During my first week in Second Life, I thought I was clever when I told people of my impression that most people were either in-world for sex or to build, or to do both. Thankfully, I stuck around long enough to figure out that I got that one wrong. But if you’re new or rely on the media for your opinion of Second Life, chances are that you might honestly believe that sex permeates the virtual world. For those of us who have taken long enough in SL to fully outfit their avatar, we know that isn’t true. But like most misconceptions, it has to come from somewhere, and there is no question that sexual exploration is a big pastime in Second Life.
I’m confident that most SL Residents seem to know at least one person who does a little sexual exploration, but few who make it a focus of their Second Life. Halie Slade probably wasn’t who Rick James had in mind when he wrote Superfreak, but he probably was thinking of someone like her when he did. You see, Halie likes sex in Second Life. She really really likes sex in Second Life. But more than just enjoying sex in the pixels, for Halie SL is an opportunity to explore her boundaries in new and different ways. Thankfully, this very thoughtful and intelligent woman has recently started sharing her experiences and writings on her very interesting Mind Games blog.
I got together for a great conversation with Halie; we talked about using SL to explore sexually, teledildonics (yes, you read that correctly!) and her blog. Look after the jump to read the convrersation….
Charlanna Beresford: So what brought you to Second Life?
Halie Slade: I came to SL about 4 years ago, when I started a different avatar. Halie is my second. I read that you could keep intellectual property rights on what you built and thought that was cool. I’d been in TSO and There, so this was a pleasant change. I had a store, but closed it some time ago and decided to just have fun instead of worrying about a business.
Charlanna Beresford: So you’re really rather taken the concept of virtual worlds? What is most appealing about them for you?
Halie Slade: Yes. I’m taken with several things. Mainly the fantasy escape element; we can be anything we want to be here and there’s no physical danger. But I’m also taken with the possibilities in communities and communication; when I was a kid, I used to daydream about what it would be like to be able to talk to anyone in the world. Instead of the 50 or 100 people we know well in RL, to be able to have hundreds or thousands of friends. The web and virtual worlds do that.. I have friends in Europe, all over the US, Asia, South America .. It’s astounding.
Charlanna Beresford: That’s really been one of my favorite things as well. You mentioned you gave up your business to have fun, what keeps you busy in SL?
Halie Slade: Sex 🙂
Halie Slade laughs. And shopping of course. I spend a lot of time shopping for outfits that get attention and the rest of the time either hanging with friends or cruising the sex clubs. One of my favorite places is Salacious, mostly because my good friends are there and the fact that I love Shelby so much 🙂
Charlanna Beresford: Do you think that SL’s reputation as a sex haven is fair and accurate?
Halie Slade: Hmm, yes and no. 🙂 I think the Linden Lab estimate that sexual content only constituted 2-4% of the grid is laughable. If they’re talking about the extreme sex clubs and BDSM places, that might be accurate. But there are an awful lot of places where sex isn’t the main focus – it’s allowed as part of the group pla, but it isn’t blatantly encouraged.
I also believe LL’s goal of drawing businesses here is baloney. They’ve tried that. All the companies that left SL didn’t leave because of the sexual content. They left because the grid had nothing to offer their business model.
Charlanna Beresford: So what is it about sex in SL that you most like?
Halie Slade: Hmm, it’s several things actually. One of course is the fantasy ; I can do things here that would be dangerous in RL physically. I have been exploring my sexual psyche too. Doing things here that I don’t really even want to go into right now; just to see how I reacted. 🙂 it’s interesting that I keep meeting hot guys, too. That’s always a plus 🙂
Charlanna Beresford: So SL is your personal digital erotic smorgasbord?
Halie Slade: Yes! One of the things I’m anxious to try is the new array of remote sex toys that I’ve heard they’re working on. You plug it in to your USB port, then you let someone else manipulate your toy and it’s like long distance fondling. That’d be so hot.
Charlanna Beresford: Remote sex toys? Sort of like Xcite but for real?
Halie Slade: Teledildonics was one of the original ideas for SL but there’s a couple of others in the worlds. A few years ago I was in the beta for Lust Worlds which was built around that idea, but it folded due to lack of funding.
Charlanna Beresford: Teledildonics? That has to be the best new word I’ve heard in a long time!
Halie Slade laughs. I think you can still Google it, I haven’t read any updates in a while. if enough people have these toys, you’ll be able to simulate touching others in SL. I think it is a great idea!
Charlanna Beresford: So much of your SL is about explorations of yourself?
Halie Slade: Most of it, yes. Exploring my psyche; I think most of us don’t really spend enough time understanding ourselves.
Charlanna Beresford: Could you give me a better sense of what you mean?
Halie Slade: I can try.
Here’s an example: One of my more extreme fantasies has always been getting gangbanged by a group of rough men. In RL, that’s not likely to happen; it would be dangerous, messy, and problematic. In SL, it’s almost as hard to arrange but the result is purely fantasy, no disease, pregnancy or violence to worry about. If things get too icky, quitting is a mouse click away. That’s just one of several examples.
Exploring it has led me to consider my own need for sex and love, how much I confuse the two, and also my relationship with the men in my life. Most people don’t get that deep and it’s not necessary to enjoy SL, but I do probably think too much.
Another one: I think a lot of women fantasize about what it would be like to sell their bodies. It’s not a politically correct fantasy. Here, I was able to try it and realize that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Charlanna Beresford: So you escort? Or have escorted?
Halie Slade: I just did it for a few months a couple of years ago. I worked for several agencies, some are better than others. One of the basic problems is that most agencies don’t know how to run a business and the other problem was that I gave away too many freebies. I was a lousy business woman. 😛
Charlanna Beresford laughs. And what did you find different about free versus paid?
Halie Slade: Free is more fun for some reason; my partner knows I’m not just moaning because of the money 🙂 I moan because I like what he’s doing
Halie Slade: Also, freelance escorting is awful. It’s hard to do because everyone can be sexy in SL, and I think I knew maybe 3 girls who ever made a go of it. You almost have to have a pimp (agency) to do well. And of course now you also need to voice, sometimes cam. When I did it, we didn’t have voice in SL. I won’t cam with random strangers. Been there, done it, bleh.
Charlanna Beresford: So you really prefer keeping with the experience that SL-alone can provide?
Halie Slade: it’s easy to blur the paradigm. I’ve belonged to cam rooms. I’ve done the whole Skype sex thing. It’s not better or worse, just different than SL. It’s reality based. I see SL as fantasy based and I’m reluctant to blur it here. And, to be honest here (not intending any offense to the guys out there) but only about 5% of the men I’ve encountered in SL actually appealed to me beyond their avatars. Plus I’ve been RL stalked before. Just better to avoid it.
Charlanna Beresford: God, that sounds horrible.
Halie Slade: It was. I wrote about it on my blog. It scared me to death. Some guys think because you look good and don’t mind showing your body off that you’re automatically going to fuck any Joe who asks. I only do that in SL, though. 🙂 I’ve had a wild life in RL, wild enough for two girls.
Charlanna Beresford: Speaking of wild, have you noticed any changes in SL’s sexual community since Zindra?
Halie Slade: Very slow and subtle ones. As some of the big clubs move and go Adult only. I see a lot fewer newbies running around. That’s good in one way, but I think a lot of those newbies eventually turned into decent residents. I don’t think Zindra’s effect has been completely seen yet. Not until they flip the Adult flag for everywhere. Then maybe we can judge.
Halie Slade: I’m betting that the changes in rules will encourage a lot of vigilante ARs. Anti-sex people running around reporting every skybox they see. It’s going to be a nightmare for LL enforcement, even if they delete the useless reports.
Charlanna Beresford: But I thought it was only commercial adult content, that what you do in your skybox is your business?
Halie Slade: Yep, that’s what LL said. But the amount of misinformation out there is staggering. A LOT of people do not understand. And some of them won’t let a little detail like rules stop them from using ARs to grief things they personally don’t like.
Charlanna Beresford: What keeps you coming back to SL?
Halie Slade: Sex! 🙂 No, I’m half kidding. Mostly it’s the friendships. When I can’t log in much, I start missing my friends and that makes me sad.
Charlanna Beresford: But the sex doesn’t hurt, either?
Halie Slade: Oh no, definitely not. 🙂 One of my SL friends actually died last year. I couldn’t believe how hard it hit me. I cried all the way through our memorial service and still communicate with her RL friends. It’s one downside of having so many more friends in SL than we do in RL. More friends mean a higher chance someone’s going to pass. Still, I count myself as blessed that I knew her. She enriched my life.
Charlanna Beresford: And for the negative side of things? What do you like least about SL?
Halie Slade: Oh that’s easy. The system performance for one; it sucks to spend 3 or 4,000 $L and then have it not rez; it sucks to lose connection right when the sex gets hot; and it sucks to walk through a club and rubber band 4 times like it is Groundhog Day.. Bleh 😦
Another thing I dislike, but has little to do with SL itself is the number of people who make no attempt to look good or to present themselves well. And, if I get another IM “how r u?” I’m going to puke 😉 it’s just so unoriginal, and it is so much nicer to get “Hi Halie, you look great” or something worshipful like that 🙂
Charlanna Beresford cracks up. Those are some of my biggest pet peeves, too.
Charlanna Beresford: And after a few years in SL, what made you decide to start a blog?
Halie Slade: I’ve tinkered with blogs before. I love to write. And honestly the big reason is because my schedule got hectic and I couldn’t spend 2 or 4 hours at a time in SL cruising around. Blogging is my release for both my writing and for my need for titillation. 🙂
Charlanna Beresford: The in-world fun without the world?
Halie Slade: Sort of, yes. I love to write erotica, and I hadn’t really done anything serious for a long time. So now I’m re-reading all my old stories, picking out stuff I want to revise and post, writing new pieces and that includes non-fictional stuff about SL, sexuality, life. I try to alternate sexy stories with serious ones. Word crafting is so much fun for me, though; I really enjoy it. Ironically, it’s led me to do more reading too; I get a lot of inspiration from real writers.
Charlanna Beresford: So as we wrap up the interview, what would you like people most to know about Halie?
Halie Slade: That I’m friendly, I love meeting people, and that I’m a great playmate. 🙂 I try to treat other people like I want to be treated. It’s a pretty good formula.
Charlanna Beresford: Really, the only one that works well, I think. 🙂
Halie Slade agrees! 🙂
Charlanna Beresford: Thank you so much, Halie!
Halie Slade: Thanks for having me! And this was fun, I enjoyed it!