Sexuality in Liminal
Humans & Halflings
The love-lives of most of humanity tends toward basic pair-bonds between members of the opposite sex. They don't tend to deviate greatly from that baseline assumption, culturally speaking, although many individuals within those societies do find their own tendencies at odds with it. Fortunately, humanity has proven to be quite adaptable, in its adoption of the cultural mores of other races, and many areas that see interaction with other cultures frequently adopt a version of that society's sexual mores.
Half-elf, Half-orc, Tiefling, Genasi
Generally speaking, those of mingled blood tend to adopt the customs and mores of the cultures they grow up in. There are natural inclinations that the Mingled kind often manifest, however.
- Half-elves are often very beautiful, even by the standards of their feyborn and mortal parents. Something in the commingling of the two races results in tremendous beauty, but at a price: half-elves are sterile with one another. Though they may sire or bear children with any others that feyborn or mortal might, half-elves are only born from the union of feyborn and human. Half-elves have feyborn children with feyborn, and human children with humans.
- Half-orc: Unlike half-elves, half-orcs are fertile within their own kind. Indeed, most half-orcs have half-orc parents, or even just one half-orc parent, for half-orc traits breed true for generations. A human and half-orc pairing or an orc and half-orc pairing both result in half-orcs. Many half-orcs experience bursts of irrational rage and a propensity for violence that is usually a legacy of their orcish blood - unlike most orcs, however, they often find those impulses frightening or sickening.
- Tiefling: The scourge of demonic or devilish blood in their lineage always marks a tiefling. Tieflings breed true, generally speaking, the child of any union between tiefling and another race resulting in another tiefling. This demonic blood overwhelms even other Mingled races who "breed true", such as half-orcs - the child of a tiefling and a half-orc is a tiefling (albeit usually one with slightly orcish features, like slightly pronounced tusks). Like half-orcs, tiefling concepts of intimacy are often interwoven with near-uncontrollable experiences of perversity, pain (either giving or receiving) and other, subtle cruelties - all legacies of their infernal blood.
- Genasi: Genasi are the result of commingling between mortal blood and elemental power. Like tieflings, genasi breed true, so there's never any real knowing how far back the elemental power entered a genasi's lineage. The most common of the elemental ancestors are the genie races (which is why their descendants are called "genasi"), but they are not necessarily the only ones: powerful elementals with the ability to assume human shapes, unique offspring of the Primordials and myriad other entities (sometimes multiples of them!) may serve as a genasi's elemental ancestor. Only two genasi of the same elemental aspect may breed true. Genasi who breed with other aspected genasi cannot sire or bear children together, although it is said among the genasi that truly tremendous sexual pleasure can be found in a partner that is one's opposite aspect (a fire and water pairing, or an earth and air pairing).
Elf, Eladrin, Gnome
The feyborn races tend to view love as the most noble of expressions. They are not open and free with their affection - it is a precious gift, given to a rare few. Thus, they aren't as openly affectionate as others are; they don't casually hug or kiss someone like some humans might. Rather, each caress is seen as a precious gift to be bestowed upon those one is enamored with (whether that love is "blossom love" or "root love"). Bisexuality is usually the norm among the feyborn. Though they have individuals in their midst who prefer only a single gender or the other (usually referred to as arthadil, or "half-lovers", referring to their preference for only half of those they encounter), most are bisexual (called aodil, or "true lovers"). One-quarters of the feyborn tend to be arthadil, with slightly fewer of them among eladrin, and slightly more among gnomes.
- Harmalidil: Young feyborn often form small groups of close compatriots and lovers. The term harmalidil roughly means "treasured lovers", and it describes these small social groups perfectly. They often evolve their own miniature traditions and cultures within the group, and most are formed by similar-aged feyborn and last until responsibilities and simple age cause them to drift apart. Even so, the fond memories and lingering affection usually maintain long-standing bonds between those members, and often inform how they interact, even later in life. Many eladrin tales are written of those political or magical rivals who were once lovers in the same harmalidil. Among those outside the Feywild who have adopted this tradition, they are called "love-pacts," and sometimes embraced as life-long groups (understandable to Feywild sensibilities, for most pacts among the feyborn last about the average span of humans).
- Harmalidil'en: There are a few pacts called harmalidil'en, or "great harmlidil" - these are groups that have existed for multiple generations, older members taking their leave, and younger members joining over the decades. Such "great pacts" invariably have their own very powerful memberships, and those who once belonged to them actively sometimes arrange to "come home" to be among sweet lovers who welcome them back, sheltering them from the weight of their responsibilities for a time.
- Blossom Lovers and Root Lovers: Among the feyborn, who by and large tend to be long-lived, lovers speak of "blossom loves" and "root loves." Blossom love is an infatuation, crush or other intensely emotional, passionate affair. Blossom loves are almost never assumed to last for very long (a few years at most), and almost never involve the merging of the lives of those involved. This is not the love of building a household together; it is the love of midnight rendezvous in secluded glades, of passionate lovemaking in woodland bowers, of candle-lit dinners of sumptuous extravagance. Root loves are about community building, marriage and children. Though the feyborn do not hold to rites of marriage, they do settle down with one another to form families, to bear children (for those who can) or to support their lineages in some ways. The love of harmalidil are usually considered blossom loves, although root loves have developed out of them. While most root loves are traditionally between only two, it is considered perfectly appropriate for both to also foster blossom loves - indeed, sometimes root lovers will both take the same person as their blossom lover. A rare few have been known to take more than one root lover at a time, such family units are usually viewed as childish and myopic, children who demand a greater importance to their personal harmalidil than is warranted.
- The Seeding Rite: The feyborn do not conceive casually...nor indeed, accidentally. A feyborn female who would bear a child from her union with a feyborn male must perform a simple ritual act. It is instinctive and simple, performed under the light of the full moon. Until the moon is full again, she has a fair chance of becoming pregnant after an act of coitus that might result in pregnancy in other races. There is clearly some mystical element in this, for feyborn women can become pregnant after coitus with a non-feyborn male, and feyborn males may impregnate women of other races without the use of such a rite.
- It is worth noting that this rite can be performed at any time, regardless of the moon phase, in the Feywild.
Dwarves approach sex and sexuality about as pragmatically as they do any other aspect of their lives. Dwarves approach their relationships as private comforts, rather than casual, public things - public displays of affection are extremely uncommon among them, save in those rare situations where it is considered appropriate. Only about one in every five dwarven children are female, so approximately half of dwarven folk remain unpaired. Some males develop a ribald fascination with sex as a result, enjoying their time at brothels or pairing off with members of other races; others simply curb their interest with a focus on their vocation (and a touch of "bachelor's pepper," as culinary-grade saltpeter is called in dwarven society). Dwarven acceptance of males pairing off sexually is also quite pragmatic, and sex between male dwarves is considered neither shameful nor even necessarily having anything to do with romantic love.
- The Dwarf-Rite: The dwarf-rite is a ritual that bonds two dwarves (male, in traditional dwarven culture) together in a bond of love, an exception to the normal dwarven attitude on homosexual pairings. Dwarven society has developed a place for paired-off males who share a vocation. The term for these pairs is gudr in Dwarven, which doesn't have a good translation in Common (though it is sometimes translated as "brother"); this is usually paired with a term that describes the vocation they share. So, aszgudr are "shield-brothers," the term for dwarven warrior-lovers, and kholgudr are "forge-brothers." Traditionally, because these paired off dwarven men are considered to channel all of their energy toward their projects, assisting and challenging one another in turns, there is a cultural asociation in dwarven society with a special level of skill mastery by those who are gudr-bound. This tradition is more common than same-sex pair-bonds in other cultures, but still in a minority in dwarven culture. Dwarves are very protective of this tradition, however, and don't stand for the mockery of outsiders in regards to it. Even so, they don't tend to discuss the tradition much (out of respect, rather than shame).
- It should be noted that this rite is forbidden to women who love other women, due to the traditional necessity of female dwarves as breeding mothers (a position that has caused no small measure of strife for those poor dwarf-women who do not wish that life for themselves).
- Pillow-Houses: The dwarven reticence to engage in open displays of affection is set aside within the confines of the zarmauul, or "pillow houses." These are places of open licentious behavior. They are usually quite lavish and comfortable, providing a fine place for lovers to express themselves intimately in an environment where it is culturally acceptable to do so. Such environs also provide those without partners a place to engage sexually with others as well - it is considered baseline appropriate to watch others engage in coitus and masturbate while doing so.
- Pillow Invitations: Though it hasn't always been the case in dwarven society, pillow-houses have also developed another tradition: the "pillow invitation." Couples who choose to do so may invite onlookers into their lovemaking, if they see fit. Because dwarven society doesn't have the sort of outlets for intimacy with females that many other races have, the pillow invitation is often one of the few methods by which the many unpaired men of dwarven society have intimate contact with women. In the days after such an encounter, those dwarves who were invited to partake usually make a point of sending gifts to the lady who so favored them, and treating her husband with deference and friendliness.
Dragonborn & Kobolds
Goblin, hobgoblin, bugbear
Shifters, wilden, changelings
- Changelings: X