With all the talk about sexuality in games following the Mass Effect drama, it's interesting to see discussions centering around purposeful sex in games, such as Second Life. Author Tim Guest's new book, Second Lives: A Journey Through Virtual Worlds, takes a close look at the alternate lives, including sexuality, lived by people in Second Life. He spent months investigating virtual worlds and the people who inhabit them, from part-time virtual escorts, to a very serious virtual hitman, and many other personalities. In a Q&A with Nerve.com's Screen Digest, Guest reveals some of the interesting questions of morality, legality, and love that arise from the experience:
The people who get married in Second Life, the idea there seems to be that love is purely a product of the mind, and that just seems insane to me. The body has such a central role in our sexual lives, in our physical lives, that you can't just leave it behind.
Guest also addresses some of the other sexual experiences people seek in Second Life, and their motivation behind their actions. From people in long term relationships who want to find out what it's like to have a different sexual partner, to people who are physically unable to participate in real world activities for a whole host of reasons, Guest tries to delve into the minds of these people and provide some insight for the rest of us. From the Q&A, I get the impression that Guest approached his subject matter from very much an outsider's point of view, in the sense he didn't want to become too closely associated with the people he was watching, which make the ramifications of his book more interesting. Did he really get into the minds of the people who "live" in these virtual worlds, or was it more like trying to understand how a monkey in the zoo thinks? Either way, it should make for a thought-provoking read. The book is available on Amazon now.