You know me. I’m just a simple (some would say “simple-minded”), old fashioned (some would say “prudish”), generally uninformed (some would say, “plain ignorant”) country girl (some would say “IDIOT!”).
In short, I am slow in the areas of social mores. I started smoking just about the time it became cool to NOT smoke. I “got” high school Algebra the week AFTER each test. I have never smoked pot or done drugs, though I did see a picture of a marijuana plant once. All those neat little texting acronyms that people are so fond of using? I have to consult my 17 year old son for translation.
This has led to several awkward moments between us.
So while the entire economic mainstream, every member of all socioeconomic classes in America (North and South inclusive), Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and most of Antarctica have known for some time that sex is a major marketing tool, I did not.
I was too busy tidying up the little room under the big rock that I live in to notice such sociological nuances.
My enlightenment came about, as so many things in life do, serendipitously.
I was approached by a Gorean in Second Life not too long ago who commissioned me to make her a bosk. I didn’t even know what a bosk was, much less a Gorean! But, being a dedicated builder, I accepted the challenge and went to work researching.
And as so many things in life do, one thing led to another.
First I had to visit some Gorean sims. I was met with scantily clad people running through the forests capturing slave girls. I inched my little wagon along the dusty path a little quicker. I studied John Norman’s canons on Gorean culture and I studied bosk anatomy and kinesthetic qualities. I made the bosk and my Gorean customer was quite impressed.
When I put my bosks up on the Second Life Marketplace the maturity rating was automatically “upgraded” from my standard “General” maturity rating to a “Moderate” rating because I had included the word “Gorean” in the keywords. I felt very naughty.
My sense of naughtiness did not dissuade me from my commercial pursuits.
To be honest, up until this point I didn’t even know there was a three tiered maturity rating system on Second Life. I lived in a “General”world, and eased into the “Moderate” world only rarely. There was a third world, and one that, at 55, I was certain I was not old enough to explore. “ADULT!”
And one day, sort of out of the blue, and not with any real forethought, just a casual “Hoo-hum, I wonder what’s behind THAT curtain” kind of motion, I nonchalantly upgraded my maturity rating to “Adult.”
And then – I peeked.
But I didn’t wallow.
In short order I discovered the brutal reality that drives the world, from online games to small municipalities, to international commerce.
Among the most popular Second Life Marketplace items (that I knew of before my creeping under the circus tent) are horses. Searching the keyword “horse" under the broadest maturity rating search filter (“GENERAL, MODERATE, ADULT”) generates over 16,000 horse related items available for sell. Replace the word “horse” with the word “sex” in the same maturity rating, and the number nearly doubles with over 29,000.
I whistled outloud. My dog came running. He looked at my computer screen, shoved his tail between his legs, and slinked away. I don’t know if he was embarrassed, ashamed of me, or had a sudden onset of hip dysphasia, but he left, and I haven’t seen him since.
Undeterred, I forged ahead, in the name of research, you understand.
I discovered a world, a vast wasteland of virtual masturbating, fornicating, gyrating, prostrating, titlalting sexually enhanced avatars – complete with pictures that some would call pornographic. Another area I have had virtually no exposure to.
The standard keywords brought up huge selections of standard responses. I saw more virtual penises than I hope to ever see again. I saw animations and poses of virtual people engaged in virtual activities that are physically impossible to do in real life. To my great dismay, and I cannot shake this horrific image out of my head, I saw pictures of virtual women doing things with virtual boy donkeys. My innate, yes, prudishness, forbids me from being more detailed than that.
I have to admit, though, that some of the Second Life sex vendors have rich senses of humor. The blinking boobies, the merry-go-ride where people sit on giant penises instead of brightly colored horses, the guy smoking a cigar that looks like a penis (because, as the builder states in his description, “Sometimes a cigar really IS a penis!”).
I’m told that one of the earliest examples of a person in Second Life becoming a real life millionaire was a guy who owned some inworld nightclubs and began hiring “escorts”. An upscale virtual pimp, and he laughed all the way to the REAL bank, depositing REAL bucks in the REAL world. Over a MILLION real bucks!
I met a guy who is transgendered in real life and he comes into Second Life with a scantily clad “gorgeous” female avatar, shows some virtual leg in the right places, and charges a hundred lindens for one minute of virtual sex. He made huge bucks in a short time, and bought himself a whole closet full of sexy avatars and clothes. He would have made a fortune if only he had quit laughing at his customers after their encounters with him and telling them they had just had sex with a man.
So – yeah. Sex sells. And BIG. Now I know.
And now I will return to my little dojo and keep making my whimsical little toys. A little more open-eyed, a little less innocent, a lot more scared, and a bit more amused.
But seriously, folks – that picture of the lady with the donkey is going to haunt me for a long, long time!