Or, to put it another way, can Second Life activities on-line be seen as a rehearsal for face-to-face relationships in the real world?
Social network Plurk has already given Second Life the status of a country, and now commercial interests have gone a stage further by providing an interface between 3D reality and 2D fantasy.
The seaside town of Atami in Japan is offering young men a tourism destination to frolic with their virtual girlfriends.
The resort is based on a game called “Love Plus,” which encourages players to develop long-term relationships with virtual women . One hotel has gone as far as putting a barcode in its rooms, allowing players to see their “girlfriends” in a more private setting wearing “summer kimonos”. Hmm.
While it’s obviously a great sexual relief to be able to practise, er, frolicking with the fantasy of your choice, it’s a little difficult to actually hold a hologram.
Fear not! There are further developements.
In the underground sub-culture known as Moe, in Japan, men who are obsessed with pubescent, female, Anime figures form “relationships” with body pillows covered with the girl’s image.
Anyone else ever buy a Sam Fox pillow? (Too much information. Ed.)
Cultural observers say the rise of 2-D love can be pinned in part on the difficulty many young Japanese of modest means have in geting to grips with modern romance.
More than a quarter of men and women between the ages of 30 and 34 are virgins; 50 percent of men and women in Japan do not have friends of the opposite sex, a government survey reports.
This phenomenon is by no means confined to the Far East. In Germany, “Generation Porno” is said to be more chaste than debased.
Figures released recently by the German Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) showed that “overall German teens are less sexually active than they were in 2005”.
We will not speculate on what kind of sexual relationships these teens were having 5 years ago. Will we?
But the problem remains – how do you have a sexual relationship without just diving in at the deep end, so to speak? And, having made a tentative commitment, what if it doesn’t live up to expectations?
Fortunately, the rubber industry has the answer. Or, at least, it did for a 50-year-old Italian man, who went to adult toy-maker, Diego Bortolin in Treviso, Italy, with his request.
He was apparently so obsessed with his girlfriend that, even after she dumped him – for reasons we can only guess at – he wanted a life-size doll made in her image.
He put together a collection of photos of his ex and commissioned Sgr. Bortolin to make a sex doll.
“I want it just like her but with bigger boobs”, Italy’s Il Messaggero newspaper said. The cost? A mere US$18,000.
There is no truth to the rumour that he was later seen wandering around the resort in Atami taunting Japanese youths by saying ‘”Been there, Done that. Got the pillow.”
What was it people used to call practising sex on your own? Something onan inane, no doubt.
Resort Attracts Men With Virtual Girlfriends : Discovery News