Parsing the relationship matrices in Second life can be very confusing and tricky. This virtual world has so many opportunities and variations it is impossible to define a universal moral code. There are so many reasons why people are in in-world, which may effect their relationships in both realms.
I am only talking about intimate relations in this posts. I will discuss the wonderful deep friendships in SL at a later time.
Those who are mirrors of their first life are bound by what ever moral code they bring from their first life. If they are in a First Life relationship then they might feel a second life sexual encounter is cheating. If they are true to their values it will be avoided. Unfortunately for them, Second Life doesn't work that way. SL is serendipitous and mischievous in it's nature. If you don't want a romance in Second Life it will create one for you anyway. As I have mentioned in previous posts, something seems to able to reach through cyberspace and touch hearts. I fear the purist of these relationships are doomed to misery. If they never fulfill their Second Life desires SL will become too frustrating for them to keep coming to and if they do give in to their desires, the guilt will drive them apart eventually.
In contrast to the previous type there are the total porn crazy pleasure seekers. Mostly men often with female avatars. They are here for the sole purposes of acting out every sexual fantasy the have imagined. Strangely enough I have very little contact with them since the aren't about to pay for sex. They often end up having very wild times with those of their own kind. It is all visual for them so it doesn't really matter who is behind the Avatar as long as they are getting their rocks off.
The ones like me, completely free of First Life ties, have a different set of problems. I wasn't look for a long term relationship. (Galen smiles as she looks at her beautiful engagement ring and thinks of Lillith) It still happened. If you have read my earlier posts you know my profession in Second Life is in the sex trade as a stripper and escort. I can't say it is just about the money either. I really enjoy giving pleasure. This requires a bit more complexity in Lillith's and my ground rules. We both enjoy sex, and unlike guys, we don't wear out very fast. We both have clients to please and sometimes we get carried away with our coworkers. So, it isn't all work. Dancers can get pretty turned on watching each other and escorts will have sex with each other for fun and to sharing techniques. So when is it cheating?
I have heard that cheating is the number one reason people breakup SL I have also heard of First Life marriages collapsing because of SL relationships. That is why it is important to talk about it with your SL partner. Lillith and I have had several talks about our intimacy expectations and how it changes as the relationship grows. I do have my moments of insecurity and I am sure Lillith does too. I measure my actions by whether or not it would hurt Lillith. I love Lillith, she is part of me now which sets her apart from everyone else. We also have SupurSub as a part of our life now and we both love her dearly.
I think out of all this comes responsibility. My actions can have an effect on people I love. It is unthinkable for me to knowingly hurt Lillith or Supersub. I believe what would constitute cheating between Lillith and I would be anything that dilutes or puts at risk the love we share. We don't ask that either one of us stop having sex with others. We have agreed to not have sex with new partners with out the other one present and participating at least the first time. I think this has at least two functions. First it is statement to the new partner that Lillith and I are together and no one comes between us. Second, it makes sure that any new partner in our life is compatible with both of us.
What this comes down to is simple, talk to your partner, be clear about your feelings, let your partner know what your needs and expectations are and listen to theirs. You will find that this can also work in your First Life. It was on my mind so I though I would share it.