‘I went to a naturist beach for the first time and this is what it was like’

Usually at this time of year the media is awash with stories about naturism, some positive, some negative, almost always with a heavy accent on double entendres.

And it’s these stories that often inform this blog, and we react to them, commenting and then determining how we’ll present the stories from an SL perspective.

This year…almost nothing, until the Metro published a story last Friday titled

I went to a naturist beach for the first time and this is what it was like

And I’m delighted to say it was factual and honest about the experience, without the need for puns.

If you’ve never experienced naturism yet, then why not follow the author’s lead and what out what it’s like.

Ella

Advertorial : Adoration of the Lotus, the SL ‘religion’.

Advertorial : An advertorial is an advertisement in the form of editorial content.

 

I held a ‘meet and greet’ at Eden Naturopolis last night. It was…interesting, to say the least. Not many naturists were passing through the sim, so it was unremarkable in that sense, but I did get to speak to one avatar whose story was fascinating, and involved some ‘ritual nudity’.

It’s such a long tale that I’m splitting it into two posts, one tonight, the next sometime next week.

A couple of years ago I met an avatar who had notions to create and build a Second Life religion. I met him at a naturist sim, we chatted for a while, and I logged out. I never saw anything turn up on any blogs about this, and assumed it was someone with another fanciful SL idea that never achieved fruition. Wrong.

I ran into that same avatar last night, and it would appear that he has been very active in pressing on ahead with the idea, his SL revolves around the idea but (much like this blog’s research and writing) inventing a religion takes up more time off-grid than it does on it.

‘Sex plays a huge role in SL’, the avatar told me, ‘you need only look at the popularity of certain sims to know it’s true. Many avatars come to SL for virtual sex. In some ways, that is the appeal for many. Now start to factor in some of the ‘minor’ interests in SL, like Gor, Game of Thrones, witchcraft, Domination and Submission sims, and sex is very much part of the equation, with a lot of nudity involved’. I couldn’t argue against that assessment.

‘Now look at popular culture, or some aspects of pornography. A lot of appeal comes from nudity in ritual settings, be it churches, the unavailability of nuns leading to a long standing art and culture theme of sexualising them. Exploitation movies involve more gratuitous nudity in the context of things like voodoo, the poor little rich girl kidnapped by natives and abused over the course of 90 minutes. I thought that there was definitely a market for some sort of SL quasi religion wherein there was a goddess, and the rituals would involve nudity. It’s not new at all, by any stretch of the imagination.

‘What held me back was  the creation of a proper back story. I felt we needed a holy book to begin with. I’m not a builder, so I’ve been putting poses and items together with the help of others. And then there was the cost of a sim, and the shadow of Sansar over Second Life. Should I create a rather expensive sim with no real prospect of income for it, or wait until Sansar arrived? Or take it to something like Open Sim?’

Hence the two/three year wait?

‘Yes. It has taken me that long to incorporate aspects of voodoo, Christianity, paganism, witchcraft, Gor and so on into The Book of Lotus, our holy book. I intend to publish it online quite soon. It’s not Biblical in length but hopefully has some sense of depth to it.’

I was then given a password to a ‘by invitation only’ blog, where I was able to read some of ‘The Book of Lotus’ with accompanying SL photos, many of which, while featuring nudity, are entirely unsuited to this blog.

What I can say is that the entire ‘religion’ hangs around the goddess Varija (it’s Hindi for ‘lotus’, apparently), and I’ll be speaking to some of its adherents in part two of these articles, a couple of whom have gravitated to the whole ‘SL quasi religion’ concept from SL naturism.

Ella

nb: at the top of the page it references ‘advertorial’. We weren’t paid to run this story. I found the whole notion of someone trying to establish some sort of new ‘religion’ within the context of SL to be interesting enough in itself, and obviously the ‘nudity in SL’ angle to it all works within the brief of this blog. I’d also be exceptionally keen to learn how immersive people are in their Second Lives, to the point where they might be vaguely keen on such an idea.

 

 

Game of Thrones : The penultimate Season

So Game of Thrones is beginning to reach its conclusion (on TV anyway) with the penultimate season about to commence broadcasting. I’ve seen some of it, the first series anyway, because when it became such a television phenomenon I bought and read the first book in the series, A song of fire and ice.

Based on that, I was given the first series on DVD. And there my interest dissipated. I found the DVDs only marginally captivating, and the book wholly uninteresting. Sorry, but I’ve said it. It read, to me, like something epic as written by an 18 year old. The writing simply wasn’t that great. Usually, books are better than the films/tv series they spawn (Tolkein’s Ring Trilogy being a case in point…although the films were epic in scale and did justice to their source material).

I persevered. Maybe I needed to read the second book, A clash of kings. Nope. Same feeling from it. Schoolboy writing, and I put the shout out not to be bought the second DVD box set.

And that was that. No more ‘Game of Thrones’ for me. Thereafter my only knowledge of it would come through newspapers as they ratcheted uptake sex, the nudity, the plot twists and turns.

Ah yes, the nudity. It seemed like most of the actresses in it appeared nude, or semi-nude at some point, and it was littered with scenes filled with topless ‘extras’. Granted, a couple of actors also appeared fully nude, and the old adage that ‘the nudity is central to the plot‘, something often rightfully sneered at by actresses over several decades, held water a little bit more than some gratuitous nudity in film, television and on stage.

When I started in Second Life, entire sims, ranges of clothing and roleplay was based on the Gor books by John Norman. There was, and remains, a lot of Gorean role play, clothes, sims around in SL. Before I played SL I’d never heard of Gor, but quickly got an education, via SL, on this. And as with GRR Martin’s Game of Thrones series, I found the writing quite childish in delivery. Indeed it was worse, because it played on that old ‘submissive female’ concept quite a lot (I know fans of Gor reject this reading: but it’s my reading of it. Your interpretation of it doesn’t impact on mine).

Gor and Game of Thrones remain very popular roleplay sims in Second Life.

I’ve not explored either in SL to discover how much nudity, specifically female nudity, is part of the role-play, but I’m guessing it does have a part to play. Whether that’s ‘gratuitous’ or not, I’m not equipped to be the judge.

Model Heather enacts scenes from fantasy novels at a Game of Thrones sim

Ella

Meet & Greet at Eden Naturopolis

I’m delighted to say that I’ll be online and inworld this Saturday evening from 10pm to 2am BST at our office at the Eden Naturopolis estate. (2PM & 6PM SLT, if I’ve got my calculations right!)

Eva (the SL contributor formerly known as Pookes) will join me at some point during a ‘meet and greet’ which we’ve done before. It’s your opportunity to get to meet one, or both, of us and get your points over on how you think we should develop the blog and our SL presence.

For those who don’t know, our office is sited directly opposite the main teleport location at Eden Naturopolis, at the lighthouse.

You probably do have a slurl saved for the main TP point, so you can either use that, or the link above, which pretty much will land you at our front door.

SL’s office at the Eden Naturist Estate, at the lighthouse next to the main TP point

If you’re online at that time, please feel free to join us!

L-R Eva (Pookes), Diane and Ella

Ella

Naked dog walking

For any dog lovers where I holiday in Spain, and there are many, one of the pleasures must be the ability to combine exercising your pet with naturism.

Each morning on holiday I like to go and swim in the sea, and as I’m doing so people are walking their dogs on the beach, and the joggers are out as well, before the day gets too hot.

As a morning routine, it must be hard to beat the combination of walking the dog and naturism!

Ella

 

 

More Rainbow Gatherings…

We’ve written before, more than once, about Rainbow Gatherings, which as essentially new-age ‘hippy’ gatherings that take place around the globe.

I’ve found a rather lovely gallery of images from various gatherings at Vice magazine. I won’t reproduce them here due to copyright, but would encourage you to follow the link instead.

While not strictly ‘naturist’ in the sense I understand it, there’s enough body freedom and confidence to ensure quite a relaxed attitude to the naked body at these events, which is maybe how the world should be…nudity simply accepted in context without a whole hand-wringing thing going on.

Ella

Lindex Exchange

I’ve not blogged this weekend, until now, Sunday morning, because of, well, research.

Howie passed me an IM on Friday saying that he’s finally abandoning Second Life in about five weeks time, when his rent is due, and that the SLN office on the Eden Naturopolis Estate, which Howie has paid for for quite a long time, will close at that date 😦

And it’s not a lack of interest on his part that’s chasing him away from actively contributing to SL, apparently, but the cost. A few more IMs pinged back and forth, and it transpires it’s not the actual rent that is the issue, but the cost of purchasing Linden dollars, with L£100,000, a year’s supply of lindens for rent and miscellaneous purchases costing $400(US) (£320 sterling).

I have to say that I didn’t realise it cost quite so much to maintain an inworld presence, and it’s now easy to see why there’s so many ‘closing down sales’ and bits of abandoned land around the grid. It’s a pocket money game, and justifying spending disposable income to that level seems slightly ridiculous. It’s not Linden Labs, of course, that are totally at fault. The exchange rate seems to have been pegged fairly consistently at L$250(ish) to $1 (US). But it seems, to me, that they can be held responsible for killing off the third party exchanges which has, in part, allowed them to assume total control over the SL economy.

And Linden Labs can also be held responsible for adopting the US model of what constitutes ‘disposable income’, a topic I’ve written about several times in the past.

When I started SL it was a much more globally vibrant world, and you could wander, for just one example, many Indian sims created by Indian people. Beautiful inworld versions of the Taj Mahal, for example. Sims that didn’t exist to generate money, or at least didn’t need to try to claw back costs. If we, in the ‘developed west’ find it hard to justify spending cash on Second Life, what chances do people in the developing world, places like India or Brazil, countries with a young population who might be drawn to SL, have? None, would be my assessment.

These sims exist in far fewer numbers now, and even creators of clothes and hair are closing at a rapid rate of knots as the cost of maintaining an inworld presence escalates for them.

Howie’s IM is stark. ‘I can’t justify £300 a year on a game. OK, I could see it as the price of a newspaper each day, but I have the option to buy or not buy the newspaper, while I do need to make a fairly hefty purchase to plot my SL presence for the next year. I just can’t see the value in it. I can go on holiday for a week for £300! My home rental is very affordable in terms of the Lindens I expend, about L$7000 a month. That’s fine. It’s the buying of the Lindens that is the problem. That exchange rate would need to shift substantially before I could see me renting land again. Linden Labs exchange rate is killing the game. With a rate of about L$500 to the $1 I would certainly spend that £300, because then I’m into position where I can plot my inworld presence over a couple of years. It suddenly seems more affordable and justifiable. Now? No.’

I then asked another SL friend who, when I last talked to her, was examining the possibility of renting at the Blue Lagoon Naturist Estate and the answer was something similar. There needed to be better value, not in terms of what the estate offered, but the exchange rate to plan one’s SL needs ahead.

Of course, this will have no real impact on the blog. Anything I buy will now be unboxed at a sandbox rather than an SL ‘home’ (in my case a home in which the owner gives me permission to use) and my spend is minimal, so the blog will roll on. However, it’s rather worrying that Linden Labs haven’t grasped the fact that utilising a purely US model of what constitutes ‘disposable income’ or ‘pocket money prices’ in how they fix things, thereby suppressing or almost killing the game for a good proportion of the globe. If my friends in Europe are looking long and hard at their outlay to play, what chance our friends in India or Brazil even considering becoming economically active in SL?

Ella