In our last Skyrim adventure, I bought the delightful house of Breezehome, was stalked by the slightly creepy Lydia and married Ysolda for the price of a mammoth tusk. As you do.
And now for the $64,000 question … can you have nookie?
It’s what every sweaty palmed teenager wants to know. And what every teenager’s parent is dreading. Can your pixelated hero jump onto the bed and make whoopy with your equally pixelated bride?
It would bring a whole new meaning to the word “joystick”.
I have some good news and some bad news. It turns out that you can have sex in Skyrim, but it is the kind of teenage drunken sex that seems so long ago. Heck, at my age it was so long ago. In other words, it’s over very quickly, it isn’t as good as you were expecting and you aren’t 100% sure it happened at all.
The first disappointment of many is that Ysolda doesn’t move in to my house straight away. Naturally, I ran back from the church after the ceremony eager to pull the wrappings off the only wedding present that I was really interested in … but she’s not there.
I rushed from room to room. Nope. Not a sign. Maybe she stayed on for the dance afterwards? Chatting to her friends? Dancing around a pile of Nordic handbags while bards strum the latest choons on their lutes?
Actually there isn’t a disco in Skyrim – at least I don’t think there is – but that’s where I imagined she was while I was prowling the bedroom feeling strangely unfulfilled. Get thee into this bed chamber and be bedded, wench! And other similarly macho medieval mutterings.
Of course, there’s always Lydia, the housecarl. But she steadfastly refuses to do anything bed related. She will fight for me and carry stuff with a world weary “I am sworn to carry your burdens”. But she is more like a big sister. A big sister with cast iron knickers and chainmail bustier. Sexy, it ain’t, unless your kink involves can openers and WD-40.
It takes a few days for the lovely Ysolda to turn up. I came back from clearing a dungeon of skelingtons and my bride has made herself at home.
This is when we find disappointment number 1. It transpires that Ysolda is far from being a modern woman. She cooks on the open range. Mixes potions at the alchemy table. Sits in one of the chairs. Then she gets up and sits in a different chair. Cooks some more. Makes another batch of potions. Walks to another chair.
I spent a happy few minutes watching her move from one menial task to another. My heart wanted to cry out (if hearts can cry) – get out into the fresh air, my bride! Come with me on my travels! Experience all the joy that life has to offer! Well, life as imagined in a computer game.
I wanted to show her the waterfalls and mountains. Take romantic walks through the pine forests. Take turns shooting small woodland creatures with our longbows.
But she was having none of it. Cook, sit, alchemy. Then sit, alchemy, cook. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
I tried speaking to her, but it turned out that the programmers hadn’t given us much chance for extensive conversation. I could ask her to cook something for me or to move to a different house. That was about it.
I wanted to ask her how her day had been. To tell her about my experiences outside these four walls. To laugh, joke, flirt, share. Be soulmates.
Nope. None of that. She could cook me a meal and would move to another house. She would say hello and remark that I was off on some adventure. Sometimes she would tell me that it was a lovely house. She said it all very nicely, and called me “love”, but I was hoping for … a little bit more.
After a few days she told me that she had opened a small store, and each day would give me 100 gold pieces as my share of the profits. This was more than a little suspicious. I never did find this so-called store and my share of the profits was always exactly 100 gold pieces per day. No matter the weather or the time of year, this alleged store never made a penny more or a penny less.
I suspected that there was something going on behind my back. I couldn’t prove it, of course. I tried coming back at odd times to catch her out. She was always there, stirring the pot, sitting in a chair or making her potions.
I have a wild theory that she was secretly making narcotics and selling them to a clientele of Nordic druggies who snuck in round the back of the house. That was what the alchemy was really for. My beloved was making the Viking equivalent of a legal high.
But you don’t want to know about the drugs or the fact that we never really talked, do you? You want to know about the sex.
The way that Skyrim works is that you get up close to something that you can interact with and then press the action button. If you want to pick something up, you stand close to it and press action. Open a door? Press the action button. Talk to someone? Stand next to them and press action. Sometimes a menu will open up giving you more choices.
It sounds a little odd if you are not a computer games player, but kids understand this stuff without needing to think about it. It’s the way the modern world works. It’s why ipads only have one button (well sort of) and you can operate them with one finger.
Heck, wasn’t that what the sexual revolution was supposed to be about? All we needed to do was to find the G spot and all our problems would be solved. But I digress.
Gentle reader, in the interests of science I tried all sorts of ways of … ahem … pressing the action button with my new wifey. I tried standing next to her. I waited until she walked into the bedroom and then tried. I was pressing my action button all over the blasted house. And all she would do was talk, and cook and go to her alchemy table.
It was like my first marriage all over again.
In desperation I went to bed. If she wasn’t going to be … ahem … receptive, I would do that man thing that we always do. I would go into a moody silence (aka a sulk) and hope she would take pity on me. It’s a tactic that very rarely works in the real world, because both of you promptly fall asleep, but you never know.
And then it happened.
At least, I think it happened. I woke up several hours later, with a strange new message hovering over the bed.
You see, sleeping in Skyrim gives you a special bonus. If you sleep in any old bed, the game tells you “You awaken feeling rested.”
If you sleep in a bed that you own, the game says “You awaken feeling well rested”.
And if you sleep in the marital bed, the game says “You awaken feeling your lover’s comfort.”
Your lover’s comfort. Oh yes, that is a euphemism for enjoying bed time with your significant other. You are not just rested or even well rested. You are refreshed and re-energised, ready to face whatever dungeon or dragon that the world might throw at you.
I can only assume that nookie happened at some point in the night. Either that or we have the restorative effect of a chaste cuddle.
But there is something bothering me. Something is not quite right with this picture. It’s that damn apostrophe in “lover’s comfort”.
Clearly it’s a euphemism, but a euphemism for what? The act of sex, I hear you cry. Well, I imagine that I hear you cry. But there’s a problem with that. If “lover’s comfort” was indeed the act of consummation, then you would hope that both parties would get something out of it. I like to think that I am a considerate lover who attends to my partner’s needs as well as my own.
So shouldn’t it be “lovers’ comfort”? The apostrophe goes after the “s” and not before it. Don’t we both get the benefits of the night’s pyjama Olympic exertions? Surely Ysolda gets a 15% bonus to her pot stirring and alchemy throughout the day, just like I do?
I would hate to think that the computerised love-making that I didn’t get to see wasn’t one-sided on my part. Admittedly these are set in Viking times when things were a little different. But I still hope that Ysolda might enjoy it enough to take some comfort of her own.
So maybe “lover’s comfort” doesn’t refer to the act of sex? Because only one lover gets it, perhaps it refers to something else. After all, it’s a euphemism, nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more.
Maybe – just maybe – your “lover’s comfort” is that part of your anatomy with which you give comfort to your lover. Your … how can I put this politely? … trouser broadsword.
You awaken with your hand down your Nordic pants clutching your manhood after a night of passion with your blushing bride which leaves you both feeling equally sated, refreshed, invigorated.
Maybe. But there is a sting in the tail to this tale. As I stood up from the marital bed pondering the proper use of apostrophes in medieval euphemisms, I couldn’t help noticing that my trusty housecarl Lydia was sitting on her usual chair in the corner of my bedroom.
How weird is that? The missus and I consummate our marriage whilst our servant watches on. Lydia got a better view of the night’s action than I did. I so desperately wanted to ask her what it was like. Was I any good? Did we do anything innovative or imaginative?
And can you please please explain the bloody apostrophe in “lover’s comfort” because it’s driving me mad?
More to come (ahem) in part three.