So, the GDC came, and with it that silly sex game contest I grumbled about before.
Apparently the 'winning' entry was a series of random minigames representing different things that happened on the night of someone's first - everything from picking out a dress to getting garlic out of her teeth to trying not to fall off the bed.
Some sites are complaining about the whole thing, largely because of bad reporting making the contest sound even stupider than it was, also slightly because of the normalisation inherent in suggesting that you HAVE to do all of these things in order to have a 'good date' ... Which isn't entirely accurate especially as it was supposed to be autobiographical, one person's actual first time, not a statement of how it should be, although certainly if it were the only such game in existence it would be frustrating. Still, these little details are not exactly the important aspects of a relationship!
The bigger problem I can see is that it doesn't sound like all that much fun, especially as a game themed around sex but not actually focusing on sex itself. People who like porn games will put up with a lot of silly roadblocks that they have to get past in order to get the sex part. Without that, I'm not sure who would be interested enough in the story as presented to stumble through a lot of unrelated minigames just to achieve someone else's ends. Having many different minigames is a problem because it makes it quite tough to make all of them fun. Doable if they're just obstacles to a goal you actually care about, more problematic if they're pretty much the whole game. It would work as a simple free flash game with each minigame being very easy; not much more than that, imo.
So, how could you make a casual-style gameplay-oriented game about sex that doesn't include sex itself and has a more broad appeal?
I'm thinking perhaps a game about trying to achieve privacy. You play a couple, you try to find a place to be alone together, but everything under the sun keeps intervening. People keep interrupting, wanting different things from both of you, everywhere you go you can't find a place where no one will see you, a random movie crew suddenly shines a spotlight on your hiding place, etc. Obviously this needs some work to figure out a proper mechanic for Hilarity to Ensue, but I think it's a general concept that a lot of people could relate to. Even adult couples sometimes have trouble managing to get the privacy they want, with friends and work and children making demands on them. The details of what the couple want to do once they're finally alone together don't need to be gone into - they can just kiss and we can infer the rest from there.
For extra bonus points, this concept helps get across the idea that sex is something people do together, rather than a goal one hunts and the other denies....