Posts Tagged 'SL psychology'



Sex in SL

I was chatting with a new friend the other night. First off this friend complained about my use of X and Y instead of names. “Make up names” I was urged. Fine. Never let it be said that I am not responsive to my readers. ๐Ÿ™‚ So I was chatting with a friend, Bea, the other night. ๐Ÿ˜›

Bea and I were talking about sex. I know. How unusual in SL. or RL. ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, Dale already ruined my surprise – guessed that there is indeed sex in SL. There is lots of it, in fact. And you learn to take it in stride. So I know or have encountered RL men who are SL women, RL “straights” indulging in SL “bent”, herms, TG, TS, Gorean, BDSM (Hey – I don’t post EVERYTHING on this blog, you know??). I don’t think that I’ve encountered RL women who are SL men but then, would I know? And, of course, there are the non-human avatars.

I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever even slow-danced with a furry. ๐Ÿ™‚ I know that i’ve gone rock n’ rollin’ with them. But I think I’ve only slow-danced w/ human avs. Obviously I need to remedy that situation. I wouldn’t want to be accused of being narrow-minded. And I can tell you truthfully, straight-out – I’ve NEVER had sex with a furry. ๐Ÿ™‚ Which leads me to……

Bea and I were talking about all the different sex/love possiblities inworld. And we stumbled upon an interesting issue. Suppose Bea was a bunny av? 2-bunnies NOT playboy bunny, silly. But a REAL bunny – you know, like Flopsy, Mopsy or Cottontail. If Bea and I were to have sex….. eeewwwww. Somehow that seemed very wrong to both of us. Now it may NOT seem wrong to you. I have no problem with that. Just don’t put on your bunny av and ask ME to, um, yeah, whatever. But what if I were a bunny ALSO??? Would THAT be wrong???? Bea said yes. You know what? I say no. Somehow two bunnies together – that seems like a beautiful thing to me. ๐Ÿ™‚ bunnmy-and-dogOn the other hand…. a bunny and a non-bunny, say a bunny and a dog? Wrong wrong wrong. ๐Ÿ™‚ (In case a disclaimer is necessary here: I am being light-hearted and facetious!!!! Do NOT take this too seriously!! )

Photo credits: found ’em via google. 2 bunnies: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Rabbits_DSC00372.JPG Bunny & Dog: http://fuzzywuzzyblog.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/bn-bunny7.jpg

They’ve said it better

I’m done commenting on the price increases. I don’t own land, I don’t fully understand land ownership in SL and I am not good at envisioning the future. I think that Landsend reflects most closely how I feel. I think that Dale may have the most realistic explanation for it all. I found Soph’s analysis both intriguing and funny. And Night (Yay! so glad she is back) discusses what should be done to prevent another drama like this in the future. That’s it. Read them and read Prad, Bailey and Honour. They are all far more informed and articulate than I. That’s why they are all on my blog roll. As for leaving SL for OpenLife… well, until I can have my hair and my boots, I’m not going. Yeah, I know – totally shallow. ๐Ÿ™‚ But as long as Bailey and Honour and Prad and Dale and everyone else are here, so am I.

Aribeth posted the other day about how she felt betrayed and deceived when an SL friend lied about their RL self. I thought about that a lot before commenting on her post. I know that a lot of people come into SL to role-play. As my last post states, that’s not my purpose. I may be picking which of my RL aspects are emphasized, but I am still me. There is nothing about me in SL that is not true of me in RL. (At least, I don’t think there is. But the mind is a funny beast….) The reason I mention this here now is because of Krissy’s comment on my post. Krissy’s statement “And when I make a friend in sl, itโ€™s with the intention of making a real friend. Not friends that are playing a role along side me” has me pondering the subject. I am still not convinced that role-playing is such a terrible thing. I believe that SL is a place where you can and should explore yourself. Role-playing only becomes an issue when you begin to form deep, emotional connections with others. If those people are also role-playing, I suspect there is no issue. But if those people are more akin to me and Krissy and Aribeth, I think that somewhere along the path to emotional intimacy, the role-player needs to reveal the person behind the facade. There is a post in here somewhere, but I need to think on it more and clarify for myself what is troublesome and when it becomes problematic. Since it has never happened to me, I don’t know what I’d do or feel. In the meantime, you might want to see what Ari has to say.

Appearances Matter

I wrote this post a few days ago, before the LL price hike announcement. Maybe this is a good time to post this, maybe this is terrible timing. I’m not really sure. But this post explains one of the reasons why I like being in SL and why I view it as a positive experience, despite the occasional blip.

Reading through endless blogs and following links, I ended up back on Hamlet Au’s blog. He mentioned the Stanford Study, research done in 2006 by Nick Yee. The study was way more than I could handle in my greatly-fatigued state, so I am relying on Au’s summary. Basically, and I am copying this directly from Au’s blog: Yee “found that people using physically attractive avatars tend to exhibit more self-confidence, both in-world… and in the real world.” I’m no scientist/psychologist/expert, but I am a human being. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I’d have to say that my own experience supports Yee’s conclusions.

My father died 2 years ago. Although it was not unexpected, it was traumatic. I aged years overnight. I felt that I had become the front-line troops. That the security and well-being of my entire family depended on ME. Everyone in the family suffered greatly when we lost my father. Many emotions and issues surfaced. I realized that I had to grow up emotionally and psychologically or my life and my marriage were going to spiral down into depths from which they might never recover. I’ve already directed you to Botgirl Questi’s blog and her mention of Byron Katie. I am not familiar with Katie myself, but judging from Botgirl’s comments, the philosophy sounds much like the one I managed to embrace and internalize. There is no question that I was able to save my sanity (and thereby my health and the well-being of my family) by changing the way I look at life.

I have learned to really like myself. I have learned to look at others and accept them for who they are and what they are and to throw away my demands of what they “should do/be”. (Okay, my dear son – this does NOT apply to you – I am your mother. I have a FULL set of expectations for YOU and your behavior. Sorry. That’s my job! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) Anyway, the point here is that I have reached a stage where I like who I am. And yet…. I still have issues left from those wonderful teen-age years. ๐Ÿ™‚ C’mon – we all do. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I have discovered SL.

Here in SL I can choose what parts of my RL existence are emphasized and which are played down. Ahuva is me, I am Ahuva. There is no difference. One of my SL friends has great difficulty believing that I am so “immersed”. I’m not really immersed. I simply am. But let’s face it. Ahuva NEVER wakes up with any physical aches or pains or zits or other aggravations. Ahuva’s clothes fit perfectly, or all it takes is a mild edit. She can dance all night in stiletto heels and look fresh and relaxed and pay no price the next day. Ahuva and I both react to stress by buying more boots. ๐Ÿ™‚

Since Ahuva IS me, since she is doing what I like to do, being who I am, Ahuva is inside of me in RL. I walk about and I am She and She is Me. I walk like Ahuva. I feel the same confidence in me that Ahuva exhibits when she moves about inworld. I feel a lot of that buried teen-age angst dissolving. As Ahuva’s appearance has been tweaked and modified, so has my RL appearance. I hear again and again from people about how “great” I look. I look and sound younger. I have much more energy and excitement than I’ve had in years. I look hot. LOL (You GO girl!! ) I’ve lost weight. I went back to wearing my hair a different style. I have a picture posted on my social network that shows us side by side. ๐Ÿ™‚ We are NOT identical, but everyone sees the similarity, the connection. (And Ahuva’s profile has been updated too – forced her to be a little more honest about what she was doing inworld ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I was doing okay before SL. But Ahuva and I together – we are really quite a team.

Failing the Test

Some of my blogs are light-hearted, some are more serious. This one hurts. This one hurts physically and emotionally. Maybe I shouldn’t even be writing it now while everything is so raw. Maybe I should wait until I gain perspective. That presupposes that I WILL gain some understanding.

Botgirl Questi opened an exhibit last week. Due to RL happiness, I was unable to make the opening. I wanted very much, however, to get there and check it all out. I knew from the start I probably would NOT try the Avatar Transformer. In her blog, Botgirl says: If you don’t think you’re identified with your avatar then I dare you โ€“ I double dare you โ€“ to step into the Avatar Transformer at Botgirl’s Identity Circus. LOL. I KNOW I identify with my avatar. I don’t need to lose her AGAIN to know that. I think that is really the source of my reluctance for THAT particular feature. I lost myself and needed Kate Linden to rescue me. I still have so little confidence in my ability to put myself back together that I wouldn’t risk it for a whim. Or is that all rationalization? ๐Ÿ™‚ Doesn’t matter.

I confess that while I love reading Botgirl’s blog, I find a lot of her posts/insights unsettling. I didn’t want to go on my own. So I prevailed on my friend Dale to accompany me (Dale himself being part of the show). When we arrived at the tent we were pleasantly surprised to see Botgirl herself. I’d never met her and was very happy for the introduction. I did indeed pass up the Avatar Transformer. ๐Ÿ™‚ Went inside and was looking at all the exhibits. The poster included here should be internalized in everyone. Those of you who know me in RL know that I think of this as don’t “expect” of others and don’t have “shoulds”. ๐Ÿ™‚ And you all know who I credit for that wisdom.

So I browsed and read. I turned around and saw Dale with Majic. Magic is Botgirl’s chatbot. She is also part of the exhibit. As Botgirl wrote in her pre-exhibit post: One of the exhibits I’m most looking forward to will give attendees a chance to cuddle with my chatbot. Sharing a romantic animation with an attractive yet empty avatar is a great way to get a feel for the power virtuality has to induce an emotional or even physical response. Dale and Majic were chatting and cuddling quite happily. Majic initiates a conversation if you come within her local chat range. She will answer you each time you speak. I laughed and continued reading. Afterwards I asked Dale what it was like to make-out with Majic. He answered that it was fun, she was a sweetie and she never complained. And added “you should try it”. Botgirl agreed saying I should experience it directly.

I balked. Big time. I have no idea what it says about me or what it “really” means, but I did NOT want to go cuddle with Majic. Just like with the sky diving – I began having tightness in my chest and could feel the blood pounding in my temples. That was just ridiculous. The more I tried to make myself move forward, the less luck I had. We had some minor discussion about it: why did I not want to, both saying I didn’t HAVE to. Finally I walked up to where Majic was reclining. I got all the way up to her, extremely stressed out, and she says “By the way, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?” As Dale said, great timing Majic. I turned and retreated. I simply could not bring myself to join her. I stood there watching, stressing, wondering. The logical part of my mind was baffled at my resistance. What’s the big deal? What could happen? Just go and cuddle and be done.

Finally I steeled myself, walked over, clicked and cuddled. Dale was sitting on the floor watching, Botgirl was standing there watching (or so I presumed). But Majic needed me to talk in order for her to talk. I couldn’t think of anything to say. I still couldn’t even think why I would want to cuddle with an non-sentient creature. There is no “there” in a pandorabot. I fumbled through a few sentences and responses and then jerked myself away. Yeah, I’ll confess – I looked over and we were in a somewhat explicit position (fully dressed). That probably was the proverbial straw. But it was as much an excuse as the reason. The whole experience was awful. I tried to type “unpleasant” but that doesn’t even begin to describe how miserable I was.

Botgirl asked if it would be easier or harder if it was an avatar connected to a real person instead of to an AI server. No problem on that question at all: easier. Why??? It’s easier for me to cuddle with a total stranger than a robot? Why does that seem out of character? But there is something that totally repulses me about cuddling with Majic. I can cuddle my stuffed animals, they don’t cuddle back. I can cuddle my pets, they do cuddle back, without any conversation. I can anthropomorphize all of those. So what’s wrong with a robot? I don’t know. But even thinking about it I experience stress symptoms.

Dale asked me if it would have been easier if I’d been there alone. I’m not sure. Given how upset I was afterwards, I was glad they were there. But would it have been easier? Maybe. I wouldn’t have known what to do (talk to Majic) so who knows what would have happened. Not that I was able to say much anyway. There wouldn’t have been witnesses to what I see as my failure.

I feel that there was some major significant life test here. I have no idea if there was, what it was, why I think that. All I know is that I felt this was some sort of trial. I got halfway there by actually starting. But I failed miserably at the process. As if there were a “right” way to do this and I had no clue. Dale and Botgirl seemed to be able to do this without it being an issue. Even now, hours removed, with events in between to soften the recollection, I can’t imagine cuddling with Majic. I can’t imagine anything I’d want to say to Majic. Do I think it was like talking to myself? to a mirror? No, I can do that. Mirrors don’t answer back. Majic would. Is that what is upsetting me? That she talks and I would take her seriously, read meaning into her words? I don’t think I ever got that far in thinking about it. I wasn’t doing much thinking at all. Rampant emotion definitely was running the show. I certainly got a “feel for the power virtuality has to induce an emotional or even physical response”.

Majic and all the exhibit will be there 2 more weeks (closing Oct. 19). I will have that much time to decide if I want to try this again and get it “right”. I don’t like failing. Even if I don’t go back and cuddle with Majic, I’d at least like to determine why not.

Pursuing the Subject

Sex. Love. Add fantasies.

My blog on sex and love (Difficult Subjects) has generated fascinating conversations in FL and SL. People really want to talk about these topics. No one wants to go on record and post to my blog (okay – there are two brave souls out there willing to talk about sex publicly) but everyone talks to me “off the record”. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is not actually surprising to me. Look around you. What are the number one and two topics in books, magazines, music, visual art, performing art, commercials and news? Exactly. We need air, food, water and love.

We do without air, food and water in SL. (Correction. Without drinking water. I crave water and sand and waves as much in SL as in RL). But we need love. I’m using “love” in a very broad sense here. I mean that we all need a connection. We need to be validated by an other. When people talk to me about love and sex in SL, it often leads to fantasies. SL allows us to explore our fantasies. Things that maybe we never say or do in RL. We shelter behind the pseudo-anonymity of SL (see Botgirl’s blog if you want to understand why I say “pseudo-anonymity”). And as I listen and think and read, it seems to me that there are 2 categories of fantasies.

There is the very obvious category of physical action fantasy. Doing things that you can’t do in RL, or wish you could do in RL. That ranges from sex to surfboarding to horseback riding to shopping to walking and talking. But there is another kind of fantasy – emotional. Many people are yearning for a connection that doesn’t exist for them in RL. Again, this runs the gamut. So I think I’m beginning to get a partial answer to my question “Why cyber?” (LOL please note I have ‘corrected’ my terminology.) It isn’t the cyber per se. It’s the emotional content associated with the act. I suppose one could say – Big Duh, Ahuva. *I* knew that. But obviously it wasn’t clear to me. What I started to hear as people talked to me was that the cyber allowed them to switch their internal emotional paradigm. (Again – not for everyone, and not all the time.) I’m also sure that this has been researched and reported and written up in psychological abstracts. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is my blog, however, and I’m allowed to post my discoveries, even if I am coming extremely late to the party! ๐Ÿ™‚

There was a newbie last night at the NCI benches (okay – there is ALWAYS a newbie at the NCI benches!! that’s why the benches exist, after all!). He started out by asking what everyone did in RL. Sigh. I listened as everyone answered and told “the truth”. So I said “This IS my RL.” Most ‘oldies’ enjoyed that response. Obnoxious, I know. But for Ahuva – SL IS RL. Then he asked our ages. Again, most people played along, even if being a bit vague. I was still feeling rude so I asked “How old do I look?” (As a good friend pointed out to me – I am only as old as my avatar!) LOL. Of course D, who is always very quick with a funny or sarcastic remark, replied “10”. Hmmm. As I type that, maybe he didn’t mean my age. LOL. I’ll have to ask him if that was a reference to the old Bo Derek movie….. Anyway. Back to my point. If I have one. He also called SL a game. I said that SL is NOT a game. He asked “It’s not?” C jumped in at this pointed and explained that SL is a virtual world, not a game. I had been despairing of this newbie but then he redeemed himself. He at least dropped the word game from that point and accepted the correction. But we shall see.

We are all in SL for reasons. Simple reasons, complicated reasons. Whatever. I am developing another theory. I think that the people who come into SL and immediately start trying to define everyone by their RL aspect are probably people who aren’t going to stay in SL very long. They aren’t going to “get it”. People who come into SL and meet people as they are, and ask about their SL aspect, are going to stay. I have no issue with people who know each other in SL having conversations about RL. That’s not what I mean. (I’m not touching the whole immersion theory stuff. Go read Botgirl and Soph yourself.) I mean that people who come inworld and try to force SL into RL terms may not be best suited for a virtual world. Whereas those people who come in and accept what they see may flourish. And those people may find that their fantasies come true.

In Awe of Chestnut

I was directed to this wonderful website – someone blogging about her life in SL.
Secondlife of Dreams

I liked her recent posts so much that I went back to her very first entries. She too is intrigued by the impact RL has on SL and SL on RL.

And I realize I have no idea what SL is about. So far all I’ve done is get dressed. Apparently there is music, there are parties, there is more social interaction and TALK than I have yet found. It’s time to move out of my beach chair and the dressing room and find the world.


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