Beauty – part two: A Physical Place

by Pixeleen Mistral on 23/05/07 at 8:24 am

by Aurel miles
Aurel_portrait_may_20_002When Anne Rice was finished with Vampires and not quite ready for the Son of God, she turned her attention to fairy tales. In particular she chose one fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty and turned it into a story of a journey from one state of existence to another. It may seem like a far-fetched idea but some psychologists believe that’s what all fairy tales are for.

We are hard-wired to repeat the stories of heroines and monsters, stories where, despite impossible odds, everything turns out to be for the best. We love fairy tales because they reassure us that, no matter what, we will get through the hard times and find our own happy ending.

Of course, it doesn’t always work. Sometimes fairy tales go sour. Who doesn’t know at least one Cinderella who wasted years waiting for rescue before she woke up and rescued herself? Still, most of the time fairy tales can help people manage the most difficult parts of their lives. How many people have been sustained by the message behind the story of Pinocchio? Disney built an empire on that one – Follow your Dream.

Fairy tales repeat the messages we all want to hear, messages that sound trite and are true. Deep down, faith is everything. Honesty and integrity are powerful tools. Love matters. Everything will be alright if you are brave and true and follow your dream. Hold on.


When Rice wrote The Claiming of Beauty, like many classical eroticists before her, she was exploring the dynamic of desire. She wrote the books to illustrate a woman’s journey from sexual dormancy to full awakening. For many women this is a treacherous and frightening adventure. It requires courage, self-awareness and a willingness to accept that whatever it is you really want – provided it doesn’t involve children, deliberate physical or emotional harm and/or partners who do not give full consent, it’s probably OK. Other people have probably wanted it too.

Taking a long hard look at your own sexual map may be scary but it can lead to a deeper level of personal understanding and by extension, more of an ability to experience compassion for others. On one level or another we must all submit to our sexual identity. Whether we must learn to channel it, overcome it, heal from it, celebrate it or just learn to live with it – the human sex drive will not be denied.


For some people, the Beauty books were powerful enough that they wanted to participate in their narrative of personal sexual discovery in the company of others. These people have created places where they cooperatively live out this fantasy. They are the Beauty Sims.

Under the Beauty Sim premise, “Princes” and “Princesses” are sent to a community to teach them sensuality, the value of duty and the importance of compassion toward those who will someday be their subjects. The Beauty Sims are all role-playing, all the time. You are required to leave your RL self at the door.

Having glanced through a copy of one of Rice’s books during a trip to my local bookstore, I was intimidated. The sex in Beauty is rough, often degrading and always intensely confrontational. It was hard to go into the Sim with an open mind. There are areas in Beauty where slaves are openly displayed and expected to be used as sexual amusement. But this display and sexual exploitation is done at the slave’s RL player’s request.


At one point in my research, a “Princess” was bound to a post in a town square. She was being ignored. At her request, the Beauty administrators sent out a group message asking if any of the members would come to the Sim and meet her need for attention. Remember, Beauty is a consensual, fully adult, role playing Sim and while being chained to a pole in a town square and having your primary sexual characteristics handled by any passing stranger may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, it is important to point out it was hers.

All of the submissive players I spoke to said they felt much more in control of their sexual experience than their dominant partners. That may be because they are free to indulge in hard-core sex without having to accept responsibility for their tastes, the size of their appetite or even the existence of sexual interest. Slaves or subs don’t ask for sex. They are viewed as being so completely irresistible that their dominant partners must have them at any cost.

The real power dynamic in these relationships is trickier than it seems, in fact it is often the complete reverse of what casual observers assume it to be. It should also be pointed out that SL residents who dabble in BDSM are more than usually aware of the difference between the two worlds. Many would never consider making actual bondage or humiliation part of their round world sex lives. As one Domme put it; “I do believe that as an intelligent adult, I have the ability to make decisions for myself. I have never harmed a soul. My subs are happy. I’ll never raise an unkind hand. I shall never molest a child – nor adult. I live in a world that is RL. I play in a world that is SL.”

In Beauty, women hold most of the power. Accompanied by a friend, I toured the Wickford Village Castle and observed a scene. One of the “Princesses” was there with her “Groom;” they agreed to let us watch them play out the end of their day together. Grooms in Beauty take on the task of caring for the community’s slaves’ health and sexual capacity. Princes and Princesses on the other hand, are treated like expensive livestock.

Nevertheless, what we witnessed was a tender scene between the Groom and the Princess. She played the emotionally and physically exhausted Lady in peril and her Groom played a firm but caring caretaker. The scene was well improvised, detailed, believable and imaginative. The Princess was bathed and massaged. She was soothed and oiled and in the end – well, both partners seemed to have a very good time.

Beauty players, like all of the members of the BDSM communities I could find, think sex with children is repugnant. There are no underage nymphs running around Sleeping Beauty’s forest. In fact, some scholars see Sleeping Beauty’s departure from the dwarves a metaphor for an adult woman leaving the world of small and childish things in order to enter the adult world. There are no seven dwarves in Beauty, child avatars are not welcome, not even as observers.

Beauty entrance requirements are among the most restrictive in all of SL. The Beauty players express a deep interest in sexual exploration and I would hasten to add here that the nature of Second Life is such that there can be no physical risk to the individuals indulging in this kind of role-play here and the nature of Beauty is such that the emotional risk is lower than most other SL areas.


At the end of the experience, I wondered why I had been so nervous about visiting the Beauty Sim. The people were all very friendly and nice to me and none of them seemed a bit depraved. If I am able to admit sex is normal, seeing people talk about their idea of good sex shouldn’t bother me. Teleporting into Beauty is one way to begin the walk into the place where the fear of your own sexual nature resides and scary or not, that is an interesting walk.

As for the woman on the pole; when last I saw her, she was thanking the third or fourth man to ravish her while “arching her back” and describing her body’s response to the ravishing partly as a request for more interaction (aching loins, sensitive spots, feeling left unfinished – you get the idea.) Although her experience at the pole had been cathartic, she wanted more. Hearing this, her Groom “unchained her” and led her away to the bath where they would continue until she was satisfied. If literary sex is what you choose to explore, there are worse things than that.

For more on the psychology of BDSM check out Psychology And BDSM: Pathology Or Individual Difference? - an article written by Margaret Nichols PhD. Director of the Institute for Personal Growth available online at

Got Questions? Need help? Have ideas for things you’d like to read about or just want to send some smacktalk? – contact

3 Responses to “Beauty – part two: A Physical Place”

  1. NigrasOnMyLawn

    May 23rd, 2007

    First post, fgts

  2. yvette tzara

    May 25th, 2007

    Beauty does indeed to be a beautiful place. The learning curve is a little indimidating. But one thing that I saw time and time again was kindness and respect. And I dont know whethere you can maintain sl sexual excitment with that, but you can certainly maintain protracted rl relations with such cornerstones. It will be worth another look.

  3. Enderby Burgess

    May 31st, 2007

    My post here is not specific to the article, but more specific to what Aurel brings to this site as a writer. I have noted that her wtitings unlike other writing here bridge SL to RL. While commentary that is corraled within SL is certainly important, Aur’s writing brings RL reference and RL reality to the surreal of SL.
    As SL developes, as it changes, as features are added, the boundary between SL and RL will be for some a hard and high wall, and others a soft blur with the separation not as clearly defined.
    Aurel’s writing is important to both camps. Her writing has helped me shape my views and opinions about SL. I return to a default position that, it’s only a game. That default is becomming more dificult to maintain, and as I plan and I do mean plan my future in SL, Aurel’s writing will shape that future and how I relate to SL.
    I look forward to more from Aurel.

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