This is part one of (hopefully) a short series of posts about Gor, its lifestyle and the people who live it in SL.
Depending on who you ask, Gorean role play in Second Life is either the greatest thing ever since John Norman wrote the first book, or it's a bunch of sims filled with asshole masters and drama-laden slaves. No matter where you fall in that spectrum, there is no denying that the Gorean lifestyle in Second Life has had a huge impact on BDSM and D/s activity since it first started. Even if you aren't familiar with the books, you probably know what "silks" are, and how one would be "collared". There is a huge amount of vendors and many sims that cater to the large base of Goreans that come into Second Life solely for the purpose of living as a Gorean master or slave. So no matter what you think, it's here, it's strong and it ain't going anywhere.
In my quest to shed some light on this Second Life culture, I went to the Gorean Hub in the hopes of running into someone who maybe owned a sim or was someone of great importance within the community. After a few false starts, I ran into a man named Rhuun. Polite and charming, he agreed to meet me for an interview in a Gorean sim...as long as I wore silks. I figured that it would be a good experience to be perceived as one of these lovely silk-clad slaves for an hour or two, so I agreed.
We met in Sulport, a Gorean sim that was relatively quiet and would be able to give us a decent amount of privacy. After we managed to make our way through the gate at the front of the city (a task in and of itself), we found a nice place to have a seat and chat.
October: What brought you to Gor? What is the attraction for you?
Rhuun: Gor is a great social experiment. Its a world where you can live a million lives, love a million loves and make many mistakes without paying too high a price. I had heard of John Norman and his books, quite frankly I wasn't impressed. I never thought a life could be lived following these guidelines, but I found SL Gor, and I have a couple of things to say about that! LOL
October: And what's that?
Rhuun: The attraction that Gor represents is what I consider my role itself in the Gorean world. See, to me the true meaning of Gor is not a world you can live, or a fun adventure, let alone basic role play, but Gor is about women's sexuality. At least I understand it as such. Its a world constructed around women, with them in mind, by a man who understood them very well. I didn't come here to live, to have fun (though I have) or to have +50 slaves in a chain, but to understand the feminine sexuality better.
October: That is the first time I have ever heard that explanation. I have read the books and have heard several women (mostly feminists) that think they are misogynist. How do you feel that Gor explores women's sexuality?
Rhuun: Please be aware this is a work in process... I said I came to understand, not that I had achieved understanding... but here goes nothing.
October: Gotcha. Let 'er rip.
Rhuun: John Norman wasn't a writer. Yes, he wrote, but he was a professor of philosophy by trade.
Now I've come to assume that in his ramblings, he came to figure some sociological theory of some sort he thought was important. And as such he published it, but not in a scientific nature, but in sort of a parable: Counter Earth Gor. Now, what do I think he realized? Nothing much complicated, but very controversial. He realized women are submissive creatures by nature and men are dominant creatures by nature. But men are here (in his story) to serve women's submissive cravings, nothing else.
October: In some ways, that kind of puts men as the submissives.
Rhuun: Mmhm... and if you live in Gor enough you will see that is exactly the case: many master's become handled by their alleged slaves.
October: How many men, do you think, acknowledge the idea that they are just servants of another kind? Or that they COULD be.
Rhuun: I am yet to find the first, but this man submission is only because I believe Norman looks at it from the point of view of the woman. Maybe I can explain myself better: Norman wanted to tell us about feminine sexuality, not man's...he wasn't interested in that. He just wanted to tell us about women. He wanted to tell us that women are naturally called towards being possessed, controlled, overpowered and coveted
October: I see. And I don't entirely disagree with that.
Rhuun: There is some biological switch inside women's head that activates automatically once one of these buttons gets pressed.
October: But I think women want to be controlled and possessed by a man, as opposed to a man who isn't really a man. A tiger as opposed to a kitten, that kind of thing.
Rhuun: You mean a man in attitude?
Rhuun: Absolutely. Women measure their man, namely, they test him until they are sure he meets all their expectations. Once she is sure, she lowers her guard and gives in entirely.You can see this in the fact that women are often the last ones to fall in love in a relationship, and the last ones to forget the relationship... with a degree of error.
October: Indeed. We are picky creatures.
Rhuun: They want to be shown their man can overpower them...physically yes, but most importantly, psychologically.Here is where SL Gor comes into place.
October: Candidly, do you think that SL Gorean masters really have an inkling as to what the concept really is? For that matter, do you think any kajiras do?
Rhuun: Well, that is based on the assumption that what I am saying is true. It might as well be the true concept is simply what gets practiced here. But If I am right, I haven't met many masters who agree with me, but kajiras, tend to agree once Ive explained myself. Perhaps it is, just as Norman, I care not what masters think, but I am very interested in kajiras on whom I run all my "studies".
Rhuun: LOL...double entendre for sex, with philosophical feminine sexuality chat...
Rhuun: Study the woman, study the sexuality.
October: So why do you think the majority of masters are in Gor?
Rhuun: Have you seen most of these guys? I wish not to be harsh, but most are middle-aged, in frustrated marriages, probably shy in real life.Who can refuse to have 20 girls at your disposal with that kind of life?
October: A need to express the "man within".
Rhuun: True. Who knows...a need to get off to something else than their horrible wives
Rhuun: No offense to the wives. But at any rate...men come to get off, women come to fulfill their sexuality
October: Moving on from the concept of SL Gor....
October: What is the best thing, in your opinion, about the role play in the Gorean sims?
Rhuun: Ugh...that it's hanging by a thread. We need more of it, and more interaction. Gorean role players are without doubt the most skilled role players of SL. There are exceptions, but as a general rule, you find great quality here. We just need more of it.
October: How long have you been involved with SL Gor? What's the basis for comparison of then as opposed to now?
Rhuun: My current character is the second I've had. I entered SL in 2007, and with this one since 2009. I created Rhuun specifically for Gor, so you can do the numbers. I've had three home stones in total. I almost made it through BC boot-camp and 'Ive been a wanderer for the rest of the time. Outlaw rules.We had greater quality back then, or perhaps its that I'm detached now, but the numbers have thinned, the graphical quality of the sims has fallen, and the general IQ of Gor has skipped back a couple of points.
October: I have heard, and to a point experienced, some of the negative aspects of Gor. Quite frankly, unless one is a part of it, one tends to dislike it. What is your opinion on that?
Rhuun: I would have to know what do you consider those negative points are, please elaborate.
October: The misogyny, masters that are exceedingly full of themselves, incredible amounts of drama, etc. Do you think this is valid, or a misunderstanding by those outside of it?
Rhuun: I think all troubles in Gor are unfairly blamed on Gor itself. Every bad experience draws from the inexperience of the master or kajira in question. We masters believe we are supposed to be strong, but strength is not only measured in the bone crushing mechanical force of our hand, but in our willpower, tact and ability. Wit is stronger than the strongest arm and Masters fail to grasp that concept, often hurting their kajira in the process. I think there is a greater problem with Gor and SL in general, one that almost everyone fails to acknowledge, perhaps due to the sadness of realizing it: we all come to SL and or Gor to fulfill a Void in our lives. Something is missing that we feel completed through this wonderful interaction. But by doing so, we close the doors to coming to a solution in the real life, where the problem exists.We come to SL to stop being alone, and become more lonely in the process. That, to me is the greatest danger of Gor and SL in general.
October: I think many would agree with you.What is something that you consider to be very positive about Gor in SL? Something that people in SL could understand and maybe embrace?
Rhuun: I find that hard to answer. Ive only dwelt in the dark sad side of things, because it's what attracts me, but I would have to refer you to my previous comments. Gor teaches, and if that knowledge can later be applied in RL towards a successful and fulfilling relationship, I find that very positive indeed.
October: I think that's true of many kinds of BDSM, D/s and other alternative lifestyles here. People often learn a lot when they are allowed to explore.
Rhuun: Absolutely, but it must be taken as a therapy session, bound to expire. Get in, enjoy, live it to the max, get out. If we do not set an expiration date to our transit through SL and or Gor, then it's counterproductive. Think about drugs: in the beginning its all pleasure and almost no pain, but as time goes by, pleasure decreases as pain increases...to the point whee its totally backwards
October: Indeed. If you could sum up in one paragraph the best reason to role play in SL Gor for someone who has never experienced it, or might be nervous about it, what would you say?
Rhuun: I would say,, enjoy it to the fullest, and above all, never let anyone ruin the experience for you.
October: Excellent advice. Is there anything else you would want to add?
Rhuun: I think we covered pretty much everything. I would like to extend my invitation to everyone to come and play with us. I would also say that Gor is a philosophy, not a literal way of life. It's a game after all, with very deep reasoning underneath the skin. Play it as such. Come find me and let's raise a little hell together.
Thank you to Rhuun Ghennyn for his time and insight. Keep an eye open for the next post on Gor.