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Cammen's Lament

Cammen and Gheyna

Within Thedas, there are several different views with regard to sexuality and marriage. Common to all groups is that marriage is not primarily regarded as a romantic affair, but a duty to one's family.



The Avvar do not marry for life; instead, they practice temporary marriages. During the wedding ceremony, the bride will sing a hymn to the Lady of the Skies while the groom attempts to undo a series of knots that the bride has tied in a long rope. The number of knots the groom undoes before the hymn ends determines the number of years that their marriage will last. Both the bride and the groom may try to affect the result of the ritual, for example, the bride can tie the knots very tightly, while the groom can decide to only untie a certain number of the knots before the hymn ends. The ceremony can be repeated multiple times to extend the duration of the marriage.[1][2] Sexual relationships between unmarried people are also found acceptable.[3]

The Chantry[]

According to the Chant of Light, Andraste had a spiritual marriage with the Maker. All Andrastian priests are therefore symbolically wedded to the Maker and sworn to celibacy. In the eyes of the Chantry, marriage is both a celebration of tradition and a practical decision. Through a favorable marriage, one can make valuable connections, improve one's social standing, and secure financial stability for oneself and one's family. Love is not necessary for a successful marriage but is nonetheless desirable, as it makes the union stronger. The Chantry permits annulments but not outright divorce.[4]

This section contains spoilers for:

If Leliana is Divine Victoria and in a romance with the Warden...
Leliana decreed that all members of the Chantry, from initiate to Divine, would be allowed to engage in romantic relationships. When questioned, the Divine pointed to Andraste, who served the Maker while wed to a mortal spouse. In time, many in the Chantry came to accept the Divine's decree that "Love is the Maker's best gift and is infinite."

City Elves[]

A group of city elves dancing and drinking together in celebration.

An alienage wedding celebration.

Among city elves, marriage is a rite of passage, the single greatest thing that distinguishes children from adults.[5] Elven children are usually matched by their parents and the alienage elders, and the bride and groom often will not have met each other before the marriage ceremony. Betrothals are often made between families from different alienages in order to promote inter-city trade and relations, as well as to bring new elves into the alienage community. Marriage ceremonies require the approval of the Chantry, and are officiated by one of the Chantry priests. In a community where there is mostly little cause for celebration, a wedding is a tremendous affair, and the whole district will turn out to enjoy the feasting and dancing.

The Dalish[]

The Dalish appear to be more in line with Fereldan thinking rather than other cultures like Orlais. This means that they tend to take relationships slowly and seriously with each other. Once they have come of age, they may choose a mate with whom to "bond"[6] for life. Elves who bond may exchange small gifts with one another.[7] It is unknown how they view same-sex relationships, but there seems to be no stigma against it. The only thing Dalish may frown upon is the refusal to have children.[8]

Some Dalish clans practice arranged marriages.[9]

The Dalish do not approve of interspecies romance, and this may result in exile from one's clan.[10] This likely stems from the fact that children born of an elf and another species physically take after the other species.[11]

Dwarves of Orzammar[]

The dwarves of Orzammar are noted for their polyamory (the keeping of multiple intimate partners), especially among the upper classes. While a dwarf has only one legal spouse, many nobles keep concubines, typically noble hunters, who are raised up to be part of the household and have their names recorded in the Memories. A dwarf's caste is determined by that of their same-sex parent, so many casteless offer themselves to nobles or to other higher caste dwarves as sexual partners in the hopes of producing a child of the noble's gender. As dwarven fertility is in dangerous decline due to chronic exposure to darkspawn corruption[12] as well as because of constant war with them, any noble child is considered a blessing, and such offers are rarely turned down. If such a union produces a child of the commoner's gender, however, the infant will be rejected, as it would be part of the lower caste and an embarrassment to the higher caste parent's house if it's allowed to stay with them.

As is common in surfacer society, nobles and other high-caste dwarves are expected to marry only within their caste. Generally, no dwarven house would seek to pollute the prestige of their house by marrying into a caste of lower status.[13]

Grey Wardens[]

Although Grey Wardens are not forbidden from marrying, it is rare for them to do so. Their short lifespans make them poor candidates for parenthood or long-term relationships. Even if they are not killed in battle against the darkspawn, they rarely survive past middle age due to the darkspawn taint. Most Grey Wardens dedicate their brief lives to fulfilling their duty, leaving them little time for pursuits such as family life, but it is still highly possible, if they both commit seriously to the relationship. Furthermore, the taint makes conceiving a child very difficult if only one partner is a Grey Warden and impossible if both partners are Grey Wardens.[14]

Notably, in Dragon Age: The Calling the Grey Wardens Genevieve and Guy are mentioned as having been betrothed.

Grey Wardens may also enjoy a certain reputation for sexual prowess as noted in romance dialog with Morrigan where she will make mention of the famed Grey Warden Garahel's reputation. The allure of Grey Wardens is also intimated in Dragon Age: The Calling in Duncan's brief affair with an awe-struck mage in the Ferelden Circle Tower.


Mages, because of their outsider status, are not bound to traditional social morals and consequently enjoy greater sexual freedom than most, though the exact degree varies from Circle to Circle. For example, Anders expressed surprise that Emile de Launcet of the Kirkwall Circle was still a virgin at 24, and noted that such a thing would be unheard of in the Fereldan Circle. Mages are discouraged (though not actually forbidden) from marrying and reproducing, as the offspring of mages are very likely to possess magical ability themselves. Dialogue between Wynne and Alistair hints at some form of birth control or abortion being readily available to mages, perhaps to discourage the propagation of magically gifted children. If a mage does produce a child, it is taken from the parents at birth and raised under the supervision of the Chantry.

Those children who prove to have magical ability are immediately transferred to a Circle of Magi in another country, where they are taught to control their powers away from their birth parents. Mages (and non-mages) who do not wish to be separated from their children will sometimes conceal them from the Chantry and either train the child themselves (as Malcolm Hawke did) or hire an apostate as a tutor (as Arlessa Isolde hired Jowan to tutor Connor Guerrin).

The Tevinter Imperium, on the other hand, celebrates the birth of mage-blood children.


Aristocrats in Orlais are notorious for their hedonism and extravagance, and sexual relations with multiple partners of either sex are not uncommon. Depending on stigma can result in the relationship being shunned or becoming a scandal of public knowledge within the nobility, such as like elves or mages. The peasantry is much less tolerant of such behavior, at least in public. Emperor Florian is rumoured to have had an affair with his cousin Meghren, which resulted in Meghren being sent to Ferelden to serve as its king, effectively banishing him from Orlais. The scandal surrounding their relationship was likely due to them being related, however, not because of the fact that they were both men.


Qunari do not marry or choose romantic partners. A Qunari's most important relationship is that with their colleagues. They do not generally associate mating with love, and recreational sex is treated as a simple biological need. They are capable of feeling and forming emotional bonds with one another, but do not express it sexually, as those who do are re-educated by the Ben-Hassrath.[15]

The Tamassrans keep detailed genealogical records and choose who will mate with whom. They do not allow cross-breeding between races. Familial bonds are not present in Qunari society. Children are raised by the Tamassrans, evaluated, and assigned a job.[15]

Qunari love their friends like anyone else does, but they don't have sex with them to express intimacy.[15] Even so, there is an old tradition where Qunari can show intimacy with another: the pair finds a dragon's tooth, breaks it in half, and each wears a piece to symbolize that no matter how far apart life takes them, they will always be together.[16]

Marriage rituals[]

An Andrastian wedding ceremony. A bride and a groom are dressed in white while a Revered Mother stands between them to officiate.

Celeste Thibault and Jecin Leandre's wedding ceremony in Val Royeaux.

In Andrastian society marriages are performed by Revered mothers, such as Mother Boann.

Prospective grooms also appear to enjoy bachelor parties prior to their weddings.[17]

Tests of worth[]

Among the Dalish it appears that young men must prove themselves as hunters and providers in order to be worthy to marry, as Cammen must prove himself as a hunter before Gheyna will consider him.


There appears to be some form of a dowry system used in Andrastian courtship, as mentioned by Aveline Vallen when she is courting Donnic. She notes that three goats and a sheaf of wheat, taken to his mother, would be dowry tradition.

Among the city elves the dowry tradition is even more important. Marriages are arranged between alienages and a dowry is paid to the alienage which is losing a member, in order to compensate for the loss to the community. Cyrion Tabris mentions to the City Elf that a dowry was provided for their marriage.

Dwarves are also known to use a dowry system in their courtship, as Dagna mentions that her father Janar intends to sell her for the highest dowry.


Matchmaking is practiced in many cultures in Thedas, from the socially engineered pairings of the Qunari to the arranged marriages of human nobility to the matchmaking of the city elves. City elves in particular make use of matchmakers to locate mates in distant alienages. It helps to strengthen ties between separate alienages. The City Elf, notably, is implied to never have met their betrothed prior to their wedding day.

Hahrens in alienages will also help to arrange marriages for those elves who have no parents or means to arrange a marriage on their behalf.[18]

In the Tevinter Imperium, powerful mage families often orchestrate arranged marriages to improve the chances of having children with the potential to become "perfect" mages.[19]

In Antiva, it is acceptable for parents to arrange matches for their children.


Both the Dalish and Andrastian cultures say vows during the marriage ceremony.

Dalish vows are said in elvish. One version is "Sylaise enaste var aravel. Lama, ara las mir lath. Bellanaris," spoken by an elven Inquisitor in the Trespasser DLC.

Andrastian vows are spoken in Common tongue. One known version of Andrastian vows are, "I swear unto the maker and the Holy Andraste to love this woman the rest of my days." As the female version is never spoken, it is unclear whether these are set vows or something Cullen Rutherford, the person speaking, wrote himself. It is unknown if it is customary for only the male in the relationship to say vows during a ceremony.

Same-sex relationships[]

Same-sex relations are generally considered strange in Ferelden, but Fereldans do not consider it immoral, and place no particular stigma upon it. Orlesians regard homosexuality as a mere quirk of character, and the Antivan Crows show a winking tolerance for relations with multiple partners of either sex. The Chantry does not seem to have an official view on the subject, and nowhere in Thedas is it prohibited.[20] The Qunari seem to have no taboo on the sex of one's recreational partners, though presumably it would be unthinkable to refuse to perform their procreative obligations for any reason.

There is pressure in certain circles, such as the elves and the human nobility, to marry a partner of the opposite sex, but this is motivated by pragmatism rather than morality; a homosexual couple cannot have biological children. For a diminished race like the dwarves, it is vital that every fertile individual produce offspring, and human noble families place great stock in the continuity of bloodlines in order to have clear heirs to noble titles and fortunes, and thus avoid the conflicts that often erupt when succession is not clear.

In Tevinter, same-sex relationships between nobles are largely hidden. These relationships are encouraged with favored slaves.[21]


Interspecies relationships are possible, but frequently frowned upon by most societies. The fertility rate between two parents of different race are very low compared to that of the same race. In particular, elves are bound only to produce elven children with their own kind because their offspring with a human would be Elf-blooded, appearing physically human. Similarly this also happens with dwarves. Subsequently, elves mating with humans is considered traitorous by the rest of their kind and any elf who conceives a child with a human risks expulsion from their community.[11]

A child between a dwarf and a human is a half-dwarf, which would be taller than dwarves but shorter than humans. Such children are extremely rare, as dwarves are comparatively few in number and those living underground are reclusive to outsiders; mating with other species would bring great shame to the dwarf as well as their family because of the social stigma. In addition, the dwarven fertility rate is very low due to the close proximity to the darkspawn taint for many generations.[11]

Nobody in Thedas has any idea what a qunari half-breed might look like, since the Tamassrans prohibit interspecies mating among qunari and there is no evidence of interbreeding between Tal-Vashoth and other races. However, there appears to be no taboo against non-procreative sex with non-qunari.

In Dragon Age: Origins it is also possible to engage in bestiality at the Denerim brothel. The only option are nugs however.



the interior of Kirwall's brothel, the Blooming Rose

Brothels are legal in Ferelden, Kirkwall and in the dwarven city of Orzammar. Although they are not considered respectable institutions, it is no more taboo to visit them than a seedy tavern or gambling house. Prostitutes would usually cost 10 Gold pieces in the city of Kirkwall during Hawke's residence.

Other sexual practices[]

Kinks[22] are not unheard of within Thedas. Unconventional sexual practices such as exhibitionism[22], roleplay[23], and BDSM[24][25] are all relatively commonplace. "Watchwords", or safe words are known to be employed in more intense sexual scenarios.[25] Sex toys and devices may be used, most notably with the Qunari "saartoh nehrappan", or in modern parlance, a strap on.[26] Some mages are known to use magic in the bedroom.[27][28] Aphrodesiacs such as powdered bronto horn[29], orichalcum mixed with wine[30], and dubious "Special Sauce" derived from unknown herbs[31] may also be used to enhance sexual experience. Carnal, 8:69 Blessed is an Orlesian liqueur said to enhance sensation.[32] The year likely refers to "69ing", a sexual position. Chastity belts may be used to limit sexual activity.


A copy of Swords & Shields in Skyhold's cellar, accompanied by a somewhat suspicious sock.

Love letters, especially of a risqué nature, are commonly exchanged between lovers.[29] Erotic literature such as Varric's "smutty" romance serial Swords & Shields, The Randy Dowager Quarterly, and the Chantry-banned poetry anthology Carmenum di Amatus are also enjoyed by many. Illustrated pornography can also be found, such as in the book Hessarian's Spear.[33]

While most modern Thedosians seemingly only marry or bond with one person, polyamory is not unheard of. As previously mentioned, many upper class dwarves have multiple concubines. Zevran mentions wishing for an orgy upon interrupting Eirik's sermon in Haven.[34] The Warden has the opportunity to sleep with Isabela, Leliana, and Zevran at The Pearl. Vivienne mentions having an amicable relationship with Duke Bastien's wife, who was fully aware of her being his mistress.

Codex entries[]

Codex entry: Sexuality in Thedas Codex entry: Sexuality in Thedas


  • If romanced, Leliana will tell the Warden the star-crossed (and likely analogous) tale of Alindra and her soldier lover. Class differences served to separate the pair in life and prevent their desired love match, but the gods ultimately brought the lovers together again after death as stars in the sky.
  • Couples all over Thedas may create lovers' knots in dedication to their love.

See also[]



  1. Codex entry: The Lady of the Skies
  2. Codex entry: A Good Marriage
  3. As stated in the war table mission Send Skywatcher to Stone-Bear Hold, Svarah readily invites Amund to share her bedroll.
  4. David Gaider. Dragon Age: Origins Forum Activity GameBanshee.
  5. As conversation with Cyrion Tabris would indicate if the City Elf balks at their arranged marriage.
  6. As Gheyna refers to marriage among the Dalish in the quest Cammen's Lament.
  7. If Cammen and Gheyna are separated in Cammen's Lament, he will give the warden The Tale of Illoren, saying he intended it as a bonding gift.
  8. Patrick Weekes on Twitter
  9. As said by Josmael in Dragon Age: Redemption, who explains that he and Fina were betrothed at birth.
  10. According to Arianni, she was pressured to leave the clan for pursuing a relationship with a human, and then giving birth to a half-human son.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 BWF David Gaider (January 9, 2010). "Where are the half-races?" . The BioWare Forum. (offline). Retrieved on June 10, 2014.
  12. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 34
  13. This is stated explicitly by Gorim Saelac to a Dwarf Noble female who engages in flirtation with him, that they can never marry due to his lower caste.
  14. https://fextralife.com/forums/p2138742/is-there-really-any-point-in-warden-being-marride-to-kingqueen-cause-of-the-taint/#p2138742
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Questions about the Qunari - General Discussion - The BioWare Forum (archive.org)
  16. According to a romanced Iron Bull in Dragon Age: Inquisition
  17. As mentioned by Isabela regarding a crew member's bachelor party in Dragon Age: The Silent Grove.
  18. As Hahren Valendrian helped to arrange Soris's marriage in the City Elf Origin.
  19. David Gaider (June 27, 2014). Character Profile Dorian. Dragon Age.
  20. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 72
  21. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 72
  22. 22.0 22.1 Dialogue between Hawke and a romanced Fenris during Legacy.
  23. Dialogue between Aveline and Anders.
  24. Dialogue between Hawke and a romanced Anders during Mark of the Assassin.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Featured in a romance between Iron Bull and the Inquisitor.
  26. Qunlat#S
  27. Party banter between Isabela and Anders.
  28. Party banter between Merrill and Anders during Legacy.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Codex entry: Correspondence Interruptus
  30. Codex Entry: Orichalcum
  31. Letter: Feeling Inadequate?
  32. Codex entry: Bottles of Thedas
  33. Party banter between Bethany and Isabela.
  34. Zevran Arainai/Dialogue