Whenever there's a norm, there's a way to break it ... and someone willing to do just that. The same rule applies for sex. Wherever we find socially-accepted ideas about what makes for "normal" or "healthy" intercourse, we also find people who are defying those rules, testing boundaries, acting in ways the world at large may consider "strange," or just "sick." In short, these are people performing kink. But kink - as a concept and as a practice - can't exist without a predominant, normative sexuality from which to break away. Lucky for kink, sex is everywhere.
In real life, plenty of people are kinky in plenty of ways. The possibilities are endless. Maybe they like to be tied up and flogged; maybe they prefer to roleplay as children; maybe they're just really into enacting rape fantasies. Such people walk among us. And sometimes we read a "true story" piece about them in a magazine, or walk past a collared sub on the street and wonder, what is that thing around his/her neck? But, for the most part, real-life kinks are kept quiet, either locked up in the closet or ignored by more proper society. Despite the efforts of individuals and organizations to educate the world about kink, the world doesn't seem to want to know.
The internet, however, is a whole other story. Kink thrives online. Some might even say it rules. Whatever it does, it doesn't have to do it quietly. From chat rooms to message boards to web sites, from erotica to photo shoots to sex shops, from porn to porn to porn, the internet is a kink fan's dream. It can offer everything except the actual lashes landing on your back. Of course, that's where virtual worlds come in; MMOGs like Second Life, where a few clicks really can have you splayed, strapped to the wall and whipped for bad behavior. Or good behavior. Whatever your fancy may be.
Not that there's any shortage of vanilla (i.e. plain, non-kinky) sex on the internet. For those with more traditional tastes, there will always be sites and other users oriented toward a hetero-normative canoodle. But it can be surprising, wandering a world like Second Life, just how many people have kink on the brain. This preoccupation doesn't just limit itself to sex. Kink has inspired building and business of all kinds: clubs, clothing, communities. Here, kink is more than just an act, it's a way of life.
From subbies to furries to orgies
In virtual worlds, as in real ones, kink can take on many different forms. Innumerable variants inevitably crop up. Some are more popular than others. All are uniquely transgressive.
Perhaps the most common - or at least the most basic - of all Second Life kinks is a penchant for BDSM: bondage, discipline, submission, mastery (or sadism, masochism). Maybe it's because, as a sub myself, I unknowingly seek such people, or maybe because a dash of BDSM goes nicely with many so other kinks, but it seems that every person I meet in-game is already a self-declared top or bottom. Whatever the reason, the interest appears pervasive.