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Tuesday, June 14, 2016


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As for "academic results often move out of academia at a glacial pace" that's because this journal is not open-access. Even with my employer's generous policies for purchasing academic articles, it's not cheap.

It seems you did read it. So do these results break down the results about sexuality in SL to partnerships & longterm relationships vs. visits to sex clubs / sims? I ask because SL sex of the latter sort would presumably have few or strings attached (beyond potential stalking later) and no chance of an STD. For those seeking that sort of gratification, SL would be safer than RL shagging. The abstract notes "sexual involvement occurring at faster pace and with a larger number of partners than in real life."

It's good to see academics doing this sort of quantitative study because it counters some old stereotypes about SL as a Sybarite's paradise.

The authors are sedate, not sensational, noting "these data offer the first detailed description of sexuality in the emerging Immersive Internet and provide a less prurient and deviant view of sexuality in 3D virtual settings than is often depicted in popular media accounts."

Tizzy Canucci

It's an interesting article, and thanks for blogging about it. I agree that it's good to see more balance, and just as importantly more nuance and complexity, in research such as this.

The authors, however, never refer to sex in the real world or real realm as 'the real thing'. Psychologically, very similar things may be going on the brain. In other studies in other human activity it's been found that the brain responds almost identically to real and simulated situations.

Furthermore, from a more cultural studies perspective, sexuality is not just about behaviour (the physical sex act) but also about desire (inside one's head). Some level of desire is essential to a consensual relationship. And desire defines one's sexuality; just because you do not have sex does not mean you do not have sexual preferences, and just because you are in a monogamous relationship does not stop you being bisexual. Indeed, desire has more of a claim to being 'the real thing' than the physical act.

I too noticed the mention of genitalia and photo-realism and such in the article. A interesting further study would be how important that is relative to text and voice. I'm under the impression (though I can't cite a source and therefore maybe another urban myth) that visuals are more important for men than women in pornography. And as far as I'm concerned, it is the words that make a real connection - photo-realism is the last thing that matters.

Wagner J Au

One thing I noticed is the data sample skews heavily toward 20-somethings, where SL now is mainly 40-50 somethings. So not necessarily representative of the whole, at least age-wise.

Flashing Merlin

Hamlet wrote, "I continue to be stunned how many people, when given the chance, prefer the simulation of what's fundamental about the human experience at its best than the thing itself."

In my experience, it really depends on your partner. I've know women who were fabulous at RL sex, but lame at VR sex, and other women who are incredible at VR sex, but only average at RL sex.

Entirely different skill sets. Athletic prowess, the ability to get on top and the stamina to stay there, grace in changing positions, etc. counts a lot in RL sex, but is irrelevant in VR sex. The ability to arouse with words, and project sexual excitement in your voice is key to VR sex.

I'd rather have VR sex with a woman who is great at it, than RL sex with a woman who is lame and indifferent at RL sex. However, I admit nothing in VR sex can compare to being with a woman who can bring you to a state of sexual ecstasy in RL, which goes way beyond merely having an orgasm.

It's hard to see how an academic survey, or online questionnaire, can adequately account for the complexity of human sexuality.

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