Monthly Archives: January 2013

A few days ago, I narrated (and explained) in as much detail as is reasonable my background as a latex fetishist. For most of my existence in SL, this fetish of mine was not prominent; it was something reserved only for my “private time” and I had not yet allowed it to become a dominant characteristic that would define my identity, even though I actually wanted to. There were various reasons for this; some had to do with my own consumerism and some had to do with my own fear of others’ attitudes towards “taboo” topics, such as fetishistic attire, even if such attire is often shown prominently in today’s mainstream pop culture (such as the ballet heels featured in the video of the White Stripes’ song “Blue Orchid“, or the combination of latex and ballet heels worn by Beyoncé and her accompanying dancers in the video for “Green Light“, or the combination of ballet heels and a gothic-style outfit worn by P!nk in the video of her song “U + Ur Hand“).

The occasional “let’s go clubbing” latex catsuit was something I’d often wear on a night out in Second Life, but, although it did go someway towards suggesting a side of me that I wanted to express by being here in SL, and I would occasionally wear the almost “standard issue” combination of ER Fetish Doll Hood, a set of ER single- or double-tail hair, a catsuit bought either from ER or from powers of creation, a waist corset from Salid Sewell’s *KaS* store, along with her ballet boots (all of them excellent products, but their immense popularity and the fact that this combination is practically the “default” outfit for any SL latex fetishist has disenchanted me a bit, as it is now almost a uniform), but I had never seriously played with the idea of being 24/7 in latex. I knew, of course, that there were (and are) people whose only sort of SL attire is a full-body encasement in latex and ballet heels, but I was also fully aware of the fact that many of these people were living pretty much in a “cut-down” version of SL; they did very little exploring, didn’t go to happenings outside the BDSM/latex realm, avoided visiting places that were not specifically made for people who shared similar desires, and also oftentimes had very few, if any, friends outside SL’s BDSM community. The people I’m talking about avoided going to places that were not openly and explicitly specified as BDSM/latex/fetish-friendly places, simply because they didn’t want to be a nuisance to the “vanilla” crowd.

The hypocrisy of tolerance

This, of course, brings us to the “virtue” called tolerance, a “virtue” that is celebrated so much here in SL and touted as one of its community’s main qualities. I’m putting the word “virtue” in quotes simply because I don’t think that what it represents is a virtue; tolerance, at least in the sense in which it is understood and expressed by the majority of people, does not promote the understanding of others and coexistence with them. Before the refugee crisis, during which he started expressing misanthropic views about people less fortunate than him, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek (“the most dangerous philosopher in the West”) hit the nail on the head in an interview featured in Megan Erickson’s article “Why Tolerance Is Not a Virtue“. In his article “Tolerance as an Ideological Category“, Žižek points out that tolerance, which is basically the “if you stay in your own little world, away from my own little world and don’t even think of getting close to me or expressing yourself and/or your concerns, I’ll consider not attacking you, at least openly” mentality (that’s how I’m summing “tolerance” up and how a true, accurate dictionary should define it), is always promoted as the panacea and universal cure for everything that’s wrong in the world; not emancipation, not political struggle, no interaction at all – in the (neo)liberal mindset, political struggle can lead to armed struggle and violence is wrong (unless this violence is perpetrated by far-right thugs and racist vigilantes or by ridiculously heavily armed riot cops wielding weapons that they wouldn’t be allowed to use in a war).

Tolerance is a post-political ersatz and is promoted as an end. Do you know why? Because the cult of tolerance basically propagandizes the rejection of politics as a domain in which conflict, contrast, disagreement and discourse can be used productively:

The retreat from more substantive visions of justice heralded by the promulgation of tolerance today is part of a more general depoliticization of citizenship and power and retreat from political life itself. The cultivation of tolerance as a political end implicitly constitutes a rejection of politics as a domain in which conflict can be productively articulated and addressed, a domain in which citizens can be transformed by their participation. — Slavoj Žižek, “Tolerance as an Ideological Category

Says Žižek: “Did you notice how almost automatically we tend to translate issues of sexism, racism or ethnic violence, whatever, into the terms of tolerance?” Recently, the SL part of the “One Billion Rising” campaign was slagged off by a misogynist (and, quite possibly, pro-rape, if I judge from his vehemently anti-women comments, according to which women have “reptile brains”) troll on someone’s feed, as a campaign that “condones violence against men”, “tries to take away scarce resources from appropriate areas of concern and tries to allocate them to inappropriate areas of concern”, “removes people’s attention from the fact that more men are likely to be victims of violence and rape than women” (sic), draws attention to a “fictitious drama” (that’s how he sees rape) brought up by “hysterical feminazis” etc. This “man” also went on to insult every woman he found on that person’s feed. Yet, the owner of the feed (a woman who is a friend of this “man” and should be ashamed of herself, if she has any trace element of dignity, which I highly doubt after that debacle) had the nerve to (a) give the women who were the targets of the misogynist troll a lecture for being insulted and not letting his flames and insulting spam, (b) tell us to tolerate the sexist bastard.

Here is a prime example of why tolerance is not a virtue: Women who support an anti-rape campaign are being lectured to tolerate a sexist moron who tries to sabotage and trash the campaign.

I’m going to give the true definition of tolerance once again:

Tolerance: A mentality that makes someone say “if you stay in your own little world, away from my own little world and don’t even think of getting close to me or expressing yourself and/or your concerns, I’ll consider not attacking you, at least openly.”

The misogynist’s attack on the “One Billion Rising” campaign was a clear example of tolerance according to the definition above: Women dared to express their concerns, so he had to attack them, their campaign, their cause and their right to not be brutalized and raped, their right to dignity, their right to not be discriminated against because of their gender (because rape, a crime whose victims are predominantly women and girls, is a product and an expression of sexual discrimination). Had we remained silent, had we “minded our own business” after the barbaric, brutal, cowardly and hideous gang rape and murder of that 23-year-old girl in India, had we considered this incident to be “normal”, he would have been nice to us.

And yes, we were chastised for not “tolerating” this person who “has a family in RL, a daughter, a son” and is such a “fine man” (who is so pathetic that he puts “Love” – my.secondlife.com’s equivalent for Facebook’s “Like” button – on his own comments).

Tolerance and latex fetishism

Despite the fact that its active population is rather limited compared to platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, SL is pretty diverse in the communities that have found a home in it: Tiny, Gorean, Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Furry, you name it. One of these communities is the one consisting of latex fetishists. Out there, in the open, you can very easily see tinies, goreans, steampunks, furries etc, even robots, walking around, shopping, going places, always in their chosen personas – but where’s the latex crowd?

It’s… “tolerated”. You’ll see them in their own sims and regions, but not so often in other parts of the grid, for fear of the “tolerant” others who have an itchy AR finger. I’m not saying it should be A-OK for latex-encased female avatars to show latex nipples or chastity belts or sexual attachments in public in “Moderate” regions, even though it’s not uncommon for female avatars to reveal a lot of skin (for instance, by wearing completely transparent clothing that leaves nothing to the imagination) in such regions. What I’m saying is that, because they’re tolerated (in the sense I mentioned earlier), they feel intimidated into secluding themselves in regions and establishments that are made specifically for them.

This is what had made me avoid adopting a latex life form persona for so long. Eventually, there were certain blog posts that inspired me to take the plunge. I’m not going to get into technical details here; I believe that anyone with a working knowledge of working with individual prims within a linkset and texturing individual prims’ faces should be able to create their own unique latex look. What I will examine is what happened afterwards: after I encased myself in latex, decided to be 24/7 like this and came out to those I knew here in SL.

Coming out

Last November, I had blogged about what I had experienced as a result of my coming out as a latex fetishist. As early as then, I had noticed that, for some people, I had become a pariah; a weirdo; a creep. Never mind that I was the same person they knew in their social circle; never mind that I had tipped them generously at the clubs where they danced and/or DJ’ed (I want my money back, by the way). For them I had become an outcast, even though I wasn’t swinging a penis at others or revealing skin. Even acquaintances (I can’t call them friends, because we rarely spoke, and it was always initiated by me, not them) that had all but forgotten me, when they saw I was encased in latex, considered it to be their duty to lecture me on my desires, my attire and everything – they practically came out of nowhere, out of the blue.

Suddenly, for some I was the “pervert” – at worst. The “weirdo” – at best. Suddenly, the fact that they were OK with having friends who had openly expressed (much to my chagrin) the desire to have sex with animals (in RL) and were even into sexual ageplay (for crying out loud) became a non-issue; my own fetish, which involves only consenting adult humans practicing the well-regarded and accepted SSC and RACK principles [both of which require that all parties involved are (a) humans, (b) adults, (c) capable of consent, i.e. with an age at least equal to their jurisdiction’s age of consent, and mentally capable of making informed, educated decisions] was deemed worse than fetishes involving animals and/or rape (tentacle demons and tentacles in general), i.e. worse than fetishes revolving around purely non-consensual sex.

Even though I do not technically belong to a different race of the homo sapiens species (both in RL and SL I’m a Caucasian female), what I experienced since I decided to make my public appearance fully encased in latex was similar to the extremely interesting findings of Quark Static, a reader of Hamlet Au’s “New World Notes” blog (article by Hamlet Au: HERE, original comment: HERE), when he created two alts that portrayed humans of non-Caucasian races (one was black, the other was Asian) and shared his experiences in the form of a comment to the article titled “The Skin You’re In“, in which Hamlet Au documents what Erika Thereian experienced when she switched from her usual, blonde Caucasian avatar, to a very attractive African American one for three months.

Both Quark and Erika experienced prejudice – racial, in their case: Some of their friends shied away. Others treated their new selves (even if Quark hadn’t let others know that he was the operator of the black and Asian avatars) in a bigoted, racist manner. Some others were more subtle (and I think some dear friends of mine have dealt with this too): “[L]ike, when [are] you going back to being you?” – they either didn’t like the idea of hanging around with a black lady or they couldn’t accept their friend’s idea/desire to be a black woman for any period of time in SL. In my case (and in the case of some of my dearest friends), prejudice and discrimination had to do with sexual/sensual taboos. The roots may be different, but the fruits are the same: harsh, bigoted, rude treatment, as if the persons that received this sort of treatment had harmed others in any way.

It is appalling that as societies we haven’t really progressed: during the recent Olympics in London, “athlete” Voula Papachristou, girlfriend (or fianceé or whatever the hell) of “Greek” neo-nazi thugMP Ilias Kasidiaris (and member of the neo-nazi party herself), was rushed back to Greece for a deeply racist comment she made on Twitter – one she deleted shortly afterwards). We like to boast about how “progressive” we are, yet we’re ready to reject our friends (some friends we are) on grounds of their race or their sexual desires, even if these desires are entirely harmless to others.

Is it all bad, then?

No. My experiences gave me an opportunity to separate the wheat from the chaff; they gave me an opportunity to categorize (as harsh as it may sound) the people in my friends list in the following categories: (a) acquaintances, (b) friends, (c) close and dear friends, (d) trash. Thankfully, not many of the people in my friends list were bigots; most were quite accepting, understanding and even nurturing and empowering. This all gave me more strength to proceed and immerse myself deeper in SL, living out my fantasies and desires in a more effective and rewarding way, even if this way does not usually involve pixel sex; the mere visual aspect of it all, the mere fact that I can now see myself on the screen just the way I fantasize I could be in RL is worth it. What makes it even better is that I have now learnt:

  • Which friends of mine are true friends
  • How to better assess and evaluate friends and acquaintances
  • To be more secure of myself, my choices, my desires and my ideas

These are all extremely valuable lessons and I’m glad I’ve learnt them. “No pain, no gain,” they say, if I’m not mistaken.

The good stuff

Like I said earlier, I now have a better circle of friends than before. Also, even though I no longer use an avatar that looks like my RL appearance, I feel more like myself; I identify with my avatar better, because it now reflects not (more or less) what I see in the mirror, but the way I see myself in my dreams, my daydreams, my fantasies, in the scenarios I often create in my mind and (sometimes, when I feel I’ve given them a coherent enough form) discuss with my RL fiance, in the little notes that I sometimes scribble on paper or begin typing in LibreOffice Writer and (usually) don’t finish. This, by itself, makes my SL experience far more rewarding than it used to be, as I’m now what I dream of being.

Furthermore, now that I feel my SL existence and experience is more rewarding than before, I feel more encouraged to engage in various creative projects I’ve thought up over the years; projects that I’d been putting on hold for far too long. One of them is this blog: even though I had started various (three, so far) SL blogs over the years, I had abandoned all of them pretty soon. The first one because I soon grew disenchanted with SL and closed my first account, the second one because its scope was far too narrow and what I was back then, along with my almost complete lack of interaction with the outside world because of what I was back then, didn’t provide me with enough material to write about… And the third one was an abortive attempt to become yet another SL blogger in a crowd that forms an over-saturated market. Third time’s a charm, they say – with me, the saying should be “fourth time’s a charm.”

Finally, I now have a much better social circle in the virtual world than I once used to – this is extremely important, as it encourages me to proceed with all that I want to be and do.

Now, I acknowledge the fact that some readers may feel a bit disappointed. “Where’s the sex?” they might ask. Well, although this blog does belong to a D/s practitioner who is also a latex fetishist, I never promised that it’d revolve around sex. It’s a personal blog, in which I write about my thoughts, experiences, desires, loves, ideas and projects. Romance, fantasies etc are part of my existence in SL – they don’t make up all of my existence. So, once again, no “hanky-panky” is yet to be found in my posts.

The bottom line

These four months had their ups and downs and they put me, my social relationships and friendships in SL, and even my determination, to a proper stress test (unlike the utterly pathetic “stress test” of European banks that too few – in Greece, the ones belonging to the biggest supporters of the German-owned “government” – failed; it’s a well-known fact that most European banks have been insolvent for years because of their reckless gambling). It wasn’t easy, and I did receive some stupid drama. But I pulled through, because I found out who my real friends are; I made new friends; I identified with my avatar more than before; I opened up to a new group of people that I’d heard of, but had been reluctant to approach until recently. And now I can engage in my SL activities in a more thorough manner, with greater determination and passion.

What would I say to someone who wants to be like me? Well, first of all, figure things out for yourself; decide what you want to be in SL. And be it (provided you’re not harming others). It’s your SL; it’s your ideas, your fantasies, your desires, your little dream world that you are trying to create. You will certainly encounter people who will treat you badly for what your avatar is. Don’t let them drag you down. Don’t let them dictate what you’ll be and what you want to be. They should mind their own business, instead of trying to run your SL. Will you lose friends? Well, you’ll lose “friends”. You’ll have to remove some people from your friends list. You’ll separate the wheat from the chaff, like I did. But, in the long run, it’s for the better, because you’ll end up feeling stronger, more accepted (by people who actually care about you and not about their idea of what you should be) and your existence in SL will eventually be a lot more fulfilling, empowering and rewarding. Remember, you’re here to live out your fantasies and develop and express your personality – no one else’s.

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Mona (formerly slutrix)

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See also:

A few days ago, I blogged about the “One Billion Rising in SL” campaign, and so did other excellent SL bloggers, such as Honour McMillan. It’s a commendable initiative, because patriarchal societies everywhere are given, more or less, to the rape culture: the disgraceful “culture” that trains men to believe women are, by definition and because of their genetic makeup, inferior to them, that they should submit to their whims and wishes, that it’s OK to rape a woman and that it’s OK to beat her up or otherwise exercise violence against her. By using the term women, I also mean trans women – no discriminations against them are acceptable (please read this insightful article by Deborah Orr).

Read Full Article

NOTICE: The article below deals with adult topics and fantasies. If you are offended by this sort of thing or are not a legal adult, I suggest you leave this instant.

Although I do explain part of what I’m all about in my blog’s “About me” page, it’s nevertheless useful to provide some insight w.r.t. how my fascination with latex and D/s began, how it was shaped throughout the years and how it has pretty much distilled into becoming a rather crystallized, although still evolving, part of my personality. And by “personality”, I mean both RL and SL; my SL presence is an extension of who I am in RL, allowing me to do and be things I want to do and be in RL, but can’t, for a number of reasons (namely financial and practical).

I’ve been fascinated by latexwear since my teenage years – my first exposure must have been those fetish photoshoots by the likes of Suze Randall that were often seen in publications like “Penthouse” (which my brother in RL had been smuggling into our family home, proceeding to spend unusually long periods of time in the restroom). The shininess, the way latex clings to the body’s curves and flatters, even exaggerates them, it all appealed to me and I often fantasized about how I would look in such attire; Later on, as I began to understand more about the erotic and sexual context of those photoshoots, D/s and BDSM fantasies started to form in my mind and it all came into perspective. I also saw various pieces of comic-style artwork (later on, I found that one of the artists in that genre was Michael Manning) in adult-oriented (i.e. not of the Disney variety) comics magazines. My interest in latexwear was further heightened as the once fetish-only catsuits and super-tight dresses, leggings, tops and lingerie found their way to the fashion world.

For financial and practical reasons (imagine my mum coming to visit me in the town where I was studying and discovering a few sets of latex catsuits in the tiny wardrobe of my dorm room; not to mention the prices and the care needed), I never got around to acquiring such clothing in RL. And don’t even get me started on the fact that latex doesn’t let the skin breathe and offers practically zero protection from heat and cold. But still, it’s something I always wanted; the look of latex can be utterly fantastic.

In Second Life

Ah, Second Life (SL)… The  virtual world where so many of us come to be what we want to be in RL, but can’t be. From the very beginning of my existence in SL, I started buying whatever I could find that was fetish-oriented; from Szentasha Salome (anyone remember her?) and the earliest products of KDC, to Mistress Lycia’s offerings and the first output of Kayliwulf Kingdom. In those heady days, though, a lot of features that we now enjoy and take for granted were missing: proper (OK, it’s still semi-proper at the moment, but back then it was downright primitive) rendering of shininess, no sculpted prims, no mesh (of course) and no alpha layers. Even animation overriders were primitive (I still remember how comically ballet boots behaved back then) and their performance was iffy, at best.

Over the years, I had gathered lots of catsuits and other pieces of latex and leather fetishwear, from all sorts of merchants; from the cheapest to the costliest, from the nastiest to the highest (for the day) quality. The problem is, nothing seemed to satisfy me entirely; textures stretched over body curves (especially breasts) and became blurry, seams between top and bottom (e.g. shirt and pants) layers were visible at close range (a common defect of SL clothing at the time)… Not that there were not good products out there; there were, are and will continue to be. I just was never entirely satisfied.

2011-2012

In 2011, when alpha layers had started becoming more and more mainstream (hint: if you’re a content creator and still use invisiprims, ditch them now or just leave SL, PLEASE), I revisited some old favourites, namely the *KaS* waist corset and ballet boots made by Salid Sewell, and – of course – the ER Fetish Doll Hood by Winter Ventura of Eclectic Randomness fame, combined with the ER hair (single– or double-tail) and the ER latex implants. All this, however, was pretty much standard latex doll fare, and, if I’m completely honest, even though the end result was quite pleasing to the eye, it seemed as if I was in a uniform, since everyone else was using this combination. I ended up using this outfit rather rarely, since it was already far too common. Nowadays, this sort of outfit even looks like it’s a bit long in the tooth, and not because its components haven’t aged well; it’s just what I said earlier: it’s become almost a standard issue uniform as pretty much everyone in the latex doll subculture wears it.

I must say here that I haven’t only been fascinated by latexwear in general, but also by the whole total encasement idea, which gives me the enjoyment of being totally nude, yet fully covered at the same time, with my skin bonded with layers of shiny, black latex and my face disappearing completely, behind an utterly featureless facade, inside a sleek hood that makes one wonder if I’m human or if I’m a man-made pleasure robot… Or a bane from the now-famous “Eudeamon” story by Evil-Dolly.

Now, I’m definitely not a fan of the “Bane” concept, for two reasons:

  • SL is all about interaction with your (virtual) environment and the other avatars, and this includes the limitation of your degree of interaction by your Dom(me).
  • Moving around in complete isolation and with no way of even communicating with your friends and loved ones is certainly not my idea of fun.

Then again, one would say “what do you know about being a Bane? You’ve never signed up for any banishment project”. Indeed, I haven’t; but I’ve spent quite a few months as a statue (a Sphinxgirl) at Sin-Labs, and a very significant part of this time was with pretty much the same restrictions a Bane would experience: no chat, no IMs, no inventory,  no edit/rez, no touch (far or near), no notecards, no textures (usually), no teleports… And, of course, I couldn’t move. What was it like? Well, it was exciting for a short while (your mileage, of course, may vary), due to the rush I was getting from the mere idea of putting myself under someone else’s control. Also, to be honest, back then I had just come back to SL from a hiatus that lasted a few months (I had deleted my first account), so there was almost no one for me to really miss. So, I felt I had nothing to lose, as I was starting anew and my SL was basically a tabula rasa. But… It got overbearing after a relatively short time. It  became clear that this didn’t cover my own needs for meaningful existence in SL, so one day I requested to be released and never got back into full-time, 100% restrictions.

That’s not to say I bash people who want to be full-time Banes or statues in SL; it’s just not my cup of  tea – not anymore.

In the meantime, I’d been reading various articles on BDSM and D/s in RL. I downloaded lots and lots of photos from fetish photoshoots and cherished artwork by artists like Michael Manning, John Willie, Hajime Sorayama et al. The stories of so many – famous, semi-famous and even downright uknown – writers in various websites relating to this fetish world also got my attention and, over time, I found myself developing a set of fantasies and fetishes that, along with my fascination for the Bronze Age civilizations of the Eastern Mediterranean region (with a strong focus on the Minoan civilization, actually), eventually shaped and defined my SL existence. And I’d sometimes dabble in wearing that old latex doll outfit…

To wrap it up, this is how it all started for me. And what really attracts, fascinates and seduces me into this form is the combination of aesthetic qualities I’ve seen in fetish artwork (literary and pictorial) and the erotic and sensual connotations of voluntary helplessness and submission.

Mona