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I can’t speak for every romantically active person in Second Life, but as for me, I like to be seduced. I don’t mind doing the seducing myself sometimes too, but if nobody’s doing the seduction, to me, it just ain’t got that swing. Whether that’s true for everyone or not, I’d love to know. Please do post your heavily opinionated comment if you have thoughts on what seduction in Second Life is good for, and what is and isn’t seductive. If you’re feeling adventurous, post photos (although nothing explicit, please)!

Eris and me doing the tango using a wonderful tango pose ball set from Bits and Bobs.
Like most Second Life couples animations, unfortunately, it isn’t sized quite right for two girls.

It’s interesting, though, because while a lot of the important things about seduction seem to be the same in Second Life as in Real Life, the mechanics are a little different. If you ask me, in Second Life it’s easier. In Real Life seduction usually seems to have do with whether or not two people (or, I suppose, more!) are going to get together at all. In Second Life, at least in my experience, seduction is at least as useful for people who are already lovers as for people who may be headed that way.

I think the reason seduction is different in Second Life is that Second Life isn’t really sophisticated enough for all the important little details. The accidental brush of a hand against a thigh, the shared glance that lasts a little longer than is strictly decent, the throaty tone of voice that blood relations and bank tellers never hear from you…many of the ways we have in Real Life to begin the dance of love between two accustomed partners are just not available to us in Second Life.

And then with two people who have never been lovers, seduction is less effective. You can’t tell from an avatar’s expression or body language whether she or he is responding; in one way or another, through actions or words, what’s going to happen eventually has to be stated outright. To get across the message “I want you to strip off your clothes and do nasty things to me” in Second Life, we’re forced to rely on obvious signals like changing into silks or instant messagign “I want you to strip off your clothes and do nasty things to me.” Then, of course, there’s the danger that the other person will say “Uh, I’m celibate in Second Life/not interested/gay/not gay/not into furries/already having sex in instant messages/away from keyboard/really a 12-year-old” or some other form of rejection.

(Fortunately, in SL one can always reply “LOL! Just kidding! ;)” Lucky for me, I haven’t had to use this technique so far.)

One thing people do to get around having to proposition each other outright is to talk about availability instead of about attraction…and it’s a really good idea to figure out how much time someone has available before beginning lovemaking anyway. For instance, instead of trying to figure out if another avatar is into you, it’s possible to say something like “So what are you doing for the rest of the night?” or “When do you have to get back to building that abbatoir? ” If the other person isn’t available and is paying attention, this can be enough to establish whether or not they’re ready and willing, at least for that moment.

But back to limitations: even dancing, a wonderful, time-honored tool of seduction in Real Life, isn’t so useful for seduction in Second Life. Dancing is more common and less of strictly a date activity, dancers have no control over the subtleties of their movements, and it’s not always possible to dance directly with each other. That said, I highly recommend the occasional couples salsa or tango.

So with those things stripped away, it seems to me that what we have left are how we look, where we go, and what we say.

As to how we look, first I’d like to put in a plug for having at least one good skin. I know they’re expensive (L$1,000-L$5,000 for most goods ones), but a good skin is the difference between a cartoon with features that are hard to distinguish and a more realistic avatar with a gorgeous complexion-not to mention the lovely difference it can make with the various private bits. With that said, I know that about $4-18 US is not affordable for everyone for something like a skin, so ignore the whole skin thing if it doesn’t apply. I suspect I’ll post about skins (again!) in more detail soon, but that’s all I’ll say about them here for now, except to admit that I’m almost as bad about buying new skins as I am with buying new hairstyles (of long, dark brown hair).

The other big part of appearance-I’ll bet you saw this coming-is clothing. Since we can wear things in Second Life that wouldn’t be practical or available in Real Life, and since we can change clothes at the drop of a hat (um, no pun intended), Second Life gives us a much more powerful vocabulary of clothing seduction than Real Life.

Andr3 making my point for me about seductive appearance. She’s wearing an
anti-halo I made. πŸ™‚ It’s not for sale at Kate Tease yet, but the matching bullwhip is.

I’ll leave it to you to decide how to play that out, but I just want to say that in the absence of a lot of our usual Real Life tools, clothing becomes more important in Second Life seduction, and to really seduce someone (rather than just throw yourself at them), you have to take it at the right pace. Showing up to meet someone wearing lingerie, say, gives a particular message, and showing up in a business suit says something else-and neither approach is going to be appropriate for a lot of dates. It seems obvious, but if you’re not one of those avatars who dive into inventory to change at the least provocation (*Kate looks innocently into the distance and whistles*), perhaps changing for your date-or even in the middle of your date!-won’t have occurred to you as a handy way to express yourself.

Setting is the second important tool of seduction in Second Life. There’s a difference between inviting someone to go hear music with you at a pub, inviting someone to go for a private walk in a pretty sim, and inviting someone to meet you in a room full of sex poses. Going straight to the poses skips the whole seduction part, it seems to me, and may be worth avoiding. If you want to be direct, though, you could go somewhere (ideally your home) where there are kissing and cuddling poses, and let nature take its course from there.

The joy of the right setting: Bliss Basin, one of the most romantic sims in Second Life.

The other important tool of seduction in Second Life-and this is primary with me, although not with everyone-is chat. Being able to slowly build up over the course of a conversation from the politely romantic to the mind-blowingly erotic is an art, but one that an interested person can always get a little better at.

If you’d like any tips about seductive talk (Whoops, forgot who I was talking to! You don’t need tips! πŸ˜‰ ), it’s helpful to think of sexy talk as always being officially about one thing, but unofficially about sex. If you just jump in and start talking about body parts or sex acts, it can leave some partners cold. Ideally you’d be talking about music, say, and just imply the sex, even if it’s something as simple as “I love this song. Every time I hear it, my heart just starts to pound.” (Optionally followed by “Want to feel?”)

And with seductive talk, as with anything about seduction, it’s nice to be able to build over time. A nearly innocent comment builds to an intimate compliment to an intimate suggestion…it’s not seduction unless it moves forward, closer and closer to contact and intimacy, right? Otherwise it’s just marking time. In fact, somebody’s always got to make the move to get both people into bed: seduction needs to build to where someone is throwing someone down, sweeping her off her feet, tying him down to something, or tumbling together into a fragrant meadow. It doesn’t matter which person does it, but somebody has to!

By the way, I say that seductive talk builds, but that’s not always true. Sometimes it can be exciting for one person to suddenly shift from innocent talk to something extremely provocative; there’s a potential for shock and force there that can be wonderful under the right circumstances.

I’m a big fan of communicating desires and of honest responses. If someone offers to insert something in you that you’d rather not have inserted, for instance, in the long term it may be healthier to suggest something else, to redirect, than to just alt-mouse the ceiling and think of England. Sometimes these kinds of mismatched desires merit a full-scale discussion, which could happen in the midst of lovemaking if it feels sexy or not if it doesn’t. Other times, it’s not the kind of relationship that needs that much work.

And here’s a reminder to myself, because I’m terrible at this: start early enough! From what I’ve seen, seduction and romance in Second Life can sometimes take a good bit longer than they often do in Real Life. I’ve started four-hour dalliances at 1:00 AM before, and that’s just plain silly. The other thing a person can do is try to be responsive and to stay at the keyboard. If there are Real Life distractions, it might not be a good time for seduction, because there aren’t many things less sexy than being left to cool your heels while the object of your affections stops responding and goes limp. Um, so to speak.

And from what I’ve seen, for most people (I’m going out on a limb here), one of the most wonderful things about seductive talk is how that talk can make them feel about not only the person who’s talking, but about themselves. Being attentive and noticing things about a person, seeking to find out what another person wants or needs, mentioning the things that are inspiring or sexy about a person build intimacy and emotional connection, and just like in Real Life, that kind of intimacy and emotional connection can make for mind-blowing sex.

^^^\ Kate /^^^

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