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Sunday, January 11, 2009

I live out my sexual fantasy as an online escort

Virtual sex pays real money.
by Emma Boyes

"Palela Alderson" is a 26-year-old Italian who works in communications. She likes sports, skiing, shopping...and selling herself as an online escort in the virtual world of Second Life.

This is Palela's story…

"If you met me in real life you would think I'm a good girl. I come from a middle-class family and I have wonderful parents. I live with my brother, graduated from University with a degree in communications, and have a job in that field that I like very much.

"But there is something else, something I have kept to myself since I was a teen. It's what I think of as my dark side: I have always very excited by the idea of being bought and used for pleasure.

"We have street prostitution here in Italy, and I have always wanted to be one of them. As a teenager I would watch these sexy women walking the streets, waiting for the cars to stop, teasing the guys, and then hopping in and getting out sometime later. I'm not sure why I find it such a turn-on. I think it's because when a man will pay to have you, you know he really desires you. It's proof that you're really wanted.

"I tried to be an escort in real-life -- freelancing, not with an agency or anything. I browsed the net and found some escort sites; I chose one, bought a disposable mobile phone, and published some of my pictures. I was really excited -- I couldn’t wait for my first date. I took my new mobile with me everywhere, waiting for it to ring.

"But in the end, I refused all the [offers of] dates I got. It wasn't that I didn't want to do it, not at all. It was because I was afraid of being discovered by my family. They would have never accepted it, and I didn't want to hurt them or make them ashamed of me. They have done so much for me, I wanted to be the good girl that they raised. If I hadn't had a family, I wouldn't have hesitated.

"Nothing is off limits. When I say a full evening, I underline the 'full.'"

"The first time I heard about Second Life was in 2006, when I read about it in a newspaper. I thought it sounded interesting but not really worth investigating. However, in the summer of 2007 I heard that there were sexual aspects to Second Life, and I had the idea that this could be a way to live out my dark fantasy life without my family finding out. I joined a couple of months later, and have now been an escort for fourteen months.

"I set myself up immediately as an online escort. It took a little while to learn how to do things, but within a few days I had my first client. In Second Life I look similar to the real me, even if I don't use the red hair extensions every day. I try to minimize the differences between real life and Second Life -- my avatar looks like me because it's me that's doing these things, not a character or an actress.

"What I charge has to be realistic for the Second Life economy. To give an example, a pair of thigh high boots (I'm crazy for them) cost 600-800 Linden Dollars, and it's 400-500 for a short dress. But I don't have any fixed "price"; I prefer my clients to give me something as a present. They already know that the average fee in Second Life is around 2000-3000 Linden Dollars for one full evening. In terms of real money, it's less then a drink -- about 7-10 euros. [That's around $9 to $13. Drinks are, apparently, quite expensive in Italy. --Ed.] Money itself is not the reason I'm doing this. It's just that I get a thrill out of it.

"And nothing is off limits. When I say a full evening, I underline the 'full.' I spend two to three hours several nights a week 'working' in Second Life. I dance in escort clubs, and people know what they're coming there for; they know where to find me. But I take new clients very rarely -- I tend to be quite selective.

"At the moment I don't currently have a real-life boyfriend. Right now I prefer to be single. It would be hard to find a partner who could understand my feelings and fantasies. And of course he'd have to approve of my 'second life.' Personally, I can completely separate sex from emotions, but I can't pretend a boyfriend would believe that, or be happy about what I do. It would be really difficult."