Some people may jump up and down and scream that those activities aren’t roleplay, they are REAL! Well, so they are; I won’t disagree with you. Most people find their feelings deeply engaged when they participate in them. But, regardless of how you feel, your avatar in Second Life can be thought of as a stand-in or a go-between. And in that sense, cybering and BDSM can be thought of as very intense, very absorbing, and ultimately very satisfying sorts of roleplay.
Many people are “purists”. They take the position that chat emotes are free, infinitely flexible, and are the best way to express your feelings. In most cases, I tend to agree with this position myself. But…the toys can be fun too, and used properly, can add an additional dimension.
What are these toys? In the case of cyber-sex, the most commonly used toys are scripted genitals. Yes, I’m talking about talking pee-pees and garrulous pussies. Not to mention nipples, buttocks, and feet. There are several brands on the market, but the two most popular are Xcite and Sensations. Each consists of a package of objects. For example, my Xcite equipment includes wearable objects for nipples, ass, and vagina. There is also an on-screen control panel.
You interact with these parts either by clicking them on your partner’s avatar, or your own, or by using the control panel (very handy when the part in question is hidden by the position of the various bodies). When you call up a body part, you are given a menu of things you can do to it…rub, lick, pinch, and so on. When you select an action, the body part responds in local chat, saying something like “Lindal Kidd pinches your nipples”. The more the body parts are touched, the more “aroused” the system says you are. The Xcite system even has an arousal “meter” for both you and your partner.
This would all be very mechanical and meaningless, except for one thing: you can override the system. This lets you tell it that you are, say, 20% aroused rather than letting it simply guess. By doing this, the system becomes yet another way of communicating with your partner.
Most of the body part attachments are simply invisible spheres that provide a place for your partner to click on. The exception is the male member, which has many appearance options. Also, as you become more aroused, the penis reacts visibly, becoming more erect.
The Xcite system lets you go one step further, if you want to spend the money. You can buy interface software, and a…well, an I/O peripheral…from a third party vendor. When set up, this allows your partner to, say, rub your Xcite pussy and cause a vibrator at the end of a USB cable to buzz. For more information on this high-tech cybersex stuff, Google “teledildonics”. Or check out a specific manufacturer here: http://sinulate.com/
What should you buy? Xcite, Sensations, or some other brand? They all work in much the same way, but they don’t work with each other. So I would hold off on buying a system until you have a serious relationship. Then you and your partner can go shopping together.
As for BDSM, there are just scads of toys in the form of cuffs, blindfolds, restraints, and specialized furniture. All of these, however, have one major drawback from the point of view of BDSM participants: The submissive has to sit on them herself, and then accept the object’s animation offer. This rather detracts from the desired feel of the dominant being in control. (Yes, I know, “the sub is in control”. But still.)
There is one toy that tries to correct that: The Restrained Love Viewer, or RLV. RLV used to be a separate third party Second Life Viewer (and it still is, you can find it here). But the RLV functions have also been incorporated into other, more up to date SL viewers such as Phoenix and Firestorm.
One can think of RLV as a sort of “meta-toy”. A lot of cuffs, collars, restraints, and other bondage devices are “RLV compatible”. When they are used with the RLV function of your viewer enabled, the dominant has a lot more control over what they do to you, without asking your permission first.
When you use RLV, you can give your dominant a great deal of control over your Second Life, with or without wearing a collar or cuffs. They can:
- Dress or undress you
- Prevent you from detaching your collar or other attachments
- Restrict your login location
- Restrict your ability to teleport
- Restrict your ability to see around you
- Confine you to a cage, or lock you into a pose
- Turn off your chat or IMs
- Listen to your local chat, even when they are not nearby
- And many other things.
Remember, you still do have ultimate control…you can always turn off the RLV functions, log out and restart your viewer. But this process of giving your dominant permission to control you in advance, and then having them able to do so, provides an experience that feels a bit more like a Real Life D/s interaction to many people.
XCite web page
XCite in-world store
Sensations in-world store