Still waiting to see where the Story Games thread about this will go. I wanted to pull out a thing I said there (which I originally said on Vincent's blog):
Roleplaying is a really intimate, intense, vulnerable act. It's kinda sexy, even. But for a lot of us we learnt to play, and most of our experiences of play are with groups of just men (or boys) often during adolescence, a time of incredible insecurity, messed up interpersonal relationships, and frequntly homophobia (and the attendant hatred of the feminine, and anything that makes you vulnerable). Basically, roleplaying is kinda gay, so we butch it up with swords and guns and fighting and shit.
I think we also inherit from that tradition a stringent divide between players and characters. I think a lot of games really strictly police that boundary, maintaining the fiction that it's just a game, that it's not personal.
I think there's fertile ground for design in breaking down that barrier - play that's more personal, more intimate, more dangerous. Whether people want to play those games is another question. To be honest, I'm not sure if I'm even ready for that, or who I'd play with.
It's kind of where I'd like my most recent project, Dungeonfuckers, to go.