BDSM in Second Life

Estimated reading time: 1 minutes — “His hand caresses the fresh marks on my cheeks as he pauses to inspect his handiwork. I shiver as a mixture of pain and pleasure tingles through my body. A soft groan escapes my lips as he runs a finger down my spine”

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes —

BDSM in Second Life: “Such a pretty pattern,” He murmurs, almost to himself.

“Such a pretty pattern,” He murmurs, almost to himself.

His hand caresses the fresh marks on my cheeks as he pauses to inspect his handiwork. I shiver as a mixture of pain and pleasure tingles through my body. I am completely at his mercy; I can do nothing as he has bound me to a ring on the wall. A soft groan escapes my lips as he runs a finger down my spine.  ‘Such a pretty pattern,’ He murmurs, almost to himself. I feel him draw back before flinching as his crop lands yet again on my hot cheeks

And yet, the Dominant and I are on opposite sides of the world. We have never met. We know each other only by our avatar names. We are but two members of the millions of individuals who enjoy spending time in the virtual world, Second Life. In reality, we would have never met but here, on Second Life, where we can both share our love for the lifestyle that is BDSM in Second Life.

BDSM in Second Life

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding BDSM in Second Life. As readers of my blog Arthurine’s Musings know, I am trying to help reduce those misconceptions while also making individuals aware of the dangers that the environment of Second Life can create. Irez has asked me to discuss BDSM in Second Life and I’m happy to do so. For now, I will address a couple of common questions.

Why BDSM in Second Life and Not the Real World?

There appears to be a lot of individuals who just cannot fathom as to why a person would want to use Second Life for such an activity. Perhaps then, it is best to ask people who use Second Life. Krystopher Topaz*, an American Second Lifer told me that

People do it in Second Life because you can experiment in ways that you just can’t do in real life. You can create your perfect avatar while walking around in fetish clothing that is a lot easier to ‘put on’. Real life, while kinky, can be quite mundane in comparison.

Krystopher does go on, however, to state that when he can, he will always pick real life over Second Life.

So let’s break that down. First, doing things that you just can’t do in real life.  Imagine an individual being stuck in a wheelchair but having a great fantasy about being able to prance about as a human pony… impossible in real life, right? On Second Life, a wheelchair means nothing. That individual can go to a ponyplay sim and role play everything to do with ponyplay! They are free to explore their fantasy. One huge ‘fantasy’ seen on Second Life is the ability to ‘live’ a Gorean Lifestyle, in a Gor land, with other individuals, something that is severely limited in real life.

Second, the perfect avatar for you. Think of all our transgendered friends. The stigma attached, the long time it takes for gender reassignment surgery.  Again, on Second Life, transgenders can live as the sex of their choice.  Personally, I like to keep realism in mind with my avatar, but I can tell you she is thinner and more flexible than me!

Third, clothing and accessories. Fetish wear is everywhere on Second Life and again, you can wear it 24/7 if you wish to! Nobody batters an eye at the sight of a collar and high heeled boots are a staple of most women’s wardrobes! All it takes is a click to wear an item! In real life, I hate wearing latex… the inability for my skin to breath under it. On Second Life, I can wear it without the discomfort.

Second Life is also a ‘safer’ place to discover yourself. By safer, I mean, you are separate from the real life dangers of being labelled as a ‘perverted’ individual because you like certain kinks. I discovered BDSM through Second Life. I used to suffer great guilt over anything sexual. I would ‘sneak’ into sex toy shops in my town as I tried to learn who I was sexually – I was scared stiff, thinking everyone knew what I was up to! It was through meeting people on Second Life that helped me realise being ‘into’ kink did not make me a bad person.

The ‘safety’ of Second Life is why some D/s couples use it on top of their real life activities. Joyce Karphar and her real life Dominant (and husband) both use Second Life. She kindly explained to my why they chose to use it:

Because of today’s society, laws and such, we need to be careful of how we carry on – including our bdsm practices. But on Second Life we can be as rough or gentle as we want/need to be. We can wear marks and bruises without any repercussions or judgment. We can even wear them with pride at times. It can show many things….I think I can show that we are cared about, or that we have fun with our Master, or just that you are owned. That is one reason why I enjoy Second Life BDSM.

What About ‘Wierdos’?

What about them? There are just as many in real life as there are in Second Life. There are ways you can protect yourself. Something I have discussed in this article. In fact, it is probably easier to avoid them, thanks to the ability to block them! I stress that individuals must also try to remember is that it can take a lot of digging through dirt to find the gold.

So How Do You Scene on Second Life?

Scening on Second Life is called role playing. It is a mixture of imagery, imagination and storytelling. There are numerous outfits, body parts, accessories, ‘toys’, pieces of furniture and dwellings that can be bought, rented or borrowed to set the scene.  For those that want the feeling of being controlled or being in control, the Restrained Love Viewer add on is a must. Restrained Love allows an individual to be ‘forced’ teleported, forced to sit, have their clothes stripped from them, have their private IMs blocked (a bit like taking a phone off someone) and many other delights. While it doesn’t allow for total control (for example, you can’t stop someone logging off), it can create a feeling of being at the mercy of a Dominant. Restrained Love Viewer can be found built into third party viewers such as Firestorm.

The storytelling is a bit like erotica, as I demonstrated at the beginning of this post. Each person has an idea of where they think they are going with a scene but, just like in real life, another person’s reaction could totally change the direction! I feel that great scenes can be created by two individuals who pay enough detail to feelings while also describing what is happening and remembering to talk (or make sounds). A good scene can have you totally immersed while sat at your desk – trust me, I’m talking from experience!

It’s Not Just About ‘Living Out’ Your Fantasies!

There is nothing more enjoyable than the ability to meet up with likeminded individuals and chat about your interests. You can bounce ideas off each other, get answers to your questions and have a laugh! Munches are great for that! However, not everyone can get to them. Darn! Second Life, however, has its own version of a munch – BDSM ‘hangout’ clubs.

These clubs act like a meeting place while also offering advice. They may also hold social events such as parties or hold discussions on different aspects (both good and bad) of BDSM in Second Life. I have had some great times, learned a lot about the ‘theory’ of different kinks and lifestyles and discovered some wickedly delightful play ideas at such places! My favourite, and the one club I personally recommend, is the BDSM Forum.

To Sum It All Up

In short, Second Life is a place to meet like minded people, a place to express yourself, a place to explore and a place in which you can live your fantasies. For those into BDSM, it allows a freedom that cannot always be found in the real world. However, as all Second Lifers know, it can (and should) never replace real life. As a writer, I’ve  tried to present a rounded view but not everyone is the same; my goal for this post is to give individuals a non-biased, factual introduction to the reasons why a person may partake in BDSM in Second Life.

— Arthurine

 


*Names used in this article are Second Life user names.
 

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4 Responses to “BDSM in Second Life”

  1. lizziegudkov
    2013/07/21 at 09:09 #

    Thank you for this post. It was very interesting to read and learn about a reality that is foreign to me. 🙂

    • Arthurine Somerset
      2013/07/23 at 13:00 #

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, I feel that educating people is the best way to reduce social prejudices 🙂

  2. Vanessa Blaylock
    2013/07/22 at 19:48 #

    Arthurine, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post. Here at iRez I hope we think a lot about avatars, identity, and civil rights. Yet for all our striving for diversity, we’re still subject to homophily (“love of same”) just like any other person or media entity. So for all the diverse ways of being in virtual space that we have talked about, it’s interesting that we’ve never said anything about BDSM culture which, like RL, is so significant for so many people in Virtual Space.

    As a feminist, the idea of BDSM has made me uncomfortable in the past. Is it another form of oppression? In a way that’s First Wave Feminist thinking. I think Third Wave Feminists and Sex Positive Feminists have a different approach. I think it’s all about consent. All about choice. Any time I define your identity, that’s an act of oppression. Any time you freely define your own identity, that’s an act of empowerment. Just because you choose to grant power to a specific person in a specific time and place doesn’t mean you’re granting it to anyone in any time or place. The same act you find pleasurable in one context, could easily be offensive and inappropriate in another. This world is filled with so many real victims and horrific stories of abuse. We are right to be shocked and right to contribute in any way to end this. But we shouldn’t oversimplify and end up marginalizing someone else’s legitimate lifestyle choices.

    I think being a submissive as you are, might have something in common with being an avatar, as so many participants here at iRez are. To a non-participating eye looking in, it can easily seem like “losers wasting their life away.” Yet from a less judgmental and more engaged and participatory perspective, it can be powerful and real. I’ve attended one Dungeon Party, and I once had a long conversation with Domina Irene Boss. In a way, the dungeon party fit the stereotype of what you might imagine. It was people playing. It was pretty silly. What I had no previous appreciation of was how immersive and compelling it was for those truly engaged in it. As a “tourist” there, my experience was only conceptual, but it was clear that for some it was a powerfully corporeal experience.

    I suppose I can be as simplistically stereotyping as anyone, and whatever I imagined a Domina was, I certainly never imagined that she would have the remarkable knowledge of art, culture, and human history that Domina Boss has. When you watch her videos with a tourists’ eye, they can look pretty silly. Cheesy role play. Again, what becomes clear is that if you’re not external and judgmental, but truly immersed in the scene, it is real. It is compelling. In some ways it is more alive than many people allow themselves to be.
    http://www.domboss.com/

    “BDSM in Second Life” is the second time you’ve expanded our view here at iRez, Arthurine! In your previous posts “One Plus One Equals Three,” you shared your experience of virtual pregnancy, another topic we haven’t had too much to say about here on iRez.
    http://irez.me/2013/01/28/one-plus-one-equals-three-part-i/
    http://irez.me/2013/01/29/one-plus-one-equals-three-part-ii/

    BTW, Canary Beck, has written a couple of posts on “Exploring Second Life Families”
    http://irez.me/category/city/virtual-community/

    If you’d like to do another post on this topic Arthurine, I’d love it if you could try to express the experience you have in D/s and what it means to you. As a feminist, a control freak, and if I were in the scene, no doubt a dom, it’s difficult for me to appreciate the experience of submission. IDK if it can exactly be described, but it’d be great for you to try to say a bit more about what it means to you and how you experience it.

    As I mentioned Arthurine, this is the 2nd time you’ve expanded our vision here at iRez. Both times at my request you’ve provided beautiful insights into ways of being that at least some of us are pretty unfamiliar with. I’d love it if you’d consider iRez your second home, besides your own wonderful tumblr blog, and not wait for a specific invitation, but feel free to share ideas here any time you’re inclined. I mentioned being a “tourist” at that dungeon party, and in a way maybe I’m a “tourist” in virtual worlds as well, dropping in to create some installation or performance or event. When I read your insightful writing about your lived experience in virtual worlds I’m amazed and humbled. Thank you for the easy honesty with which you share your life with us Arthurine.

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