One blogger talks about that old obsession, how many escorts are played by men. It is one of the questions that reminds me of the blah blah blah patriarchy, blah blah blah phallocentrism of world I live in, and Second Life, the worry of men crossing dicks with other men gets a great deal more space, consideration and attention than the issue which London Spengler spends a roundabout, but candid and illuminating post on, namely the other, and probably even larger and more important population of SL's sexual demi-monde, namely: married women.
Men who play escorts do not shape the sexual environment of SL as much as married women do. This is because men playing women are either transients, or they are spending their time acting as much like women as possible, or they are non-participants in the sexual world, and are simply playing a female avatar because of the advantages that being female in sl has if you can get past the pervasive sexual harassment which is part of SL culture.
Married women on the other hand, dictate many of the spheres where they live in. First, because it is socially acceptable in almost every direction to be a married woman dancing, escorting, running a large house of slaves, being a slave, or any other role in the universe of sl sexuality, including that of the partner in a stable relationship. This is not true for men playing women. The same man who would recoil at the thought of trading virtual bodily fluids with a male, would get off on the idea that another man's woman has come to him to fulfill a fantasy that she lacks in the physical world. Thus MFF's are closeted while mFFF are out and about.
Married women can be assertive about their needs in creating a second life, men playing women who present as women, are, by definition, in the closet. You can have sex in the closet, but not a life. Even if it is a walk in closet.
The next reality of why married women have a greater weight in shaping SL's personal sexual universe is time. Married women have a trump card on the time they spend in sl, particularly if they are married with children. Few SLovers are going to be crabby and selfish enough to tell a married woman not to go and be with her children.
As importantly, married women have stronger sexual desires, often being closer to the peak of the libido, and often being ready to scratch what used to be referred to as "the seven year itch." That is, they are more willing to play around on SL than young single women, simply because the risks, hopes, terrors and dreams of single womanhood and the pressure to find a marriagable, or at least long term datable, male interest, are not there. A married woman is absolutely free to pursue whatever relationship or relationships in the sl context that she desires.
The two populations are co-dependent. One protects the other. That married women are a large fraction of the escort population means that men playing women have cover. Married women are as much, if not more, interested in protecting their anonymity as men playing women are. Married women do not want to use voice or other identifiable means of interacting, the do not want to cam widely, though the may with lovers, they will not with customers. That there are men escorting protects the married women, because customers will realize that they may not really want to know who they just had a torrid 30 minutes of virtual sexual congress with. What happens if it is a ram in sheep's clothing?
Married women are, to my experience, often the instigators of relationships with single men. They may not be the instigators of sex, but their need for romance, emotional closeness and sympathy naturally creates the fertile place where, particularly in sexualized sl, virtual sex is natural. If the man is married willing to have an sl only experience, then this kind of relationship often works out. Married man and married woman having a virtual affair which relieves the pressure from their ordinary relationships. But single men are often taken to the extremes of sex, including cam and even rl meetings, with a woman who is ultimately, unavailable. My dear friend Jazon has been amazingly open about his experience, and he is not the only example of this story in my time in sl, because someone like me is often their next stop as they try and heal.
From this, it might seem that I think that married women are negatives in SL. This is hardly the case, as we all need to find our bliss. But it is their problems more than the problems of men playing women, that shape the sexual and emotional landscape of sl: their restrictions on time, their rl commitments, their emotional needs, their fantasy lives. An sl woman played by a man who simply tries to have lesbian sex with every other dancer within reach seldom lasts long. The women around him might take him up once or twice, but often they will not. The married sl woman who plays a dancer, escort, slave, mistress or other stable role in the sl ecology, particularly if she has it worked into her life the way women of another generation might have worked soap operas or romance novels into their lives, will become fixtures of the community. They have access to resources to buy areas, build and create a space around them. Many of these spaces are the spaces that kept me in SL during that confused ugly time of my second life here. They have a richness, an sense of oppulence, a style, a thirst for role play, which is my own. I walked into several of them, and felt one word resound in my heart.
This means that much of what is positive about old SL, is a reflection of how married women run their fantasy lives. This is true of those married women who have, or who have found, a permanent sl relationship, and are making homes. Every time you hear "build your dreams!" in a rental advertisement, or see a piece of well made furniture, realize that there is a married woman and her feelings on romance which are the target of that line or object.
I know this has not been my most poetic post, and it perhaps should be, because married women creating their bliss around them is part of the poetry of sl. In fact, it is a larger part of the poetry of sl than anything except the clattering drum beat of people trying to make money here. This topic needs to be returned to again and again, in smaller, more specific ways. It will be. To be an escort on SL, and to have emotional attachments of any kind, specifically romantic ones, is to have had romantic experience with married women playing in sl.
Often single women end up in relationships with married women. The married woman is often the individual who seeks the relationship, and the single woman is drawn into it. As an escort, a relationship with a man is problematic, because it means the end of escorting for all practical purposes. And other single women, well, let's come out and say: in the world of single woman in the sl sex trade, the relationship that tends to form and last is one of virtual sisters, sempre amiga, rather than virtual sex. Each one sees the other, and knows that a lasting relationship with another single woman doesn't meet the real needs. Hence, thre is a deep bond between single woman escort and single woman escort, a love, a desire... which is not sexual or sexualized precisely because of the empathy and understanding of the other person's position. There is a hope and prayer that this other single woman can find her dreams, find her prince charming, even if you can't find your own.
And this often leads to the acute angle of sl demi-monde romance: the married woman pressuring the single woman into the married woman's fantasy life, and the single woman, often overly eager to please, trying to find a place to be, a way to fulfill more, but not all, of that fantasy life.
I'm not just the president of the society for the study of married women in the sl sex industry, I'm at least two or three of its case studies.