Sunday, August 30, 2015

Depersonalization during anonymous sex rituals

Our kind guest blogger below touches on one of the more popular activities in the fetish community in Second Life, wherein people engage in anonymous sex during the performance of rituals. This is of some interest to me since in my mind this makes it fall under the umbrella of depersonalization. As noted in an earlier post, one of the definitions that I applied to depersonalization was that in such activities, the partner is stripped of all personhood or unique personal characteristics, such that he or she is perfectly interchangeable with another physically similar person who can fulfill the same exact role. 

I'd like to thank our anonymous guest blogger for her thoughts on the matter.

I was pointed towards the blog entry on ODD (Objectification, Dehumanisation, Depersonalisation) and was initially confused as to how it might apply to me.  My avatar is determinedly human: no tables, no horses, no mermaids even.

Thinking further though, my interests in ritual and anonymous sex is one branch of depersonalization and so I agreed to explore my thoughts further.

After some consideration I decided my depersonalization extended to remaining semi-anonymous. I'm not ashamed of my kink and friends will recognize my identity quickly but perhaps that is sufficient.

Ritual and anonymous sex is a part of my kink, which also extends to sensory deprivation and bondage, and they do all link together - at least in my mind. Talking with Sir MK there seem to be two main issues, the mechanics of such kinks in sl and the psychology behind my kink.

The psychology is I hope more interesting, if harder to explain, so I'll talk about how things do, and don't, work in SL first. Anonymity within SL can be provided via viewer settings or more enforceably via Restrained Life Viewer technology (rlv), which has the ability to hide avatar names. Rituals can be handled purely through information and explanation (some sets of sim rules could be considered as defining rituals) or through poseballs, scripts and animations. I've been asked about how one makes sure rules for rituals and individual's limits are observed. Perhaps I have been lucky or perhaps such sims attract people with respect for such things but it has never been an issue for me. If necessary I would comment politely, then comment firmly then teleport or log if the problem continued.

Examples of rituals would include the sims that follow the ritual from the Eyes Wide Shut film, which also implies anonymity, or some of the rituals employed by Story of O based sims. There are undoubtedly many others, which I hope I might become aware of in the future.

So to the heart of the matter, why do anonymity and rituals affect me so strongly and is there a link between them?

Second Life in itself provides some anonymity and a chance for people to live or explore other lifestyles: disabled people can run and fly, introverts can be loud and brash, transgender becomes easier. Why would more anonymity be wanted? Anyone spending time in Second Life forms real relationships with real people behind the avatars. This is important for me but sometimes it is nice not to have any history.

Mutual anonymity allows two people to come together with no prior experiences and no particular expectations. On the other hand if only I am unable to know who is with me it is arousing as a form of humiliation. Will they see me later and tell friends without me being aware?

All of this sounds dry to me, so how do I feel when I'm about to start a ritual such as Eyes Wide Shut? The sense of arousal is driven by the dissonance between knowing the rules of the ritual and the uncertainty of what I will personally experience and with whom by its conclusion. Despite meeting some good people, the two I really remember I never knew who the other person was.

Maybe the next time will be even better!

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