ONI Zen – click any image for full size
ONI Zen is a new adult / BDSM-oriented region within Second Life aimed at offering those with an interest / genuine curiosity about the BDSM lifestyle. It’s a subject that may not be to everyone’s interest or liking, so if this is the case, you might want to skip this article; but keep in mind specific adult activities are confined to specific areas of the region – such as the dungeon area and skyboxes – rather than being on public display.
However, before we get into the region itself, a few words on a couple of things.
There is a tendency in Second life – and the world as a whole – for the uninitiated to view BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) and D/s (Dominance and submission) as being one in the same – and that both are closely linked with sex. The truth is, they are not; although they can be intertwined. In terms of D/s and BDSM, for example, D/s is about the psychological exchange of power – a control dynamic, if you will – within a relationship. This may – or equally may not – involve practices such as bondage and / or s/m play. It also may, or may not, extended into the bedroom.
BDSM is, as the initials suggest, about whips, and chains, and bondage, and pain – although it doesn’t have to encompass all of these elements. Speaking broadly, it is much more about the practice; the kinky stuff, if you will. As such, it is possible to practice BDSM without necessarily being in a D/s relationship: couples can simply take on different roles without identifying with a deeper power dynamic. Nor need BDSM necessarily involve sex.
ONI Zen, according to its introductory note card, exists to encourage those engaging in BDSM to do so from more of a “lifestyle” perspective. In this, I would suggest the philosophy behind the region might also encompass D/s – particularly as the introduction note card seeks to emphasise the idea of the control dynamic, differentiating it from the view that BDSM = kinky sex play.
To this end, ONI Zen offers, among its many facilities, a Lifestyle Academy, where those interested in understanding more about BDSM as it might be seen within a broader context than “kinky sex” can do so. Also on offer is an events area, a games centre, and entrainment space, a subterranean dungeon, a general discussion area, a ceremonial area, all joined together by open spaces and paths to wander and explore.
Given the nature of the region, care should be taken in visiting, as it is possible to come across adult activities. Any causal visitor should certainly read the region’s introduction and rules prior to proceeding from the landing point (as an aside, the introductory note card also explains how the region came by its name).
Leaving aside the adult nature and intent behind ONI Zen, I can say it is one of the most skilfully executed region designs I’ve come across – kudos to Buggie (Cricket Ceawlin) for this. Surrounded by mountains and split into two areas – a rugged upland area which makes up the majority of region, and a smaller, low-lying island covering the south-east portion of the region. Richly wooded, and making full use of the 30K land capacity available to Full regions, both parts of Oni Zen make extensive and skilled use of paths and trails to make them feel far larger in size than one might expect.
These paths, winding over grass, around hills, through rocks and up cliffs, can actually be a little confusing – which adds greatly to the mystery of the region when exploring. To make things easier, maps highlighting the major destinations together with teleport discs, can be found at those locations as well as the landing point. However, I really do recommend taking the time to explore on foot; the visual richness of the region is equally matched by its depth of sound scape.
Exploring on foot also means the opportunity to discover the more secret parts of the region – such as the swimming pool sitting behind a waterfall – or the opportunities for playing games like My Virtual Lifestyle out in the open (there are more games in the Game Hall) or to play bumper boats – or even take a swimming in the waters at the edge of the region.
Officially opening on Monday, May 21st, 2018, ONI Zen is already hosting discussions and music events – details of events can be found on the board at the landing point. When visit, and at the risk of repeating myself, do keep in mind it is intended as a lifestyle region, rather than a place for casual SL tourism.
ONI Zen – click any image for full size
- ONI Zen (Aina Kealoha, rated: Adult)
Disclosure: Will Burns (Aeonix Aeon), one of the leaders of ONI Zen is a friend.