As I go through the editing of the book, I realized that the section about BDSM was weak, because I don't know very much about it.  Everything I knew was hearsay.

There are many reasons why I avoided BDSM:
  1. I am fiercely independent.  Neither submissive nor dominant.  I prefer to live and let live.  You take care of yourself, and I take care of myself.
  2. I don't understand why people would be willing to surrender everything to a stranger.
  3. I am a minority and a woman; I've faced discrimination.  So I know what it feels like to be a second-class citizen.  Why would I want that in my Second Life also?
But BDSM and Gor have a very strong presence in Second Life, and I felt that I was doing my readers a disservice if I didn't delve in and experienced it.  So, Alt #27 was born.

A friend had chatted about a capture sim and the thrill of the chase.  I figured that would be a good place to start.  It wasn't as scary as full-blown BDSM and it doesn't require as much preparation as Gor.  As a runner, I had a chance to avoid the roleplay and have fun.  And maybe, subconsciously, I had something to prove to the doms.

What I found is that the good hunters want you to be good at evading capture.  They get bored with easy prey.  Meanwhile, the bad hunters want you to be easy to catch.

I was lucky to have found a very good hunter who decided to mentor me, probably because he saw that I had potential because I evaded him longer than most, even though I was very new to the game.  After all, I came up with my own strategies just by observing and practicing on my own in just a few days.  Besides, I have skill with moving my avatar with good precision on a fashion runway, so running like crazy is so much easier.  He gave me a few really good tips.

But I've also befriended some hunters who are new to the game as well.  And a few times, I encouraged a new hunter to not give up on me, so after a little rest, they'd start the chase again.  And, since I've befriended my captors, I never really felt the brunt of a BDSM roleplay.

Of course, I've seen a lot of immature behavior.  Considering my previous experiences with doms (long before I joined the capture sim), I wasn't really surprised.

Then, I met a very young man.  Or what I thought was a very young man.  He didn't chase me.  Instead, he IM'd me and made a comment about something I had put in my profile.  Even with his broken English, he was obviously very respectful and considerate.  He was also fairly new to the sim and to BDSM and to the type of weapon used at that sim, so he was pretty certain he couldn't catch me.  However, he claimed that he's a very experienced RPer.  But we had very different and very unpredictable schedules, so we gave up on the possibility that we could do a chase together.  As he was logging out, I told him he could friend me anyway, but he had already gone.

The next day, I had a friendship request waiting for me and a message that said, "Honored by your suggestion."  Soon after that, he sent me a couple of offline messages where he started a roleplay that he was chasing me.  I was surprised, but it was a charming idea.  And so it started.

Because I had a family emergency, I didn't get a chance to reply until a week later. My first contribution was just a one-liner.  But we continued the roleplay.  He would reply when he came online, then I would reply when I came online. I threw a couple of "curveballs" at him in the storyline, but he handled them well and very creatively.  I was very impressed.  He really is a very good RPer.

I would read his responses when I start my day, then I let it simmer in my head and respond in the evening.  As the roleplay progressed, each reply increased in the number of lines.  We were para-RPing, except we were doing it offline, asynchronously. Because we had time to think and craft our responses well, our storytelling became so vivid that, at times, I felt as though I was actually in that place we had created in our minds, even when I'm actually outside in real life.  I felt the emotions that my character would feel.

When the chase was coming to an end.  We agreed that we wanted to do the final scene "live", so we scheduled when we would meet.  I felt sad that it was ending, but giddy at the same time because of the RP story.  I had become emotionally involved, I had fallen in love, but I didn't realize it then.  During that scene, he redirected the story in a very unexpected way.  Later, when we analyzed it, he said that he became reluctant to move forward with it, because he wanted me too much and he felt that he was getting more emotionally involved than he wanted to be.  He mentioned a part where he felt there was very strong emotions in the undercurrent and that made him worried.

I agreed that there were strong emotions.  And because of those emotions, the roleplay had taken a life of its own.  It became "real".  In that final scene, I surrendered to him as his sub.  That surrender felt so much like a wedding, with the same intensity of emotions.  No, we didn't partner but we listed each other on our profiles.  He said that he had never placed anyone's name on his profile like that before.  He reiterated it a few times, in fact. He also understood that it was the first time I submitted to anyone, and he said he was honored by the gesture.

We talked about exclusivity, and after some negotiation, we agreed that Alt #27 would be exclusive to him.  But he also knows that I have other alts and other lovers in those alts, and he was fine with those.  Throughout the discussions, he never imposed his will on me.  He kept making sure that I feel comfortable stating my needs without feeling guilt. And I kept falling deeper.  We were together for eight or nine hours that night.

I experienced the bliss of D/s.

Yesterday, we met again and we continued the RP.  He was teaching me how things were done.  How to trigger a kneeling animation.  How RLV works.  How the collar works (a collar was required at the capture sim, but I picked one that looks more like jewelry).  And during the RP, he attached a leash to the collar.  As he stood there towering over me, I had this wave of emotion that was so unexpected and grew so quickly.  I asked him to wait.  He waited.  I started to cry in real life.  And I tried to explain to him what was going on as I was trying to figure it out.  I was intensely happy the previous night, I was intensely happy just a few moments prior, and suddenly, I felt something different and I kept crying.

It wasn't that I didn't trust him.  I did.  He was very kind the whole time and very respectful since I met him.  Smiling and happy.  We were behaving like a newly wed couple.  But the image of my avatar kneeling in front of a man who holds a chain attached to her neck, that was just too much.  I suddenly felt oppressed.  Not necessarily by him.

He listened attentively as I tried to figure out why I felt that.  I had to explain that I am a minority and that I was getting that same feeling of oppression as when I was discriminated against.  That feeling of being subjugated.  What made it complicated was that I had fallen in love with him.  If I didn't, it would be so easy for me to just stop the roleplay and just drop it.  But because of my emotions for him, I couldn't leave.

I experienced the oppression of D/s.

He said he didn't want it to end either.  So we talked for hours while he was trying to figure out a way to change the roleplay so I would be comfortable.  He suggested several scenarios.  I said it was just the combination of symbols and suggested that maybe I not kneel and be leashed at the same time.  It would make it appear that I am not a respectful sub.  It occurred to him that other doms would berate him about that, but he resolved that he would just challenge them and, when they're defeated, their insults and dishonor would be gone with them.  How can I leave a man so gallant, so chivalrous?

The issue hasn't been resolved completely.  And I'm still analyzing the whole psychological picture of D/s.  I had been trying to find metaphors to link the concepts to what I know.  I told him that a woman would naturally surrender to the man she loves, even if the relationship is not declared D/s.  And I also said that a sub obeying the dom is just like a wife obeying her husband.  In both arguments, he said it's more than that, because a wife would not "obey" her husband, for example.  I argued that it depends on the culture.  He comes from a culture where the norm is that husband and wife are equal partners.  I come from a culture where the tradition is that the wife defers to the husband.

Anyway, we'll see where it goes.  I could see a whole new book in all this.

Lord, have mercy.