August 27th, 2007

This Friday’s Click Me was about… Well, the title is pretty self-explanatory, right? We all have stories to tell about gender-swapping on the internet: whether you present cross-gender online, or you cyber with people who do, or you’re just worried about getting caught up in a sexy scene with someone of questionable real-life gender.

According to the ever-quotable Nick Yee, about fifty percent of the female avatars you meet in online worlds are played by men. If contemplating that number and remembering all your old cyber lovers makes you break into a cold sweat (as opposed to making you giggle with reseacher-ly glee, like yours truly), fear not. “OMG, That Woman I Just Had Sex with Is Really a Man!” is full of tips for how to figure out the real-life gender of your online playmate. Then you just have to figure out whether it matters.

Also, I don’t normally ask favors, but anyone who would be so lovely as to add to the Digg love here: you know I’m good for some favors (all in the name of cybersex research, of course) in return.

Update: At The Second Life Herald, there are two interesting posts on the subject of “outing” male users who “pose” as female avatars to indulge their taste for lesbian sex. While the first is a bit judgmental (or is that just cynical?), and the second a bit mushy, but they do give some great tips for spotting gender-bending. For example:

“And there are conversational hints too, you have only to listen. There’s not a woman alive over the age of 20 who has her dinner routinely prepared for her. If she has to go because she’s being called for supper, she’s either twelve or male or both.”

Tags: Click Me, cybersex, gender, my articles

11 Responses to “‘OMG, That Woman I Had Cybersex with Is Really a Man!’”

  1. Cybersexy Says:

    Ironically, this subject came up between Leg Lover and I the other night in chat (btw, thanks for introducing us Bonnie ;)), and what I told him was basically what you said: about half of female avatars are guys, but I don’t get upset. If someone had a dragon avatar, would you be upset to find out they were human?

    I take people at face value online, with the assumption that their avatar is representative of how they want to be treated.

    One time, a girlfriend of mine created a male avatar in Sociolotron and had sex with me. We went on for several weeks before she revealed the truth to me. She still gets the award for best roleplaying I was ever involved with, because I had no clue.

    As for the cooking tip, not so fast! My husband is a far superior chef to me, so he ends up cooking most nights. Since he enjoys cooking, and is much better than me at it, who am I to deny him?

  2. Brad Jackson Says:

    “There’s not a woman alive over the age of 20 who has her dinner routinely prepared for her.”

    Bullshit. I do all the cooking at my house, my wife doesn’t much like cooking, I do like cooking, and it gives me a perfect excuse to not do the dishes.

    I’ll admit that its somewhat uncommon, but still.

  3. Moo Says:

    I agree with Brad. For every “rule” that someone creates to try to categorize or otherwise define a set of people, there will always be some who are exceptions. Heck, people break rules for the simple reason of *not* being categorized. Relying on these rules is a rather one dimensional view of things, IMO.

  4. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    I love that the question of gender cooking causes more of a response here than the question of gender bending itself :). Personally, I do all the cooking, but my fiancé does all the dishes (and the laundry). Not such a bad deal…

    As for these rules (both mine and The Second Life Herald’s), they’re most definitely one dimensional. I for one agree with Cybersexy: we should take people how they want to be taken. But from a research/anthropological angle, I’ve got to admit it’s fascinating to me to look for patterns in the way we act. And if those patterns help out some worried cyberers, so be it!

  5. Cybersexy Says:

    One other thing I forgot to mention on this issue. There are two guys I know in SL with female avatars who recently “came out of the closet” (is that what you’d call it?) regarding they are men playing women. One of them did ok with his friends, but the other one was ostracized by the SL community he was in.

    Personally, I find it kind of neat that they are honestly (now) exploring their sexuality this way, and I’ve tried to be supportive (although they are both nice guys so it isn’t hard to be supportive).

  6. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Do you know why the one group of friends was angry? Because they had been “deceived”? Also, why did both decide to “come out” now? Why at all? Just curious…

  7. Cybersexy Says:

    The impression I got from them was they came out because of guilt. If you ever want to discuss it with them, IM me in SL and I’ll see if they want to talk about it. I suspect they would be willing to be interviewed.

    Of course, the group of friends was angry because of the deception.

  8. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    I should probably say, in general, that I’m “Cheeree Oh” in SL. I’m only around sporadically, and I’m often in compromising research positions, but I’m always up for talking about whatever!

  9. Cybersexy Says:

    There’s so much more to SL than just sex. Granted, most of my time there revolves around sexual roleplaying, but there are other fun things to do. ;)

  10. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Like shopping :)!

  11. Cybersexy Says:

    Exactly! ;)

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