BL Gamer Survey Results

This survey is 6 years overdue. I’ve been meaning to do it back in 2016 but only gathered enough motivation to make it and publish it in January 2022. It was partially inspired by Tailor Tales’ In-depth Otome game survey as well as Mangagamer’s annual licensing surveys.

I asked 54 question to BL gamers about where they come from, their gender and sexual orientation, how they discovered the genre, what they like and what they don’t, etc… Some answers were expected, others I found quite surprising and debunked some beliefs I previously had.

I received a total of 636 answers but had to remove 7 of them, the most common reason being that their answers made it clear that they had never experienced any BL game and thus do not belong in a BL gamer survey. This survey is thus based on the 629 survey answers I deemed valid.

If you missed this survey and would still like sate my curiosity, I made a new survey with new questions here.

Where BL gamers come from

The vast majority of respondents come from Twitter, with about 30% of them following my Twitter account. Another sizeable portion comes from Reddit, where I posted a link to the survey in several places (/r/gaymers, /r/blgames, /r/yaoi and /r/boyslove). 13 answers come from 4chan’s /y and /jp boards.

Geographically, I received answers from 71 countries. A whopping 37% of answers came from USA alone though, most likely because the survey is in English and was posted on Twitter.

For convenience, I made a map where all countries cited at least once in the survey are colored:

37% of the answers were from the USA alone. Curiously, nobody from Portugal answered, but Brazil was cited 24 times!

The most spoken non-English language among respondents is Spanish (19%), followed by French (9,2%), German (8,9%) and Portugese (8,2%).

Taking that graph and concluding that the most non-English spoken language used by all BL gamers of the planet is Spanish would be a mistake though. Think of the thousands of Chinese and Japanese, and perhaps even Korean people who didn’t answer this survey because they didn’t find it, or don’t understand English. As such, I’d advice you to take these numbers with a grain of salt.

Gender and sexual orientation

Women represent the largest portion of BL gamers with almost 43% of all answers. Men account for 37,5% of respondents, which is more than the usual 25%-ish I’ve seen in most BL surveys. For the sake of this survey, I grouped people who answered “Nonbinary” and “Other” as ‘GNC’ (Gender Non-Conforming), who represent a little less than 20% of all answers. GNCs do not include people who answered “Male” or “Female” and then answered “Yes” to being trans.

21% of respondents are not cisgender, it seems. Nonbinaries were torn between “Yes” and “I don’t know”. 35 respondents reported being trans men, and only 1 trans woman answered.

When asked for their romantic and sexual orientation, it turns out that more than 18% of women and a bit less than 29% of GNC are asexual. The most represented sexual orientation is gay men, who alone make up for 25% of all survey answers.

More women reported being attracted to “any gender” than “the opposite gender”. There are more bi/pan women than straight women. Straight women make up for 13% of all answers. In other words, there are almost twice as many gay men playing BL / Gay games as there are straight women. If anyone tells you that BL/Yaoi is created by straight women for straight women, tell them that they are lying and that there are actual numbers to prove them wrong.

Contrary to my expectations, there is little to no age difference between all 3 groups. Women are only a few months older than men and GNCs on average.

BL gamers’ age

65% of all respondents are between 20 and 29, with a strangely big spike at 21 of age. When I posted this graph on Twitter and mused about everyone’s age 8 years ago when DRAMAtical Murder took off, a few users told me that they were actually 13 when they discovered the genre, encouraged by the general hype and their groups of friends of similar age. 21 minus 8 equals 13. That still doesn’t explain what made DMMd so appealing to 13 years old in particular, though.

BL gamers’ platforms

Nearly all respondents own or use a PC, and a little over half of them also own an Android device and a Nintendo Switch. When asked what platform they’d use if they could choose, this time 76% answered PC, followed by 14% for Nintendo Switch and 6% Android. I’m a bit surprised at Android’s unpopularity, considering so many BL games, albeit oftentimes low quality ones are available on these devices. But then again, people who only ever played mobile BL games might not have found my survey. I can only guess that PC is and will remain BL gamers’ favorite platform though — only on PC you can get adult BL games, and a bigger screen is better to gaze at beautiful and sexy artpieces!

The BL game economy – buying and piracy

On the topic of physical VS digital, if they could choose, 59% of responders would rather only get a digital BL game. 25% would like both, and only 16% would rather only get a physical BL game. This is not very surprising: when most physical editions of BL game are made in Japan, the price of shipping can sometimes be more expensive than the game itself. And for the many BL gamers who are still living with family, digital means they don’t have to explain what Absolute Obedience or Hadaka Shitsuji are about.

87% of all respondents bought a BL game at least once. Among those who never bought a BL game, you will find 14 of the 20 minors who answered the survey. Beyond that age, the age curve of non-buyers is not that different from the overall age curve.

Those who never bought a BL game are only 5% more likely to pirate one. That number grows to 7% if I remove native English speakers. The highest rate of piracy I found was among non-native English speakers, who also don’t live in USA or other “rich” countries, at 82,3%.

In other word: the less privileged you are, the more likely you are to pirate a BL game.

Which brings us the question to why someone would pirate a BL game. The chief reason cited is that there was simply no buyable English version for it.

BL game localization only started to become a thing in 2015, with the official English release of the game No, Thank You!!!. In 2005 and 2006 sure we also had Enzai and Absolute Obedience, but those were complete commercial failures until the BL game genre started kicking off, around 2014; year in which they apparently started to break profit. Nitro+Chiral games only started to be available at the end of 2018 with Sweet Pool.

That means before 2015, if you wanted to get your hands on a BL game, you had to navigate your way through a Japanese website, order the physical version of a game, and pay for a proxy to grab the game and send it to you, because that JP website did not ship outside of Japan. If you were lucky, you’d find the same game on ebay, amazon, CDJapan or J-list and spare yourself the proxy fees.

In other words, until very recently, buying a Japanese game was a very long and expensive process, while pirating the same game was much faster and easier. The opposite is now true for localized games, where you only need a few clicks to purchase them on the publisher’s website or Steam, no English patch or crack necessary.

A rather high, but unsurprising amount of custom answers were in the lines of “I was too young and couldn’t ask my parents to buy it” and “I couldn’t pay for them before but now that I can, I prefer buying them”, which brings us to the next graph.

A whopping 73% of BL gamers reported buying a BL game after pirating it. The main reason cited being that the game finally got localized in English. Now, this does not mean that they bought every game they pirated, but still, that means the most straightforward way to convert a pirate into a potential customer would be to localize their favorite BL game properly. And give it an easily accessible digital version which only started to become a thing for Japanese BL games around 2016.

The BL game economy – where players’ money goes

When asked where they purchase their BL games, 63% of all answers cited Steam, followed by the JAST USA store and itchio, which both received 41% of all answers. Mangagamer is a bit farther behind, it’s hard to compete against Nitro+CHiral games I guess.

Those who voted “Creator’s website” cites BLits’ or Obscura specifically, as you can buy Camp Buddy and Coming Out On Top directly from their official websites.

I went further and asked respondents where they bought BL games that were localized by Mangagamer or JAST. These games include at the time of the survey:

  • No, Thank You!!! by Parade (Mangagamer)
  • Room No.9 by Parade (Mangagamer)
  • Hadaka Shitsuji by Mada Kobo (Mangagamer)
  • Hashihime of the Old Book Town by Adelta (Mangagamer)
  • Sweet Pool (JAST USA)
  • Togainu no Chi (JAST USA)
  • DRAMAtical Murder (JAST USA)

Again Steam is the preferred answer, but this time not by a very long margin when compared to JAST USA store. Furthermore, only half of those Steam answers actually ONLY bought their games on Steam. A few custom answers mentioned buying a JAST-localized game on Steam, then going to the JAST Store to purchase the uncensor patch.

When asked why they bought a localized game on Steam, 57,2% of respondents cited Steam’s convenience, followed by 22,3% being unaware that JAST/MG sold BL games on their storefronts or NOT knowing said storefront existed in the first place, followed by 17,4% for lower price. Custom answers include the Steam wallet feature, in which buying with the website currency means the game does not appear on their credit card’s history. Steam achievements and time-tracking features were also mentioned. I regret not making that question multiple choices, for I suspect a number of those who cited “convenience” would have also picked other answers.

As much as I dislike Steam and the 30% cut it takes from game devs, I believe Steam also played a role in making BL games more accessibles and easy to find. Keep in mind that while a $20 game might seem cheap to you, it will be very, very expensive to someone living in Brazil where there is a high import tax, or in Russia where currency or standards of living means this game would be a luxury. As such “regional pricing”, which scales the price to a country’s currency and other factors further give BL games access to games they love from all around the world.

Note that recently, JAST USA has started applying regional pricing too. The algorithm used to determine localized price apparently differs from Steam’s, so some games will appear still a bit more expensive, or even cheaper than the same game on Steam.


On the topic of crowdfunding, only 32% of all respondents answered Yes to backing a game — either through Kickstarter, Patreon, Indiegogo or other places. Among those who answered Yes, 37,8% backed more than one game. One responder suggested I add another question that asks what would make someone back a campaign, but I believe it would be the exact same reason as what would make someone want to play a game, which we’ll discuss later.

There has been an increasing sense of doubt towards crowdfunding, as a number of creators whose campaign was successful ended-up spending all their funds long, long before they could deliver their game. I talk about this in detail in this article. Several games cited were since released.

BL game merchandise

More than half of respondents reported never buying any official BL game merchandise. Considering the majority of BL gamers would rather their game to be digital, I believe this is not too surprising: again, buying BL game merch usually means importing it from Japan where shipping costs are oftentimes higher than the product itself.

Among those who did buy merch, Artook was the most popular choice, followed by keychains and figurines. Pins and badges were not an option but were custom-added 7 times, which makes me think they wouldn’ve been higher had I added those as an option.

Interestingly, 19,5% of BL gamers who never purchased a BL game did buy merch, with again artbooks as the most popular kind of product.

On the importance of reviews

Almost 70% of all respondents never reviewed a BL game, either through Steam or through other channels. And yet, 60% respondents report being convinced to play a BL game thanks to one or more positive reviews. Those who never left a review are roughly 4% less likely to be convinced by one or more reviews.

It would be safe to conclude that those who do bother leaving feedbacks, either by talking to their friends or leaving a review on the game’s official page or Steam goes a long way to make a game and its creator grow. You don’t need to write anything long or elaborate either. Even just “I liked it!” would help and convince yet another potential player to play a BL game.

How to make new BL gamers

To the surprise of no one, with 26% of all responses DRAMAtical Murder is by a long margin the most likely title to be your first BL game experience. Following is Togainu no chi (10%), Coming Out On Top (8%) and Camp Buddy (7%).

This is where gender starts to affect respondents’ experience with BL games.

Men’s first BL game:

  • Coming Out On Top: 42 (18% of all men)
  • DRAMAtical Murder: 40 (17% of all men)
  • Camp Buddy: 37 (16% of all men)

Women’s first BL games:

  • DRAMAtical Murder: 85 (32% of all women)
  • Togainu no Chi: 45 (17% of all women)
  • Enzai: 32 (12% of all women)

Gender non-conforming individuals’ first BL games:

  • DRAMAtical Murder: 42 (40% of all GNCs)
  • Togainu no Chi: 12 (11% of all GNCs)
  • Enzai: 7 (7% of all GNCs)

Throughout the survey, I noticed GNCs and women tended to have similar answers in overall experience while having distinct tastes. Men on the other hand will display vastly different BL game experiences and tastes and this of course affects the BL games they are drawn to, and thus their first experience.

All of these games have one thing in common: their popularity made them access an audience that did not expose themselves to BL games before. Enzai, DRAMAtical Murder and Togainu no Chi received an anime and/or manga adaption; Coming Out On Top is the first LGBT+ game to be crowdfunded on Kickstarter and received worldwide press coverage; Camp Buddy’s main creator, Mikkoukun, already had a large following and previously worked on Bacchikoi while he was still part of the renowed BlackMonkey Pro circle.

Full Service was only mentioned 5 times. I don’t think it means Full Service isn’t a big vector of BL game introduction. Rather, I suspect those who play Full Service and/or follow its creator Mazjojo do not seek, or aren’t interested other BL games (aside from maybe Camp Buddy) and are much less likely to answer this survey.

39% of responders report being introduced to visual novels through BL games. While the above graph may make it seem like it’s a lot, that also means 61% of respondents were already one foot into visual novels before trying BL games.

Between a person who already played visual novels but have never read BL, and a person who already read BL but has never played a BL game, I wonder which would be the most tempted to try playing a BL game.

When asked what other kind of visual novels they enjoy, 69% of women also report playing otome games, versus 65% for GNCs and 32% for men. Horror seems rather popular, coming 2d or 3rd place in all groups. Men are more likely to only play visual novels that are BL than other groups, but overall the vast majority of all BL gamers will try a variety of other visual novels.

How respondents got introduced to BL games

There was no easy way to turn these answers into a graph, so above are a table with all the results and their percentage, and a corresponding graph with shortened answers.

As you can see, answers are quite varied, but 30% of respondents discovered BL games by coming across official art or fanart. Next big answer is by hitting “yaoi” or another such term on Google or a search engine and stumbling onto a BL game. 18 separate people wrote that they actively tried to look for “games but with yaoi in it”. Surprisingly few respondents cited discovering the genre through Let’s Plays. Similarly I expected more respondents mentioning they discovered BL games by following a prominent artist who made their own BL games like Hamletmachine and Starfighter: Eclipse, but it turned out to be one of the least popular answers.

I also received a lot of amusing anecdotes of their first contact with the genre, which I posted on Twitter but won’t repost here because this article is already quite long.

Where BL gamers (try to) find BL new games

430 respondents find BL games through Twitter, but then most responders also found my survey through Twitter, so while it would be safe to assume Twitter is a big hub for BL game discovery, I am not entirely convinced it is the main place people discover BL games.

More interesting is the next most popular choice: Games stores, aka Google Play, Steam, Itchio and other video game storefronts, which represents 54% of answers.

BL games being a rather small niche, the only way you could possibly find any BL game on a general game storefront like itchio or Steam would be to actively seach of a BL game, for example typing “yaoi” or “gay” on the search bar. The same is true for VNDB – the Visual Novel Database where BL games only represent a small portion of all listed visual novels.

By calculating the total number of answers that cite either Game Store or VNDB, I get 67% — that’s the quantity of BL gamers who find BL games by ACTIVELY searching for them.

Pornhub was custom-mentioned 4 times across these last 2 questions.

I expected at least 60% of respondents to have watched a BL game Let’s Play at least once, but turns out less than 50% actually did. Perhaps most BL gamers would rather experience a game themselves?

The BL game experience

Tell me your relationship with DRAMAtical Murder and I’ll tell you who you are.

63% of all respondents played the game in some capacity and 37% actually bought it. It means that of all the people who reported playing DMMd, 59% of them bought the game and the remaining 31% pirated it without ever buying it. It’s possible that some of those who voted “I played it” actually bought it too, and that some people bought it but never played it, but either way, it’s same to assume that a number of BL gamers who played the game don’t plan on ever purchasing DMMd, althought that didn’t stop its JAST USA release from selling like in the tens of thousands on a certain marketplace.

10% of all respondents have never heard of DRAMAtical Murder. Who are these people, you ask?

89% of the 63 respondents who never heard of DMMd are male. 41 of them found this survey on Reddit. 20 of them were introduced to the genre with Coming Out On Top, 15 through Camp Buddy. Only one person got introduced to the genre with a Japanese game, and that game was Gakuen Heaven. Everyone else’s first BL game is EVN. Taking a quick look at their preferences, the overwhelming majority report avoiding “rape where the victim doesn’t enjoy it” at all costs, far more than average.

The true champs of this question however are the 6 respondents who not only played and bought DMMd, but also went to DMMd-related events like the Chiral Nights. I truly admire their dedication.

33% of women reported having never played a non-Japanese BL game before, versus only 10% of men. On the opposite side, 71% of men and 67% of GNCs reported having never played a Japanese game without any fanmade or official translation, versus 50% of women.

Amusingly, 16 of the respondents who answered “No” to ever playing a BL game later listed Camp Buddy, Full Service, Seiyuu Danshi, Coming Out On Top, Boyfriend Dungeon, Dream Daddy and Dragon Age as their top 5 favorite titles. Did they forget playing those until the question of their fave came up? Did they simply misclick, or perhaps did they think Dream Daddy was made by a Japanese team? I’ll never know.

Looking at these numbers, plus the ones above about BL gamers’ first game, you can see that men tend to be drawn towards EVNs more than Japanese games. Male BL gamers, the overwhelming majority of which are gay men, are more likely to seek games whose characters fit the Western standards of male attractiveness (square jaw, more muscles, more body or facial hair) whereas the Japanese games you usually hear about, like the Nitro+ titles will feature male characters that fit a more Eastern standard of attractiveness.

I insist on Western and Eastern standards of attractiveness instead of using the word “manly”, because the definition “manly”, be it physical or psychological doesn’t mean the same from a culture to another. Mark from Coming Out On Top is not necessarily manlier than Aoba from DRAMAtical Murder.

The answers to how many BL game respondents played were quite varied, but overall there are almost as many respondents who played 1-to-6 BL games as there are who played 7 BL games and up. A closer comparison between the 3 gender groups show that men seem to have played a bit less BL games on average than women and GNCs, but they’re also more likely to have played 20+ games.

EVNs (original English games) are known to be overall shorter than their Japanese counterpart. It’s also been established earlier that men are drawn towards EVN more than other groups. The 17,2% of men who played 20+ games are thus more likely to try out a myriad of short EVNs, while women and GNCs will play slightly fewer, but longer Japanese games. 11 of the men who picked “1-3” were introduced to BL games through Camp Buddy, which came out in 2018, followed by 10 other men who were introduced through DMMd. Looking at their answer, it’s pretty clear to me the reason these men haven’t played many games is simply because they were introduced only recently (the past 3 years) to BL games.

The ideal body type

When asking what body type respondents prefer, I cited examples for each possible choice: Koujaku for “slender, but with muscle”, Kouichi for “Buff and ‘manly-looking'”, Akira/Togainu no Chi for “Pretty and slender” and Brian from Dream Daddy for “Chubby/fat”.

Men apparently prefer their characters Kouichi-shaped, followed by Koujaku-shaped, while women and GNCs prefer their characters slender like Akira and Koujaku. Worth noting: Young and Boyish are 4 times more likely to choose “Young and Boyish” as their fave body type.

A number of respondents added in custom answers that personality is more important to them than body type. I didn’t ask any “personality” questions in this survey, but I plan to in the next one.

On self-insertion

Probably the most polarizing question in the whole survey, whether or not you self-insert, or WISH to self-insert in a BL game will affect your experience in many ways and consequently influence respondents’ other choices throughout this survey.

Only 25% of all women self-insert, or wish to self-insert in some capacity, versus 83% of all men, versus 38% of GNCs. I think there is something interesting to be said about people who self-insert “sometimes” or “most of the times” while apparently identifying as cis women, but that would be for an entirely other debate.

On the topic of protagonist customization, women and GNCs displayed virtually similar answers, so I’m combining them in the same graph.

Again the answers vary wildly depending on whether the respondent is male or if they’re female/GNC. 48% of women/GNCs don’t want any customization, versus only 19% for men. A total of 15% of women/GNCs do wish for some customization, versus 38% for men. In other words: men are more than twice likely as women and GNCs to wish for some customization.

Among the respondents who reported self-inserting “most of the time”, 67% want some name or appearance customization, which isn’t surprising: in the first place, character customization is made precisely so you CAN self-insert and become whoever you want to be.

On the quantity of sexual content in BL games

A large portion of men (34,8%) want more than 4 sex scenes per love interest, versus 12,2% for women and GNCs. Only 1.4% of all respondents would rather not see any sexual content, while 25,5% say they don’t care whether a game has sex scenes or not. All in all, it seems like a good 90% of all respondents regardless of gender don’t mind sex scenes in their BL games. And let’s not forget at least 20% of all genders don’t care either way.

For shits and giggles I ran the answers on respondents who previously wished for a customizable protagonist (name + appearance), and it turns out they’re the horniest us all, with 46% of them wishing to see more than 4 sex scenes per love interest! If I instead run the question with men who self-insert “most of the times”, I get 43% for 4+ sex scenes per LI. I’m honestly not sure if there is a real correlation between wanting to self-insert or customize and wanting more sex scenes, but I find this observation amusing nonetheless.

What attracts BL gamers’ interest and what doesn’t

The above graph ranks BL gamers’ favorite story genres, from the most popular to least popular. You can see that while “Mystery-solving” was the de-facto #1 choice for women and GNCs, it was men’s #6 choice instead. Men seem to favor Adventure, Slice of Life, Comedy and Fantasy more than other gender groups while being significantly less into Horror, Tragedy and Historical. Basically, it seems like men don’t enjoy sad stories or possibly dealing with “period-typical homophobia” that permeates a great many “historical” stories.

Keep in mind that the question was “What kinds of BL game stories do you enjoy?”. I can’t imagine so few BL gamers enjoying the Space Opera genre when Star Trek and Star Wars are a thing. I believe it’s more that there is very little BL games that fit this particular subgenre, Starfighter: Eclipse and Human Cargo being the best-known ones. Sames goes for Survival.

One of the hardest parts of being an indie game developer is making your audience know the very existence of your game. This task is much harder than you might think. Once a player becomes aware of the existence of your game, comes the second hardest part: convincing them to play it.

And for 65% of all respondents, the game’s art factors in their decision, followed by an intriguing story (59%) and appealing love interests (57%). The presence of sexual content factors in 48% of answers, but an absence of sexual content is a dealbreaker for only 23% of answers. It’s also worth noting that 29% of answers report looking forward to a creator’s new game, presumably if they enjoyed said creator’s previous title.

Separating the answers to what makes them not interested in a BL game by gender, we can see that GNC respondents aren’t picky with protagonists, but 69% of them will turn away from a BL game with unappealing art. They’re also the most likely to be bothered by a game that’s too expensive, despite having similar answers to women and men regarding buying and piracy. Men seem to prioritize appealing love interests and the presence of sexual content more than other groups. 47% of men will turn away from an uninteresting story, versus 66% of women and GNCs, that’s a 19% difference.

Even more detailed taste answers

In the second half part of the survey, I asked respondents whether they would play a protagonist with certain traits you would consider uncommon: body hair, chubby, who don’t look white or east-asian, is asexual, etc… I then asked the same questions but for love interests.

Before some of you question whether any of these traits remove the “BL” from “BL game”, keep in mind that UuultraC, I’m a Love Interest in my Childhood Friend’s Reverse Harem!!! and Dream Daddy are very much BL games, or “gay” games in Dream Daddy’s case if you’re being nitpicky.

Here are patterns I noticed from the answers of these graphs:

  • Men like body and facial hair far more than women and GNCs
  • Men are more likely to try avoiding literally any mentioned trait besides hair
  • In particular 74% of them don’t want to see female love interests in their BL games. This is easily explained by 73% of male respondents being gay
  • “Yes” was treated as the default answer for many, it seems, and aside from the woman question it was the most common answer from respondents. “Yes” just means that something is not a deal-breaker and that they’re willing to give it a try
  • For a bunch of questions, respondents showed reservation toward a protagonist with X traits, and then showed enthusiasm for a love interest with the very same trait. One person explained: having a protagonist with a certain traits makes the game hit too close to home, while it’s not the case with a love interest
  • Gender non-conforming respondents will apparently be okay with just about anything, from 50 years old characters to unattractive love interests.
  • The least attractive prospect for them was female love interest, where the percentage of “Yes but without sexual content” and “No” was of 40%.
  • GNCs and trans men are especially open to playing a BL game featuring transgender and nonbinary protagonists and love interests, far more than their cis counterpart. It’s almost like GNCs and trans players want to feel represented while playing LGBT+ games. Crazy, right?
  • The most “Yes” and “Yes, give me!” answers I got were from the ‘dark-skinned’ and ‘doesn’t look white or east-asian’ question
  • Aside from female LIs, the most “No” answers I received were from the “looks older than 50” question
  • “You just don’t find physically attractive” is the only answer that received significantly more reservation for love interests than for protagonists.
  • Like for the body type question, I got a bunch of custom replies saying they don’t care too much appearance and a previously unattractive character can grow on them if they like their personality and the story enough. Another person said they’re willing to play a female love interest’ route if it means they can unlock other routes.

What I get from all these answers is that the least popular traits mentioned are also the traits you are the least likely to see in any kind of media, not just BL games. Outside of certain indie “bara” games, I can count the number of times I’ve seen chubby or 50+ years old love interests on the fingers of one hand. It’s uncommon to see a BL game where most of the cast is dark-skinned, but it IS common to see at least one of them in any piece of media, even if they’re just the “token non-white character”. Likewise, asexual, transgender and nonbinary characters are still a rarity in BL and mainstream media.

“Visibly disabled” protagonists and love interests usually come in the shape of blind or one-eyed men, or the occasional rugged love interest who has prosthetic arms or legs. They’re not that common, but they’re not rare either, which could explain the ~60% of respondents not minding them and answering “Yes”.

It is only natural for someone to stay with what they are familiar with and avoid the unknown, but I’d rather stay hopeful and think many of the respondents who answered “no” would change their mind if they ever have the chance to encounter the right character who will end-up striking their fancy.

On BL gamers’ squicks and triggers

  • Like the last set of answers, men are more likely avoid all of the content mentioned than women and GNCs, with the exception of Cheating. It’s not that men enjoy cheating more than other groups either, it’s just that 50% of them don’t mind
  • Men especially seem to avoid mild and extreme gore several times more than other gender groups, followed by yanderes and psychological abuse. This is consistent with previous findings where men don’t seem to like horror in their BL games.
  • On the opposite side, next to nothing seem to unfaze 3/4 of GNC respondents, be it gore, unenjoyable rape or yandere. The only exception is… Cheating!
  • I expected a bigger percentage of people avoiding rape at all costs, but it turns out that with the exception of 35% of men avoiding “rape where the victim doesn’t enjoy it”, less than 20% of everyone consider it a dealbreaker. Still, 35-40% of everyone would rather avoid it somehow.
  • Trans men seem to display similar answers as cis men regarding Mpreg
  • The “Yandere” answers are somewhat similar to “Psychological abuse”, with a slight favor towards Yandere. Perhaps because you’re sure yanderes love you or they’re less realistic
  • The most squicky question is apparently Watersport/urination, and even then 54% of GNCs are okay with it.

Now, I have a theory as to why the men who answered this survey aren’t too hot into gore and rape territory. The horror genre in general has a more even gender distribution, with perhaps slightly more men (60%) than women enjoying it, while historically focusing more on women in perilous situations, so I will rule out the theory that men in general aren’t into horror. Next, if you ever looked at Japanese geicomi and a great load of western-made gay pornography, you will see that rape is very, VERY common and oftentimes more graphic than what you see in those BL games. Hence, I will also rule out the possibility of male BL game enjoyers aren’t into rape.

Instead, I look at what introduced the male BL gamers into the genre: Coming Out On Top, Camp Buddy, DRAMAtical Murder, and a little farther down the list, Dream Daddy. Looking at men’s answers, I could see that aside from those who picked a Japanese game as their first and/or fave title, men favored Western-made titles, where, again, the male characters fit a more Western standard of attractiveness. These titles are lighter in tone, with a favor of the slice-of-life genre like Uncle Neighbor, Camp Buddy or Dream Daddy. Women and GNCs on the other hand were introduced to BL games through much darker titles like Togainu no Chi, Enzai and other Japanese games feature gore and/or rape.

If I look again at the men’s stance on “extreme gore” and “rape where the victim doesn’t enjoy it” and only keep those who answered “Yes I enjoy it” or “I can handle it”, I can clearly see a bigger favor towards Japanese games like DMMd, Togainu and No, Thank You that are otherwise not present in answers from men who avoid gore and rape.

In other words, the reason male respondents don’t like gore or rape isn’t because men, or even gay men in general don’t like dark stories. It’s just that men were introduced to BL games through different titles than women and GNCs, and thus have different expectation for what kind of BL games they would like. And the reason they play different titles than other gender groups in the first place is that they are more attracted to the Western standard of attractiveness, and are thus drawn towards more Western titles that are, so far, lighter in tone.

Keep in mind that this is only a theory.


Piracy plays a big role in English-speaking BL gamers, and that’s how many of us first experienced a BL game and discovered the genre. For all of its faults, the Steam store also helped people from less privileged places access those BL games at an affordable price –legally.

This survey really highlighted how much gender affects how someone experiences BL games. It is interesting to see how much men avoid darker content such as gore and rape compared to women and GNCs, and I can only theorize as to why. It is also very validating to see that so many gender nonconforming respondents’ experiences seem to echo mine: having very little triggers / content I would rather avoid and being willing to try just about anything.

I learned a lot from this survey, and I was delighted to see everyone’s reactions and replies on Twitter where I would discuss some of my findings. I hope that, in turn, you learning something too.

I also created a new survey that follows up some questions of this one. If you’d like, feel free to answer it here!

If you want to see all the answers for yourself and my (very messy) notes, check the links below:

Show More


An nonbinary BL enthusiast from France. Sharing BL game news since 2013, I also translate games in French during my spare time.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button