Monthly Archives: September 2021

Maxwell Graf's shop on the Rustica sim.
Maxwell Graf’s shop on the Rustica sim. Click on the image for its full-size version.

UPDATE: We have great news. The donations to Max’s GoFundMe, along with contributions via PayPal have reached the desired goal. Now Max and Lyyric have a home. Many thanks go to everyone who donated and amplified his call for help.

Back in 2017, beloved and esteemed Second Life content creator Max Graf (Timothy Jackson in RL) of Rustica fame (marketplace storein-world landmarkblog) needed our help, as he and his wife, Cheryl (Lyyric Fei in SL) became homeless. A campaign to help them was started, which escalated to the touching #ForMax shopping event that was set up very quickly by a considerably-sized and considerate group of fellow content creators and merchants. The campaign was a success: Max and Lyyric managed to settle in a new place, found jobs, and started their life anew.

Sadly, in the “free market” economy if you don’t own your home, you can lose it if your landlord finds something more profitable to do with it. So, the owner of the place where they lived decided to sell it to an “investor” who’s about to turn the property back to a commercial building, so Max and Lyyric need to leave very soon. They’ve been searching far and wide, but housing is both (artificially – thank you, “investors”) scarce and expensive.

They eventually found a place that they can move to. It’s nothing fancy, and it’ll certainly need some work. However, as I wrote earlier, even this is more expensive than what they have. So, Max has started a GoFundMe campaign (disclosing his RL name in the process) to raise the remaining money that’s needed for them to secure it. There’s not much time, and – unfortunately – they don’t have many options.

What I’m asking of you all is to help in any way you can. You can contribute directly on the GoFundMe campaign. You can purchase stuff at his in-world or marketplace store – even if you don’t “need” it. After all, we buy lots of stuff we don’t need in SL (which itself is a non-essential expenditure for those of us who aren’t making a living out of our in-world activities). You can spread the word by sharing this post, by sharing Max’s plurk where he made his campaign known, by blogging about it, by rallying people on the official and unofficial SL forums to help. Below, I’m reposting what Max wrote on his GoFundMe campaign’s description:

I (54) and my wife Cheryl (63) are trying to cover the down payment & closing costs on the mobile home above, to start our lives over again. First, why this situation is so dire for us that we felt the need to ask for your help:

  • In 2017 we lived in Washington state and lost our home and all our possessions in a disaster.
  • We lived in our truck for several months, not finding anywhere that would rent to us as we drove across the USA to start our lives over again.
  • 3500 miles away in North Carolina we found an old brick diner downtown which I was able to convert to residential use. The owner agreed to a month to month handshake deal, no lease.
  • I got a job at Lowes. Cheryl got hired at the local Hospital where she has worked on the front lines during all of the covid 19 pandemic.
  • In 2018 she was in a head-on car accident on the way to work which almost killed her. She survived through several surgeries and continues to have nerve and minor brain damage as a result. She falls over a lot now. For many months I drove her to work and back while also continuing to work my job.
  • We worked on and improved our credit scores, sold both of our owned vehicles and purchased older ones, putting the difference into an account for a down payment on a home.
  • We were approved for a home loan and began putting out offers in the area we could afford.
  • Then, disaster: In August we were told the row of buildings we are in was purchased by an investor who has informed us that he is converting our home back to a commercial property; we must vacate the premises soon.

 We just had an offer accepted this week on the mobile home you see in the picture, our lender approved it but today we found out our total costs to go into contract are about twice what we have in our savings account. We have not been able to find housing close enough to let her keep her job, renting or buying, until this one. We are so close to having some stability. We need your help desperately to be able to keep from becoming homeless again. Please fund us if you can.

So, again, I’m calling on all of you to help Max – like you did before.

Links:

Here I am, dressed like a street prostitute with black and purple hair and a belly piercing, lying on my back on a table in front of a Latin American "baroque" building. I'm wearing a skimpy black bandeau top that exposes the bottom of my breasts, and a magenta skirt; the strap of my magenta undergarment rises above my skirt. My feet are adorned by magenta-coloured 8"-high exotic dancer shoes; at the bottom of my right calf, a "Queen of Spades" tattoo can be seen. On my right ankle, there are two ankles can be seen; the bottom one has the four letters of the word "SLUT" hanging from it.
Tulum Township, August 2021 (Rated: Adult)

This day marks a cumulative fifteen years in Second Life for me – around two years on my first account, and thirteen as Mona Eberhardt. However, my rezday isn’t the starting point for this post. I’m not interested in boring you with yet another “I’ve seen this development and the other in SL” retrospective. The main reason for the current post is my previous post, where I mentioned that I’ve spent a little over four of these years working in-world as an escort / exotic dancer. I think this is about as good a time as any to share my thoughts on that time in my SL.

The experiences I had in those years, the fantasies and desires I indulged in, and helped others indulge in, the friends I made, are all part of who I am now. The time I spent exploring that side of me helped me get in touch with my desires, fantasies, and fetishes. Furthermore, working in SL’s sex industry was my choice. Although I’ve moved on, I don’t look back upon that time with guilt, sadness, shame, or regret. So, I don’t hide it, and I don’t try to dress it up with daft euphemisms, such as “courtesan”.

…But Why?

Of course, being all too familiar with the fact that people have a surprisingly hard time minding their own fucking business, I prefer to keep my RL and SL identities as separate as possible, and be very picky as to who gets to know what. So, few of my Real Life friends, acquaintances and relatives know I use SL at all; fewer know that I have a relationship in SL. Only one knows I’ve worked as an escort in SL, and no one in my RL circle knows my SL nom de plume.

So, this one RL friend of mine to whom I revealed, way back in 2010, my in-world past employment asked me a question that had me stumped: “I don’t get it: in the real world, you’re ‘conventionally attractive,’ you have a decent job, and you can have your choice of men. Why did you choose to be a virtual hooker?” Back then, I shrugged and merely said “because,” which is a perfectly adequate answer. But still, this got me thinking: what was it that drew me to this particular in-world profession?

The Allure of Second Life

I believe the first step to answer this question is to identify what makes SL itself so attractive to me, and to others like me. Despite its hardware requirements, clunky interface (after all, it’s a very old platform), its lack of an endgame, and the overwhelming number of 3D graphics terms you find yourself having to understand, it offers quite a lot. For starters, you can find a decent choice of items you can use to shape your avatar at relatively low prices, a set of in-world creative tools, and a chance, by default, to keep your RL and SL identities as separate as you want. This last bit is liberating. These attributes allow you to explore your whims, desires, and fantasies (sexual or otherwise), without worrying about RL repercussions, and even reimagine and / or reinvent yourself, your background story, your entire existence. In this digital realm, you can do and be just about anything you wish.

Many people reinvent their childhoods in-world, seeking to heal the wounds their RL ones left them with. I’ve seen people do things that are physically impossible in RL – either subjectively (i.e. a person who’s disabled in RL enjoying a complex dance in SL) or objectively, such as growing wings and flying, or transforming into fairies, merfolk, elves, even cyborgs. I’ve seen people create stuff in SL that they could never possibly build in RL, because they could never hope to bear the cost it would incur, or because the laws of Physics get in the way. This, combined with Linden Lab’s “do whatever you want, just don’t be a dick” attitude and the fact that it steers well clear of employing creepy, Facebook-like, data collection methods, provides a liberatingly and therapeutically safe space for creativity, self-expression, and self-exploration, including people’s in-world experimentations with romance, sex, and gender.

On the other hand, RL societies, even “progressive” ones, employ all sorts of gender-based emotional, legislative, and physical violence (slut-shaming, kink-shaming, harassment, guilt trips, discrimination, ostracism, forced birth laws, beating, rape, murder) to “discipline” those who stray from the patriarchal, heteronormative, gender binary, monogamous, male-centric orthodoxy. In other words, if you’re a woman who leads an “exceedingly active” sex life, if you dress “too provocatively” or in a manner that doesn’t match your sex, if you’re a sex worker, or if you’re (gender)queer, RL society will go out of its way to make your existence unbearable.

In this, I’m not different from the scores of people who have embraced SL for this purpose. It gave me a chance to indulge in all those things societal norms and established perceptions about gender roles made it impossible for me to explore safely in RL. Thanks to SL’s extensive built-in safeguards, I’m practically always in control of what happens to my avatar, although several other users in the past thought my avatar’s state of (un)dress was a sexual invitation, and one addressed specifically to them, to boot.

Stopping unsavoury persons from continuing to interact with me in-world is just a mouse click away, and I don’t need to explain to them why I don’t want them in my SL. The same goes for getting out of a place where I don’t feel comfortable – even in the early years when griefing attacks were far more frequent than they are today. We can vew dating and sexual exploration in SL as a safer, at least physically, form of what we oldbies did on the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and other similar platforms.

How It All Started

So, in terms of sexual exploration, SL became my playground; I felt free and safe. I could do and be things that would make me “less respectable” if I did and became them in RL. But how did I start with in-world sex work? Well, in the beginning, I sought a job. I wasn’t a skilled builder yet, and I most certainly wasn’t a scripter. I also didn’t have the equipment and qualifications to be an in-world DJ or musician. So, my options were effectively limited to working at a club; I could be a hostess, a dancer (go-go or exotic), and / or an escort. I tried all three as a trainee and as a new professional, and found out that escorting was the job with the highest earning potential. So, I decided to go with a combination of escorting and exotic dancing. So, I guess you could say I was being pragmatic.

But this doesn’t tell the whole story. I actually enjoyed this profession, at least for the most part. I must say here that I was unaware of Brooke Magnanti‘s work. As for my knowledge of the RL strip club circuit before joining SL, my only contact with it was when my then-boyfriend dared me to visit such a club. There, he rather audaciously bought me a half-hour lap dance session in one of the club’s VIP rooms with two stunning dancers; a guy and a girl. If it sounds arousing, I must tell you I exited the room with the stupidest smile you can imagine. So, although this remained for quite some time my only RL strip club experience, not to mention my only RL same-sex experience, it was a bit of a light bulb moment for me: I realised that I wasn’t bi-curious, but actually bisexual. It also made me see the sensual and erotic side of working as an exotic dancer; so, working as one in SL sounded exciting and – why not? – transgressive.

I was going to defy RL societal norms. As an exotic dancer, arousing those around me and captivating them with my appearance, my flirting, and my sexually charged speech in chat and IM was no longer something I should be ashamed of, or something I should avoid for fear of sexual assault: it was something I’d be complimented and even paid for. And as an escort, I could be paid to have sex with others, on my own terms, and in an environment far safer than anything RL had ever provided me with.

Exploring Kinks and Fetishes as An SL Escort

It goes without saying that, even before I joined SL, I was already familiar with a wide variety of adult content: from “saucy” lifestyle mags to the usual suspects (Playboy, Penthouse) and all manner of cheesy porn magazines; from watered-down, flaccid softcore movies to moderately erotic (such as 9½ Weeks and La Leçon de Plaisir) ones, and then all the way to hardcore movies and websites. I became familiar with the works of photographers like Suze Randall or Eric Kroll, and I loved comic artists like Milo Manara, Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri, Sardax, John Willie, and Michael Manning. Much of what I’d seen and read there became part of my fantasies.

I know that, in RL, many of my fantasies will always remain fantasies. Some require costly attire and equipment that I can’t afford; some are physically impossible and / or dangerous; some others could expose me to the most venomous and vitriolic gossip imaginable. In SL, these barriers are largely removed: you can build your dream home, complete with the most well-equipped BDSM dungeon, for a fraction of the price of a couple of RL sex toys; your avatar can do, and be put through, utterly implausible things. Finding people to participate in some of your fantasies is far easier than it is in RL.

It’s true that, outside LL’s infrastructure and control, there are some gossip cesspools run by subhuman pieces of trash catering to the foul, cannibalistic appetites of even lower forms of life; LL can’t protect you from them. But, if certain long overdue and extensively commented upon permabans that were imposed during Ebbe Altberg’s tenure are anything to go by, they seem to be more than willing to show such people the door.

I wrote earlier that I’m just one of the many people who take advantage of SL to explore their fetishes and kinks. As a matter of fact, when I was an escort, many of my clients hired me to help them experience their non-vanilla fantasies. Some of them weren’t exactly my cup of tea; some others were fantasies I also had. Through my interaction with my clients, I was also given the opportunity to experiment, to see if what I fantasised about felt right when viewed on-screen while imagining myself being at the center of such scenes, and even discover new desires and kinks and, as a result, expand my horizons further.

One of the things I learned right from the start was that, if you want to make it as an SL escort, even the most stunning looks won’t help you much if all you do is click on whatever sexual attachments your client(s) and any other escort(s) that may be participating in the session are wearing. Sex in SL, being an extension of old-school chatroom / IM cybersex, relies greatly on text-based role-play, commonly referred to as emoting. In the context of an escort club, it refers both to chatting flirtatiously with your patrons – especially – after they’ve just tipped you and to your role-play with a client who’s hired you for a sex session.

To be good at it, you first need to have a good grasp of your partner’s (or client’s) language (I’m talking B2 on the CEFR’s scale or higher); you need to know how to use your partner’s (or client’s) attachments and yours; you need to be familiar with the furniture and / or custom animations you’re using. Most importantly, you need to be capable of putting together detailed, engaging descriptions of the scenes you and your partner(s) / client(s) are creating at the time, but also engage in a “call and response” manner with what your partner(s) / client(s) just sent in the chat / IM window, and type your text fast enough. You don’t want your session to read like two (or more) parallel, unrelated, and out-of-sync monologues.

So, Is Everything About SL Sex Work Great?

While my experience as an SL sex worker has been fun, not everything about it is good. First of all, there’s a huge supply of escorts and exotic dancers, and demand isn’t exactly infinite. So, getting hired can often be hard: even back then, there were extremely slow days at the club; there were days when people came to the club, but none of us got hired, and tips – if any – were insultingly low. Then again, there were days when I logged off having made upwards of L$5,000 within three hours of work, although that wasn’t very often. If you’re expecting to become a millionaire in SL by escorting, you need to reconsider.

But that’s not all: all those things I documented in my previous post were based on my experience as an escort: there were clients who were very difficult to communicate with. Others were really pushy and didn’t understand any part of “I’m not available right now.” Others didn’t know what they wanted and expected me to guess for them. Others had no respect for our boundaries, especially w.r.t. our RL. Others wanted us to satisfy kinks that were just plain against LL’s ToS and Community Standards. There have been times when I got booked by clients whose role-playing skills were pathetic, and working with them was tedious and exhausting. Other times, connection issues were so terrible that sessions were disrupted, and clients needed to be refunded. There were also occasions when we had really problematic people at the club: back in those days, griefing wasn’t an uncommon occurrence, and it could cause quite a headache; we’ve also had visitors who only came to pick a fight.

The advent of voice chat in SL didn’t help matters at all. Some girls and guys started offering voice chat, even cam sessions. This threatened the in-world sex industry with a race to the bottom w.r.t. escorts’ rates, but eventually it got sorted out. What took too long to get sorted, though, was the pressure exerted upon escorts by clients and some club managers. Club managers wanted to appear competitive; clients wanted an experience more akin to phone sex. However, many escorts, including yours truly, didn’t want to use voice chat in their sessions. Many were self-conscious about their accent, as English wasn’t their native language; others felt this would interfere with their RL; others simply weren’t of the same sex in RL as their SL avatars.

Personally, I’ve always felt my accent in English leaves a lot to be desired and I was worried it’d ruin the atmosphere and mood. Furthermore, even then, I wasn’t living alone in RL; I felt having my RL boyfriend hear me having – essentially – voice sex with other men was too invasive. Typing away was OK; I could take a short break if I had to, it was relatively quiet – my laptop’s keyboard was certainly no IBM Model M. Furthermore, at least in my eyes, offering my client a well-written narration, prompting him to not only read it, but also come up with something on par with it, made sessions more intriguing and rewarding.

Of course, not all patrons saw things this way. Among those patrons who demanded voice chat sessions, started heckling those of us who didn’t offer this service: they started haggling for lower rates, claiming we’re men in RL and threatening to expose us on the gossip cesspools I mentioned earlier, and so on. Many girls left the profession back then, because they didn’t want to put up with all this nonsense. I remember my income from escorting was seriously decreased at the time; all of my non-voice colleagues were dealt a similar blow. When some escorts started offering cam sessions and RL photos, things got even worse.

Why I Moved On From SL Escorting

Although I’ve always been an avid SL user, I come here to have a bit of fun, explore a bit if I can, meet my friends, and escape for a while from RL and its troubles and stress. By late 2010, the dust had settled, and I had already met Mistress Ani, who was then just starting out as an escort. She and I hit it off right away, and became best friends. However, I felt it was time for me to move on. I had quite a few good memories from my escorting days; during those days, I was able to indulge in several of my fantasies and fetishes, and I’d made some decent money.

But that’s not all there is to it: in my erotic explorations, I found out I had a really strong latex fetish, combined with a desire to immerse myself in the world of D/s (Dominance and submission). Due to the bizarre nature of the look I wanted to adopt, I quickly understood that, as provocative as it may be, it wasn’t what clients expected to be offered, and it wouldn’t be popular with them. So, some time in May 2011, I ceased being an escort.

Looking Back

I’m not nostalgic about those days. I don’t regret them, either. I had good times, I played around to my heart’s content, I made money. I had some unsatisfactory times, too – even rough ones: the voice / cam drama; the slow days; some frustrating clients. But the negative events and experiences don’t matter anymore, because, above all, I got to know Mistress Ani. She’s always been by my side, through thick and thin; She’s always been my rock, my confidante, my best friend. Now I know we’ve loved each other from the beginning. Now, She’s my Mistress; I belong to Her completely, and I couldn’t be happier; I’m Her permanently sealed submissive rubber doll; Her slut; Her toy; Her property. And this makes me look back on my escorting days, and all of my virtual existence, and smile.

Mistress Ani (on the right), whispering to Her rubber doll.
Mistress Ani and Her rubber doll…

Style Credits (Main Picture):

  • Mesh Body: Maitreya Mesh Body – Maitreya Lara v5.3 by Onyx LeShelle
  • Mesh Head:  LAQ Bento – Motion Capture – Gaia 3.07 by Mallory Cowen
  • Skin:
    • Body: LAQ ~ Lina BOM skin (No brows) – tone 3.0
    • Head: LAQ ~ Gaia Skin [3.0]
  • Makeup: Included with the head’s HUD
  • Manicure & Pedicure: alaskametro<3 “Pride” nail art appliers by Alaska Metropolitan
  • Tattoos:
    • Izzie’s – Izzie’s – Cellulite 1 by Izzie Button
    • QoS tattoo on right ankle (made by me)
  • Eyes: IKON Perspective Eyes – Coffee (S) by Ikon Innovia
  • Hair: *ARGRACE* RIE – B&W
  • Piercings:
    • PUNCH / Diamond Nose Ring (two of them worn on the left side of my nose) by Celandria Resident
    • (Yummy) Cleopatra Nose Ring – Diamond Flower Nose Ring – Silver by Polyester Partridge
    • EarthStones Belly Gems – Treasure – Maitreya Treasure Pack by Abraxxa Anatine
  • Bangles: Izzie’s – 80’s Rainbow Bangles mesh (l)
  • Anklets:
    • EarthStones Petit Vigne Anklet – Fatpack (R)
    • VOBE – B.Toes Anklets Slut Right (Silver) by Leó Streeter (leoo streeter)
    • ~~Ysoral~~ .:Luxe Anklets Ariel :.(Maitreya)(Left) by fenixdragon Rau
  • Shoes: {Livalle} Luscious -Platform Heels- Magenta (MAITREYA – Customised) by Lindsey Warwick
  • Top: :::insanya::: RaverTop Solids – M.LARA by Tatyana Ultsch
  • Skirt: :::insanya::: BiaSkirt – M.LARA (longer)
  • Bikini Bottom: [BB] Mini Bikini – FISHNET – Maitreya – BOTTOM by Belzebubble
  • Pose: Le Poppycock – *Linger A* by … (adapted with the AnyPose HUD)

On Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/2mkWBx4