Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Other Elephant in the Room

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.


  1. I've noticed that lately a lot of your posts took a darker, bitter tone. I am not saying they aren't your true self... how could I? I don't know you.

    But with this one you showed me things that I didn't knew, or hadn't realice (Natsumi, my SL love, is single and 12 years younger than me), and you did it with a sweet, quiet passion that I hadn't seen... I am not sure, maybe since you wrote "A Moment".

    *smiles* Maybe I am ignoring stronger, well written posts, only because I don't identify with them as much than with this ones but, anyway, it is good to have back that side of you; it feels warm and homely.

  2. Hmmm, I think it goes in cycles for me. There are times when I seem to be finding, or perhaps seeking out, the points of SL that bite and chaffe.

  3. You know, thinking on it, in ancient times it was normal for an older man to take a younger man as a lover, and act as a mentor. Perhaps what we are seeing on sl is a reflection of this old pattern.

  4. This was an excellent Post Lillie, I've kind of been waiting for you to do this one, and yes all too many times the single person is the one who turns into the door mat. You get wrapped up in the fantasy and just as it gets molded into something perfect, beautful and true they say something to the effect of: "Oh honey, it's only a game, I could never really do those things we planned it was more like a dream, you know like two teenagers planning their life together." I've heard almost that exact line more than one time in my Second Life. Then people wonder why you can't find any decent guys in SL, the good ones start to go the way of to do-do after being thrown under a bus a few too many times, but one day I'll learn, I'm just not ready to give up yet.

  5. Know what you want Jazon. I think that it would be better for you to find an rl girl and bring her in world, than to try and find an sl girl and bring her to rl. It's easier to go in here from there, than to go there from here.

  6. Yeah I am trying to do it a bit ass backwards, really I'm just trying to catch a fireflies with my hands at the moment, I'm just wanting this magic feeling so much that I'm trying to pull it out of a hat.

  7. Lillie, your post made me thing about a possible sisterhood current between us (Nat and I) more than a mentorship. *sighs*. Anyway, most of the time she she is more mature than I _p.

    Jason... You seem to forget that most married woman doesn't come here looking for love; maybe I experimented a bit (ok, a lot more than a bit), but don't think for a moment I wanted to spend sleepless, guilty nights.

    I've readed your blog the first time Lillie mentioned it; maybe I am wrong, but you wanted a relation and payed Myisti for it?

    Of couse is a mistake that can happen but, sigh... I even can understand you proposed to Nesca and leaved her in a depression moment but, what happened to her later? You leaved her crying and later restored your life and? Did you forgot about her or only to write about her?

    Kiara. Your own words:
    "she's really shined some light on this life"
    "I became a greedy bastard and almost lost a golden chance at true love and happiness"
    "It was so not worth the heartache, and I'm still trying to piece together why I chased after her knowing that it was going to end just like this."

    Jason, maybe I am guilty of finding love and following it when I shouldn't, but don't accuse me of playing games. Take on married PEOPLE if you want (aren't husbands at SL, too, or you asume they are playing a game?) but read your own blog and make all your partners a favour.


  8. *sighs* I hate when this happens; I get pissed off and then come the regrets.

    Jason, I still think that you are too self compasive and like drama a bit too much (am I or aren't I great at writing apologices? :-p), but I hadn't right to judge you for what you wrote.

    I know that when we are in pain we say any silly old thing and I think the worst sin of infidelity is how it thieves time from the ones who need and rightfully deserve it; just what you accused Kiara of.

    Accept my apologices but, please, look at your inner self and check if you really compromise with your loved ones here... I cannot say it from the outside.

  9. We are all fools for love from time to time London.

    I take your points about your own love, how can I claim to know what is private between you and another? But I do wish to understand, because it is far from uncommon. I've seen people leave sl because of the tensions that these relationships create. And drama? No shortage of it.

    I think that everyone who comes and stays in sl is searching for human contact, and that sexualized relationships are one form of contact that is particularly explosive. The role that married women play in the SL ecology of relationships is important, to me, personally, and I think, to any understanding of sl and its import.

    Much of what makes SL worth being in, for me, is how many women come here, and procede to flower as creators of community, space and activity. And that energy flows out into sl in different ways.

    On the other hand, I see how the same effects create tensions that ripple outwards.

    Married women having sl sex and carrying on sl relationships is, as I noted in the beginning, the other elephant in the room of SL. It is, like any human love, beautiful and monstrous, powerful and feeble, poetic and crude, ennobling and corrupting.

    But it is, and is different, and needs to be written and sung of.

  10. London,
    I'm sorry I hurt your feelings with some of the things I've said. That rant was just fueled from me being frustrated with my self and I picked a poor outlet. You are very right about everything you said about me. And again I'm sorry for the offense.


  11. Well I have known someone who is a guy and plays women online and has for so long he'd fool almost anyone... And as someone who is a woman RL and who back in the day played as a man (because pre-SL, heck pre-2000) men outnumbered women, so harassment was much much worse... I have a few comments on the gender bending concept...

    First I think you do a disservice to some of them... It's not always about playing the role to try to have lesbian sex... A good imitator is one who is willing to play both sides... The one I know I meet because we were both amazing text based teases... It was ironic back then that I was playing the male side and he was playing the female... I still know him today and it''s even harder to tell the difference now that he's been doing it for years... RL he's the type of guy most women say they want... Sensitive, romantic, and the whole family type... But as with most cruel twists of fate most single women don't really want that... They want to 'tame' the bad boy... & he calls himself plain and uninteresting physically from thousands of others... So what did he do to feed his need for intimate and physical attention he couldn't get online...? He went online looking for it... & still couldn't find it with so many other guys around... So he decided to pretend to be a woman and he'd reverse the roles in his head... Imagine what he'd want said to him and used that to create a concept of himself as a woman...

    I felt much the same, though as I'm bi leaning heavily toward being lesbian because guys don't tend to keep my interest for long... And feeling the pressures RL to be 'normal' (aka heterosexual) I fled to the online world to be myself... Only to find women were overwhelmed more than 10:1 back then and you couldn't go for more than a couple minutes without some guy trying to talk you into his 'virtual bed'... So Ironically I started to play a guy to avoid that while still being able to find 'women'... It's only recently I've gone back to playing a woman and actually being myself...

    We were way to much alike, it's why we are still friends today... Though we don't tend to hang in the same virtual circles anymore... But I know his story and resonate with it.

    In his case though he doesn't get bothered about being with another guy online... For him that's just the same reversal of fantasy as he uses all the time... And these days he doesn't go looking for sex, Though sex seems to find him just the same, It's more about friendship and attention... He still has the same issues RL with women that made him go online in the first place and you'd probably never notice him in a crowd, but online he's a diva with adoring fans male and female... And in the end he hurts no one... No one ever knows 'she's' really a 'he', because the role is so perfect it makes no difference...

    & really to me I think it would be horrible to ruin that for him...

  12. Jazon, I was expecting insults and was ready to ignore them; now I feel ashamed, because not only I didn't had the right to attack you in public (or in IM), but because what hurted more about your post is that you where partly right.

    I am being unfaithfull and taking too many risks, and when I forget for a second how happy I am for all the love I have in both worlds, it crush me with fear.

    I always say that love at SL comed to me like a surprise that I wasn't able to avoid, and it is true... but it happened twice; I should had never come back to SL after the first time, that btw, ended in a horrible fuck-up, bigger than yours.

    After six months the temptation was too big, and I convinced myself I could keep my emotions at bay...

    I met Natsumi in one of the lowest moments I lived at SL; it took weeks for her to rescue me from it, and meanwhile I restored her faith in this virtual species (aka, not all of us are of the "yo'r cute, wanna fuck" condition). I loved her from the first day.

    Lillie, I am not saying you are wrong, only that it isn't my case. I am too selfish to be a mentor, maybe too much even for a sisterhood.

    My life out of here is whole and I worry about keeping her in a relation with no RL hope, keeping her from meeting a lover that can share with her the pass of the years, but I continue sinning.

    when I write at my blog I keep my eyes centered in the power and wonders of love, because I know I am tightrope walking the abyss.

    I love how you described it: "beautiful and monstrous, powerful and feeble, poetic and crude, ennobling and corrupting."

    Jazon, I want to apologize again for my rudeness; I hope you understand it was my fear and anger talking.

  13. I am a married woman, and though I don't play an escort, I do spend the evenings of my sl time as a dancer at a club. I spent a lot of time fending off guys who only wanted a brief fling without paying an escort. As a natural flirt, I had no trouble getting their attention. About 6 mo ago I met a guy at the club I work at who interested me and wasn't only interested in my sl body. So I started spending more and more time with him. He taught me building skills and we became close friends. I started to notice that he was basically the same person as my husband. With a smile I introduced the two ( as my husband gets on sl every so often and had heard me talk about this guy) and they are good friends as well now. So my new found friend and I play out a relationship online. It keeps the unwanted rude guys at bay, he also has helped me focus on the business side that I had been grasping at for months.

    I can understand what you mean by married women creating areas around them that feel like home. My friend and I have together purchased some land and built a house. Our friends come over and it feels like my vacation home.

  14. It's alright London, I still feel I was in the wrong and speaking on anger because of my current situation, it was not an implication that all married women in SL are like this, only that I've had a rash of bad luck in that department.

  15. I am a married woman who recently left SL because of my romantic involvement with several SL single men. I kept my relationships with these men secret from my husband. I did not join SL to get 'messed' up in seems that romance found me after connecting on an emotional level with a particular single player. We had so much fun together and I have laughed so much in the last couple of months with him. He was more than 20 years my junior. What's strange is that we never talked about love or emotions...just that we had fun together. Problem was...I was falling in love with him and was falling out of love with my RL husband.

    My husband found out about my forays and I decided to stop 'cold' turkey and cancelled my SL account. I have hurt my husband terribly and now he doubts that I want to continue on in my relationship with him. I am confused at this point because I am grappling with the loss of my SL friend even though he is someone who I can never have (and he would never have me I'm sure).

    I am trying to rebuilt a relationship with my RL husband but it is hard because I am also grieving the loss of a love no matter how far fetched it was.

    My recommendation to any married women out there...don't do're only going to be faced with heartache and the potential end of your marriage with many people getting hurt.