Some people go to Second Life for virtual sex, or even cybersex. What is the sound of one hand fapping? :) There are tons of animations for simulated sex between avatars, or even among avatars, more positions than most people have even thought about or known about in first life.
I like virtual sex in SL. No, I love virtual sex. The suggestion of intimacy can be very stimulating and satisfying, even without touching. Sex, however, is not what really gets my attention in SL.
Love? How can avatars love? Is it simulated love, like the simulated sex? Is it just some fantasy role play?
Not for me. I form real bonds through SL. Behind every avatar is a real person, and I bond with that real person through the medium of SL and our avatars. When I tell my sweetheart I love her, or Tatsuko, or Patrice, or Cala, or Envy, I really mean it. I'm not just tossing that word around. I truly care about those people, whether I've met them in the flesh or not.
There's something about SL that facilitates such bonding for me. I form close associations through Twitter and other social networking connections. There are people I don't see in SL whom I also care about deeply. But it's at a different level in SL. Avatars aren't just pixelated images. They have an odd kind of reality of their own.
The other night, I met my sweetheart in SL after having been IMing with her. Being with her in SL was totally different than IM. I felt much more present with her, even though we were no closer in first life than we were via IM. We can talk about touching and caressing in IM, and that works on the imagination to an extent. But maybe I'm just a visual person. The suggestion is much stronger in SL. The imagination really gets into gear.
When I am holding my sweetheart in SL or she is holding me, I feel held in first life. When I am kissing her, I feel kissed. When she hurts, I hurt with her. This is only going to get stronger as the ways that avatars can express themselves get better.
In a way, my sweetheart is her beautiful avatar, and I am mine. We give full expression to our inner selves through our avatars. That little doll is important to me. She has a kind of life of her own. That was true right from the start. Of course she doesn't have independent existence, but just like a character in a novel, she behaves in a consistent, realistic manner. She behaves in a way that fits her on-going story. I cannot, or at least would not, make her do just anything. A novelist loves her characters. I love mine, and I love many of those she interacts with, characters constantly being "written" by other "novelists."
I think this love is real.
Anyone who is not in SL, maybe even some who are, will probably think I'm crazy. Do I have an overactive imagination? Or does the imagination of others need a boost?
[Addendum: the photo is of my friends Eloria and Merik. I'm not in there. :)]