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- Death Stranding
Death Stranding has been criticized for its depiction of asexuality, with the game calling it a popular “sexless lifestyle” and suggesting that it’s responsible for a dramatic decline in its world’s birth rate. The comments are made in an interview log titled ‘An Asexual World,’ which discusses the “increasing popularity” of asexuality among young people.
“A growing percentage of the younger cohort were self-identifying as asexual, claiming to be incapable of feeling desire or attraction,” the interview reads. “Accordingly, such individuals were less likely to have children or engage in sexual activity.”
An image of the interview (via @They_Goblin) can be viewed below:
‘An Asexual World’ also goes on to discuss a theory in which “the Stranding accelerated the proliferation of these sexualities.” The Stranding is the cataclysmic world event that leaves humanity struggling for survival, which has also resulted in people growing “reticent to form emotional connections with others.”
Death Stranding developer Kojima Productions depicting asexuality as a lifestyle choice is incorrect. It is a sexual orientation that is different from sexual abstinence or celibacy. Additionally, the studio has been criticized for equating asexuality with being unable to form emotional connections. The absence of a sexual desire does not mean an individual is unable to form a connection with someone else, and it also doesn’t mean that asexuals are devoid of sexual desire — many asexuals still enjoy sex and masturbation without necessarily experiencing sexual attraction.
It’s likely that Kojima Productions was looking to draw parallels with Japan’s decreasing fertility rate, but asexuality isn’t a decision to not have sex. The reasoning behind Japan’s reduced birth rate is complex — most point to a lack of jobs and stability in its economy for young people. However, asexuality is not the cause, as it isn’t a “lifestyle choice” as implied by Death Stranding.