Interesting to see the differing opinions on Americans here, haha. I'm American but live in Europe now. I grew up in a non-religious household. Was taught the birds and the bees very early and there was never any shame around sex or nudity at home. I was never limited in what I could watch or play and I'd be taken to see graphic movies in theaters and such. As a kid I'd just go "yuck!" and close my eyes during sex scenes lol. My mom is an artsy / hippy type though, so my experience maybe wasn't the norm. I did go to a catholic school though, not cause of any religious affiliation but because it was better than the public school in town, so I got a taste of the other end of the spectrum. I don't identify at all with the "prude" American thing but I guess my upbringing was a lot more open. I've been living in Europe for a few years now and don't feel much different... if anything I'm more at home!
I have to agree with what many have said here, specifically Dez's arguments. I actually had a conversation about this with my boyfriend last night after reading this thread. We've both played mature games with sex scenes throughout our relationship but we've never even questioned it. We've made jokes and talked about who we romanced in games like The Witcher, Cyberpunk, and BG3, and why we liked those particular characters, but it never crossed our minds that it could be a problem for us or that it gives us unrealistic expectations. We concluded that we just view those experiences as fantasy and entirely separate from our relationship. For us, it's like talking about why we liked certain characters or scenes in movies or books. We did a playthrough of BG3 together and I teased him for going after Shadowheart while he teased me for simping over Astarion.
Personally, I like the sex scenes as part of the narrative. I wouldn't mind if they were more graphic or less. Minthara's scene is the spiciest and, while I was a little surprised at first, I wouldn't change it. I felt it was fitting of her character and the lore around drow society and appreciated the bit where you can peer into her fears, which I thought humanized her a bit. Astarion's scene is also well done, and as an abuse survivor I found it relatable in subtle ways that many stories lack. Shadowheart's scene isn't a full sex scene yet, but as many have stated, it entirely fits who she is, rounds out that aspect of her, and leaves it open for more development. You can learn a lot about someone, their desires, fears, and vulnerabilities, in sex. I hope all the sex scenes will provide more dimension and insight into the characters. A big thing to keep in mind right now though is that it is
early access. I believe many opportunities for flirting are simply not in the game yet. From what I've seen in the datamined content, there are some potentially romantic moments that haven't been implemented. Some patience might be needed for now.
I feel many of the issues being brought up here are individual and personal and I would prefer it not affect the stories Larian is trying to tell. Just my opinion though! Interesting to see the civil discussion happening here.