Where Is Sex?
Sex is everywhere. It's on our TV sets; it's in our art; it's on our minds. Sometimes, it's even in our bedrooms. This fascination with sex - which goes far beyond its reproductive uses - is part of what makes us human. Wherever we go, sex is bound to follow. So, while the act itself may be a physical one, sex has had no trouble adapting to the challenges of our newest frontiers, non-physical worlds.
Sex does not only need a "where," though, it needs a "who." As individuals, we may have romping on the brain, but since sex is innately an exchange, it's much easier to spot when it involves more than one person. Sex needs a social environment, somewhere two people can meet and go about their business.
The internet, of course, has no shortage of social environments. After all, what is the internet but a (arguably sexual) conjunction of people? From chat rooms to full-blown virtual worlds, there are countless ways and places to interact with other users. Whether these environments have been constructed to encourage fun, friendships or just simple fooling around, sex has and will pop up. It's a symptom of every community, however small, however tasteful.
Let's Get Specific
If you give a mouse a cookie ... well, we know how that one ends. It seems sex, too, is inevitable, given a few minor variables. In games like Second Life, a place of theoretically infinite possibility, sex has become mainstay of in-world culture. True, detailed attention to character design and decent graphics gave SL's sex life an initial boost, but pose balls, kinky boots and clickable nipples don't come from thin air. Players are actively working to make their sex better.
Other online games are much less welcoming to in-game sex. Worlds like Habbo regulate acceptable content, and make cybering an obstacle course where sex has to evolve to survive. It begins to change its shape, its values, its language. Yet, it remains strangely reminiscent of real life. For example, in Habbo, physical items (furniture, to be specific) are the incentive for sex, goofy words like "bobba" are used instead of "intercourse," and on-screen avatars stare awkwardly ahead during the act.
Quid Pro Quo
Just because sex can spring up anywhere doesn't mean videogames make getting it on an easy task. Game mechanics are always improving, but, by a similar token, they'll always fall short. The same thing goes for graphics. Unless pixelation is what gets you hot - and to each his own - virtual nudity usually can't compete with the real thing. Not to mention the fact that most games aren't equipped with naked skins or "have sex with" commands. Sure, you can dance your pseudo-sultry night elf dance, but for the most part, the logistics just aren't there.
At the same time, it's possible to argue online videogames do have some inherently sexy qualities. Virtual worlds are based on human interaction and offer relatively easy, anonymous communication, which encourages sexual openness. Plus, all games, whether visually stunning or visually nonexistent, provide fluid intercourse (both sexual and otherwise) through chat. Interactive visualizations may be on the up-and-up, but good old-fashioned sex talk is just as popular, convenient and stimulating as ever.
Still, virtual sex is a challenge. Collaborating successfully on an act that's both attractive and effective in a wholly intangible environment takes real skill: the right words, the right timing, the right imagination. Not to mention the difficulties in finding an equally skillful partner. But these challenges are what make virtual sex arousing and ultimately fun. After all, if great sex were easy, would it be great?
A Garden of Weeds
When it comes to getting hot and heavy, we human beings are resourceful. In turn, virtual sex can be found even where it's least expected, where it's least likely to survive. It flourishes like weeds - popping up between the cracks of cyber society in both rough and temperate climates, forming a sort of leafy background to the more acceptable blossoms of online interaction. Out of the spotlight, sex becomes sexier in the shadows.