Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Real Life Artist in Second Life


How can we know the dancer from the dance?

William Butler Yeats

          Recently, I had the good fortune to be invited by Michiel Seetan, my Second Life (SL) friend, back to Alanis Gallery for a champagne reception held for the opening of the paintings and drawings of Ray Leaning, a Real Life (RL) artist specializing in erotic works. 
          While Ray Leaning has had his work exhibited at Alanis before, this exhibition is entitled Ballerinas & Dancers and comprises twenty-two works focused exclusively on dance. 
          Readers may recall, I recently blogged about the erotic art collection at Alanis.  I guess Michiel liked the story because he asked to cover this event.  Being a struggling writer, I never pass up an opportunity to drink someone else’s champagne even if virtual and readily agreed.  (For those of you who are worried about my journalistic ethics, I do have some, please be reminded that I only focus on the positive inworld.  So, if this wasn’t a good story, I wouldn’t have written it.  So there!) 
          I rezz into the Alanis Gallery as the reception is just getting started.  I wear my usual attire for SL cultural events, tee shirt, jeans, and sneakers.  (Significant Other continually reminds me that one of the ideas behind SL is that we do what we don’t do in RL. But, hey, I’d fit into SOHO in Manhattan.  So what’s the big deal?)
          The event is being held at the main arrival hall in the gallery.  A large champagne fountain dominates the scene.  The Alanis Gallery Angels are doing their living statues performance and add an air of spectacle to the event.  Staff pass through offering glass flutes filled with champagne.  (Alanis is definitely a class act.) 
           A little about the artist, Ray Leaning before I get too far into the evening’s social festivities.  Ray was born in Lincolnshire, England in 1959.  He attended the Art Foundation at Grimsby, has a BA (Honors) in Fine Art from Exeter, and a PGCE in Art and Design from Brighton. His first monograph, MUSE The Art of Ray Leaning, was published in 2004 and is now out of print.  Ray is known for his figure work in pencil, conte, and oils.  (Many examples of which can be found on his website.)  His work has been exhibited in London, Brighton, Edinburgh, Miami, Montreal, Antwerp, Berlin, Brussels, and many small galleries across the United Kingdom.  In other words, he’s the real deal. 
          In addition, to exhibiting in RL, Ray exhibits in SL at the Alanis Gallery where he very generously makes the proceeds from the sale of his pictures available for its upkeep. 
          Unfortunately, Ray is not with us tonight but many others are.  I’d also like to comment on how despite the presence of several dozen avatars many wearing a lot of prims (Even those without clothes, those attractive features don’t come cheaply from a system’s perspective.) there was no noticeable lag. 
          The guests are dressed in a variety of styles from formal to what’s called business casual Stateside these days.  (Yes, I am the low end of the dress code.  Significant Other remarks that even the nude guests are better dressed than me.) 
          I’m not here for an interview so I mingle with the other guests.  Michiel and I do meet and exchange quick greetings.  He’s running around as the host doing what hosts do.  I do manage to meet his partner, Sylvia Fitzpatrick, in Alanis Gallery and have a few words with her before her duties as hostess pull her away.  (And, not as Significant Other suggests, she was trying to get away from me.)  Sylvia tells me how because of Alanis’s reputation and the care they take with the RL artists who exhibit there they are able to attract artists of this caliber. 
          Sylvia talks about Ray Leaning’s work and explains how good it is.  She feels that he can’t be pigeon holed and is so varied in subject matter.  Sylvia continues that Ray is not afraid to be less than candid.  She believes too many 'erotic artists' are a little one dimensional.  Sylvia describes how this collection demonstrates the eroticism of the dance especially the Tango.  However, she cautions that it takes more than a cursory glance and quick thrill to appreciate Ray’s works and that he is greatly underrated.  The appreciation of these works is all in the mind in her opinion.  Adding that perhaps less is more is becoming more relevant to our jaded eye, rather than grasping at more and more graphic images. 
          We share a few words of commiseration about the lost art of letter writing in the Age of the Internet.  While Sylvia is nostalgic over not being able to see emails tied up with ribbon to enjoy years later, she does feel that emails can be very sensual themselves. 
          After leaving my hostess, I get on to what I’m here for which is looking at Ray Leaning’s pictures hanging on the walls.  Don’t worry, I recognize my limitations as an art critic and I won’t say anything which reflects my ignorance in the matter.
          However, to paraphrase some long dead US Supreme Court justice, I know art when I see it.  This evening I see it and it is impressive.  Ray’s works cover ballerinas and Tango dancers. Ray is known as an erotic dancer but despite many of his subjects being clothed, he captures the sensuality of their bodies and their movements which seem to life themselves from their canvasses or paper and meld into the three dimensional world of SL. 

          His use of color and shadow draws the observer’s eyes to the pictures and holds it.  His nudes are discreet and lack the vulgarity of some others’ works but still capture the imagination and make one think of the story told by the picture.
          The theme of this collection is dance and it contains a sensuality which even a Degas didn’t possess.  (I know I’m going to get into trouble with that last comment.) 
          Please remember that my art commentary is the product of someone who grew up looking at black and white pictures in books of great works of art, who didn’t truly appreciate it when he finally did see many of these in RL, and who now regrets the wasted opportunities.  So, apologies to any whom I may offend.  It’s not my intention. 
          To my mind, the evening has been a great success.  A wonderful crowd of art lovers have come together, seen new pictures introduced into SL, and have enjoyed these and themselves. 
          RL art is being introduced into SL and I suspect that SL art is going back there too.  Can art be looked at as simply being either RL or SL in origins?  Is there a convergence occurring?  Will someday we look back in amusement at the distinctions we make today?  Will virtual worlds become an important part of aspiring artists’ efforts to become known?  It’s probably too soon to tell but I believe we’re seeing some fundamental changes in the RL art world being brought about by SL. 
           I strongly recommend everyone to go Alanis Gallery and view Ray Leaning’s works as well as all the other artists on display.  (Be warned some may be NSFW.) 
          I’d like to thank Michiel for his very kind invitation to the exhibition’s opening.  I’d also like to thank Sylvia for taking the time to talk with me about the exhibition despite all that was going on around us.  They do a wonderful job running Alanis Gallery and have assembled an impressive collection of erotic art there. 
As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 
Below I’ve included with the permission of Alanis Gallery a few links to pictures of the reception and Ray Leaning’s pictures.  Pictures are fun but, trust me on this, go visit for yourself, see all the art work, and have a great time! 
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here. 


Photo No. 10  Ray Leaning’s 358 Rumba


Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Community in Second Life

The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.

William James


           During my wanderings across Second Life (SL), I’ve come across many communities.  Many of these have themes such as 1920’s Berlin, nudism, steampunk, the Regency Era, Gor, or BDSM.  (Yes, I know sex and nudity seem to outweigh other topics but I’m not saying this is a scientific survey.) 
Sometimes, I come across a community which is just a group of people joined by the enjoyment of each other’s company and common interests such as music, dance, or just hanging out.  Recently, I visited one such sim and this story describes my experiences there.  (Don’t worry, everyone, including me, kept their clothes on.)
The sim is Beau Belle Village and I first visited a short while ago after Morgana Nagorski invited me to the Unified Hearts Revisited exhibition there after one of her art exhibitions openings.  I was intrigued by what I saw in terms of visible beauty of the sim, the camaraderie of the residents, and the hospitality of the event’s hostess and one of the sim’s owners, May O. Mingzi. 
May, at that time, offered to give me a tour of Beau Belle and I subsequently took her up on her offer.  Recently, I returned there to meet her and look around and learn about the sim. 
I rez into Beau Belle and meet May who is waiting for me.  May is one of the three owners of the sim.  The others are Bluebell Broome, one of the original founders, and Kelly Cross. Actually, Kelly joins May and me as we begin. 
May was brought to SL originally by a number of (Real Life) RL co-workers who had done SL, so that was one factor in her decision.  Another was her past roleplaying in her life, live action roleplay (LARP), and Dungeons & Dragons, and that sort of thing as she puts it. She was at Great Wolf Lodge and played MagiQuest. So May thought it might be fun to do SL. But strangely enough she’s never been involved in a roleplay sim here inworld.  May juggles her SL and RL.  In the latter, she has a full time job as a writer (that’s real writer unlike yours truly) and editor and has a ten year old child.  She is also a photographer in both lives and maintains a photo shop in Beau Belle. May generally handles publicity and events – the recruiting for and hosting thereof.
Kelly was looking for something new online and thought it was a game at first.  (I think many of us made that mistake.)  In RL, she’s in the IT field.  In SL, she’s the owner and operator of Kelly’s Closet. 
I ask if it would be fair to say curiosity brought both of them inworld.  They reply affirmatively.  
As for Bluebell, she is known for her hats and cozy woolen attire (in both SL and RL).  Her rez date inworld is July 2007.  In RL, she works in the film graphics and effects world, and has “an unstoppable passion for art, craft and design, which emerges in Second Life in the form of a passion for building”.  She built many of the buildings in Beau Belle, rather than buying, and created most of the textures herself with her camera and Photoshop/Gimp.  Bluebell says that if anyone sees anything that’s not just so, to blame her, and she'll come and fix it. 
Beau Belle began years ago with Bluebell and several friends who had ambitions of creating their own community, based on the principles of fairness, friendliness, openness, and creative design values.  After a brief faltering start on another sim, they bought a quarter sim, which is the north-east corner of the current Beau Belle.  She and the other co-owners started building, planting trees, renting out homes, and starting a small community.  They moved through a half sim and finally to a full sim which Beau Belle’s current plot.  (BTW, Beau Belle Village has a great blog with history, owner profiles, upcoming events, and other information for those looking for more.  I sourced part of this story from there.) 
          May and Kelly explain to me the groups that comprise Beau Belle’s community which May describes as a mixed use sim.  The three venues are the coffe shop (Belle’s), the Leonard Cohen Club (LCC), and Kelly’s Closet.  The latter two are private clubs but all work together for the mutual benefit of the sim.  In addition, there are many homes and shops.  The entire sim is modeled on an English village.  There are also private sky islands. 
          Belle’s, the coffee shop is intended to be a community center, so it's more integrated with the "English village" look May explains to me.  While Kelly’s Closet has a more contemporary club feel to it.  Kelly’s is intended as a location to give the transgendered community a nice, no sexual club to hang out at inworld.  LCC has mostly European members. 
          May and Kelly guide me through Beau Belle.  We start at the coffee shop and move to Kelly’s Closet.  We visit the game room where a variety of board and other games are available for residents.  I go upstairs in windmill.  (Very accurate detailing BTW, I visited several when I once lived in Holland so I know a little something about this.) My guides tell me that there are hidden rooms across the sim for their guests’ enjoyment such as the VIP Lounge which I’m shown but asked not to say where it is.  (Go visit for yourselves, it’s worth the trouble to find and see.  Enough said.)  I’m told there are other secrets to be found as well.  (Hint, hint.)
          I see the homes where May and Kelly live and am impressed by their comforts and appointments.  May has some photographs from our mutual friend, Hitomi Tamatzui, hanging on her walls.  (Kelly, thank you for letting me raid your refrigerator.)  I see where the village green bordered by residents’ homes and where the St. Patrick’s Day Parade began. (Seems wherever I go, SL or RL, there’s one of these parades on March 17th, even in Singapore!) 
Time does not permit me to see other sites in Beau Belle such as the fishing docks, a cannon where one can shoot themselves out of (whom am I to say), cars to drive, a meditation spot, and a snuggle cave.  We also don’t have time to visit LCC or the inworld dating service, iMatch.  (Don’t worry, I have more than a few good ideas for future stories.) 
By this time, Kelly has to leave to handle Village business and I do want to be mindful of May’s time.  Of which we have enough for her to show me her photo shop, Hearthaven, where I see her works.  Definitely worth a visit to see some very good photography especially if you need to fill an open space on a wall in your SL home. 
I thank May for her time and hospitality.  I ask her to extend my thanks to Kelly who did not plan to spend part of her evening touring me around.  I then take my leave.
I’m impressed by Beau Belle Village and the community that Bluebell, Kelly, and May, along with many others, have built and maintained.  There is a vibrant, diverse group of people from across the world who have either made their virtual homes here or have included it in their inworld social lives. 
There are issues in running a community like this. Sadly, griefers seem to appear when there are events.  As for finances, May says Beau Belle is not a commercial sim.  It’s not about making a profit.  Rents and tips cover about 70% of the operating costs.  May and the other co-owners are making a serious commitment of their own time and monies to keep the sim alive.  They try to keep the place active, are on almost every day, and like to believe that they are not absentee landlords. 
May keeps a full schedule of events running at Beau Belle and the calendar is available online. 
I encourage all who are looking for a fun place to visit and hang out inworld to drop into Beau Belle.  Support the shop keepers and leave some tips in the jars placed around the sim to help offset some of the costs.  If you’re looking for a place to hang your hat and take up residence inworld then check Beau Belle out.  The sim adjusts for the seasons so drop by if you’ve visited before, things will have changed! 
I’ll return in the future for some more stories, there’s a lot more to see and write about.  Maybe I’ll run into you there!  (Please don’t use my presence to stay away.  You can just avoid me if you prefer.) 
I want to thank May and Kelly again for taking the time to show me around, answer my questions, and raid Kelly’s fridge. 
As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 
Below I’ve included a few links to pictures of Beau Belle Village.  Pictures are fun but, trust me on this, go visit for yourself, see the place, meet the people, and have a great time! 
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here. 

Photo No. 4  iMatch Offices

Photo No. 7  Belle’s Game Room

Photo No. 8  Windmill

Photo No. 9  Crypt

Photo No. 10  Village Green in Autumn

Photo No. 11  Another Seaside View


Saturday, September 14, 2013

An Interview with a Retro Clothing Designer in Second Life


There's a vintage which comes with age and experience.

Jon Bon Jovi               

          After a prolonged absence, I’m returning to 1920’s Berlin.  My meanderings across Second Life (SL) have kept me away for far too long from its streets and residents. Many of whom are friends of mine.  (Being a SL friend of mine means being willing to tolerate my extended absences.  Some of my friends feel this helps the relationship.  Significant Other expresses sympathy.) 
          One old friend whom I bumped into as I prepared to return is Mila Edelman.   Mila is a retro clothing designer inworld and with Frau Jo Yardley is a co-creator of 1920’s Berlin.  I had first met Mila at a New Year’s Eve party in 1920’s Berlin back in 2010 or was it 2011?  (I always have trouble with dates and times on New Year’s Eve.)   
          While reintroducing myself to 1920’s Berlin, I met Mila again for the first time since then and she reminded that I’d offered to interview her for this blog.  So, I promptly (Well, for me at any rate.) scheduled an appointment to meet and have an interview.
          I rez into 1920’s Berlin and Mila comes to greet me.  She apologizes for wearing her work attire, but she’s been busy building lately and says she’s dirty from all the activity.  Mila is of short stature in SL because she says she’s short in Real Life (RL) too.  She emphasizes that she is a short, adult woman and not a child.  I make sure that I don’t make that mistake.  Mila recommends that we meet at the bar in the theater down the street for our interview so we head off.   
I begin our interview by asking what brought Mila to SL originally.  She replies that she had wanted to join over a year before she actually did.  For years, she had been running and participating in text-based historical RPG's. Mila had always been building out the environments they had, as she saw them, in games like The Sims. But those were disconnected and all she could do was show folks the renderings to give them an idea of what their area looked like.  Mila became a beta tester for The Sims Online, and hoped that it would be an environment where they could finally come together in the same 3-D space. But it lacked customization.  She kept an eye out, but she also knew that, once she stepped into a world, she'd probably give a lot of time to it. So Mila watched SL, to see if that was what she wanted to do.
Her final joining happened when her RL nephew gave her the flu over Christmas of 2006.  She was stuck at home and decided to plunge into SL.  Mila had hoped that she'd find environments to observe, but there were barely any that were even moderately historical at that time.
Then in April 2007, Mila opened Old Time Prims (OTP), to provide more clothing to the market. And that's how she met Jo. It turns out that they had the same goals and desires for what they wanted to do in SL.  Frau Jo was building up this plywood Berlin and Mila was planning another city that will be forthcoming.
And that's why 1920s Berlin happened, Mila smiles as she recounts this story. She’s been with it since before it opened, and it turns out that she and Frau Jo work very well together. They’re likeminded and enjoy making historical environments as living areas.
I next ask Mila about her role in 1920's Berlin currently.  She answers that back with the first opening, she provided the women's freebies, and helped with acquiring much of the new land, along with doing building and programming of tools behind the scenes. When they decided to buy their full sim, Mila did the purchasing, and now does the books for our collection of regions. Today, Mila does special building projects, and works on programming tools to save them (and the tenants) money, and to provide everyone with the services needed. As Mila was an engineer in my previous life, a new programming language that communicated with all of the others she already knew was very easy to learn.
My third question asks Mila about her attraction to clothing and materials?
If it’s possible for an avatar to light up when a question is asked, it happens now with this one to Mila.  She tells me that in real life, her grandmothers both taught her to sew, crochet (thick crochet and lace), knit, quilt and weave when she was very little.  (Check out Mila’s SL profile for a very impressive RL resume.) 
Mila continues by saying that knowledge always taught her that, if she can make it myself, it's silly to buy. OR, (Mila’s emphasis.) if there's nothing TO (Her emphasis again.) buy, make it! In the case of SL, when Mila first started designing, she was charged with hosting a historical party. And if she hadn't added to the pool of clothes available, half the guests would have had to wear the same thing.
(SL does seem to attract those with a self-sufficiency bent.)
Mila adds that knowing how clothes are actually made gives her great insight into how to do them in SL, how to fit avatars realistically. So, she used her hand skills and her programming skills to be able to make clothes that aren't just for nightclubs.
By now I’m realizing that Mila is a true craftsperson inworld.  She has migrated her RL skills onto the Grid.  Mila agrees with this.  She is the SME in the entire lifecycle of the object inworld from concept to creation.  Mila’s head nods in agreement.
Mila adds that it was important to her that not only she, but everyone, have the chance to have a full wardrobe, so they weren't always wearing club stuff if they wanted to do dishes inworld.  (I wisely steered clear of this one, Significant Other already has me doing dishes in RL.) 
I move onto asking Mila what's it like to run a business like OTP inworld?
Mila replies that it can be trying, but rewarding.  She not only gets to make clothes for people who were looking forever for exactly what she did, but to teach people about what was really worn in the past.  She smiles adding that it was nice to find that I wasn't the only person who longed for a collection of daywear.  Mila divides her week between new outfits for OTP, and build projects for Berlin.
1920's Berlin has a very high standard for historical accuracy in all its activities and objects and I ask Mila how does she deal with this challenge?  (1920’s Berlin probably has the highest standards in SL.  Check it out for yourselves to see.  Just please wear the correct period clothing and don’t act like a busload of American tourists in Europe when you arrive.  I’m American and have lived in Europe and ran away from busloads of my compatriots, whom I love dearly, whenever I saw them coming.  I can say this.) 
          Mila thinks is a good question.  (I occasionally have sparks of genius.) 
She begins by saying that Frau Jo and her are both quite educated in this area, so she can't think of a time when one of them really thought the other was doing something incorrectly. It is good to be working with those who you trust to know what you know, towards the same goal.  Mila continues, saying that Frau Jo and she both live more traditional lifestyles, in traditional homes, with largely traditional gadgets. So, instead of one person trying to teach a staff about it, it's the two of them, knowing the same things, and going forth on their respective duties.  This sounds like true collaboration to me. 
I turn to the business side of Mila’s life inworld and ask if OTP turns a profit for her.  She replies in the affirmative.  This is a rare thing in SL and become rarer. 
Mila explains that at first, she saw it as just staying a tiny shop, but she kept wanting to do more things. When her last big RL contract ended, instead of getting another, Mila chose to take some RL projects for old friends and colleagues, but focus on OTP and Berlin. That has paid off for her.
Mila continues that opening up Vintage Retro (VR is this whole sim, right outside of 1920’s Berlin) where she invited other designers to be as well, so that they could offer a huge range of shopping for historical things.) here was a huge thing, because she got a lot of family and friends from her RL to come and see what she does for a living.  (Mine are still trying to figure out what I do here.)  She says that mine were entirely unsure of what she did to actually make real-world money, because, in Warcraft, you CAN (Mila’s emphasis.) make money, but it's against the rules while in SL, you make real money and it's part of the system. Mila smiles as she tells me this.  (I think someone is very successful here.)  OTP has its own website.  VR will soon have one too. 
I ask Mila what future projects does she have planned.  Mila replies that she will probably always be working on new stuff for OTP, just because people still do need clothing, but they're also expanding on Berlin, and working on new historical lands, “stuff” that they have been talking about doing since Frau Jo and she met. She continues saying they are adding homesteads to Berlin, to give tenants who want bigger pieces of property and more prims a place to go. A lot of them like to rent with us, so it's nice to be able to offer that.
I inquire about other SL interests, like outside of 1920's Berlin.  Mila says that she wishes she could say that she has time for it, but she’s been working too much this year to travel elsewhere in SL! At the end of the day, right now, Mila often just wants to sit at my spinning wheel.  She is a huge music fan, and used to enjoy clubs that played German Industrial on occasion. 
          As I usually do at the conclusion of an interview, I ask Mila if there is anything she’d like to add.  There is.  Mila says some folks get intimidated when they come to places like this (1920’s Berlin), with really developed communities. It can look like EVERYONE (Mila’s emphasis.) there has an encyclopedic knowledge of the era and isn't open to newcomers (especially those with questions). Really, that's rarely true, and we LOVE (Mila’s emphasis.) new people who come wanting to learn. So, it's okay to come in and say, "I want to join you but I'm still learning." Folks here want to help.  Mila loves doing it in her shop and loves doing it in Berlin. Most others feel the same.  Mila never wants people to feel like the new kid in school. Frau Jo and she are particular about making this a welcoming environment to those who want to be a part of it.  That said, yes, people are asked to dress properly in 1920s Berlin (Vintage Retro, wear what they want). But that's because 1920’s Berlin wants people to be a part of the environment, and not just observing it from the outside.
          I would like to add that in experiences in 1920’s Berlin, I have found everyone to be friendly and accommodating. Even, when I performed some social gaffe, I still felt welcome.  Apologies again, Frau Jo!  (Contrary to popular belief, I did not spend a night in the local jail!) 
          I take my leave of Mila and thank her for her time and hospitality while apologizing for the delayed interview. 
          I encourage everyone to drop by OTP which is filled with three stories of merchandise and the VR area when looking for retro fashions and to visit 1920’s Berlin for a look at what a very realistic historical roleplaying sim can be in SL.  Tell ‘em web sent you!  (Just please dress appropriately and don’t ask why there aren’t any McDonalds around!) 
As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 
Below I’ve included a few links to pictures of Mila, OTP and the neighborhood.  Pictures are fun but, trust me on this, go visit for yourself, see the place, meet the people, and have a great time! 
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here. 


Photo No. 1  Mila Edelman

Photo No. 3  Street Signs

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sex and the Single Avatar in Second Life XI – Voyeurism and Exhibitionism in Second Life


An exhibitionist is nothing without a voyeur.

S. A. Sachs               

          I’ve been wandering across Second Life (SL) for a while now.  I’ve written about sex inworld.  I’ve visited nudist resorts, sex sims, and BDSM clubs.  Naturally, there’s a lot of sex going on here.  (Come on now, you didn’t expect otherwise now did you?)  I should know, I see a lot of it while I’m walking about.  (Somebody has to go out and get the stories everyone enjoys reading so much.) 
          Seeing all this carnal activity going on (Sounds more sophisticated than just saying everyone’s boinking like rabbits, huh?)  gets me thinking again.  (Significant Other walks away at this point because the subject matter is causing ribald laughter but having me actually think about it is too much.)  What’s going on here?  (Don’t be funny, this isn’t about the birds and the bees.)  People are having sex out in the open and other people are watching them. 
          What we have is the satisfaction of mutual needs.  Voyeurs and exhibitionists are helping satisfy each other’s wants and desires.  To boot, it’s all perfectly legal inworld!  (As long as everyone’s in the proper sim.) 
I’ve never thought about this before.  (Maybe I’ve been sheltered in Real Life (RL).  That changed rather quickly inworld.)  I normally toss out either word without thinking about the other.  But, can you have without the other?  Are they different sides of the same coin? 
I want to look into this and explore the symbiotic relationship between these two different groups of people inworld. 
Let’s start with the watchers, the voyeurs.  Unlike in RL where they tend to hide in bushes or peek through people’s windows (I only know this from what I’ve read.  I do not condone or encourage this activity in RL.)  they can’t hide.  (There are rumors of cloaks of invisibility inworld but I’m leaving that aside for now.)  SL voyeurs just stand around and watch.  Sometimes, people who are deep into in flagrante delicto (no pun intended) actually invite passersby to stop and watch. I’ve received a few invitations myself.  (Don’t ask.) 
There is camming whereby voyeurs can take a look at people just about anywhere, even in buildings, doing whatever people do when they think they’re alone.  Apparently, this doesn’t violate the TOS but is frowned upon by many inworld.  (If camming worries you then you’ll never go inworld nor should you.)
My favorite group of inworld voyeurs are those who hang around fully dressed in clothing optional nudist resorts.  When I ask them why they do this they reply that they’re there for the beaches. I’m reminded of men who say they read Playboy for the articles. 
No one seems to mind.  Law enforcement doesn’t run around throwing blankets over people.  People just stand around watching other people make love.  (I sometimes wonder if they’re playing along at home.) 
Now, for the other side of the coin, the performers or exhibitionists.  Their behavior seems to fall into two categories.  First, just plain old fashioned nudity either alone or with others in public places.  The other is what my British friends have taken to call dogging, having sex in public places.  That’s one of the great things about SL, all the variety.
Where does this all take place?  Nudist resorts, sex sims, in the privacy of residents’ homes, and places where it shouldn’t.  (I once met a resident who told me that she and her friends like to have sex in sims where it’s not permitted for the sheer thrill of doing it.  Sounds a lot like RL to me.) 
How does all this sexual activity take place?  The usual SL means.  Animation Overrides (AO), pose balls, furniture/equipment, and the old reliable cybersex via IM are the usual ways I’ve seen it done inworld.  (If I’ve missed anything please let me know, I wouldn’t want to leave anything out.) 
Hopefully, by now you’re realizing what I have and that is each of these groups satisfies the needs of the other.  So what does everyone think about this?
Well, participants seem to be fine with it.  Voyeurs have a lot to see and probably won’t get bored anytime soon.  Exhibitionists never seem to want for a willing audience. The attitudes are relaxed and the anonymity of SL seems to encourage the practices.  People seem to feel that this is what SL is for, coming in to do things they wouldn’t do in RL.  If others don’t like it then they should go to sims where this behavior is not permitted.  (There are many.) or go to either a Disney website or World of Warcraft. 
One group that does take a dim view of the sexual activity associated with nudity are the traditional naturists who believe that nudity in public places should only be for its own sake.  (There is even a blog for this group.) Sex is not part of their activities.  
My view is that this is SL and as long as everyone is a consenting adult and in the appropriate sim (i.e., maturity rating) then have a good time.  Take care as to who is around so as not to give offence and mind your own business.  One of the things that I like about SL is that it’s big enough that everyone can go off and enjoy themselves without bothering other people. 
So, I’m off my soapbox for now.  Hopefully, this story has filled in some gaps as to what goes on inworld as regards sexual behavior and I haven’t scared anyone off! 
As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 
Below I’ve included a few links to pictures of various locations from Utopia Naked Isle Resort, Paradise Sex Beach, Naked, Naked and Breakwater Beach where voyeurs and exhibitionists can mutually enjoy themselves.  Pictures are fun but, trust me on this, go visit for yourself, see the place, meet the people, and have a great time!  (No pictures of nude people or copulation (boinking if you prefer) are shown, we’re still not that kind of blog.) 
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here. 



Photo No. 3  Utopia – Hot Tub

Photo No. 4  Utopia - Jacuzzi

Photo No. 5  Utopia – Beach Bed