Rated M for MatureKink: A Question of PlayRated M for Mature - RSS 2.0
Virtual BDSM can manifest itself in a number of varying ways. Some doms take pets, players attached to them as submissives through a sort of long-term agreement. These pets may wear ball gags, refer to themselves in the third person, or be forbidden to have virtual intercourse with, or sometimes even speak to, other players. Other BDSM enthusiasts take a more casual approach, allowing themselves to be bound and beaten without such permanent commitments - though free, un-collared subs may run into trouble from would-be masters. On the other end of the spectrum sits Gor, an increasingly popular system of willing slavery, with character death as the potential punishment for defiance.
Furries - animalistic avatars with often equally animalistic sex drives - make up another popular sub-category of kink in Second Life. These players wear the skins of foxes, skunks, horses - you name it. They dot the landscape of a busy dance floor with the bob of their bushy tails. In the sack, they, too, have many different ways of going about things. Some engage in rather "normal" sex, while referencing their non-human parts. Others are more focused on animal-associated acts like urine play, or "water sports."
Other popular Second Life pastimes might be described less as kink and more as plain old kinky. Homosexual intercourse, while more common in some areas than others, is hardly something to bat an eye at. Orgies, too, though harder to coordinate and so a bit more sparse, largely follow the same pattern. And selling - or purchasing - sexual services for money... All of these less than socially-acceptable real-life possibilities become run of the mill in the sexual openness of a virtual world.
The advantages of cyber kink
Why does kink flourish online? Internet experimentation does offer certain advantages that can make it more appealing than testing the waters non-virtually. For one, it's more accessible than kink in the real world, and cheaper. Purchasing real-life, quality BDSM equipment, for example, if you can even find it, will set you back a whole lot further than purchasing similar equipment in Linden dollars. Plus, with Second Life sex, you don't ever need to leave the comfort of your desk chair. Or, if it's safety you're worried about, what could be less risk-free that not actually being smacked or cut or forced into submission, but witnessing it happen to your avatar instead? As for the guilt of performing these normally taboo sex acts, where better to watch your worries and social hang-ups wash away than the anonymity of the internet?
Also, certain kinks, by their nature, lend themselves to virtual worlds for more reasons than convenience. Think of bestiality, which, in many countries, is illegal. Because bestiality can't be practiced in real life - or at least can't be talked about, photographed and publicized as if it's happening in real life - it automatically enters the domain of the imaginary, and, specifically, the realm of the textual. Online chat and online stories; these are the forms, in effect, left for the expression of bestiality. BDSM, too, has something in common with virtual worlds that could never be expressed as strongly in the real world: an obsession with aesthetics. In Second Life, not only equipment and clothing but also bodies can be altered to create the perfect look, the perfect sub as visual object.