Mass Effect Characters, Ranked By Prominence In My Sexual Fantasies

One month ago, I had an idea. “I’ve heard such good things about Mass Effect, and I know the new game will be released at the end of March,” a younger, more naive Jenna thought. “Maybe I should play through the original trilogy and write about it before Andromeda comes out!”

Well, at the time of writing this piece I’m about 50-75 percent-ish done with ME3 (I think), and I have played so much that I see the little red crosshairs of the combat screen whenever I close my eyes. I have some regrets about playing 80+ hours in one month, is what I’m saying. But not about the games! The games have been absolutely wonderful! I just probably shouldn’t have undertaken them on such an aggressive timeline. Anyway, it seems like most people have a lot of feelings about the end of ME3, so in this piece the Mass Effect trilogy will live on in a Schrödinger’s box of always being awesome and not spoiled by the ending. #science, I think.

First of all, the correct way to play Mass Effect is to make your Commander Shepard a woman, because everyone knows women will be the ones to save the world (and, therefore, probably the galaxy). I mean, listen, if you want to make your Shepard something inaccurate, like a white guy, you can and it’s your prerogative, but I just want you to know you’re wrong.

My Shep was obviously super hot and also a big damn paragon hero.

If you haven’t played Mass Effect, first of all you should probably drop everything and do that. Quit your job, if you have to; we all must make sacrifices in life. I suppose if you’re not willing to hole up like a hermit and immerse yourself in the Mass Effect galaxy at this very moment, I can give a quick rundown. The games take place about 150 years in the future, and humans have found alien technology that allows for super fast space travel. It turns out Mulder was right all along and we are very much not alone in the galaxy. The games deal with nuanced conflicts and alliances and politics between alien races, with Commander Shepard saving the day multiple times. But, also, Mass Effect is about fucking. So without further ado, I present to you my Definitive* List of Mass Effect characters, ranked by their prominence in my sexual fantasies.

*Not actually definitive

**I was a strictly one-alien woman in this, my first, playthrough, but I’m already planning a second one where I go full renegade and try to get with as many characters as possible. So this is a theoretical bangability scale.


26. The Illusive Man

Okay, fine, his eyes are pretty cool, I’ll give him that.

Fucking the Illusive Man would be too confusing because I hated him so much, but always really wanted to trust him on account of his voice being President Bartlet.

25. Morinth

Would literally kill me during sex, but I’d still rather bang her than the Illusive Man.

24. Grunt

Grunt might be Tokka (from TMNT)’s long lost cousin

Sex with Krogans seems like it would be very aggressive and potentially unpleasant.

23. Urdnot Wrex

Wrexy is my “If I had to pick a Krogan.”

22. Joker

I love Joker, but I love him like a brother, (which might have something to do with the fact that he is voiced by Seth Green), so: pass.

21. Mordin Solus

It seems like rough sex might break him, so that’s concerning. Also, he would probably mutter about cause and effect or calculations the whole time which might be a turn off. And his lips are wrinkly. (But I actually did love this character! I just don’t want to fuck him.)

20. Steve Cortez

Steve is a cutie, but is also gay and, therefore, would not be into me at all.

19. Kaidan Alenko

I sacrificed Alenko in ME1 so I don’t really remember much about him, but I think he was a fine looking fellow?

18. James Vega

Easy on the muscle milk, bro

Vega falls solidly into the “would definitely bang if I had to put zero effort into it” category. He’s too muscly (especially his traps) for me to actively care.

17. Legion

There would be some logistical challenges, due to Legion in fact being a synthetic A.I., but I’d be willing to give it a try and see what happens.

16. Dr. Chakwas

The woman can throw down on a bottle of brandy, which is something I look for in a hypothetical space sex partner.

I wouldn’t not hit it, but she is such a maternal figure in the series that I think it would be awkward either during or after.

15. Diana Allers

The only thing I really remember about Diana is her boobs.

14. Samantha Traynor

Girl loves her toothbrush.

Traynor is cute and smart (aka my type), but I haven’t gotten to know her very well. Her ranking could potentially change after I finish ME3.

13. Samara

She is always focused on her mission so I’m not sure she would actually consider getting with me, but if she did I’d be into it.

12. Ashley Williams

Williams is undeniably cute and I appreciate her tenacity, so I think she could potentially be a good friends-with-benefits option. However, her anti-alien tendencies are off-putting and I’d probably have to make her not talk during sex.

11. Thane Krios

Is Thane the hottest lizard humanoid ever? I think yes

Thane is the wildcard of the bunch. Dude is dying soon, so I have no idea if a night with him would be mopey and emotional or wild and passionate. He has a cool coat, though, so I’m willing to take a chance on him.

10. Aria T’Loak

She’s voiced by Carrie-Anne Moss, which means Aria immediately jumped like five spots on this list. She might murder me while I slept in her bed if it meant she could profit from my death, so no matter what I would not spend the night.

9. Tali’Zorah

I didn’t romance Tali, but based on some quick internet research it seems like she is able to take off her protective mask/suit for banging purposes, which is a step in the right direction. Tali was one of my ride or dies throughout the series, though, so I’d be a little nervous about messing up our friendship.

8. Kelly Chambers

I don’t want to brag, but Kelly was thirsty af for me all through ME2. I think she would channel all that desire and try really hard to please me in bed.

7. Jacob Taylor

Jacob can get it. He’s the most attractive boy in the series, and he’s actually very sweet and brave. There are only a few characters that I consider relationship material, and Jacob is one of them.

6. Miranda Lawson

I have a weakness for women with accents.

5. Kasumi Goto

She must be the best thief in the galaxy, because she stole my heart. (HEY-O)

4. EDI

Some people might think it’s weird that a Virtual Intelligence with a borrowed body is in my top five, but I just want you to remember that she has basically all the information in the galaxy at her fingertips. So, I bet she knows some tricks, is all I’m saying.

3. Garrus Vakarian

Chicks dig scars

It’s a fine line between “I wanna hit it” and BrOTP with Garrus. That being said, I did purposefully miss a shot to let him win a friendly competition, and my wife correctly pointed out that I’ve never let her win at anything in our 11-year relationship. So take from that what you will.

2. Jack

Look at my tough smol bb

Jack is wild and hot and sad and angry and unpredictable. I equal parts want to bang her and protect her. (Side note/kind of spoiler: In my playthrough, she died tragically en route to the Collector base in ME2 and I still haven’t fully recovered.)

1. Dr. Liara T’Soni


I could probably write a 3,000 word essay on why I believe my Shep and Liara have one of the greatest love stories ever told, but I will spare you my feelings explosion. Liara is super hot, super smart, and super nerdy; she evolves over the series from a somewhat timid and socially awkward scientist to a total badass, but she retains her sense of compassion throughout. I’ve never been more angry at Seth Green than when Joker interrupted our first almost-kiss. What Liara and I have goes far beyond bangability, but she still gets the top slot on the list because I would obviously 1000% have sex with her at any time during the game.

You know it’s real when you gaze longingly at a photograph

Mass Effect: Andromeda will be available for PS4, Xbox, and PC on March 21st with loads of new fuckable aliens and humans and maybe other stuff, who knows even.

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Jenna is a designer and writer who lives in Boston with her wife, Stephanie, and their two cats, Flapjack and Ellie. She is very passionate about fictional queer women, interspecies friendships, and food. She's still hanging onto a semi-impressive DVD collection. Just in case, you know? You can find Jenna on twitter, instagram, or check out her design website.

Jenna has written 34 articles for us.


  1. I banged Morinthe. Would die again.

    Also, Dr Chakwas needs to be higher on this list! You ranked DIANA ALLERS higher? I’m pretending to be FURIOUS right now.

  2. I had no idea there was so much lust and romance in these games. Looks like I gotta go get myself a gaming system.

  3. Tali is my number one boo! NUMBER ONE!

    Also, I loved Jack, but I had a really hard time looking at her and not thinking about how bad that leather strap bra thing would chafe! Like flashbacks to Andy running his 5k in The Office. I was very happy when I was able to switch her outfit.

      • The thing I love about Tali is she’s so *earnest*. I mean, I love Liara, she’s my canon pairing with FemShep (to whom she’s obviously extremely devoted), but she’s also a little reserved, and it takes a lot to coax her out, even in ME3.

        Tali, on the other hand, wears her heart on her sleeve 24/7, and isn’t afraid to tell you what she thinks of you. I really wish she could’ve been a female/female romance option, but alas.

        • I kind of like that Tali can’t be romanced by FemShep. To be clear I don’t think she should be romance-able at all. Same for Garrus. They belong together!

  4. Liara is so amazing and her romance over three games is so deep and achingly wonderful. Samantha Traynor is the only other lesbian romance in the series unfortunately and the fact that she isn’t on your squad makes it severely lacking.

    By the way, did you play the Omega DLC? Because you left Burden off the list! She’s a queer and (the only) female Turian in the original trilogy. Also she’s the only person Aria ever loved. *Cries*

  5. didn’t realize this game was (could be?) gay so now i have to buy and play all of them.

    • You should sign up for the EA access pass. It 5 bucks a month or 30 a year I think and you have access to all of the games in the vault which includes the entire ME trilogy and a ton of other sports games!

  6. The only one I would add to this list is Nyreen Kandros, Aria’s ex who shows up in the Omega DLC for ME3, she’s a badass and the only female Turian that appears in the games up to that point. Liara was my # 1 too, and they knocked it out of the park with the Lair of the Shadow Broker in ME2, especially if you romanced her. Traynor is really awesome and in the Citadel DLC her and her toothbrush play a very critical roll which is amazing and I highly recommend playing it if you haven’t already.

    • My wife is still upset that she couldn’t romance Nyreen. She’s really hoping a female Turian will be an option in Andromeda.

      • Tessa, maybe don’t tell your wife because spoilers (it’s something everyone who’s been keeping up with Andromeda news knows, but maybe she’s wants to be completely surprised), but there is a female turian named Vetra Nyx who’s part of your squad. I don’t know if she’s romanceable, but it is Bioware…

        • Oh, she doesn’t really care about spoilers, so I’ll let her know! Hmmm, hope Vetra Nyx is romanceable. I like her already, if for no other reason than we share a name (Nyx the first name of my burlesque stage name/persona)>

          • Spoilers, in case this pops up in the Autostraddle sidebar for someone who does care: Someone datamined Andromeda, which should be taken with a grain of salt considering the first game had same sex romance recordings for Ashley and Kaidan just to get around a programming issue, but one of the findings was that Vetra’s bi.

  7. Oh Liara, my second video game wife… Great list. I’m so excited for Andromeda.


    I also lost Jack on my game, and never went back to replay… it might be time.

  8. Good list, except for Traynor being so low. I mean, she likes chess, is adorable, thinks dental hygiene is important and has a great accent. Liara is my number one romance option, though.

    Please do yourself a favour and play the citadel dlc at the end of ME3, you will not regret it.

    • I’ve actually specifically requested that my wife not play Citadel until I’m around to watch it, because I’ve heard such amazing things about it.

    • I think you can marry Traynor in the Citadel DLC if you don’t have a cannon romance

      • Sadly there are no marriages in the trilogy including DLC, and the only people you can hook up with in Citadel if you’re not already locked in are James Vega and Javik.

  9. I’m surprised you didn’t include Javik, the tragic last remaining Prothean (especially since you can actually hook up with him in the Citadel DLC if you get drunk enough)- though I don’t know if you have the From Ashes DLC.

    Also, while I’ve never played as BroShep (because why would you ever?), from what I’ve seen in YouTube, apparently all you need to do to turn Kaiden Alenko gay is buy him Peruvian whiskey. Just thought you all ought to know that :-P

    • Javik! He is such a great character in the game, having him and Liara in your party during the main campaign of ME3 makes for some pretty great moments.

  10. Wow my list is SO very different than yours (and yes I have an actual list on my old PC) other than Liara, but that is a given. Liara is the only option, full stop.

    Complaints: how the hell is Diana Allers above Dr. Chakwas? For shame. For shame. Also where is Nyreen? Go play Omega, it is required reading. After playing that, I am sure Aria and Nyreen will end up significantly higher on your list.

    And to answer your question about Thane, it’s very emotional and weepy. But hot.

  11. I’ve never commented on anything here (I’m not usually the type to leave comments), not even on the gaming stuff, which is something I really enjoy, but I feel like with Andromeda being just around the corner an exception had to be made. What I want to say is: this list is extremely spot on! Although Tali and Sam Traynor are higher up on my list, and my list also includes Javik (the Prothean dude. Mostly out of curiosity). Kudos!

  12. Jenna, did you get the free DLC for ME3 that improves the ending slightly? It’s the only reason I finally bought ME3 a year after it came out because when it first came out and I heard how bad the ending screwed us I was too angry to buy the game.

    • It only sort of helped. But Bioware is shit at endings.

      (I am bitter. I got it. I played. I realized AFTER getting the shit ending I forgot to INSTALL the DLC. So I did so and replayed the last 4 hours of that game. So even the ‘better’ ending, which is meh, was tainted.)

  13. yeah dude, Liara is the obvious romance choice. as others have noted it seems like you didn’t get the downloadable content for ME2 or 3. ya gotta. Shadow Broker really fills out the Liara arc- very cool AND you get much more Aria with the Omega pack, who doesn’t want that? Also Player Protip: FemShep can’t romance any human females besides flings of varying degree with Kelly and Sam. AND if you romance Liara in ME1 you can have a brief fling with Kelly in 2 and it will not affect Liara’s feelings for you should you choose to continue that romance in ME2 DLC and in ME3 so… ALSO if you play your cards right, and you are FemShep, you can share a brief kiss with Aria in 3 (if renegade score is high enough) and a brief kiss with Samara in 2 (if paragon score is high enough); if you don’t romance anyone in 3 and you had some romantic conversations with her in 2, Samara can become a kind of a romantic partner in DLC for 3……. Oh also you gotta go play again and not let anyone die in 2! Totally avoidable.

    • > Also Player Protip: FemShep can’t romance any human females besides flings of varying degree with Kelly and Sam.

      …and Diana. Or am I the only one who *didn’t* actively dislike her?

  14. To me, it’s easy

    Liara is the love of my life

    Tali is the kid sister i never had

    Garrus is my best friend

    And lair of the shadow broker is the best DLC ever made.

  15. Yeah, Nyreen really is the biggest omission here. omg you have to play the Omega DLC Jenna (and Heather)! Just look at her!

  16. – Liara gets even better if you have “The Shadowbroker” DLC
    – It’s too bad that Jack died in your ME2 playthrough. She’s not a squad mate in ME3, but she gets MUCH better.

  17. ME2 was a complete heartbreak for me. All I had was a picture of my greatest love Liara. Then I got to know Jack and her badassery and was absolutely into her. But Jack is that straight girl you know you are never gonna get so you figure you’ll just hang out with them in between missions, telling them how super cool you think they are, but they keep saying how they don’t swing that way and basically killing all hints of hope everytime you try to say something. And so the knife just keeps going in deeper and you just kind of quietly despair…that happened to me. But Garrus awkwardly offered playfighting and I really couldn’t turn that down! That healed most of the wounds. Still very hurt by the Jack situation though. It was cruel.

  18. Besides Liara being number 1 our lists are very different. Ashley is second for me, in part because my girlfriend is named Ashley too heehee. Then Editing but i could never go through with anything because she is SOOOOO head-over-heels for Joker and they make such a cute couple. Miranda doesn’t even make my list with her racism and happily working for the human equivalent of the KKK.

  19. Jacob is actually the only LI in the series that will cheat on Shephard. I’ve never played through that romance choice myself, but I’ve heard it’s brutal to watch.

  20. Terrible pic of Ashley. They totally made her hardcore femme in ME3. They gave her long hair (was always short), heavy make-up (she never wore any), made her boobs bigger, and… they made her whiter.

    The Mass Effect team has a lot of sexist and racist issues to unpack, but BioWare Austin, the makers of The Old Republic, are far worse. Dragon Age devs meanwhile made my fav queer and poly games.

    • I agree that the ME3 version of Ashley was not as good… but she definitely had long hair (it was in a bun) and wore eye makeup (but no blush or lip gloss) in ME1. The really softened her facial features and her default outfit in 3 was really stupid… but that pink armor with built in boobs in 1 was pretty horrific.

  21. Totally a ME Fan. I have played the trilogy with all the DLC’s (maybe more than one should). All the women are remarkable. A lot of flirting going on. I would agree with those who have chosen NOT to with Ashley. Some forgot about the Asari Consort, Sha’ira from ME1 side mission. Which you run into at the casino in the ME3 Citadel DLC. There was also Liara’s father(the bartender). I was not into the Male characters enough to try, Even though you could. Looking so forward to the new ME Andromeda. From all the youtube vids I watched it looks amazing. Thanks for the article. “I should go”

  22. I have a desperate hope that Vetra is Bioware’s answer to all of us who wished Nyreen was romanceable. Omega is just the ultimate butt-kicking girl squad moment, and playing as a Paragon made the ending SO epic.

    Also I would like to mention that I currently have more than 30k words written in a post-game fanfic where my FemShep and her perfect space girlfriend Liara get into a poly triad with Samantha Traynor and end up raising four little blue girls together….

  23. Playing this game in high school helped me realize I was gay (romancing Liara, obviously) I had never played a video game before where you could be a woman and have a relationship with a woman, and I was like, “wow I’m super into this!”. Representation is important! Thanks Mass Effect!

    • Yes this! My sister was the ‘gay one’ for a freaking decade before I played Mass Effect and fell hard for Liara. It was during that month or so between when Inquisition was originally going to come out and when it DID come out, and once I realized I was looking for information about whether Cassandra was romanceable, something finally clicked…. There’s a reason I call Bioware “Bi-aware”.

      (Hee hee, ‘come out’.)

  24. Samantha should be waaay higher on this list. My Shep worked really hard to get the right ending and have a shot at the white picket fence, two kids and a dog with her!

  25. what about Shiala? I unexpectedly fell in love with Shiala, she’d be number two for me.

  26. This is the kind of quality content I’m looking for ?

    Also my favorite thing about these comments so far is that everyone disagrees with your list, except that obviously Liara is #1.

  27. Oh man, this list!

    Liara was never my fav but I romanced her because she was the only option for so long. Honestly it felt a little gross in ME1 because she was so naive & hero-worshipy. Then I met Traynor and had to do an all new playthrough so I could not jerk dump Liara for her. I don’t want the kids, but maybe we could adopt a couple of orphans Skyrim style & just have the steward take care of them?

    I can’t believe no one thought about Matriarch Atheyta! She’s spent centuries adventuring her way across the galaxy, is hilarious, and a total ass kicker to boot. I mean, I’d hope she’d stop talkin about Liara’s mom’s boobs long enough to make out, but I might be able to tolerate that. Also, I think the super awkward convo with the Shadow Broker after would be hilarious.

    Miranda was my one true love but alas, I was not bro Shep.

    We totally need an Autostraddle ME multiplayer group!

  28. Your Shep is my Shep. And once again AS knows exactly what I need when I need it. I just started 2 – no way I’ll finish the trilogy in time for Andromeda but wow!

  29. If EDI wasn’t with Joker – hands down first choice. can’t deal with evo scripts, too old, losing patience, ending up fast forwarding everything.

    second, guess if i could talk Thorian into throwing an orgy with like 7 Shiala clones….because why not.


    Aria – controlled enough not to grate on my nerves torturously. unlike Illusive Man, Morinth et al, not a sociopath/psychopath.
    Legion – hell knows what would come of this but again, they’re reasonable enough.
    Javik – we would totally connect over being alone, no pack to meld into, all and every bio imperative meaningless… probably have a shag to sexually transmit my nihilism to help J survive.

  30. You hit my love for Liara on the head. She is the partner Shepard was meant to have. (Though Garrus is a close second for me) Tali was the only reason I did a male play through because apparently she’s straight.

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