Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/01/09/good_sex_in_second_life/

The ins and outs of a Second sex Life

You call that Xciting?

By Destiny Welles

Posted in Media, 9th January 2007 15:40 GMT

Column One of my girlfriends is so funny. She says to me, "I joined Second Life to admire the architecture, but I started cybering within twenty minutes of arriving. That was months ago, and I still haven't seen more than a handful of the buildings".

Whatever brings you to SL, you'll soon find that sex is everywhere. You'll be curious, and prolly tempted to jump in right away, and I bet you'll be surprised by what it's like in this strange virtual environment.

Destiny Welles

Now, I'm an IRC junkie from way back, so I know a thing or two about cybering, believe me. But in Second Life, there's more, like animated visuals, some of which are quite pornographic, I can tell you. The basic idea is like IRC: you chat your way through it and use your imagination. But SL adds another dimension where you and your partner (or partners, lol) can animate your avatars, and watch them do exactly what your imagining. This might strike you as the holy Grail of cybersex, but stay with me here: it's not all that.

How it works is simple: there are scripts embedded in objects, usually coloured spheres. Residents call them "pose balls." Blue is for boys, and pink is for girls, hehe. (But it's OK if you're both the same sex; they can be adjusted easily.) You can buy them at many of the shops; in fact, you can buy whole kits, like a bed with an entire menu of animations.

If you haven't got any Lindens, there are many places rated "mature" where you'll find beds and pose balls all over the place. You'll have to do your thing in public, which is not my cup of tea - and be sure you don't start experimenting with the pose balls on your own. People will just walk up to you and grab the companion ball, thinking that your offering yourself up to anyone! So bring a friend when you go exploring the public sex places, and when u try a pose ball, make sure they try the companion one right away. Otherwise you might find yourself knockin boots with a furry or a smurf, or worse, getting raped by someone unattractive, lol!

This is a pretty sad way to have cybersex, I think. Doing it in public is gross; but a lot of ppl do, so I guess I'm in the minority there. I find it coarse, and thank god my bf Max has a big property where we can really relax and concentrate on the business "at hand", hehe.

Not too Xcited

Besides the public sex being totally gross and anonymous, I have another complaint to tell u about. Theres a company called Xcite that makes most of the sex animations and sex gadgets in SL. Well, I find that diddling around with all these poses and toys distracts me from the real cybersex that's happening in chat. It breaks my concentration, and spoils the natural flow of the fantasy that me and my partners are creating.

Even worse than that, Xcite lets you post scripted sex talk in the chat! Can you imagine anything more disappointing? Canned sex talk? Not for me, thank you very much. I put a lot of thought and energy into my sexual fantasies; If a partner can't be bothered to talk to me properly, from their own heart and imagination, then it's over b4 it begins. I think this Xcite stuff in SL has made alot of ppl lazy about quality cybersex - the old-fashioned kind we knew in IRC. (Remember when IRC was totally next; now it's sooo busted, lol.)

There's a basic confusion about cybersex that Xcite helps to feed. Despite what a lot of people think, cybering is not porn; it's a dialogue between two eager minds. In a nutshell, it's creative writing with more than one author. But Xcite has brought a pervasive air of porn to sex in SL, and many residents are letting that become a substitute for quality cybersex.

I find that men (except Max, hehe) are more likely than women to fall into this trap of relying on Xcite as a substitute for what they ought to be doing and saying. And for this reason, I've found that I look toward other women for my occasional partners in SL. Don't get me wrong; I love men irl, but most don't have a clue about cybering, and Xcite only makes this worse, I'm afraid. Most of the women I know in SL also prefer female partners, even when they're primarily straight irl. As a result, a lot of men have got female alternate avatars, or alts, and pretend to be gay or bi girls in order to get with women.

This really shouldn't be necessary. So guys, let me give you some friendly advice: first, don't rely on the Xcite scripts, and second, stop thinking about cybersex as porn. Start thinking about it as creative writing instead. Show off some language skills and some imagination to the ladies, and you'll find them more than willing ;-)

Just how twisted are you, anyway?

You've heard people say that porn and sex fantasy are healthy outlets for urges that would be harmful in the real world. You've heard others say that these fantasies and images can promote harm in the real world. I don't think that question has ever been settled, and I'm sure not going to take it up here. Let me just say that I hope to God that these fantasies are an outlet helping dangerous urges to dissipate harmlessly in cyberspace. Because there is some definately wrong stuff going on between the sheets in SL!

First, there's prostitution. Some of it is freelance, some is organised. There are residents who will cyber with you for a fee - so many Lindens per half hour. This is good if you happen not to be very articulate and have trouble seducing partners with your words. It's also good if you have a steady partner, but also have sexual interests that they don't share. You might not want to start up a competing relationship with another resident, but you might still want to explore your kinks and twists with someone who's familiar with them.

But when you have prostitution, you often have exploitation. Of course, your not going to get hooked on dope in SL and be forced into prostitution, or be threatened physically, but there are people playing serious mind games in this world, and there are other people who are very susceptible to them. Second Life relationships can be very intense. There are needy, vulnerable people on line here who can be exploited easily, and there is no doubt that there is spillover from SL into their real lives as well. So, while coercion isn't the same as it is on the street, it can certainly happen here. Emotional abuse is just as effective as physical abuse, and there are people here who are experts at inflicting it.

Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly

The most familiar of SL's offbeat sexual pleasures is BDSM. It's not something I understand well, I confess, although I'll be the first to admit that I like a little rough stuff myself. I have no problem being slapped, scratched, bitten, or spanked, but I expect my partners not to have a problem when I feel like dishing it out, which I often do at the same time I'm taking it. I'm definately not into fixed D/s roles.

I personally have some reservations about the fascist hierarchy in BDSM, although I'm not saying it's bad, atleast until I learn more. Which I will do; that's my job, after all. But so far, I've talked to several people who are involved in the lifestyle, and it's left me with some concerns.

I'm concerned that the "training" involves more indoctrination than education. I've chatted, asked questions, and, most worrying to me, I've heard almost the same words from several enthusiasts. Some people have a "need" to submit to a more aggressive person. Some have a "need" to dominate and manipulate others. It's a "loving relationship" based on "trust", and so on.

When everyone I ask says the same thing, using practically the same language, my "groupthink detector" starts ringing. There definately does seem to be a basic doctrine to this. That might be OK, but I'm concerned that the doctrine is really an elaborate excuse for sexual bullying: a veneer, craftily painted and worked, concealing a true core of sexual exploitation and opportunism.

Wow, I think I'm gonna frame that sentence, lol :-)

The molestation grove

Things get more disturbing as you walk on the wild side of SL sex. One of the spookiest activities is what residents call "ageplay". As our Otto Z. Stern has said, if you didn't have a troubled childhood, you'll find one waiting for you in Sadville. You will find adults with child avatars looking for a "mommy" or a "daddy"; there are others in adult guise who frequent places, such as the "molestation grove", in search of juvenile-looking partners willing to play the role of a child or teenager in a sexual way. Often, incest fantasies are combined with this.

Linden Lab says it has taken pains to make sure that real-life adults stay off the teen grid, and real-life teens stay off the adult grid. One can only hope this is true, because even just the fantasies could be incredibly dangerous to children irl. It's important that all the ppl involved are role-playing adults. And even then, you might worry that they encourage exploitation, rather than satisfy the urge harmlessly, so you have to hope that they're an outlet, not a cause, as well.

But if SL ageplay is an outlet, then I'm all for it. The more deviants there are on the adult grid, the fewer there are in the streets, which is a win/win recipe to me. So I would say to anyone, if you have any sexual feelings toward children, please keep them in SL, and please only explore them with other adults. And if that's not good enough for you, then do yourself and everyone else a favour by organising an "accident" while cleaning your revolver.

Would you like hairballs with that?

There are residents with animal avatars. Sometimes they're cartoonish, sometimes they're carefully-rendered anthropomorphic critters, and sometimes they're hybrids: humans with wings, tails, and the like. These can be alternate avatars, or alts, although there are numerous residents with a fixed furry identity. And yes, they have sex - with human and fellow furry avatars alike.

I mention this briefly because it goes to my next column, which will be about role playing primarily, and sex incidentally (the two overlap greatly in SL). The furry community is about much more than kinky sex, so we'll explore it in more detail next time.

For now I'll just add that whether you're a longtime resident, or a newbie just starting an erotic journey through SL, you haven't seen it all: you can still find just about anything you might want, or merely want to try, in this virtual smorgasbord of sexual fantasy. Just don't let Xcite distract you too much: remember, the brain is the real sex organ. ®

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