Nordic Erotic Larp: Designing for Sexual Playfulness




Role-play, larp, sexual arousal, design, design abstract, Nordic larp, sex in games, queer games, alibi, make-believe oppression, marketing


Erotic larp is an emerging trend in the Nordic countries. Sexuality and socio-dramatic play have been combined in numerous ways in the past; what is new about this concentration of erotic embodied adult pretend play is that it is emerging from a culture of reflexive, critical, and bespoke design, as a tradition of art games. By studying 25 design abstracts of Nordic art larps from the last decade, this article seeks not only to map, classify, organize, and understand the phenomena of erotic larp design, but to discuss how norms of sexuality are reflected in the Nordic larp community through looking at how sexuality is thematised, described, signalled, and designed. The analysis in this article is rooted in game studies and informed by sexuality studies. In the design abstracts, we uncover how sexuality is thematised by the designers and signalled to the players, as well as how larp rules, mechanics, and expectations are designed for erotic role-play interactions. The article shows that a Nordic tradition of larps with design for erotic and sexual play has emerged during the 201 Os, how new larp mechanics scaffold erotic role-play in ways that give room for sexual arousal through layered alibis, and that these form of larps are inclusive of people of marginalised genders and sexualities, as well as of sexual kinks. The discussion also addresses the tension between liberation and oppression of sexuality in erotic larp design, as well as tensions around player agency and compelling game mechanics.




How to Cite

Grasmo, H., & Stenros, J. (2022). Nordic Erotic Larp: Designing for Sexual Playfulness. International Journal of Role-Playing, (12), 62–105.