May 20, 2008
Second Life And Second Chances?

SUBMITTED BY TWENTYSOMETHING TALES: “Bahahahah! I caught you looking at po-orn!” I teased in a singsong voice.

This happened about a year ago when my ex-boyfriend and I were laying in bed and he had just opened up Second Life on his laptop. At his side, I saw the scene where he had last left off. His avatar was standing up, receiving a blow job from a blond avatar on her knees.

But when my Ex didn’t respond in his usual cynical tone, and instead sat staring straight ahead with a furrowed brow, I realized something was off.

And then it hit me: That was a real person controlling that blond bitch. My smile melted from my face as I looked at him in disgust. With that, I got up and slept on the couch that night.

I didn’t get much sleep, plagued by this postmodern dilemma. Had he cheated?

In the end, I got over it pretty quickly. I hadn’t felt that he was completely disloyal. I was just weirded out that he was acting on his sexual impulses when I was so readily available to him.

Even my uber-liberal and sexual friend Michael expressed some doubts. “If it’s all in the world of fantasy, then it’s not really cheating,” he explained. “But, if it’s a problem, it’s a problem. Porn is just removed. This isn’t just watching.”

And what if he saw his girlfriend getting oral from a dude avatar in Second Life? “I’d crack up.”

Of course.

In any case, I started to think that this begs the question, what constitutes cheating in the digital age? And moreover, what are the complications of getting off virtually?

One could possibly compare the act to calling a phone sex hotline. Both simulate the sexual fantasy without primary interaction. The problem that Second Life sex poses for couples in relationships is that the human connection becomes highly personal. This is not a paid, scripted service. I would assume that my Ex chatted and got to know this girl. After all, it takes a bit of coaxing to get a chick to get down on all fours and blow you, right?

Especially if one’s avatar is crafted to resemble themselves, then you can assume that you’re interacting with a shadow of the real person.


When I told my friend, Richard Blakeley, about this experience, he immediately asked if the other participant was a girl.

“Of course it was a girl!” I responded.

“How do you know?” he prodded.

“Because I saw her avatar, and it had boobies…ohh…..”

“It could have been a guy controlling the avatar.”

“Oh, man…”

Now that would be a mind fuck. Literally.

[Photo by cargotomsen]

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FILED UNDER : Reader Submitted, twentysomething tales


  • al oof says :

    like any sexual stuff, what is ‘cheating’ can really only be determined by the people in the relationship. some folks don’t think having sex with someone is cheating, as long as there is emotional fidelity. some people feel like a strong emotional connection with someone else is fine, as long as there’s no sex. the permutations are infinite.

    as for second life, specifically, it’s not that hard to get someone to have virtual sex with you. you don’t have to chat anyone up, and you can do the whole thing in character, without giving away any real details about yourself (like your gender). i think it is exactly like watching porn, except that you have some control over what you are seeing, which i think is really preferable.

  • Anomie says :

    I played around in Second Life a bit last year, and had intended to have sex there just to see what it was like. Then I mentioned my plans to a friend, and he was like, “You don’t think that’s cheating?”

    The thought hadn’t even occurred to me. So, I asked my husband what he thought, and yeah - he considers it cheating.

    I actually logged on to do it anyway out of spite (because I think the whole thing’s silly), but couldn’t bring myself to go through with it.

  • twentysomethingtales says :

    @anomie: interesting that you were in a similar situation…do you think it would have been different if the roles were reversed? in other words, would there have been more drama had your husband been the one seeking second life sex?

  • Wendy Blackheart says :

    Heh. I have a good friend who loves to role play sex scene on AOL. What the other person doesn’t know is that they are not interacting with a hot chick, but with a tall hairy dude. Who happens to want to be railed by a hot chick. He role played while we dated, and I had no problem with it. I just sat back and giggled, knowing the guy (if it was a guy) on the other end had no idea what he was getting.

  • Anomie says :

    @twentysomethingtales: It would have been different, but not in the direction of more drama. Our marriage might be a bit unusual in that I am the one who would happily have an open relationship, but he prefers monogamy.

  • twentysomethingtales says :

    @anomie: I aspire to have a marriage like yours.

  • twentysomethingtales says :

    meaning…i could fool around and he couldn’t. not even in second life. BOOM!

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