Second Birth? The Virtual Baby Boom

Since I exposed my Second Life marriage as a sham in The Morality Test, I have found myself tasked with Second Life single parenthood. A choice for today’s avatar is not just to partner or not to partner anymore, but whether or not to have a baby in-world. Bizarre? I have always thought so, but maybe there is more to it. My task in this column is to find out.

First, I needed to decide on a shape. New ones were expensive and my freebie one just did not look like me so I followed the lead of a visitor to my club and modified my own shape to become “pregnant”. I then bought myself a scripted blue menu driven invisible prim that talks green pregnancy related chat and put a tag above my head saying “Having a Baby” and I was good to go! I had always been of the belief that at best, having a baby in Second Life was role play, at worst creepy. I expected a negative reaction but surprisingly not everyone shared my views and most people were good humoured about it. Some did not see it as unusual; others were just indulgent of my latest project. One person sent me an IM saying that she wanted a pregnant belly so I dutifully told her how to get one. One male friend told me he had always found the pregnant form attractive. Although surprisingly positive, these reactions to my pregnancy so far did not help me understand what motivates people to become pregnant in Second Life.

So, to facilitate my learning, I decided to start with attending events. People again, were indulgent, engaging in friendly banter about my condition, making me feel less freakish. But am I sexy as a pregnant avatar in Second Life? For this, I decided to make things more obvious and stripped off to spend some time on a nudist beach. Usually, in this scenario it does not take long for the IMs to start coming, and this time was no exception…… I got asked to dance by Adam and I discovered that my baby bump was no deterrent; I was a “sexy lady”. At an event later in the day, I was told my pregnant belly was cute, but some found the fact that my belly spoke in green chat creepy. Back at a different naturist beach, people spoke to me as normal, passing no comment or judgment on my baby bump at all – Had I ceased to exist as a sexual person already, now seen as a mother first, a woman second? Possibly, but put simply, I don’t think people were that interested by my condition and were more interested in chilling out.

Still wanting to explore being pregnant in Second Life fully, I completed a search to see what places and groups there are out there devoted to pregnancy. There are a lot of shops, no surprises there. But one shop sold Real Life photographs of naked pregnant women. So, is there a body of Second Life residents interested in pregnancy as eroticism? To find out more, I hauled my pregnant self over to an erotic art gallery devoted to pregnancy to see for myself first hand what this was all about. Pictures of pregnant women tied up, a naked pregnant woman with a penis, swollen bellies and enormous bare breasts were everywhere! Welcome to the virtual world of pregnancy fetishism – It even has a name! Pregnant pony girls have their needs catered for in specialist tack shops and pregnant exotic dancers are hired for pole dancing clubs that are devoted to feeding the desire. We have moved on from Demi Moore’s infamous Vanity Fair magazine cover in 1991 to lactation fantasies.

So when does a celebration of the beauty of the pregnant female form digress and become a pregnancy fetish? And is there anything perverse about it? There are clearly some BDSM links in some schools of pregnancy fetishism and, obviously some people are not in it for sexual arousal but more for cute role play, often with their Second Life partner as part of their own virtual storyline. If Second Life is a safe place to explore sexual fantasies then clearly to some level, we should live and let live, providing there is no exploitation of the vulnerable. I decided to ask someone in-world who would know, a woman who could explain it to me so that I understood more about the motivation. She explained to me that the pregnancy fetish is all about the feeling of being “round”. There are a lot of sub groups dealing with the fatness aspect, inflation and growing breasts. The pregnancy aspect deals with the “feel” shape and textures – The ideal shape being a thinner girl with a beach ball like belly. The turn on for a woman in that role is being big, or round yet still sexy. There is also a Science Fiction angle of the pregnancy fetish – Alien impregnations. Age play does not factor into in-world pregnancy fetishism, the closest it gets is role play deliveries.

So after talking through the virtual pregnancy experience with someone who could dispel all the myths, I found myself less creeped out by virtual pregnancy and realized that if I ditched the talking tummy (which lets face it is just weird) it would not actually be that bad. But babies in Second Life? That is not for me, hand me the virtual contraceptive pill and pass me another Cosmopolitan……

Josephina Bonetto

Written: 30 August 2008