Second Life is but a dream

Alycia & Pete, _ Ratii dAlliez (3-4-14)

I sometimes think about what I like in a sexual fantasy. I tend to create an imaginary scenario in which various sexual encounters could easily take place, then stick with that scenario until it no longer arouses or interests me. Last night after wandering around a few adult venues in SL, I thought about what it takes for me to feel comfortable engaging in virtual sex in Second Life, and I wondered if could I pick the perfect SL setting the same way that I create an erotic mental scenario?

One obviously doesn’t get all the same sensations or emotional support from an online encounter as one does from a real life sexual or romantic relationship. On the other hand, one can get many of these things without also having to deal with certain Real Life problems with sexual and romantic encounters.

Obviously, we can’t get an STD, assaulted or pregnant from an online sexual encounter. Many of us also know that we can get a sense of an emotional connection and friendship from online relationships. People who for various physical, financial or social reasons can’t easily make new friends or romantic partners in physical reality can often connect more easily online. People can also explore parts of their personality or alternate personas in ways that make them feel freer and more confident than they do in normal physical reality.

Given the fact that virtual encounters on a platform like Second Life are so much freer and free of real world consequences than they would be in physical reality, I’m surprised that people often carry the same social mores they have in physical reality into the virtual world. Why are people who dress as vampires or cartoon animals in SL considered weird? Why are woman who sell sexual fantasies to men still considered prostitutes and still disrespected as such, especially since what they do is often more like writing an erotic story than it is like having physical sex? Why is it often considered tacky and disreputable to engage in virtual sex with anyone other than one’s single significant other in the virtual world, even if the couple in question could be on other sides of the world in physical reality or might even be married to other people in Real Life?

I think it’s because Sex is not just a physical act. It is even more a psychological act. It is whatever excites, arouses and satisfies us sexually. Images create sexual thoughts and feelings. We feel arousal. Words remind us of real life physical touch. We feel arousal again. We imagine more than what we see or read or hear. We imagine what would arouse us more at that moment. We may touch ourselves or we might not. Ideas alone may be sufficient.

What happens then after the virtual encounter? We may feel more relaxed and closer to the other person, we might feel sexually unsatisfied, or we might even feel unhappy or icky about the encounter. We might feel like what we did was bad somehow, which might make us feel like the other person was bad too. We might think disparaging things about them or hide from them, hoping to never encounter them again.

Why? This other person is probably no worse a human being than we are ourselves. If one person pays for sexual satisfaction and one accepts money for providing sexual satisfaction, both are still engaging in a business transaction for sexual pleasure. In virtual reality, those who function as prostitutes are seldom working under duress or to support a drug habit. In most countries what they’re doing is not illegal. They aren’t spreading STDs. They aren’t supporting organized crime or terrorists. So why are SL “escorts” still treated badly, often by the same men who make use of their services?

For myself, I try to figure out what kind of sexual fantasy arouses me without also making me feel icky in some way. I personally don’t like most Domination-submission fantasies because they usually give me this icky sensation at some point. I’m not turned on by rape or abuse fantasies, but I also concede that a fantasy can provide arousal even if the real life act would not. People are complicated, and human sexual arousal can be very complicated.

I think most women who engage in virtual SL sex feel both more aroused and more safe when they’re acting out a monogamous romantic relationship. First they build an emotional connection with their partner, then they play at virtual sex with that partner. Often this partner eventually reveals aspects of himself (or herself) that don’t fit the initial fantasy the other person had of them. Both may grow unsatisfied and bored, at which point it’s easy for one or the other to break up. I think serial monogamy with occasional cheating is very much the norm in SL – much as it is in RL – because we tend to act out the same psychological needs, expectations and misunderstandings in virtual reality as we do in physical reality, though it’s also much easier to get in and out of relationships in virtual reality.

For myself, I like fantasies that involve voyeurism and exhibitionism, safe casual sex, and being in control of my sexual relationships. When I had a RL boyfriend in SL I wanted to remain sexually faithful to him, even though I wasn’t getting much sex with him in RL or SL. I ended up finding places in SL that allowed virtual sex with scripted objects, rather than with other avatars. This allowed me to interact in a virtual sex scenario without involving another person, and thus without “cheating”.

Often SL sex is basically interactive cartoon porn. If it involves other avatars, everyone involved is creating this porn together. If it’s between one avatar and a scripted object, then it’s a collaboration between the object creator/ text writer and the person who’s interacting with that object. This might be an alien creature that rises from a pond while a woman naps on a rock. It might be a stone dragon that comes to life. It might be a tentacle creature. It might be a vibrator, a sofa, or even a towel with masturbation animations in it.

I find that often I feel uncomfortable acting out casual sexual encounters in SL as my primary character. I think this goes back to wanting to be viewed as someone who’s “normal”, proper and respectable. I feel like being viewed as normal and respectable is safer than being viewed as weird and unsavory, so I want my main avatar – who I associate with being me – to be viewed as normal and respectable.

If I want to get a little kinky and sexually adventurous in SL, I sometimes go in as an alt who doesn’t have a reputation to protect. Other times I might stay as my main avatar, but change her appearance to be that of an alien or succubus. By changing her appearance like this, I imagine that normal human sexual mores no longer apply to her. As a alien or demonic succubus she may be genetically or culturally driven to have much more sex than humans normally have. She might feed on sexual energy or be curious about how various alien creatures will engage sexually with her.

I find that often virtual settings are more arousing to me than are the other avatars I might see in those settings. This is because I’m aroused by the idea of what could happen in such a place. Just walking around an empty club that promises casual sexual encounters is arousing. Knowing that my partner and I could be secretly watched or that I could secretly watch others arouses me. Sometimes I’ve been to such places with a partner. We might be busily texting each other in private IM while pushing animation buttons and adjusting our avatar positions. We might be trying desperately to keep the mood erotic and arousing between us, and then suddenly some guy in the sim IMs me and disrupts the mood. – Don’t be the noob who does this, as doing so will hardly ever result in you getting to jump on sex balls with the person you IM. Please just watch quietly and maybe IM the person the next time you see them alone in such a place.

One such place that I’ve explored multiple times as it’s undergone multiple incarnations is “U.F.O. Abduction the SexXxperience”. The theme in this venue is that of a large spaceship full of little green aliens who observe humans and other creatures engaging in a variety of sexual encounters. Last night there was only one other avatar there besides myself, and I wasn’t interested in playing with him or anyone else, but after I logged off I imagined a scenario I could play there that intrigued me. What if my avatar were asleep and wearing a skimpy little nightgown when she was picked up by these aliens? She might think she was having a particularly vivid dream. She might have been feeling horny before she went to sleep, so allowing this experience to become what she thinks is just a very vivid sex dream allows her (me) to play at casual virtual sex without attaching normal RL waking life mores to it.

This idea intrigues me. One could role-play it at various sims that encourage casual virtual sex. One simply needs to announce in local chat or to the person who IMs them or who they IM that they think they must be having a very vivid dream. If one can show up in pajamas or a skimpy nightgown, so much the better, though they may need to abide by the dress code of that sim instead.

What are you wearing when you find yourself in sex dream? I don’t think I’d ever start out naked, but sometimes I may dream that I have just a blanket or towel wrapped around me. I don’t think I have a blanket I can wear wrapped around my avatar in SL, but I think I do have a towel or a terrycloth robe.

Karma, Naked Poety

(A naked poetry reading in SL, a scenario that mimics a possible sex dream.)

 

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Depression doesn’t just go away

Depression - grey rose

I’m almost ok.

My job is ok – except that I worried all Thursday about making a mistake clocking in and Friday I worried over wasted time that wasn’t even my fault. I worried over whether my supervisor was annoyed with me, when he probably wasn’t. I have enough money for rent and gasoline, but not much else. I sold plasma today, and my arm hurts now. My dog has medical issues, and I can’t afford a vet. I cried several times last weekend because I missed my old friend who made me homeless. I’m angry that my life has been difficult. I’m sad that it isn’t much better already.

I don’t want to complain. I want to explain.

I isolate myself, then feel alone. I want more, then feel like I have less. I’m glad that I have a roof over my head, a comfortable bed, that my car runs, that I have food to eat,…but I’m still not happy. I’m still depressed.

Depression doesn’t go away when things get a little better.

I’ve been trying to focus on buying what I need, rather than what I want, but I still bought a few books and fast food. I don’t want to feel guilty about that. I want to be able to treat myself to a few treats. I want to be kind to myself, because it hurts too much when I’m mean to myself. The world is hard enough without me telling myself that I don’t deserve little treats, that nobody likes me, that I’ll never be happy, or that I’m a failure at my life.

I shouldn’t keep thinking that I wish I’d been able to kill myself when I had a chance, that my mother had aborted me, or my father had killed her when she was pregnant with me. I should keep thinking that I’m here for a reason, and I wasn’t able to kill myself because I still need to fulfill that reason.

I need to believe that my life will get better, not keep thinking that maybe it will only get worse again. I need to be happy that I have a job I don’t hate, rather than fret over how this company hires 70% temps so they don’t have to keep them for more than a year and never have to pay them decent benefits. Let the glass be half full, instead of half empty, and don’t worry that the water might be poisoned.

Enjoy the rose, without worrying about the scratch of the thorns.

 

The Best Month for SL Freebies

Alycia - Reindeer outfit Dec. 2017_001

There are still a few days left in December, which is the best month for SL freebies. There are Christmas trees and Santas with gifts, Advent calanders – some of which go for the whole month, group gifts, new Lucky and Midnight Madness boards. The best gift of all though is the half-off discount for 3 months of Premium membership – active for the rest of December. – If you can afford to spend $ 11.25 for the 3 month package, it pays back more in lindens than what it costs. If you don’t want to pay the regular price after that, be sure to drop back down to the free Basic rate before your 3 months are up.

I sent Alycia around to collect a few Christmas gifts this year, though no where near as much as I’ve collected in previous years. Her hair above was a Christmas group gift (I’ll have to check from where) that came with several versions, including this one with a super low render weight. The antlers are last year’s gift from Blueberry, which I couldn’t resist using for this cute Christmas reindeer outfit. My best hall was from Reign shoes, where I got awesome color-change boots that fit the most popular mesh bodies and these cute Reigndeer slippers and thigh-high socks.

Alycia - Reindeer outfit Dec. 2017 slippers_001

7 Deadly S[k]ins was again doing their advent gifts, but I couldn’t go in every day to collect them because I was busy working in RL. I had 4 days off Christmas weekend though, so I spent most of a couple of those days in SL.

Alycia - Oubliette outfit Dec. 2017_001

One item I really liked was this gothic T-shirt and knit duster from an Oubliette hunt prize. I love quality gothic clothes for Alycia, and Oubliette seems to be one of the nicest shops for good-fitting, detailed, mesh gothic clothing. Of course I love the gifts at Sn@tch too, and with color-change HUDs for mesh clothing, even non-goth shops can provide some gray or dark colors that could be part of a gothic look.

I looked around for gothic hang-outs and found a couple nice-looking ones, but Alycia has an intense dislike of vampires, which sometimes frequent such sims. In the character backstory I created for her, she was terrorized by a man who thought he was a vampire, she had to kill him to escape, and then she ran into a Bloodlines player who wanted to bite her at a gothic freebies place, so she can’t stand SL vampires. She is also an eclectic dabbler in witchcraft who likes all things witchy and irreverent.

I bring up the idea of Alycia having her own personality and interests because having different personalities and interest for my avatars helps keep their inventories down and helps me remember which has which items. Alycia wears skimpy clothes in dark colors. Persephone wears more modest outfits. Alycia does 7Seas Fishing. Persephone has the buildings, landscaping, most of the furnishing, and most of the building materials. I can also play different characters depending on my mood. Alycia doesn’t try to fit in and be “normal”, she’s unashamedly moody, and she’s a tough and confident survivor.

Working Again

Clean_Room_Chemical_Industry_Spain

I’ve had 4 weeks of training now, and so far I like my new job. The picture above is not of my lab, but gives an idea of what it’s like. We actually wear more gowning while we’re mixing up the drugs and other chemicals that go into making our pharmaceutical pills. Our outfits make us look like CDC guys in a sci-fi movie. We spend most of our time documenting, checking paperwork and cleaning. In an 8 hour shift, we spend only about 2-3 hours actually shifting and mixing the powders that go into making drugs such as Tylenol PM, Sudafed and Concerta.

Spacesuits

Ok, here’s a picture of me and some my training group. I’m wearing a suit that’s a size too big, so I look like the biggest Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man in the group.

Concerta OROS Diagram 2

The way the extended-release tablets work is actually pretty interesting. After compressing 2 or 3 layers into the caplet, it’s coated with several layers that include a membrane layer, an identifying color, printing, and sometimes an additional drug layer. The outer drug layer gets digested and goes into the patient’s bloodstream first. Then the “push” component absorbs water and expands to push more drug out. Finally the middle part of the caplet is digested and goes into the patient’s bloodstream last.

[Never cut such caplets in half to get a lower dose because that will really screw up how they’re supposed to work.]

Anyway, everything is going pretty good lately. I have 4 days off for Christmas weekend, so I’m planning to go see the latest Star Wars movie. As a temp worker, I don’t get paid for days off though, so my paycheck for the next 2 weeks will be a little smaller than normal. I’m still struggling to pay off my debt to my landlady and others for the time being, so I’m still selling plasma for gas money.  My right arm is bruised and looks much like it did in this picture from a few months ago.

PICT0636.JPG

One nice thing this week was that every morning I woke up feeling relaxed, rested and safe. Driving to work for a swing shift was nice too, because I didn’t have too much traffic and didn’t have to worry that I might be late. I’ve been getting to work early every day, so I can spend about 20 minutes to half an hour reading instructional documents (SOPs and such). Friday my partner and I spent the whole day reading such documents, trying to get caught up after having actually done some hands-on work the days before. The building was less busy the Friday before Christmas, and I heard the echoing sound of someone singing a Christmas song far down the hall in the distance.

Happy Christmas & other winter holidays!

Another Short Update

Red Apple

I passed my background and previous employment check. Tomorrow I go for my pre-employment physical. I wish I could afford new glasses, so I can see better and not worry about the lenses popping out of the ones I’m wearing.

I still feel anxious and sick to my stomach, despite casting a good tarot reading for myself this morning. I still get waves of anxiety that make me think, “I feel like I’m dying”. I know I’m not dying. This is just how extreme anxiety feels sometimes.

Work at the phone bank job is going ok, but not good enough yet that I can relax.

I’m worried about working in Vacaville and either having a long commute or having to move again. It’s hard to find a decent private room in a house for $ 600/ month or less, especially one that’s dog-friendly.

How Do You Keep Your Balance?

balance - rocks.jpg

My second night back at the phone bank job went well. I’m losing some of my anxiety and hesitancy to ask for money when a potential donor says no right away.

I woke up feeling ok this morning. I sold plasma and got to see the end of the movie Passengers at the plasma center. I bought a few groceries – but spent too much on dog food that was marked down but still too expensive.

I still don’t feel safe most of the time. When I read my cards, I’ve had bad cards come up a few times, including the 10 of swords, which could mean someone planning to stab me in the back. I keep wondering if it’s my roommate. She said she was glad I worked things out with our landlady, but I have a hard time trusting her completely. We’ve got one of her friends living here now, taking over my landlady’s old room. Maybe she wants to get me out so she can have another of her friend’s here? She and her friends are all young and smoke weed for fun. I probably seem like an old fuddy-duddy. I think being witchy is not seen as a bonus for most people either. That probably either spooks people or makes them think I’m weird. I try to stay out of the way and in my room most of the time.

How can you tell when your intuition is good vs. just being paranoid?

The betrayal and abandonment I’ve already experienced in my life makes me hesitant to trust people. When my roommate throws out my food, puts her stuff on my bathroom shelf, or when I can’t find things, I immediately think she’s trying make me feel marginalized. When I find the things I misplaced though, I’m glad I didn’t say anything about it.

Am I misreading the vibe I keep getting that she doesn’t really want me here?

I’m not happy. I’m still scared. I still don’t feel safe.

Lately I keep wondering if I should move to Vacaville, to be close to my new job. I don’t have money to move though. I don’t even have enough for the rent I’m supposed to be paying where I’m living now.

The next payday will bring some money, but it probably won’t be enough. As long as my blood protein level stays up, I’ll be able to get some money for my plasma though.

I wish I could be feel safe and be safe.

Update – Short and Boring

I got the part-time, minimum wage phone bank job to help me get through until the production technician job comes through. Then I talked with my landlady on the phone. She understands that I’ll have some money pretty soon, so she’s fine with waiting until Nov. 16th, assuming that’s when I get my first paycheck for my current part-time minimum wage job.

Some of the pressure is off now for a couple weeks, but I still don’t feel safe and secure. I’m trying to keep control of my emotions. My tarot readings for myself are kind of all over the place, sometimes scaring me, sometimes reassuring me, & not as helpful as I’d like.