One of the advantages of a virtual world is that (of course) it is cheaper than the real world. Or is it?
In an idle moment, while picking up the free Freya head for an alt, I clicked on another avatar’s profile, and fell headlong down the rabbit hole of something called findom, short for financial domination.
According to the Urban Dictionary (which I suppose is as good a place as any to get a “street” definition), findom is:
A combination of 2 words: financial domination. Financial domination is a very real fetish involving a submissive being “forced” to give money to the Dominant. Terms like money slave, paypig, moneypig, walletslave, and wallet rape are all part of the play involved in this type of Domination and submission. Some men are very turned on by and seek out findom Mistresses and are aroused by the act of submitting so completely to a Dominant Female.
(And yes, apparently, the D in Dominant is supposed to be capitalized, as a form of respect to the Dom/Domme. Who knew?)
And so, suffering from a rather pernicious bout of insomnia, I chose a suitable avatar to go undercover: Coupon Clip, whom you may remember lost her job as a dancer for tips at the Pino 1951 club not too long ago, alas:
Decked out in a bubble-gum pink jumpsuit with matching platform heels (but keeping her signature Fifties bouffant hairstyle), Coupon set out to explore the world of findom in Second Life.
Her first stop was a bustling little spot called Loseria (a place with some definite, uncomfortable Nazi deathcamp overtones, with its chain-link fences, stone walls, and guard towers):
Now, as a proud-and-out-of-the-closet, clinically depressed, overweight 56-year-old librarian possessed of a hyperactive imagination, stuck in self-isolation in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic, I am in absolutely zero position to judge anybody else’s lifestyle choices, but…
But… There are some pretty hardcore choices being made here, people:
And I have never seen more expensively manicured, bejeweled, and costumed female avatars in my life (and trust me, I have been hanging out in Second Life for fourteen years now). There are dozens of them, perched on thrones waiting for their next worshipper, or leading their kept, presumably financially submissive men on leashes, or not-so-coyly posing with pythons:
Surrounding the fenced-off central yard are advertising boards for a wide variety of findom/finsub goods and services:
Yep, Loseria is pretty much the nexus where twin passions meet in Second Life: sex and money. As Roderick memorably says in season 3 of the HBO TV series Westworld:
All sex is commerce. If you don’t know that, you’re just being billed indirectly.
Uncomfortably standing out like a sore thumb in my Fifties hairstyle and pink jumpsuit in a sea of latex black, I quickly decided that I had done sufficient exploring for the day, in the wee hours of the early morning, and teleported out, back to the relative safety of my favourite jazz-infused watering hole, the Pino 1971 bar. Whew. That was a close one. I think I came perilously close to accidentally becoming someone’s financial submissive! (And yes, it’s not just men that become finsubs; I saw a few women doing it at Loseria, too.)
My little excursion just goes to prove that, for any possible kink or fetish in real life, it is probably represented somewhere in Second Life if you know where to look, and (of course) somebody is trying to make a buck off of it. Witness the untrammeled free market at work, people.
A final thought before I go: it is precisely because of its wide-open nature (with only a few things strictly banned, such as ageplay) that Second Life is still as popular and commercially successful as it is. You might not like some of what there is to see and do in SL, but the fact remains that including non-PG options for users is a definite attraction for some customers.
In contrast, I rather doubt that the soon-to-be-launched Facebook Horizon, for example, will be offering a version of Loseria in its efforts to appeal to and to attract the soccer moms of America. In seeking to lure and retain lucrative corporate sponsors, partnerships, and advertisers, most of the newer social VR platforms and virtual worlds are choosing to stick to their guns and disallow adult content. However, there has been some speculation about the potential uses and abuses of the so-called “decentralized”aspects of the blockchain/cryptocurrency-based virtual worlds. We shall see what happens. It will be fascinating to watch the market evolve.
Every social VR platform and virtual world, sooner or later, decides whether or not putting themselves into financial submission to adult content is worth the gamble.