sex on second life, avatar sex, eros LLC
Associated Press

The Ethics of a Sex Life in Your Second Life

September 05, 2008 08:57 AM
by Rachel Balik
Second Life entrepreneur Kevin Alderman installs a technology that lets avatars have intercourse, and it may be altering the course of fidelity.

Avatars Get ‘Physically’ Intimate in the Virtual World

Like a growing number of Internet users, Kevin Alderman was eager to jump on the Second Life bandwagon. Second Life is a computer game that allows users to design avatars and operate in a fully elaborated virtual world. It enabled users to do most real-life activities, but Alderman noticed that it prevented users from touching. He founded the company Eros LLC and developed the SexGen software for Second Life. Now, avatars can engage in a variety of sexual positions and activities with other avatars. Since each avatar represents a real human being, the software adds a new dimension to user relationships on Second Life, reports The Guardian.

Alderman’s avatar, Stroker Serpentine, is currently in a loving and “physically” intimate relationship with an avatar named Fyre Rain. The woman behind Fyre Rain lives a thousand miles from Alderman and has a family, as does Alderman. However, his wife Debbie is fully aware of the relationship, and remains unperturbed. She argues, “He might be physical with himself, but he’s not actually physical with her, and that doesn't bother me. It’s a role, a fantasy, a character.”

Background: Second Life encroaches on real life for many

While Debbie may claim that her husband’s Second Life infidelities don’t affect their marriage, the evidence suggests otherwise. Studies have been conducted suggesting that people’s self-perception in their Second Life actually bleeds into their actual life.  “When we cloak ourselves in avatars, it subtly alters the manner in which we behave,” Jeremy Bailenson of Stanford told Time magazine. “It’s about self-perception and self-confidence.” Bailenson, who conducts research on Second Life, also suggested that 90 seconds of avatar conversation could alter real-life behavior. That raises some questions about what a Second Life sexual encounter could do. Researcher Nick Yee found that people who watched their avatars exercise were more likely to exercise themselves in the following 24 hours. Sex and exercise are both representational physical behaviors. If one virtual behavior influences real-life inclinations, the other might do so as well.

Actions on Second Life also have clear financial and legal implications. Alderman’s company, Eros LLC, holds the patent rights for the SexGen bed, a virtual bed containing animations of 150 sex positions. A SexGen bed costs approximately $45. When another Second Life user copied the bed and started selling it for less than Eros LLC, Alderman filed a suit against the user for copyright infringement in a Tampa court.

He won his lawsuit, and 19-year-old Robert Leatherwood was ordered to stop selling his copies. An article in the Albuquerque Journal suggests that this is only the tip of the iceberg, and that virtual environments can provide a fertile ground for real-life crime.

Related Topic: Sex addiction and the Internet

When David Duchovny entered treatment for sex addiction in August 2008, it brought new attention to the disease. The Internet seems to enable the condition. “The Internet has provided a level of access (to pornography) that was previously unavailable. So many people have this problem and the Internet has driven that,” Rob Weiss, executive director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles told Reuters.

Reference: More about Second Life


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