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  Kissing and Telling in ‘Second Life’  
Posted 2006-02-04 by Tony Walsh
The virtual world of Second Life, like the real world, has an active and profitable sex trade. One enterprising virtual-world resident isn't just kissing--he's telling, too. Tommy Thompson has established a web site for the purposes of reviewing Second Life's numerous female-presenting escorts. Appropriately-dubbed Second Life Escort Ratings, Thompson keeps an ongoing, explicit journal of his sexual encounters with virtual sex-trade workers on the site, giving out between one and four stars (which he calls "Tommies") in each review to reflect the quality of his experience.

Thompson originally started the site in order to keep busy, to keep real-life at bay, and to become closer with one of the escorts he'd met. "I made a joke about starting a ratings site, she said she’d like it, and then I did it," he told me, adding that the two don’t have much contact anymore, despite his 3.5-star endorsement of her services.

"I focus primarily on responsiveness and creativity," said Thompson. "Without these things there is just graphics, and as good as SL might look at times, it doesn’t look as good as porn. Porn is freely available, so the escorts asking money have to deliver something different than just visual action." It seems that Thompson's ratings site might be filling a niche in Second Life's sex industry. "Guys can find advice on which girl they might want to hire, and good escort girls might get more clients," he said. "Also, it could bring new people to SL, people looking for virtual sex for any kind of reason. I do think that SL’s combination of graphics, direct communication, and the possibility to create whatever circumstances you want, can provide anybody with a satisfying sexual experience."

Unsurprisingly, Thompson has not escaped controversy with his sexcapades. "The blog annoyed a lot of people in the SL escort scene, so they made an effort of finding out who was behind Tommy Thompson, and spread the word." Within a few days, Thompson's main avatar's name was well known in the virtual sex industry. He eventually got banned from all the major escort locales, but despite the blacklisting, his notoriety has lead to being specifically approached by a few escorts, who he describes as "Girls who knew they were good enough to not be afraid of being rated." He currently keeps a collection of avatars with which to perform undercover reviews.

Thompson, who lives in Amsterdam in real life, has rated five escorts in the virtual region of Amsterdam within Second Life, giving an average rating of 3.4 in that area--the highest of three "Best Places," which includes The Barbie Club and The Sex Club. Out of nine escorts reviewed, only two have received a perfect rating. "If you score three Tommies, you are recommended," Thompson explains to review candidates via a posting on Second Life Escort Ratings. "Scoring three Tommies means that you've made the impression you are a human being. You seemed to care about what was happening on your screen." Thompson doesn't seem to care much about superficialities such as demeanour and appearance. Instead, he's after a sense of true presence, looking for someone to respond to his needs. Someone, as he puts it, who can "deliver an experience that was real and intense enough to be in a position to ask money for it."
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Comment posted by qDot
February 6, 2006 @ 1:52 pm
See also Apogee VR. We're doing experiences posts over on MMOrgy too, for people that don't want to set up their own blog or just want to do one-offs. One of our writers also did an article on why MMO Sex Blogging is important as a way of being a writing tutorial.
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