Friday, November 23, 2007

What really *is* sex in Second LIfe?

A friend of mine just recently did a podcast about sex in Second Life and she talks about touring a few 'sex' spots inside Second Life and mentions that she doesn't really 'get' it yet.

I started thinking about how people view sex differently and started to wonder what views and opinions other people have about online and virtual sex.

As you've seen me mention before, I've been part of online communities for years and years now, and even in the simple, plain, non-visual world of IRC chatrooms 'cybersex' was prevalent and 'hookups' were many. Now granted, this was all text-based and didn't have the visual element we have now with Second Life, but that didn't make it any less intense or 'real'. In fact, at times, I think the fact that it was text-based served to make it even more real, and I think that's what makes sex real in Second Life as well.

Sex in Second Life isn't about the poseballs. It's not about teleporting into a fetish dungeon and saying 'yes' to the first IM you get and then hopping into a sex animation with that person. That.. in my opinion.. is roleplaying and not 'sex'. The sex you can *see* in Second Life, isn't the real stuff, or the powerful stuff. The real sex in Second Life is happening behind the scenes.. in private homes, and in IM conversations. Just like in text-based chatrooms, the hookups, cybersex, and relationships are happening in a place not visible to the public.

I've had several people ask me, at times in a very condescending way.. if I think online sex is 'real'. I really love being asked that question when you know they already have their mind made up and will chastise you for whatever you say, even though they have no personal experience on which to base their rationale. Hopping on a poseball to have animated or simulated sex is as real as anything else you choose to do. This does mean, however, that I think all 'sex' in Second Life is based on emotional connection. It's not - not by a long shot. So what's real for you might not be real to someone else, and vice versa.

Second Life is a lot of things to a lot of people. There is very real 'sex' happening there, and very real relationships - intense, powerful, heart-breaking relationships. Just because you think it looks 'silly' to see people on poseballs in the middle of a 'free sex' room doesn't mean there aren't other people experiencing some very significant, life-changing relationships the next sim over.


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