As with every medium since cave paintings, sex is a big part of Second Life. The virtual world is a haven where people can fulfill their sexual fantasies. But it also has a dark side.
In one of those IMs, I asked if she'd be willing to tell me her real-life name. Many long-time users of Second Life access the world anonymously, and keep their real-life identities secret to preserve their privacy. Some become quite defensive over questions about their RL identities.
I asked her how she started doing nude photography in Second Life. "i found myself in very early Second Life, and all my friends were artists and builders and i have no talents and no skills," she said in text chat. "i don't have [PhotoShop]. i had to come up with something so i decided that sex sells and so i would sell rather tame sexual images." PhotoShop is used by the most skilled builders in Second Life to make their creations more beautiful and lifelike.
Murphy said she became a domme in Second Life after having had real-life bisexual encounters when she was younger. "here in sl the bisexual thing is so much easier to fall into. by its very nature, the anonymity and the simple fact that for a couple of years guy avs [avatars] just were not very good," she said.
She opened one of the first successful strip clubs in Second Life, and the dancers wanted her to be a domme for them, so she went along with it. Eventually, she got good at it and found a following.
What's the attraction of being a Second Life domme? "you fill a need for her," she said. "i get the pleasure of pleasing her."
She's in a long-term committed relationship in Second Life -- long-term by the standards of Second Life: she's been involved for six months -- and knows some things bout her partner in real life.
In real life, Murphy is married and has one child. She's a housewife, but was planning to start a job shortly. "it has to do with a credit card i have, sigh. and some bad man who refuses to pay for it now," she said. "i imagine if i work for a few months i can beg off and go back to being a happy housewife."
Her husband is on Second Life, but not very often, and doesn't care about what she does. They have a couple of ground rules: No phone calling with Second Life sex partners, and they don't keep secrets about their activities in Second Life.
"we laugh about stuff that happens here. It's a 3D chat room and it in no way infringes on our lives," she said. She added: "he thinks it's a riot that i am a domme.... before sl my major computer interface was solitaire, then i came here, and im running clubs, i have slave girls, i have loves and adventures. and its all a fun adventure to him and me.
Marilyn Murphy: i had no idea i could be a firm leadership type person
Marilyn Murphy: none
Marilyn Murphy: that people would seek my advice
Marilyn Murphy: any of this
I asked whether she'd applied any of her Second Life experiences to her real life. She responded:
Marilyn Murphy: not
Marilyn Murphy: ha ha
Marilyn Murphy: i have thought about what i could do with my new self awareness
Marilyn Murphy: but i dont want to work that hard
She's Been Doing Cybersex Nearly 20 Years
Jenna Leng has been looking for gratification online since just before she entered junior high school. She started on local BBSes in 1988.
"I was a good kid. Aside from the cybersex. ; )" she said in an interview conducted through text chat in-world. But then she amended herself. "I wouldn't really call it cybersex. It was, strangely enough, cyber 'petting,' much of what normal teenagers do without the physical aspect. I talked about thoughts, or urges, kissing, touching. But again, that didn't head towards sex until much later."
She credits cybersex with helping her overcome early sexual repression. She says she is bisexual in real-life, and cybersex helped her overcome her sense of shame.
A multimedia designer from Los Angeles, she uses Second Life with the avatar name "Liennna Jael." When I teleported to interview her, she was wearing provocative bra and panties, but she quick-changed into a low-cut sundress for the interview.
Using her Lienna Jael pen name, she writes for Pixel Pulse, a Second Life adult blog that's also distributed in-world.
She enjoys exotic cybersex, "Hermaphrodites, shemales, alien avatars, futuristic cyborgs," she said.
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