Woohoo

The Sims 2 is one of the few games in which the player can initiate sex. The game is essentially a dollhouse where you manage a family living under the same roof. The game tracks including their biological needs, eating, peeing, sleeping, staying clean and socializing. Including romance.

Romance, from flirty innuendos to full-on making out fulfills the social need very well, but none of that mushy stuff is actually necessary. The game was rated for teens but was intended to be safe for minors not threaten parents by exposing their spawn to adult situations. And the way they did this was by burying heavy romance fairly deeply and avoiding adult matters like drunkenness or child neglect.

That said, getting two sims all cuddly is not easy. First you have to get them to engage each other enough to actually like each other. Typically that takes a about a week or so of persistent interaction. Then you have to get those two people onto bed (Relaxing. If you put them into bed, they’ll just sleep.) Then they need to fall in love (if they aren’t in love already. One good kiss will do it.) Then and only then will the option to woohoo become available. It’s a process.

Yes. Woohoo. Not have sex. Not copulate. Not make love. Woohoo.

Woohoo = sim sex. The logic was the same for issuing lasers to G.I. Joe and Cobra so as not to distress viewing kids parents. It’s like Tron: Legacy which features very humanlike characters with humanlike behavior getting blasted apart or holes punched through them, but that’s not too violent because instead of exploding in blood and gore, they burst apart into voxels or luminescent goo. That makes it all better.

Hint to parents: Kids totally know that Woohoo = Doing it. Making babies. Taking the Underground Express. Analoging Selfies. Doing The Fandango. Having the Double-Deluxe Hot-Fudge Banana Royale with Extra Whipped Cream and Three Cherries. Riding the Unicorn. Surfing the Kashmir. Zoology Lessons. SEX!

Kids also make their dolls woohoo in the toy dollhouse when you’re not looking. Doll houses are all about the woohoo.

Woohoo sounds awkward in an age where talking about sexual relations is acceptable prime-time television fodder, and the big drug-store chains have condoms within child’s reach (and a marital aids on the shelves, albeit behind plastic inventory control locks). We’re still super-prudish about showing body parts, possibly more so than the 70s and 80s when foreign-country public nudity, and National Geographic documentary nudity were still acceptable on PBS. (The TV series I, Claudius — 1976 Derek Jacobi — was certainly my adolescent gateway to European culture and Roman Imperialism.)

In the 1970s it was still too risqué for television to suggest that a person might be sexually active at all. We could talk about love, but infants (and natal elephants) were still delivered by mythical bird freight rather than biological process (Though Lucille Ball and thus Lucy in I love Lucy was clearly expecting for a season. Lucy’s stage child grew up at a disturbingly accelerated rate.)

Even the softer make love or the clinical have sex were beyond accepted TV standards and practices (though teens on Happy Days would make out, and kissing was totally a code for shagging). And people would poke at implications that sex was had such as a girlfriend accusing a boy of giving her the clap…the implications (to the relationship) of him testing negative after all were not even addressed. The Newlywed Game was so known to use the expression make whoopee — a common term for it in the 50s and 60s — that the show continued to use the term as a sort of catchphrase into the 90s, where it was getting to be awkward like the Flintstone’s gay old time.

Getting back to The Sims 2, woohoo in bed features ambiguous wiggling under the covers, giggles, visible steam, electricity and fireworks. In the basic Sims 2 game, woohoo could happen in bed, in a hot-tub or in a dressing booth. Later expansions would offer — along with new, playable not-quite-human character types — a new woohoo location, including a photo booths, cars, elevators, tents, saunas, hammocks, helicopters and walk-in closets. In public settings, the other characters would cheer the couple on. No sim ever got arrested for indecent behavior.

But The Sims 2 was definitely a different culture than California. In Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clark predicted that a new sexual golden age would surface with two developments: perfect contraception, and a fast, easy means to track paternity, both of which are assumed in The Sims 2. Only the player can initiate Woohoo, and then if it’s a hetero coupling and the woman is native (not visiting from another lot) then the Try For Baby option becomes available. Children in The Sims 2 are entirely opt-in.

Sims 2 babies are also amazingly communal. Unfamiliar visitors will happily engage your infant, feed and change her and tuck her into bed.

One can only hope.

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