The Sims team has released an official blog on the upcoming update to The Sims 4!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!