How Black Mirror: Striking Vipers Subverts Gender and Sexuality | Black Mirror Analysis

How Black Mirror: Striking Vipers Subverts Gender and Sexuality | Black Mirror Analysis

Hi, my name’s Tom. Welcome back to my
channel and to the first in a series of slightly more freeform video essays that
I’m planning on putting together over the coming months, some of which are
going to pick apart some popular cultural texts through various
theoretical frameworks and some which are going to be slightly more earnest
reflections on some elements of our culture that pique my interest for one
reason or another. Today, we’re taking a look at episode one of the new series of
Black Mirror: Striking Vipers. In particular, we’re going to draw on some
ideas from queer theory to ask how Striking Vipers engages with and
critiques dominant ideas surrounding sexuality and gender. Before we get going,
if you have any thoughts as we go along then please don’t hesitate to pop those
down below and, if you’re new around here and this seems like your kind of thing,
then please do consider subscribing. Finally, a big thank you today to Ash for
recently signing up to the top tier of my Patreon. If you’d like to support
what I do, get your hands on scripts of the videos that I make, as well as maybe
get yourself a little shout out too then please do check out my Patreon page (linked below). With that out of the way however, let’s take a look at how Black
Mirror: Striking Vipers engages with gender, masculinity and sexuality. Black Mirror is often billed as a show
about technology. In 2015, Daniel Mallory Ortberg semi-famously joked that one
could sum up the central premise of the series with the question ‘what if phones
but too much’? Yet, in truth, the various technological innovations the show
presents us with are little more than scene dressing, narrative devices which
enable the show to explore much deeper truths about the human experience which
existed far prior to the invention of the microchip and will persist through
countless other innovations. The technology which drives the plot of
Striking Vipers, for instance, is essentially a projection of what Virtual
Reality technology might look like in a few decades time. And the small, glowing
disks which form the hardware portion of that technology have appeared twice
before in the series: once fixed to the temples of the elderly Kelly and Yorkie
in San Junipero and once on that of Robert Daly in USS Callister. Yet, when
we really think about it, San Junipero is not really all that
interested in potential technological innovations in palliative care. Instead,
it seeks to raise much more human questions about our anxieties, hopes and
fears surrounding death and dying. And, similarly, to read USS Callister
solely as a story about video games would be to ignore the much deeper
themes of power dynamics, agency and control which run throughout that
episode. In Striking Vipers, this future VR technology is once again deployed for
gaming purposes. It’s allows old college friends Danny and Karl to
immerse themselves in the world of their favorite fighting game: Striking Vipers.
While their real-world bodies lie back in a near paralytic state—save for the odd
twitch—cerebrally, they embody their chosen fighters in a world which is not
only visually realistic but physically so too. Games such as Mortal Kombat or
Street Fighter—which serve as the inspiration for Striking Vipers (the game)—tend to frame physical violence as somewhat trivial. Here, however, being
punched in the face is no laughing matter. And, as Danny and Karl soon find out, the developers’ emulation of physical
sensation is not confined to pain but also extends to pleasure. For, in only their
second round of combat, Karl, in the virtual body of Roxette, pins Danny,
playing as Lance, to the ground and in the heat of the moment they find themselves
unclenching their fists and, instead, kissing. In the following weeks, what
initially seemed to be a spur-of-the-moment impulse turns out to
have been an eruption of something much deeper. Despite some initial uncertainty,
Karl and Danny find themselves returning to Striking Vipers and their
relationship—not only sexual but emotional and romantic—begins to blossom.
Thus, where Striking Vipers (the game), like it’s real-world corollaries seems to have
been built for an assumed male player base to indulge in aggressive hyper-masculine fantasy, it ends up providing a virtual arena in which Danny and Karl
can explore their sexuality. Much like San Junipero, USS Callister or any other
episode of Black Mirror, then, Striking Vipers is about far more than just
speculating about what technological advances might come about in the next
few decades. Certainly, it is the VR technology which puts the episode’s plot
into motion. But the thematic focus is one which is
both all-too-human and which has considerable ramifications for the
present. For, if we were to try to reduce this episode down to its thematic core,
it would not be about gaming at all but, instead, our perceptions of gender,
masculinity and sexuality and how we navigate these fields in constructing
our identities. As does all good drama, Striking Vipers
places Danny and Karl in a complex web of intersecting conflicts. The most
obvious of these is perhaps the danger that their relationship poses for
Danny’s marriage. We see him torn throughout between honoring his
commitment to his wife Theo and reneging on all that to further explore his
changing relationship with Karl. In all the analyses of the episode that I’ve
seen on this website, it’s that theme of infidelity which has
invited the most comment. However, to my mind, this is somewhat secondary; I would
posit that the conflict which guides the episode most significantly is, in fact,
psychological and arises not from what others might think of Danny, Karl and
their new relationship but the manner in which this new discovery throws all that
they thought they knew about their own gender and sexual identities into
question. Now, given I’m not gonna talk at any great length about Karl’s repeated
choice to enter the virtual world of Striking Vipers as Roxette, it may seem
strange that I’ve chosen to talk about gender here. For, in an ideal world, gender
identity and sexual identity would be two entirely separate phenomena; whether
one considers themselves to be a man, woman, non-binary or none of the above
should have little relevance to which gender one finds sexually attractive or
is prone to falling in love with. In practice, however, this is not the case. In
her 1995 book Masculinities, R.W. Connell sets out to explore the dynamics
of masculinity in contemporary society. While recognizing that masculinity is, in
fact, incredibly diverse and expressed in very different ways by different people,
she coins the term ‘hegemonic masculinity’ to refer to the dominant and necessarily
simplistic idea of what practices or activities are considered to be—for want
of a better word—”manly” at any given point in time. Not all men will exhibit
all the traits that are considered as such but her argument is that anyone who
considers themselves to be a man will construct their gender identity in
dialogue with that prevailing stereotype. In Striking Vipers, for instance, there are
numerous ways in which Danny and Karl don’t conform with our simplistic,
stereotypical idea of what it is to be a man. Yet they certainly display some
level of investment in being perceived by others—and, as importantly, conceiving
of themselves—as masculine: they play violent, narrative-light video games, they
drink beer, Karl is constantly boasting of his sexual conquests and, if there’s a
barbeque to be lit, then Danny will be first in line. Their allegiance to this
normative mode of masculinity is in fact reflected in the aesthetic of the
episode. Both Danny and Theo’s clothing and the
mis en scène of their suburban environment draws heavy inspiration from the 1950s.
Stephanie Coontz has argued that, though the era was in truth one in which
notions of masculinity were incredibly turbulent, the 1950s is often drawn upon
as a point of reference for so-called “traditional” family structures and gender
roles. Cultural representations of this period often presents us with an image
of men as breadwinners who return home from work and eat a meal prepared by
their wives alongside their two-point-four children before retiring
to the office to read the paper. From the perspective of the present, we rightly
view such gender dynamics as highly restrictive. This was evidently the case
for women in this era whose agency was severely curtailed by such norms. But,
without detracting from that, we can also recognize that it was often limiting for
men too; we need only to look at the plays of Arthur Miller set in the period
to see the psychological impact of the expectations of emotional fortitude and
(sort of) “unfeelingness” placed upon men. Societal ideas around what it is to be a
man have clearly changed in many ways in the intervening decades yet, by invoking
aesthetic of the 1950s, Striking Vipers seeks to foreground how restricting
gender norms—however they might manifest— can be. Nevertheless, our complex
relationship with gender means that, even if we recognize the manner in which
masculinity or femininity constrain us, our investment in being a man or woman
often provokes us to leap to its defence. There’s a clear moment of this
in Striking Vipers when Karl let’s slip to Danny that he’s recently taken to
waxing his pubic hair. This is certainly not an act which tends to fall within
the terms of hegemonic masculinity and Danny’s first responses is to recoil from
this revelation with amazement; then, both characters try to laugh it off; finally,
with some bravado, they both try to suggest that it is in fact a masculine
thing to do because Karl is doing it to impress women. This not only further
shows how invested Danny and Karl are in being perceived by others—and
conceiving of themselves—within the terms of hegemonic masculinity, it also
reveals how tied their conception of masculinity is to heterosexuality. For,
just as, when it comes down to it, gender as a social and psychological identity
has little to do with physiology, so too are social perceptions of sexuality
about far more than who one chooses to sleep with. And, argues R.W. Connell,
‘gayness, in patriarchal ideology, is the repository of whatever is symbolically
expelled from hegemonic masculinity’. Hegemonic masculinity thus encourages us to consider masculinity as one and the same as heterosexuality with “gayness”, as
Connell puts it, defined in opposition to those. We might recognize, for instance,
the manner in which “gayness” is often conflated with effeminacy. We certainly
see in this early exchange that, for Danny and Karl, to be a man is also, by
definition, to be heterosexual and, beyond the potential consequences that their
burgeoning relationship might have for their friendship or Danny’s marriage, I
would argue that it is this perceived incompatibility of a same-sex
relationship with Danny and Karl’s identities as relatively masculine men
that is the root of much of Striking Vipers’ dramatic conflict. Now, in many episodes of Black Mirror, the
conflicts that are brought about by whatever technological innovation is the
focus of that episode would, in the absence of that technology, likely have
come about anyway. Without the various medical advances present in Rachel, Jack
and Ashley Too, for example, Katherine would probably have found other means through
which to control Ashley O’s career and life. In Striking Vipers, however, I’m not
sure that this is the case. For the ability to escape to a virtual world
beyond the reaches of hegemonic masculinity is key to enabling Danny and
Karl to explore their sexuality in the way that they do. In The Hero with a
Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell foregrounds a moment in
all narratives where the hero ‘transfers his [sic] spiritual center of gravity from
within the pale of his society to a zone unknown’. In some cases, this is a real
physical departure from one place to another; in others it is metaphorical or
psychological. What is important is that the protagonist is in someway
removed from their comfort zone and placed in a new context where the
knowledge that they have built-up over the course of their lives no longer
applies. Usually when analyzing a film through this lens we focus on the
challenges that the devaluing of the protagonist’s existing knowledge presents.
In Striking Vipers however, the devaluing of Danny and Karl’s existing knowledge
of gender and sexuality presents an opportunity. See, in my most recent
episode of What the Theory? we looked at the work of Michel Foucault who argued
that the knowledge we are given about the world has significant ramifications
for how we construct our identities. If, for instance, we are presented with the
idea that gender and sexuality are binary as an objective fact
then, in constructing our own personal gender and sexual identities, we will
likely pick one or the other; we won’t even know it’s possible to question that.
This very much seems to be the context in which Danny and Karl
have constructed their personal flavors of masculinity. Nevertheless,, when they
place those glowing, white pucks on their foreheads and leave behind the
desaturated real-world for the bright colors of the virtual one, new
possibilities are opened up. Most obviously, Danny—who has been unable to
work out since he injured his knee— regains his mobility in the body of
Lance. Karl goes further, taking on the body of Roxette. And it follows that, in a
virtual world of such limitless possibilities, something as restrictive
as gender norms might hold little weight. Now, it might initially simply be a
result of the distancing effect that comes with knowing that anything that
happens within the world of Striking Vipers is, to some degree, “less real” than
anything which happens in the real-world which enables Danny and Karl to
experiment sexually in the way that they do. The excuse of it “just being a game”
gives both characters plausible deniability. This is perhaps best
exemplified by Danny’s discomfort when Karl comes over for dinner. Again, some of
this discomfort about discussing their in-game sexual liaisons at the dinner
table is brought about by the fear that Theo might discover what they’ve been up to.
But his anguish is exacerbated by the fact that to speak of their relationship
face-to-face would be to accept that it is more than just roleplay. Nevertheless,
more and more, it is hegemonic masculinity’s limited dominion in the
virtual world of Striking Vipers which enables the game to become a space in
which both characters can discuss—and tentatively reconstruct—their gender and
sexual identities in a way that they never would have been able to do in the
real world. It is interesting to note however that,
while their entrance into the virtual world may take away the need to
constantly be affirming their masculinity,
Danny and Karl’s internalization of gender and sexual binaries don’t dissolve away
instantaneously. Indeed, after their second in-game hook-up, Karl proposes to
Danny that he ‘guess[es] that’s us gay now’. Within this there is very clearly the
presence of binary thinking. For Karl, to have slept with someone of the same sex
means that they must now be 100 percent gay; it remains an either/or choice.
Danny’s response, however, is that it ‘don’t feel like a gay thing’. Now, we might
read this as another attempt to deny the “realness” of what they’ve just done;
another deployment of the excuse that it’s “just a game”. Or maybe there’s
something far more genuine being expressed here. On one level, we might
suggest that this is Danny coming to realize, through his own experience, that
there is, in fact, no intrinsic contradiction between masculinity and
sleeping with another man. Despite hegemonic masculinity’s
attempts to convince him that this is the case, he has slept with another man
and yet has not suddenly been rendered any less “manly” himself. The pertinency of
Danny’s response, however, doesn’t stop there. Because it’s not only in the
pejorative, non-masculine meaning that Connell suggested above is often applied
to the phrase that Danny and Karl’s having had sex might not make them gay. For
having fallen for a man does not entirely devalue their previous—or, in
Danny’s case, current—relationships with women. The legal scholar Kenji Yoshino
suggests that, even when we talk about sexuality in an entirely positive and
progressive light, there is the tendency to overlook or forget the very real
existence of bi people; what Yoshino refers to as bisexual erasure. Perhaps
they’re bi then? Maybe. But trying to put a label on what
sexual orientation Danny and Karl’s relationship might be an example of is made
even more complex when we take into account the fact that, in all
of their encounters, Karl is in a female body. How do we factor that in?
Furthermore, when Danny and Karl meet up in real life, they both state that they
don’t feel the same spark that they do in the virtual world replicated in real-life. Now, I don’t entirely believe Danny here but, taking them on their word, how
do we factor in the fact that the sex happening within the context of VR is an
inseparable part of their desire? Maybe what all of this serves to show us is
that the labels we attempt to place on sexual orientation and sexual identity
are, like those we attempt to place on gender, not only highly restrictive but
also not even fit for purpose? Indeed, in the article I mentioned a moment ago,
Yoshino argues that ‘the view—powerful in modern American culture […]—that sexual
orientation arrays itself along a continuum from exclusive heterosexuality
to exclusive homosexuality’ misses out as much as it encompasses. What of asexuals
for instance? Or what of anyone whose sexuality simply doesn’t fit into the
various molds we’ve created? Maybe Danny and Karl’s relationship isn’t a gay
thing but also isn’t a straight thing but also isn’t a bi thing but, instead,
in truth, is just far too complicated to stick a label on? In Queer Theory: an Introduction,
Annamarie Jagose suggests that sexual identities, sexual orientations and gender
identities are neither binary nor, in truth, categorizable at all but instead
are ‘a constellation of multiple and unstable positions’. This doesn’t mean
that the various labels that we have devised to position ourselves within
that constellation are entirely useless. Indeed, they can often provide a useful
language for seeking emancipation from patriarchal structures. But it does mean
that we should do our best to recognize that they are always, to some extent, a
psychological and social fiction. Striking Vipers (the episode not the
game) sees two men who, at the very opening, are very much trapped by binary
thinking surrounding both gender and sexual identity making this discovery
for themselves. The VR technology which allows them to enter into the world of
Striking Vipers (the game not the episode) also allows them to leave behind all
they thought they knew about their own identities and places them into a space
where the need to conform is replaced by an almost open-ended possibility. By
extension, then, Striking Vipers encourages us to consider what might be
gained from unlearning that which we think we know about gender and sexuality
and to consider the increased possibilities for our own identities
that might come from doing so. Thank you very much for watching this video, I hope
you’ve enjoyed it or found it interesting. As I said at the beginning, if you’d like
a copy of the script for this video, then you can head over to my Patreon and
check that out. I would really appreciate you considering supporting me on there.
And a thumbs up on the like thing down below is always very much appreciated.
All that out of the way however, thank you very much for watching once again
and have a great week!


  • Tom Nicholas

    June 26, 2019

    Thanks for watching all! I look forward to your comments/critiques! If you want to make sure you get notified whenever I release a new video then please do consider subscribing and turning on notifications!

  • Vanshika Chawla

    June 26, 2019

    (7:27) “In Striking Vipers, for instance, there are numerous ways in which Danny and Carl don’t conform with our simplistic, stereotypical idea of what it is to be a man… “
    I second this given Danny and Carl are in the game, living the hyperreal life. However, how does this stand true whilst they are living their real lives?

  • Hafida Bouhmid

    June 26, 2019

    Thank you for the spoilers, I haven't watched the latest season of Black mirror yet, but I wanted to watch this episode because I have just made a similar review on the new season of the German series Dark. When most people refer to this particular series as one of the sci-fi time traveling serie, I saw it went quite beyond that, discussion interesting topics such as the Human nature, identity, time and the like. Precisely, I think that the whole work is based on the thesis of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger and Hegel along with Schopenhauer, and also of the Dutch philosopher Spinoza. I really hope that you are one of the fans of that series as well, because it is really interesting how they combined all those complicated thoughts into one artistic work. Equally excellent in both the content and the form.

  • ListlessLion

    June 26, 2019

    I thought the themes work better if Danny and Carl are taken at their word, that there really is no attraction in the real world. Maybe that's still a narrative on the rigidity of heterosexuality in society, but puts a little less weight on internalized homophobia, as they were at the very least willing to try and figure it out. It does make you wonder, though, if things would have been different if Carl was a female in real life.
    It seemed there was definitely something about the roleplay aspect they enjoyed specifically with each other, and that was paralleled with Danny's wife. In their first scene, Danny presents a roleplay situation while they are at a bar, and Theo later says she was turned on at the idea of them being strangers. She maintains that later, that she's excited by the idea of sleeping with strangers, which in itself is essentially a roleplay scenario, as she is pretending to not be someone with a family. The situation would cease to be roleplay if someone tries to pursue her further, just like the situation is no longer roleplay if Danny and Carl attempt to pursue something in the real world.

  • SIR Lord Henry mortimer

    June 26, 2019

    I have a question for you . In west, historically black men have extremely violent image , popular image of them are either savage , sexually aggressive ,horny monster . But sometimes , these qualities of theirs are celebrated as virtues of REAL MAN
    Do you think their popular image somehow shapes their upbringing and effects their attitude and which in turn somehow forces some of them not everyone to actually live up to that standards as set by the larger dominant society .

  • Dusty Troyer

    June 26, 2019

    As always, I absolutely love your content. I found one part of the video stick out to me quite a bit. The part where you discussed sexuality being related to gender in how we form and conceive of our identities was particularly fascinating. Usually in popular discourse among people who identify as LGBTQ+, we make a point of separating sexuality from gender as cishet people tend to conflate the too and assume things about our sexuality based on our gender and vice-versa. I recognize what you brought up, however, is an entirely different point, one which has had particularly significant relevance in my life recently. I recently came out as a lesbian to my friends, which was a change since I identified as bisexual for the past ten years. I attribute this change in my sexuality though to the fact that I'm transitioning. My physical attraction to men has simply disappeared as I've been on HRT for the past number of months and been able to view my physical body more as in line with my gender identity. This seems to be a common experience among trans people and it's an interesting topic I'd like to explore more in my own studies.

  • Moaz Abdelrahman

    June 27, 2019

    I think you drank a bit too much coffee before this video. You look so stressed out.

  • Nikheel Iyer

    June 28, 2019

    It won’t be supposed to be disappointing if you could have made and added your own subtitle in your video. Cuz I’m deaf to watch this with your great analysis essay.

  • mgrantualism

    June 28, 2019

    One of your best videos yet in terms of pacing and production value; thanks so much for creating this! I enjoyed your analysis. I also thought the episode touched on an idea that hetero men's relationships are often more intimate than we'd admit; even if we "consummate" these relationships in different ways (video games, hitting the bars, sharing sexual conquests, and so on), we are often still drawn to another man's sexual "energy," for lack of a better term, in a way that mirrors attraction between romantic partners. That's what the BM episode left me considering, anyway.

  • trufiend138

    July 2, 2019

    No one ever considers the likely possibility that maybe the 2 dudes were just sexually aroused by the other’s virtual character.

    The fact they even kissed and felt no attraction confirm this. Although the one who plays as the female (vs his friends male avatar) I’m not 100% he was not sexually aroused. He was also the same person addicted to game play.

    so we should be asking and discussing what’s the sexual protagonist’s motivation.


    July 8, 2019

    I loved this episode. It's probably my favorite episode of Black Mirror so far. Stories about technology are most poignant (imho, of course) when they don't ~focus~ on the tech itself, but rather on how humans and human philosophy interacts with it, if that at all makes sense. San Junipero and Hated in the Nation are also good examples. There are definitely some Black Mirror episodes that come across as "durr hburr technology is bad fire is scary and thomas edison was a witch" (Nosedive was just…ugh). Smithereens was a little too preachy for me in some points. Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too was such a let down, given how many interesting questions the first half brought up (and also some… questionable character writing).

    The technology was incorporated so seamlessly into the world of Striking Vipers. The dishwasher in particular was a really nice touch. I actually thought that the dishwasher warning Theo that the knife had to be inserted with the handle up was foreshadowing lmao. I also really liked how in the beginning, when Karl first came over, it hinted at Danny and Theo "cheating". Danny not telling Theo that Karl was single, Karl slightly hesitating before saying that Theo looks good, Danny staring at a neighbor's ass. It definitely plays into heteronormative expectations.

    As always, great video! It's always a pleasure when you upload <3.

  • Alba

    July 10, 2019

    Hi Tom! i love love love your channel! all your videos are fascinating! I was wondering, do you have any other channels or sources you like to consult or simply enjoy that are similar to you content? and, i'd love to see an analysis of yours about the current moment of post modernism and the overwhelming trend of remakes and simingly lack of new ideas that seems to happen nowadays, i'd really like to see if in your opinion it's related, as a crisis of how in postmodernism the lack of rules and objective criteria for text "quality" seem to fet the authors lost on what's good or not anymore, looking forawrd for your content!

  • Ni'Shara Thomas

    July 15, 2019

    You look like a cute Smigel. 😂😂😂

  • hitchhiker

    July 17, 2019

    Way better than the garbage video made by Big Joel

  • Has Ift

    August 11, 2019

    tekken series *

  • kh RHEE

    August 15, 2019

    Thanks for the video about this Black Mirror episode. I also found this striking that there were no white characters in this storyline and to be honest quite refreshing. I was curious that you didn’t talk about this. The two black characters exploration of themselves embodying a different race seems to be fodder for a compelling discussion. In addition, while I’m happy to see two Asian actors having supporting roles, they don’t go beyond being sexed up martial arts characters that are just exotic vessels for the protagonists to inhabit.

  • RextheRebel

    September 17, 2019

    Plenty of men create their avatars in games as women. That doesn't mean they want to be women or that they are attracted to men. We are in this day and age looking wayyyy into this in such a deconstructive and needless way. Men and women can express themselves in any way they please and can partake in activities that place them in particular roles, roles which evolve over time and vary situation to situation. None of this means anyone is more than man or woman. I can't believe I have to say this and I hate that i have to think saying this is considered wrong or offensive but there are two genders. Gender has become nothing more than out personality. Destroying the idea of gender itself.

    All of this post modernist crap makes me sick. A person expressing themselves in various touches of femininity and masculinity does not change their gender. And that poses the question, what is or isn't femininely or masculine? Why can't people just be themselves? Is there such as thing as being "yourself"? Can we truly be "ourselves" if our identity is largely influenced by culture? Then are we truly individuals? No. Even if we deconstruct "traditional" forms of gender expression then there will be another normative hegemony that begins to influence and already is influencing people. And of we are this easily influenced then what is the point of trying to be "non binary"?

    Certain traits exist for a reason. There ks nothing wrong with it. When people become conservative assholes who trash men for not being "man" enough then that's where the problems lie. The problem is not that this individual being bullied is of a different gender because of vague traits and qualities but because the idea of beinh that gender is too rigid. The answer to ending rigidity on self expression is not to create more genders but to expand the idea of what it means to be male or female. You aren't gender non binary because you are ambiguous. Unless the individual is a legit transexual and not transgender then the person has no base to claim they are of a different gender.

    As I've read more and more about gender theory over the last few years the only thing I come to is that much of it is stupid and the people pushing these deconstructionist likes ate hurting society by complicating things which should a very simple solution. Gender roles and expression are what decide ones gender. Well aren't these roles and expressions individualized in all of us regardless of the culture we grew up in? Yes. So this means we are conflating gender with personality.

    There are two sexes/genders. Male and female. The way each of those decides or instinctually expresses themselves matters but it does not change what matters more, our biological sex. The thing which is concrete and describes nearly our entire society and history. From evolution to medicine.

  • VelleVette

    September 18, 2019

    I think the conflict of the story still could have happened without the technological advances of VR. I've explored gender and inhabited other characters through cosplay. I've had romantic and sexual interactions with friends while we roleplayed fictional characters of different genders and sexual orientations. The only thing that can't happen today is the physical experience of sex in a body of a different sex.


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