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As promised earlier, a first-timer's experience when sex shopping in Second Life warrants its own post. I'll tell you right up front that my immaturity levels do not speak well of me as a sex correspondent. Chris Peterson's Second Life Safari at Something Awful puts quite a bit more thought and action into the topic. That said, with even the Dutch getting lathered up about virtual child porn (and not in a good way), Second Life's burgeoning sex industry is almost politely underplayed when everything else about the service is praised to the skies. So let's go penis shopping, shall we? NSFW, if you haven't guessed.

I should mention that I have only slightly more experience shopping for sexual novelties in the real world than I do in Second Life. Still, I came to the process with certain expectations, pretty much all of which were confounded immediately. The first sex shop I visited was also a home-design for sale — a sort of open-air California modern with outrageous cyber-porn on every interior surface, and no people around. Like every red-blooded American youth, I'm curious about genital attachments, so that's where I began browsing. Plus, I figure that's the basic building block of Second Life sexuality, as otherwise, what's there to do?

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Ignorant as I am about the technical side of how such things work — in Second Life! only in Second Life, I promise — I examined what seemed an appropriate penis attachment for my male avatar. The "aroused cock cut version" was a "scripted penis with HUD control unit, skin color control, sound, animations, cum, pee, touchable by other players to make you aroused." First off ... SOUND? Is having a great-sounding cock now important, as well as length, breadth, stamina, and sperm volume (judging by favorite spam email subjects)? My attention was diverted by these questions when I realized that two people had materialized nearby and were fucking on the desk next to me.

I backed away in alarm — what's the social convention here? Was this their house? Would the guy think that I had no penis because I was looking at the penis attachment advertised on his wall? The male disengaged right as I took the snapshot above. While his lady remained bent expectantly over the desk, he walked over to me and said, "Hi." I was so alarmed by this sudden attention that I panicked and tried to fly away. Instead I hit my head on the ceiling and lingered there a moment before awkwardly aero-stumbling through the top of the doorway. After checking to make sure I wasn't being pursued, I hid in a tree.

OK, so perhaps I'm much more of a prude than I thought. Or really, I'm just a chicken. But I'll try again. This time, a casual search lead me to an elaborate sex-castle-dungeon store. I didn't see anyone around, so this looked like a good place to unobtrusively peep.

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Don't ask me why, but I was drawn to the bukkake billboard. Here was a graphic multi-phase depiction of bukkakic delights; I liked that in addition to the act of bukkake, you are also purchasing a range of bukkake-appropriate facial expressions. I hadn't been standing there 30 seconds — still sipping my Irish coffee — when a tall fetishwear dominatrix sidled up next to me.

Her nametag identified her as a vice president of this sex dungeon. She said, "hi," and I replied, "hello." She then asked, "do you need a whore?" I had to think about this. Did I? Need one? "no thanks, just browsing," I ventured, figuring that usually works on the service industry types. But not on sex dungeon vice presidents. "i have the bukkake you were looking at," she said. Busted! I managed to control my mortification long enough to mumble something politely negatory and walk away, rather than flying in fear. After browsing on the upper level, I realized I couldn't afford anything here, so I jumped off the parapet. This caused me to land on the castle's drawbridge, right in front of the vice president! She sallied forth, and I flew off to hide my shame.

I made one final attempt to visit the furry subculture that has gotten so comfortable in Second Life. A casual perusal revealed hundreds of furry places, so I just picked one at random. It was a medieval tavern, and inside were about a half-dozen animalistic avatars chatting in mangled medieval-speak. I stood among them in my t-shirt and blue jeans, and yes, I felt like a freak. After a few moments, a fox-woman — who earlier had been writhing on the floor in laughter, ectsacy, or a grand mal seizure — approached me and asked that I wear a furry avatar while in this space. I fled so quickly I didn't even have time to take a snapshot. That scene may require its own post.

Like I said before, if you want to suggest places to visit where Second Lifers actually gather, feel free. More later, as warranted.