Romance Options in Mass Effect series

In the Mass Effect series, the player can romance several non-playable characters (NPCs), depending on the gender of the player-character and the sexuality of the NPC.

Male Shepard can be sexually fluid due to game restrictions on relationship partners. In the first two installments, male Shepard can only be heterosexual, although it is possible to perform other sexualities through gameplay without engaging in actual romance or creating fictional romance from the game interactions. For instance, it is possible to develop a “bromance” relationship with Garrus. Fans of the ME franchise desired a gay Garrus-Shepard romance, and a glitch in the game allows those with some hacking expertise to fulfill said wish. This can be seen in the following video:

In the third game, male Shepard gets two official gay romances: one with Kaidan Alenko and one with Steve Cortez (described in more detail below).

Female Shepard can either be lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual in all the games. However, it is only in the second game and third games that female Shepard can engage into same-sex relationships with the human species. Female Shepard has more possibilities for same-sex relationships (6) than male Shepard (2), which are described in more detail below.

Similar to what happened with male Shepard-Garrus fandom, modded versions of the game allow female Shepard to engage a relationship with heterosexual female characters such as Jack and Ashley.

Mass Effect

In the first games of the series, romance options are limited: both male and female Shepard have two romance options. Male Shepard can romance the human female NPC Ashley Williams.

Female Shepard can romance the human male NPC Kaidan Alenko.

However, because the voice actors recorded all the lines for both romances (to correct a programming issue), players are able to unlock same-sex relationship scenes with both of these characters. Here are videos for the FemShep and Ashely and the MaleShep and Kaiden options.

Both male and female Shepard can romance the asari NPC Liara T’Soni. Liara is coded as feminine, but asari are a monogendered race. Liara’s lesbian relationship option with a female Shepard reportedly led the game to be banned in Singapore. Regardless of who they choose to romance, at the end of a successful romance the player is rewarded with a sex scene and the Paramour achievement. This video shows all of the romance options and sex scenes in the game.

Playing as male or female Shepard, players also can have an optional sexual encounter with Sha’ira, a feminine asari consort.

Mass Effect 2

In the second game, heterosexual romance options increase. Playing as male Shepard allows players to romance human Miranda Lawson, human biotic Jack, and quarian Tail’Zorah nar Rayya.

Female Shepard can romance human biotic Jacob Taylor, turian Garrus Vakarian, and drell Thane Krios.

A video of all of the above relationship pairings is available here.

Female and male Shepards can also romance human NPC Kelly Chambers (video with FemShep here), or the asari characters Morinth (video with FemShep here) and Samara (Morinth’s mother, FemShep video here). However, no Paramour achievement is granted for these romances.

If the player romanced Liara in the first game, this relationship can continue in the DLC “Lair of the Shadow Broker” for ME2.

There are no same-sex relationship options for male Shepard in ME2. There are, however, mods that allow for them, including the one shown in this video that allows male Shepard to have a relationship with Jacob. In addition, there is at least one fan video that imagines a queer relationship between Miranda and Jack, two female characters whom male Shepard can romance. Using existing videos from the game that portray this romance, a fan created a video showing their love affair.

Finally, in the game there are asari dancers (who are heavily coded as female) who will suggestively dance for a male or female Shepard.

Mass Effect 3

The third game has more romance options, several of which carry over from prior games and some of which require continuing the romance from ME2. Male Shepard can romance Miranda Lawson, Tail’Zorah vas Normandy, Jack, Ashely Williams (all pictured above), and a human male character named Steve Cortez.

Female Shepard can romance Thane Krios, Garrus Vakaraian (both pictured above), and a human female character named Samantha Traynor.

This game has five options for same sex relationships, with Liara T’soni, Samara, and Kelly Chambers as follow-up romance from previous games; and Samantha Traynor and Diana Allers as new romance possibilities. In ME3, the two first “genuine” lesbian and gay characters appear, Samantha Traynor and Steve Cortez. Every other same-sex relationship character is considered bisexual.

Male and female Shepards can also romance Kelly Chambers and Liara T’Soni (pictured above). Kaiden Alenko (pictured above) is available for a same-sex relationship, though he was not in earlier games. Players can also have sexual interaction with human character Diana Allers.

A video for all of the female Shepard romance options is available here. A video for all of the male Shepard romance options is available here.

Players have also modded the game to allow for other relationship combinations, including this video for a FemShep and Ashley romance.

In the Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC, players can continue the romance with Samara from ME2. Also, there are two additional relationship options for female Shepard: prothean Javik and human James Vega.

In all of the above games, it is also possible to perform asexuality, to an extent, as both romance and sexual activities are optional for the player.


LGBTQ references in this game:

Romance Options in Mass Effect series

The Asari

Lieutenant-Commander Kaidan Alenko

Comm Specialist, Samantha Traynor

Alliance pilot Steve Cortez

Nyren Kandros, Mass Effect 3 – Omega DLC

Other NPCs with possible LGBTQ references


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