience in real life so it's cool that we can have this in game as well.

    Great job everyone!
  • simmeroriginsimmerorigin Posts: 412 Member
    edited July 16
    How can we randomize this for the rest of the town? Can we set proportions of every identity so that every newborn will be automatically assigned one?

    I don't like "choosing" everything for every Sim. I want some randomly assigned characteristics and traits so that I can play out their story
    Post edited by simmerorigin on
  • Mariefoxprice83Mariefoxprice83 Posts: 7,745 Member
    edited July 15
    I think the preferences are unassigned for the old NPCs and random sims, and it's only the pack-specific sims, and sims who will be in future packs, who will have their sexual preferences assigned.
    Post edited by Mariefoxprice83 on
    Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.
  • NightwalkerArkanisNightwalkerArkanis Posts: 213 Member
    EA_Cade wrote: »
    Super important question since WooHoo is typically gated behind romance. To better reflect Aromantic Sims and a greater variety of lifestyles, we’ve added the ability for young adult Sims and older, to ask close friends to be WooHoo Partners.

    If they accept, you can now perform WooHoo without the romance prerequisites. Stress on the “If they accept” part, as with many socials of this nature, it can fail and lead to an awkward conversation afterward.
    Is this friendship WooHoo only, or can you get the option to try for baby with a close friend without the romance part?

    As for the rest - sounds very awesome.
  • logionlogion Posts: 4,407 Member
    edited July 15
    Sounds great, I like these new options.

    I understand the limitations of the game when it comes to the gender options. Just like with the pronoun update I understand that you want to take your time, but also consider how to spend your resources on this game and a possible sequel where it's built in from the beginning. It sounds like....a lot of work.
  • PenguinFoopPenguinFoop Posts: 1,245 Member
    So does that mean that all of our new sims have to wear a pre-defined sexual label?

    I'm all for more rejection and harder romance levels because the romance is way too easy on this game, but what if my sim doesn't want to be a label and thus have to live by someone else's definition?

    I honestly have mixed feelings about this. Not everyone is going to be receptive to romantic advances but at the same time, I just really REALLY hate labels. By their very nature they are too defining and thus restrictive.

    Also, are there restrictions to body types in the attraction settings? What about skin color? I'll bet there aren't because that would be body shaming and racist. So why are sexual labels so important? Is it because many people on the dev team are part of the community? As a man who has had more male partners than female partners, I hope you don't think me homophobic. I just think there's more to a person than what's beneath their clothes. And if you love someone, you love all of them; even the "inconvenient" parts.

    I don't want that to go away and in so doing be excluded in the last refuge I have left.
  • JALJAL Posts: 465 Member
    I really like this change, though I wish we could make romance a bit more complex by adding more things than just gender to the mix. Perhaps my sim get off on red heads, or sims with muscles, or engineers or cheerful sims... I wish we could add attraction features to the likes/dislikes. But I suppose this is a step in the right direction, and I like the options given and that NPCs and already made sims get no choice made but find out their own settings as the game progress.
  • PenguinFoopPenguinFoop Posts: 1,245 Member
    JAL wrote: »
    I really like this change, though I wish we could make romance a bit more complex by adding more things than just gender to the mix. Perhaps my sim get off on red heads, or sims with muscles, or engineers or cheerful sims... I wish we could add attraction features to the likes/dislikes. But I suppose this is a step in the right direction, and I like the options given and that NPCs and already made sims get no choice made but find out their own settings as the game progress.

    The problem with all of those details you mentioned is that they are all exclusive. So if your sim is attracted to redheads, then those of other hair color are being blocked out. If your sim likes muscular sims, then those who are not will feel body shame for not being "good enough."

    For instance I've always been attracted to masculine men and feminine women. As a result, I've been attacked for being so "narrow minded." If you can't include everybody, you are hateful. I'm 52 years old. I've lived through all of this. It's not that I dislike feminine men or masculine women, it's just that it's not attracted to them.

    Again, that's why this game has always been so important to me. Now, I just don't know what's going to happen. I feel like I'm once again going to be excluded by this inclusivity.
  • SilentKittySilentKitty Posts: 4,557 Member
    Yay, I have some gay sims and now they will reject romantic gestures when they are not interested. I have my own townies that I add to every save, looking forward to updating them to patch my story for how they start out.
  • Amapola76Amapola76 Posts: 1,303 Member
    edited July 15
    I appreciate how nuanced this approach is. For those who are upset by the change, it sounds to me like this is an opt-in system rather than an opt-out, and that new sims will default to the original settings, those settings are now just unhidden.

    I can see that it will be a bit of work to go back through all of my old sims, as I have lots of played households, but I will be glad to be able to finetune the stories and personalities of my sims. And it's giving me new ideas for some of my old sims that I never would have expected to be able to add. Just for example, I have a couple of sims who I have put into relationships, but it never really seemed to come naturally to them, and I have half-wondered, I wonder whether this sim would actually be aromantic in real life... now I can "officially" confirm that. Plus, it is definitely in my head canon that certain sims are definitely bi, some are definitely gay/lesbian, and others are straight, and some I could easily see as "still figuring it out"... or have already figured out that they just don't care about labels.
  • Calico45Calico45 Posts: 2,038 Member
    Amapola76 wrote: »
    I appreciate how nuanced this approach is. For those who are upset by the change, it sounds to me like this is an opt-in system rather than an opt-out, and that new sims will default to the original settings, those settings are now just unhidden.

    They said in the livestream that premades in the future will use this system. Although I haven't seen anything on if sexuality is randomized or stock standard for townies.
  • PenguinFoopPenguinFoop Posts: 1,245 Member
    EA_Cade wrote: »
    .
    Can I turn this feature off?

    No. While we try to give players the option to toggle certain gameplay features, LGBTQIA+ identities are a fact of life and not a toggle to be switched on and off.
    Amapola76 wrote: »
    I appreciate how nuanced this approach is. <b>For those who are upset by the change, it sounds to me like this is an opt-in system rather than an opt-out,</b> and that new sims will default to the original settings, those settings are now just unhidden.

    I can see that it will be a bit of work to go back through all of my old sims, as I have lots of played households, but I will be glad to be able to finetune the stories and personalities of my sims. And it's giving me new ideas for some of my old sims that I never would have expected to be able to add. Just for example, I have a couple of sims who I have put into relationships, but it never really seemed to come naturally to them, and I have half-wondered, I wonder whether this sim would actually be aromantic in real life... now I can "officially" confirm that. Plus, it is definitely in my head canon that certain sims are definitely bi, some are definitely gay/lesbian, and others are straight, and some I could easily see as "still figuring it out."

    It sounds like it's a mandatory in. It's <i>not</i> opt in or opt out. This is how it is.
  • DarrenDarren Posts: 126 Member
    1. How is the orientation set when children grow up into teens? Do you still have to switch into CAS/mirror and set it?
    2. Will in future there be both a entry for biological sex and gender and will you be able to set your orientation according to either of them?
  • ThetfordThetford Posts: 405 Member
    I assume they mean "opt in" as the default is what we have currently: Sims will woohoo with any gender, but are not attracted to any gender without external encouragement. If you don't change anything, nothing changes.

    Chances are, all randomly generated Sims will have these defaults, and that only the future premade Sims will have specific settings where appropriate.
  • SimmingalSimmingal Posts: 6,430 Member
    edited July 15
    Its a good start and i absolutely love sims finally having some opinions on who they may romance

    I wish there was also way to choose if the sims are up for more than one romantic relationship or not though

    and way to choose their opinions on lifestates as well so say we could choose if our sims would be up to woohoo greg or not

    or say choose that our occults maybe don't wanna be woohooty with human sim or something
  • NushkaNushka Posts: 305 Member
    EA_Cade wrote: »
    .
    Can I turn this feature off?

    No. While we try to give players the option to toggle certain gameplay features, LGBTQIA+ identities are a fact of life and not a toggle to be switched on and off.
    Amapola76 wrote: »
    I appreciate how nuanced this approach is. <b>For those who are upset by the change, it sounds to me like this is an opt-in system rather than an opt-out,</b> and that new sims will default to the original settings, those settings are now just unhidden.

    I can see that it will be a bit of work to go back through all of my old sims, as I have lots of played households, but I will be glad to be able to finetune the stories and personalities of my sims. And it's giving me new ideas for some of my old sims that I never would have expected to be able to add. Just for example, I have a couple of sims who I have put into relationships, but it never really seemed to come naturally to them, and I have half-wondered, I wonder whether this sim would actually be aromantic in real life... now I can "officially" confirm that. Plus, it is definitely in my head canon that certain sims are definitely bi, some are definitely gay/lesbian, and others are straight, and some I could easily see as "still figuring it out."

    It sounds like it's a mandatory in. It's <i>not</i> opt in or opt out. This is how it is.
    How will this impact my game if I don’t change the Sexual Orientation settings?

    If you change none of the Sexual Orientation settings, your Sim will romantically behave as they currently do prior to the release of this feature.

    I also wished we had gotten a more nuanced attraction system that worked similarly to likes and dislikes but, if you don't want to assign orientation settings it will work as before.
    Happy simming!
  • PenguinFoopPenguinFoop Posts: 1,245 Member
    Nushka wrote: »
    EA_Cade wrote: »
    .
    Can I turn this feature off?

    No. While we try to give players the option to toggle certain gameplay features, LGBTQIA+ identities are a fact of life and not a toggle to be switched on and off.
    Amapola76 wrote: »
    I appreciate how nuanced this approach is. <b>For those who are upset by the change, it sounds to me like this is an opt-in system rather than an opt-out,</b> and that new sims will default to the original settings, those settings are now just unhidden.

    I can see that it will be a bit of work to go back through all of my old sims, as I have lots of played households, but I will be glad to be able to finetune the stories and personalities of my sims. And it's giving me new ideas for some of my old sims that I never would have expected to be able to add. Just for example, I have a couple of sims who I have put into relationships, but it never really seemed to come naturally to them, and I have half-wondered, I wonder whether this sim would actually be aromantic in real life... now I can "officially" confirm that. Plus, it is definitely in my head canon that certain sims are definitely bi, some are definitely gay/lesbian, and others are straight, and some I could easily see as "still figuring it out."

    It sounds like it's a mandatory in. It's <i>not</i> opt in or opt out. This is how it is.
    How will this impact my game if I don’t change the Sexual Orientation settings?

    If you change none of the Sexual Orientation settings, your Sim will romantically behave as they currently do prior to the release of this feature.

    I also wished we had gotten a more nuanced attraction system that worked similarly to likes and dislikes but, if you don't want to assign orientation settings it will work as before.

    I hope so but I doubt it. The last part of the original post sounds like it negates everything else.
  • haisinhaisin Posts: 790 Member
    I don't like labels either, but I guess some of my sims will benefit from these options.

    Maybe there will be a romance pack and more attraction options in the future? I've been a bit unsure whether I want an attraction system to the game, but I guess it could help making more interesting characters.
  • Amapola76Amapola76 Posts: 1,303 Member
    EA_Cade wrote: »
    .
    Can I turn this feature off?

    No. While we try to give players the option to toggle certain gameplay features, LGBTQIA+ identities are a fact of life and not a toggle to be switched on and off.
    Amapola76 wrote: »
    I appreciate how nuanced this approach is. <b>For those who are upset by the change, it sounds to me like this is an opt-in system rather than an opt-out,</b> and that new sims will default to the original settings, those settings are now just unhidden.

    I can see that it will be a bit of work to go back through all of my old sims, as I have lots of played households, but I will be glad to be able to finetune the stories and personalities of my sims. And it's giving me new ideas for some of my old sims that I never would have expected to be able to add. Just for example, I have a couple of sims who I have put into relationships, but it never really seemed to come naturally to them, and I have half-wondered, I wonder whether this sim would actually be aromantic in real life... now I can "officially" confirm that. Plus, it is definitely in my head canon that certain sims are definitely bi, some are definitely gay/lesbian, and others are straight, and some I could easily see as "still figuring it out."

    It sounds like it's a mandatory in. It's <i>not</i> opt in or opt out. This is how it is.

    I think what they're saying is that you can't turn the system off altogether. However, what you were saying is that you don't want your sims to have labels. In which case all you have to do is leave all the settings for every sims on "still exploring romantically," and your sims will remain the way they are now.
  • LeGardePourpreLeGardePourpre Posts: 13,506 Member
    edited July 15
    Calico45 wrote: »
    Shame there is no opt out. Just like I was afraid of, labels are now officially required even in my fantasy world.

    All new premades now and going forward will have this configured, so you have to go in and change or delete everyone to keep romance open like it was before.

    It definitely could be worse, but I cannot help but be disappointed.

    I won't worry about it because my sims never meet the new premade sims.
    There are already so many people in the game and I don't count the sims from Maxis' gallery.


    As long as there is no quota like the game does with the gender of the babies, everything should be fine for you.
    (For example the baby will be a boy if too many girls are in the world)
  • SnaveXsSnaveXs Posts: 4,178 Member
    This is a feature I have wanted for a few reasons. To keep flirty Sims from kissing random sims when I think of them as straight or gay. I also want to be able to create gay, lesbian or straight clubs. I mentioned before that I've used mods to make this happen, I have a LGBT bar with a mod but I'm always happy when I can remove mods from my folder. Hopefully, someday we can designate certain sims to different lots without them being in GET Together clubs.
  • PenguinFoopPenguinFoop Posts: 1,245 Member
    I truly hope that this game doesn't force labels on us. Again though, I do like the idea of having to work harder for romance. It's just too easy in the game as is. Also, I know that not every person (or sim) is open to well-defined, scripted out and predetermined relationship opportunities (no matter what community you live in, there seems to be more and more restrictions), but I hope that with the settings, it's not a hard "no way I'd rather die in a pit of vipers than do that! It's just eww," situation. Okay maybe a little over-dramatic. Lol

    I am tired of the "HI, how are you?" "I'm good thanks. And you?" "I'm flirty. Wanna have a baby???" "Sure, your dumpster or my waterfall?" Conversations we have now.
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