Playing any game should be without shame. But the world of visual novels has some pretty steep prejudices attached to it. In a few cases, rightfully so; in most, not at all. Adult visual novels have always faced this in the West, where Japanese artistic sense and sexual norms are vastly different. But the one thing they have in common is the discrepancy between popular media and popular views regarding sex.
George R.R. Martin nails it perfectly in an interview:
“I can describe an axe entering a human skull in great explicit detail and no one will blink twice at it. I provide a similar description, just as detailed, of a penis entering a vagina, and I get letters about it and people swearing off. To my mind this is kind of frustrating, it’s madness. Ultimately, in the history of [the] world, penises entering vaginas have given a lot of people a lot of pleasure; axes entering skulls, well, not so much.”
Sex in adult visual novels isn’t fairly treated in their own medium, either. Some games are designed to be little more than porn with a narrative. Others are rich and deep stories surpassing anything off the romance section at the library. All suffer the same stigma.
There is no shame in enjoying these games. To make it easier, though, here are some classic titles from the realm of the adult visual novel world. These titles are definitely only for those aged 18 years or older, but they’re of a quality no less stellar than other great games from other media. As a note, this article is SFW but some of the game content is not. Ye be warned, and happy gaming!