Get a Second Life Please!

By Mark Trodden | November 13, 2008 3:24 pm

I first came across Second Life at a demonstration session put on by one of Linden Lab’s gurus at SciFoo camp in 2006. Since then I’ve heard about it occasionally, but was recently reminded about the details of how it works by Sean’s post on his talk in Second Life. This is all well and good and, although I’m not currently spending time in Second Life myself, I can see that there is real educational potential there, particularly with people like Rob involved.


But sometimes things get just plain silly! The Guardian is carrying a story of a real life couple who got divorced because the man was carrying on a platonic relationship with another woman in Second Life (I guess I should mention that his avatar also slept with a prostitute avatar also). So, first, while some things, like attending a talk by a cosmologist, may be almost as good in Second Life as in real life, I’m guessing sex isn’t one of them because it lacks the whole, you know, you getting laid part! Second, if you wanted to misbehave with a non-human toy form, put together from basic building blocks, you might as well make yourself a Lego partner – at least you could touch that.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Computing, Entertainment, Humor
  • Sean

    At least you know it’s safe sex.

  • CoffeeCupContrails

    1. Lego… blocks… noted.
    2. cosmologist… noted.

  • clark tyler

    puleeze, get a first life!

  • moshe

    Nitpicking, but didn’t you mean get a first life?

  • Eugene

    Sean : wait till your online date download a virus to your computer.

  • John Branch

    You’ve got a good point about the silliness of breaking up over virtual sex. Not that I’ve tried it in SL yet, but it sure sounds like it’d be missing a dimension or two. On the other hand, apart from the particular case you mention, for one member of a couple simply to imagine or fantasize about having sex outside the relationship can be disturbing to the other. It could be the idea, not the fact, of the sex that causes the breakup.

  • Mark

    Hey Moshe. I really meant second life. Just as “get a life” is meant to convey that you could be doing less ridiculous things with your life, “get a second life” was meant to convey that you could be doing less ridiculous things with your second life.

  • jester

    A second life comes with a second wife? Then it’s worth living. 😉

  • Louis

    Mark, your post and especially the comment about legos reminded me of a documentary I watched a while back:

    This documentary presents interviews with 4 guys who formed some sort of emotional and sexual bond with life-size dolls. I found it quite interesting to watch.

  • Tom

    This Second Life thing is worth considering. ( I don’t have one, but I don’t really have a ‘first life’ either.) It is much more promising than the standard social networking services. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Just a thought: Is there a coffee shop in Second Life where the scientists/mathematicians ‘hang out’? A place where I could ‘sit’ while I type my notes in Latex (in real life) and a curious passerby could begin a conversation? That would be an interesting place.

  • s

    please bring back the blue background

  • Pingback: Friday Evening… « blueollie()

  • spyder

    Well, i note that no one is considering that the couple may have had virtual interactive sex suits, through which the online activities are directed to stimulate regions of the bodies more than imitating virtual sex. Would phone sex be grounds for divorce??? Would masturbation fantasies??? First life, second life, whatever life it is, grounding the boundaries of relationships would seem to require consensual communication that defines those boundaries.

  • Mark

    I’m telling you…in our lifetime, we will see marriage expanded to include online personalities.

  • Low Math, Meekly Interacting

    Unless they’re making Legos out of different stuff than when I was a kid, I’m not so sure how safe that sex would really be.

    Anyway, virtual sex has been around for a long time, in the form of the time-honored combination of porn, a hand, and a bit of imagination.

    There’s something almost aggressively unsexy about that photo, however. In fact, I’d go so far as to call it mighty creepy, and if it’s at all representative of the aesthetic of Second Lovemaking, then color me disturbed. My wife would probably divorce me too, but more out of fear of what my proclivities might imply than a sense of betrayal.


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About Mark Trodden

Mark Trodden holds the Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Endowed Chair in Physics and is co-director of the Center for Particle Cosmology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a theoretical physicist working on particle physics and gravity— in particular on the roles they play in the evolution and structure of the universe. When asked for a short phrase to describe his research area, he says he is a particle cosmologist.


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