To start with, I don’t understand the craze and addiction to Second Life. Is your real life so unwanted and boring that you have to create a parallel virtual life to get your thrills and kicks? To do all the things you can’t do, for some reason, in your real life? Or does it have to do with the pleasure of freedom it gives you to role play anyone you want to be, without facing societal repercussions or consequences?
When Second Life first hit the market, I downloaded the free version out of curiosity. I made myself an avatar and called her Veronica; I don’t remember why I chose that name. I thought it was fun, but I didn’t have the patience to explore all the functions and key combinations you need to have handy to make your avatars function, so I left it half way. I remember being surprised at how good the graphics were, but that’s about it. I never felt the urge to go back and explore.
What I did find a little out of hand was the whole Market Place concept — where you can do real business and transactions (but with Linden Dollars, which by the way, you can later exchange for real dollars!); and the land buying deal — why would you want to own virtual land?
I suppose it’s the thrill of creating and inventing things that you can’t / don’t know how to / don’t want to in the real world, and therefore fulfilling those desires in a parallel life, which is safe because it is virtual. Anyway, I digress.
Getting to the point: Why would you pay to have virtual sex? For the same reasons you pay to watch pornography? I see nothing wrong with pornography, but do I want my boyfriend to be having virtual sex with a prostitute? “But she’s not real!” you say, but her mind, as well as your boyfriend’s mind, is. So if that’s a fantasy he wants to fulfill virtually (because it’s not an option in real life if he wants to keep the relationship), is that OK? Why? Because it’s not his real body, so not his real self? Because it’s virtual and it’s only sex?
I suppose such a scenario is relative, depending on the kind of relationship you have with your partner. If you are living something like this, perhaps it’s a cue to evaluate what is missing in your “real” relationship, or atleast understand reasons for such indulgences. Because really, how different can your avatar be from you?
And, as we all know, if you don’t get want you want from the relationship you have, you look outside. So whether it’s a “real” outside, or a “virtual” outside, does it matter?
I’m torn on my stand. If I were faced with such a situation, I suppose I would evaluate its importance based on the quality of my “real” relationship. More important to me would be the question: Why do you have to resort to a virtual reality to live the life you really want to?
Everyone has desires, adventures, and fetishes. Some are fulfilled (however, often with consequences), for the others there’s Second Life. (!?)