Sorry I haven’t updated in a while, been busy with school and rl like everybody. But this article in the NY Times this week caught my attention. The punchline:
Rutgers University …scientists have repeatedly had female volunteers put their heads into giant machines and focus their attention on erotic fantasies — the scans reveal that the pleasure centers of their brains light up in ways indistinguishable from everyday orgasms
Women who simply thought about the stimulation of their breasts and genitals, the scans revealed, lit up the brain’s corresponding sensory areas.
I guess it is just nice to know there is a scientific basis to the feelings that many of us share on imvu. That we’re not crazy for thinking that sex here can feel as good as and even be better than sex in rl. These studies don’t even include the most powerful part of imvu, which is achieving all of this with the participation of a partner, the best of whom can stimulate with surprise and intensity, and penetrate deep into your heart and mind with emotional contact and intimacy.
Also in the article:
Men are mentioned occasionally. But sex researchers have found that the novel type of autoerotism shows up mainly in women.
I have mentioned in the past that women have more mirror neurons than men, the neurons that allow us women to feel more intense empathy also allow us to feel things we see on imvu as real.
Which maybe excuses and explains a bit why it is so hard to find good male partners on imvu. Poor men, they don’t know what they are missing.
I’ve also been pondering the question of what makes imvu different than a chat program like Yahoo Chat or gchat. Before joining, I couldn’t tell you. It’s certainly not as ambitious as second life–I think that’s to its credit, since it is so much more accessible and prettier…
I think part of what makes imvu so magical is that the brain is wired for imagination… for simulation. MRI scans show that the same neurons that fire when we touch a hot stove, also fire when we see somebody else touch a hot stove (so-called mirror neurons). These neurons evolved in part because they provoide empathy but also to help us simulate the future so that we don’t have to touch the hot stove to know it will hurt. Other experiments show that people who are assigned an attractive avatar in second life act more confident, but more importantly, that confidence carries over even after they’ve logged out of the game. Even old psychological studies found that if you recorded phone conversations of person A talking to person B, and person A thought person B was prettier (due to a faked photograph), person B “sounded” more attractive, according to observers who weren’t aware of the photograph. Simple put, Avatars matter.
On a personal note, I find that avatars have a really big effect on me. A good guy friend of mine likes to use a girl avatar sometimes. I found I interact with him very differently when I see him as a girl. More simply, I love cuddle poses. I mean I REALLY love cuddle poses. I can literally feel my heart rate change when I’m in the arms of somebody I love. But maybe I’m just weird… but even if it is just me, there’s still the science.
Thank you Quidlyn (Katy) for such powerful insight.