I have to say that the hardest thing I’ve found about blogging is how to come up with new topics, particularly as naturism within Second Life is possibly at an all-time low (?). The loss of the Eden Naturopolis sim has not been filled, and from my perspective we’re down to about 3-4 quality naturist sims on the grid (Naked, Su Casa, Lupe’s and Lake Nekid).
So it seems necessary to try to force the naturist ideal in SL right now, and rather than focus on places, focus on the people who identify as naturist within SL. To that end, I’ve been inviting some of the grid’s naturist folk (there will be a parallel series with women, as written by GG, running alongside this one). To kick things off, I’ve sat down with John Thomas (JT) to ask him about his real life and Second Life Naturism. In each of the interviews, we’ll also be doing a little bit of a photoshoot, in order to allow the interviewees to present themselves and talk about their avatars. Continuing kudos to former editor Ella for the sheer volume of stuff she published single-handedly most of the time! There’s two of us doing it now, and we’re struggling to match her output! Naturism will be touched on in these interviews, after all they’ll be with people met in naturist sims, but interview content may stray beyond that of real life or Second Life naturism.
NOTE: These conversations are unlikely to include real life naturist photos. I know some people only read the blog to view the real life photos, but remember that we’re primarily a Second Life naturist blog. Sometimes real life photos capture an essence of what’s possible within SL, so we use them. The thrust of these articles is attitudes to naturism, within SL, as experienced by SL’s naturist community. Any negative comments about a lack of RL naturist photos in these articles will be dismissed out of hand and trashed.
Flo: So what attracted you to SL?
JT: I read something about it on the net and decided to give it a go. I’ve not been disappointed. I’ve met a lot of lovely people from all around the world, in a virtual sense, and made good friends within the game.
Flo: Were you a naturist prior to joining?
JT: Haha, no! I was aware what naturism was, but it wasn’t something I’d ever considered in real life. I think that the whole naked thing, or being overtly sexual, is a bit of the appeal of SL. You know how popular the sex sims are, right? Well I think the entire SL sex thing is many people’s motivation a lot of the time and I’d guess that almost everyone who has joined has maybe explored that aspect of it. I’d guess most people who join have tried SL sex, the whole texting or voicing and using the images on screen of this beautiful avatar to act as some kind of masturbation aid. And if not that, they’ve almost certainly bumped pixels with another avi.
Flo: I’d agree. I know I did within a couple of visits to SL, lol. There’s a lot of lonely people in the world. I just saw it as part of the SL experience to see how it worked. It was a curiosity thing.
JT : Right! Me too. But I quite like the seduction aspect of it too. It’s nice to charm a lady through words or voice.
Flo: So does your avatar reflect your real existence?
JT: God, no! I do have tattoos in real life, but I’m not inked up as much as my avatar is. That’s part of the fun, living an alternative existence and doing things you wouldn’t do in real life. Even if that’s jumping out of an airplane and parachuting to the ground. There’s a little bit of doing things you wouldn’t in real life.
Flo: So your piercings aren’t reflective of the real you?
JT: They weren’t, hahaha. I got nipple piercings in SL and then that fed back into my real life so I got my nips pierced in real life recently. Just for the experience, you know? I decided if I didn’t like them, I could remove them. I actually like them in real life.
Flo : You wear a Prince Albert in SL. I’m guessing that’s next on the SL to RL crossover, hahaha.
JT: Absolutely not, lol! The glans ring, yeah, I might try one of those.
Flo: So is the SL naturist experience part of a wider ‘sexual’ thing in SL for you?
JT: No. I see naturism as a wholly separate thing, and very non-sexual, in SL as I’ve also read it is in RL. RL naturism isn’t a sexual or exhibitionist thing, just normal people doing normal things without clothes. And I don’t do the SL sex thing at all any more. It was interesting to experience it, but I don’t log in planning to have sex with another avatar. I moved away from that quite quickly after I joined. What captivated me after that was avatar self-improvement. Trying to create the best look I could. Which is what a lot of us do in real life too, right? We don’t go out looking like a bag of rags.
Flo: Yes, that parallels my SL experience. Have a few experiences within the game, find some of them to be worth repeating, some not worth the time, and then I tried to create an avatar that reflected my real self. It takes time and effort to create something you feel is a reflection of yourself. Not that all avatars do that. The number of unrealistic huge assed female avatars out there is unreal!
JT: I try to keep it as real as I can, volume of tattoos apart. I certainly tried to make my…um…manhood realistically sized.
Flo: Hahaha! Yes, that was the thing I found when I was initially, as you put it, bumping pixels. The number of cocks that would protrude through my spine was insane. It wasn’t realistic, and it spoiled the sex thing for me, looking at the screen while trying to speak seductively. I have to confess that I’m often intrigued by an avatar and will get a little cuddly with him just to extend the interaction. But then I find some good looking avatars are incapable of proper writing or voicing. They seem ill equipped for the whole social interaction thing and you kinda understand exactly why they’re home, alone, on a Saturday night.
JT: Can I ask you a question? Have you found a lot of married men hitting you up, and being open about them being married? I know that I’ve got chatting to a lot of female avatars who openly admit they’re in a dull marriage.
Flo: Yeah. That’s my experience. If not for the terminally lonely, sometimes SL is for those whose marriages have fizzled out to nothing. What do you think about the emotional adultery, as some people would have it, in relation to them texting/voicing and ultimately sleeping with people in SL?
JT: It depends. I’m partnered in SL to the avi who happens to be my RL wife. We both have slept around in SL, but totally secure within our RL marriage. Neither of us would see it as any kind of adultery. Actually, it has probably spiced up our RL sex life. But I know and have read that some people do become committed to others in SL and the break up in SL is as hard as a real life break ups might be. And many do see SL sex as being as bad as RL adultery.
Flo: Yes. There has been a lot of research on this, and what’s called inter-reality. In the context of SL, would you say that, getting back to naturism, there’s a gentility amongst its players? A different vibe to those who inhabit sex sims?
JT: Yes. The sex sims are full of predatory people, I think. I don’t really know real life naturism at all. I’ve read a bit about it since becoming a SL naturist and I think that maybe reflects RL naturism. They do seem to be genuine, gentle people with a specific kind of lifestyle. It comes across as much more wholesome than some other lifestyles.
Flo: I wouldn’t identify as ‘naturist’. I grew up in communes where causal nudity was commonplace, but also equally wholesome. So I’m comfortable on a naturist beach or location, but I’m not sure I would still call myself naturist. But yes, it’s wholesome and kind of nice. The SL naturist players have a sweet gentility lacking in some other locations. Finally, JT, would you think your experience of SL naturism would lead you to try the real thing?
JT : My wife/SL partner have discussed this. It wasn’t something we’d thought about before, but we’ve got a hot tub in our back yard, and it never occurred to us before to go naked in there, lol. Since we’ve become SL players and SL naturists we’ve certainly altered our mindsets to be much more casually naked in the back yard together. Not only for the tub, but also around the BBQ. So yeah, we’ve already discussed maybe taking a weekend sometime in the summer and visiting a nude beach together. And that’ll be down to what we learned about naturism within SL!