Tuesday, June 19, 2007

sex and coffee

I started out my evening by relaxing at the Open Latte Coffee Shop in the sim of Mill Pond and was quickly intrigued by a conversation that was started among a group of people there.

We began discussing sex and Second Life, and opinions on said topic varied from 'it's silly' to others feeling that it's possible to truly find a love online and commit to a monogamous, long-term relationship. I think that's part of what's interesting, so many people with so many different opinions, experiences, and preconceived notions of what sex should or could be in a virtual environment, and what constitutes an 'affair' or 'cheating' online.

The coffee shop discussion today focused around one woman in particular who was sharing her experiences with us. A happily married 30-something in the 'real' world, she'd been involved with someone in SL and had her heart broken. Her online relationship was with a well-known person with many friends, and when the relationship ended, she lost not only her love, but a large number of friends as well, and in a virtual world with over one million residents that log in regularly... she felt alone. After wandering around aimlessly for a bit, she found herself in a roleplaying sim considering work in a sex club there.

This particular woman said that she never felt guilt about her online relationship, and that she never once considered it to be cheating. I know that many people have discussed this and there are a lot of varied opinions on what exactly constitutes 'cheating', and I'm of the firm belief that that's a personal decision and opinion between you and your partner.

This poses a lot of questions not only in the virtual world, but the real world as well. What sorts of things would cause someone who is happily married in RL to become involved with someone online? Is it the relative 'safety' of online communities that allow experimentation without the risk of getting caught? And how, or why, in a world as large as Second Life, would someone feel alone.

What do you think? Let's hear it.


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