I went to three of the most common places to find street whores in sl. Some were girls clearly fresh spat out, hoping to find a first job to get a skin, some hair, anything. Others were at the 300L worth of barbie. None were better than that, though in fairness, they could well have been alts of more established avatars out for a night. The rates? 300L for :30, I was offered 800L ... for 1:00. That's $3 USD for an hour of typing interactive pornography. Even if someone did 8 a day, 7 days a week, that is $168 USD. Third world wages. It may be virtual sex, but think on what people are being asked to do as entry level work in sl.
This is a giant theme park, only people are asked to do much worse than put on mouse costumes and run around in the sun. And the people running it are trying to get very rich on not paying the people who create that content.
I fished one newbie looking girl out of the pond, took her back to Yedo where she grabbed the skins and shapes... I won't tell much of her story, except to say that this was a new character because a male client was stalking her sl, and trying to find her rl. Those are the risks girls run, that everything no transfer you have may go.. pooof out of your life... because of men stalking you. Note that there is no way to get rid of these men from sl. Next time I give people attitude about the atrocious quality of government in Second Life, you'll know why, it isn't the first, second or third time I have heard this story, and it won't be the last either.
The quality of sex you get in such places, at those prices, is terribly low, but for a guy interested in no more than having permission to pump himself off, what else is needed. I saw a girl who had a "verified girl" group tag, complete with links to her, not unattractive, rl picture. She got 400L for :30. Given a bit of work she could have commanded much more.
Another girl charged rates similar to mine, and sold rl pics. However she also belonged to a group that had this description:
Rate Whores will do anything for your positive ratings. We fuck, suck and degrade ourselves for your pleasure, and it only costs the 25-75 lindens to positively rate our Appearance, Behavior or Building skills.
Why do we do it? Just for the satisfaction of another notch in our belt: the higher the ratings, the bigger the whore. This is an ongoing contest for members and the only rule is you can't pay people to rate you.
Ratings were removed just as I was coming on to SL, so I don't know what they do now.
Some other girls clearly had more skill, both in dressing and in working, and could at their top command rates that are about my bottom rate. Not bad for not having your own place, even if it is because of a lucky day.
What was also present was the sense of sisterhood. We talked, compared notes, swapped fashion tips. My heart goes out to any girl who has to stand there and wait and hope for someone to come along, and then have to bargain down to what ever pocket change he wants to throw at him. Think about it, virtual sex, personalized, for the price of the quarters someone can dig out of a sofa... And running the risk that some love struck client will decide to try and find their rl, and show up one morning at 3am screaming out what she did virtually the day before...
So why do it. Well what else is there for entry level access to Lindens in sl? 400L for :30 may be less than $2USD, but if you don't have the ability, or don't want, to jump through hoops to get Linden, then what else is there? For some people this is a fantasy, and they want to do it, but be given a bit of something so they can afford the barbie fantasy as well.
Even at the low end of sl demi-monde, the rl web pornography world, itself saturated, is coming. Since the market for escorts is also saturated, and the prices are plunging, the outside will flood and swamp the sl sex trade at every level. This isn't good or bad, it simply is. Like the web itself, demand for pornography is a vast subterrenean world.
Which touches on an issue. I hear a great deal of chanting for "bottom up." Well there is a huge demand for "bottom up" abuse of women. I don't blah blah blah patriarchy blah blah blah phallocentrism much, but it seems to me that anyone who thinks that bottom up anything is the salvation of the world has a serious blind spot about what the single largest bottoms up demand is out there. What that means to me is that for all of the chanting about how bottom up is the salvation of society, it is really a fight between two groups of men over who gets to exploit women's sexuality for their own pleasure and profit.