Living Outside
Episode 07: Omni 4

The Talk
MeganOh, weird! I'm not used to having a penis. ChesterIt's awkward at first, until your brain adapts, but you should definitely get yourself a cock. Penises and their variants are damn useful sex tools. They're fun, easier for masturbating, and how else can you suck your own cock? PawnTact, Chess! ChesterEveryone does it. Where is this shame coming from? Who has time for politeness with so much to experience and explore? There's all manner of fantastic proxies, mods, sensation enhancements... like, there's the sensation of endless urination and defecation, although you have to be careful with your physical there, because those are mixed states and you can make a mess. PawnBefore you speak, you should taste your words to make sure they're palatable. ChesterI'm peeing right now in the physical. What you gonna do about it?

Pawn returned to his brooding.

MeganHow would this penis thing work for me exactly? ThomasThe same way you can experience any proxy senses not matched directly to your physical body.

T brought up a display comparing the mapping of female to male genital nerve endings.

ThomasYou can see the analogous anatomy. You just remap your proxy form to redistribute your senses, and then it's a matter of your brain adapting to a different mapping of your genital sensations. Luckily, brains are really good at that sort of thing after a bit of practice. Not that terribly long ago you'd have to get expensive and painful surgery to switch sexes. Now, once you have one virtual body, it's easy to adapt to all sorts of forms. SaitouGoing the other way, getting used to a vagina wasn't too hard. It just takes practice. Personally, I think vaginas are more fun. MeganIt's great how relaxed this place is about everything. Sex is treated like internet porn used to be. You don't even hear much about protests anymore. SamPeople got over it. There was a good deal of moralizing in the beginning, and attempts at passing restrictive laws. But who the hell can beat boatloads of free, safe, virtual sex? Chester, do you remember how they closed down that one place when full-immersion tech was just taking off? ChesterOh yeah. And then like ten clones with extra kink popped up the next hour hosted all around the world. The only thing it did was give advertising to the free sex movement. Anarchy Outside! Free love rules, baby! SamSo much of the world used to be so damned sex starved. Outside uncoupled sex completely from biology, leading to the ultimate sexual revolution. Who would want to go back to a world where sex's relative scarcity practically made it a form of currency? Or a time when people chose life partners based so strongly on whether they could solely fulfill you sexually for the rest of your life? Way too much pressure. MeganI'm glad it's there and everything, but I don't know if I'll ever get into the orgy scene. Anonymous sex just seems so impersonal. SamI feel the same way. I did have a slutty period, but I need to feel an emotional connection for it to really work for me. I'm glad that polyamory has become fairly common, but I'm more of a serial monogamist. ChesterI'll take whatever, it's all good to me. The whole "sex as currency" thing shows up in old movies and shows, but I wonder how true it really was. The "war of the sexes" and that Madonna/whore thing and all that nonsense. I mean, sex was definitely treated way too seriously. Sexuality gets distorted by antiquated social mores, sometimes in violent directions. There was so much repression and fear about it, even about nudity. It wasn't good for anyone, but it particularly oppressed women. There were people trying to stop women from nursing their babies in public, for Goddess' sake.

T's proxy turned animated and went into standby mode as he left the group to participate in an anime orgy. This was not worth anyone's attention.

SamIt used to be rare to treat sex as a form of art. And gender was so tightly defined. It was partly a result of everyone being stuck in a single physical body, but still. Sexual experimentation carried the risk of significant social stigmas. Now, you can switch genders or have any sort of crazy sex you want anonymously. Hell, do it publicly on the floor in front of everyone and who's going to judge you? ChesterThere was quite a fight in certain parts of the world over transhuman principles regarding control over your own body and nervous system, and being able to adopt new bodies and sensory schemes at will. Simulspace features a liberation that scared a lot of people. SamBasically everyone's a transhumanist now, to one extent or another. Augmented reality at a minimum, and with the plant you can have as many different types of bodies as you want. You can look however you want, try out being male or female or androgynous, or appear as different ethnicities. You can have every type of human or nonhuman body and develop a truly flexible identity that encompasses all different types of people. It gives empathy for so many different perspectives, and increases acceptance of all types of people and ways of being. ChesterOutside really is the great equalizer, as they say. Everything is plentiful in digital environments, so there's much less judgment in terms of wealth, since everyone can have any sort of proxy or virtual living space they want. Instead, people judge you for your presence, your character, what you bring to a place, how you interact. Flaunting money Outside is just a joke. At the least, it shows a sad lack of understanding for how Outside works. How well you interact with the virtual is what's important here. Having a Plant gives an advantage for that, but it's cheap enough now that most people can afford one. And Mike has a successful Outside presence without implants. MeganHow well does Omni work for you, Mike? MikeIt's lacking certain elements, for sure. But my gear makes sight, sound, and most tactile elements pretty convincing, so I feel like I'm really here. I also have special equipment for more intimate sensations, but it doesn't work for some of the weirder sex stuff. SamYeah, I've wondered about that. How is teledildonics for males, Mike? MikeI have no complaints. The sensations that precision virtual actuators can simulate are amazing. It's a bit messier of course, since men need a Plant to have an orgasm without ejaculation. ChesterOn another topic- hey Meg, you have any favorite sexbots yet? MeganI've tried a few. They work pretty well, but they lack something. ChesterReal humans brains are better, definitely. But bots are good for practice. And with sexbots, you can keep the basic patterns of old lovers and bring them back whenever you want. MeganThat sounds kind of creepy. ChesterBah! You should have sex with everyone you get the urge to. Celebrities, friends, random people you see in public, whoever. Just use their proxies however you want. It's limited without an actual copy of a person's sex ghost, of course, but you can always just throw in your favorite sexbot. If you've had sex at all with someone, you can get at least a partial sexbot from them, though it might be limited. You know, like creating a virtual copy of a house by walking through it. MeganWhat else do you guys do?

Chester looked around the floor for a few moments and then changed the tabletop to display a couple having sex on a beach. They swapped genders every once in a while.

ChesterThis is a pretty typical example of virtual sex. If you check their sensory mapping, you'll see that they're sharing the sensations of the sensitized vagina of whoever happens to be female at the moment. Other erogenous zones and physical sensations are mapped dynamically to their bodies to keep things flowing. The relative size of the penis to the vagina is determined automatically by both of their responses, and the clitoris for the biological woman is being mapped over a larger area of the vagina so that it's more directly stimulated. MeganInteresting. So how do people usually set things to taste? Do people usually have natural smells and such? ChesterA lot of people make their body odor and taste available if you want it, including saliva, sweat, vaginal fluids, semen, and such. You can smell them to see if you'd like their smell in the physical, or make them smell however you like. It's completely up to you how you experience that. Or anything in virtual spaces really. Self determination of your sensory input is a fundamental principle of Outside and transhumanism in general. MeganWhat about games that make you experience unpleasant things? Like how Golden Martyr has that psychic guidance system that supposedly only works if you really smell foul odors or feel pains which can direct you through mazes and such. ChesterGames will try to make you experience unpleasant things, but you can turn those things into analogous sensations. Pressure or tingling can often effectively take the place of pain, for instance. Some games will even try to determine if you're experiencing pain or such by your brain's automatic reflexes. But obviously, you don't have to play those games. And fuck Golden Martyr and "the one who doesn't deserve a name."

Sam replaced the beach scene with another couple rolling around on a giant bed, kissing and rubbing their hands together.

SamIt's also common to reassign the sensations from your sexual organs to other parts of your body. It's convenient, less awkward than the thrusting hips of biological intercourse, and it can be quite subtle. Check out how their senses are mapped to their hands. Just by rubbing their hands together, they're stimulating each other's genitals, the guy's prostate, and various erogenous zones. MeganSounds pretty intense. SamIt depends on how they've got it set up. It can seem more intimate than traditional sex. Check out the french kissing couple next to them. Kissing via proxy is awesome. You can adjust taste, friction, saliva, the presence of teeth, the shape and length of tongues and mouths, and lots of other stuff. It's great to play around with. That couple's mouths are stimulating the neural pathways for their genitals and anuses, giving "oral sex" a whole new meaning. As you can imagine, anal stimulation is a lot more popular Outside than in the physical. Everyone can tailor their own experiences however they want, and no one has to know about how you experience any given proxy or space. ChesterHand jobs by proxy are also awesome, since you can adjust lubrication and texture at will, and can put the entrance to your vagina or your anus on your hand, which allows much better control over the angle and depth of penetration. Or you can replace your mouth with your vagina. That works well with blow jobs, which are easier to perform Outside. At the least, you don't have to worry about neck cricks. It's cool, because you can have as much sex as you want and you'll never get sore. Speaking of stuff that would make you sore...

Chester switched the table to display six people having violent sex and enlarged it so they were almost full sized. They were made semi-transparent so the group could see each other through them. The people were slipping, sliding, biting, clawing, grinding, and slamming into each other.

ChesterIf people had sex like that in real life they would have bruises and marks all over their bodies. You can set up sex by proxy so that you don't have to worry about hurting your partner or yourself and really go to town. Biological genitalia are so cramped and unwieldy. By mapping your genitalia dynamically over your body, sex can be so much more... robust. But why stop with just human proxies?

Chester switched the table to show a pit filled with a thoroughly tangled mix of writhing proxies. Some were humanoid, but many appeared more like octopi, demons, and quite a variety of monsters with various exotic genitalia and orifices.

ChesterNow, tentacles are wicked fun. MeganThey have such a naughty reputation. ChesterYou know how all that started? The earliest porn with tentacles, from Japan of course, depicted a woman having consensual sex with some octopi. Hentai artists later used penis-like tentacles to get around Japanese laws that censored penises. It was as much for satire as anything, as it showed how ridiculous the law was. I mean, they couldn't show a penis involved in consensual sex, but they could have a dozen tentacles, that were clearly penises, raping and dismembering a woman with no problem. Japan's sexually repressed culture warped their sexuality, as repression tends to do, and people developed a taste for sextacles. MeganOK, but how do they work as proxy appendages? They seem a bit unwieldy. ChesterIt's actually not that complicated. First, you'll need a penis. Developing one of those will be the hard part for you. Once you get one, you make it prehensile, so you can move it around freely. "Love muscles," and conversely, intricately controllable vaginas, are great just for sex in general. Then, you just need to get the controls down. Most people start by mapping a tentacle to arm or finger movements. Try it for a moment, it's easy.

*Author's note: Check out "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" entry on Wikipedia and read the original text. Seriously, it's wild.*

Chester sent Megan a tentacle extension and she accepted it, changing her right index finger into a tentacle about four times the length of her finger. It mapped the sensations from her finger over the length of the tentacle. It felt a little odd, but it worked. It also assigned her sense of taste to the tentacle, concentrated mostly in its suckers. She wrapped the tentacle around her left wrist and moved it up and down her arm, using the natural movements of her finger. It was slick, but not slimy. As she moved it over her skin, its suckers felt like they were giving her little kisses.

MeganNeat! ChesterYep. And once you master the use of one tentacle, it's easy to work up to managing multiple tentacles. I find using about 6 at a time to be optimal. The next step is to create duplicates of your penis, so you're getting stimulation from multiple cocks. That's fun in itself, since you can get multiple blowjobs at the same time. You have to learn to adjust the sensitivity and such, or it'll be too much. I recommend you get comfortable with new things by trying them out with sexbots first. There are lots of great sexbots designed as sex trainers for everything you can imagine.

Megan changed her finger back to normal.

MeganI will definitely try that. Tentacles seem like they would be useful for all sorts of things. ChesterJust remember that tentacles don't have to be instruments of rape. They represent overwhelming sexual stimulation, which is great fun if you're into it. With experienced command of a good set of sextacles, you can seriously work on someone and push all their buttons at once, while you simultaneously get yourself off. MeganAnother issue: With complex interactions like sex, what about lag? There are people from all over the globe in those orgies. ChesterLag isn't that big a problem, except for large physical distances. For random encounters, Omni tries to match people up geographically, but it really only comes up when someone has a wonky connection or is on the other side of the world. Sex proxies help by predicting what you're likely to do next, so they can fill in some since most people are pretty consistent in their sexual activity. Lag is mostly an issue when there's a lot of back and forth. So if one person takes the lead at a time, that can help. Incidentally, if you're into pain and discomfort, the plant allows for some great BDSM. SamWhat about something a little more subtle?

Sam switched the table to display a dance space with 50 people dancing within a sex cloud to classical music.

SamSex clouds enable group sex, and are especially good for submissives who like getting slowly and steadily sexed up. Combine that with the plant's ability to enhance the physical sensations of orgasm, and to reduce the refractory period for biological males, and it's quite a nice ride for everyone. You might notice that the cloud is lighting up in beat with the music. The music for that space is being generated by the stimulation of the sex cloud, so it all works harmoniously together. ChesterThere's also this thing you can do with sex clouds where.... woh! Shit's going down in CyFrenia! See you guys in hell! Discorporate!

Chester exploded into a mass of insects, mostly maggots, which fell predominantly onto Pawn. She left behind a node so her adventures in CyFrenia would be broadcast over Indra's Net.

PawnVery mature. If she keeps this up, I'm just going to filter her away entirely. MeganWhy don't you just put up a shield against any layers she generates? PawnBecause that would mean that she had won.

Megan nodded with as much sympathy as she could muster and looked around the play floor for something puzzling she had noticed earlier. It appeared common for lesbians having sex to use strap-on dildos. Megan displayed a lesbian couple on the table as an example.

MeganWhy are there so many strap-ons? Why not just give themselves penises? SamMany of those are women physically having sex, using physical strap-ons that send sensory information from the dildo to one or both of the women's Plants. I'm not sure what percentage of people having sex on the play floor are having physical versus virtual sex. There isn't exactly a strict line between the two, of course. With the plant, you can reassign sensations from one part of your physical body to another, just like those proxies having intercourse with their hands. There are some pretty neat ways to mix the physical and virtual. Take this couple, for instance.

Sam brought up a cute Asian couple massaging each other.

SamThese two are sharing their physical bodies with highly respected Omni patrons. They are passively letting strangers control their physicals via their plants. Every 3 minutes or so, one or the other person gets taken over by a different member of Omni, selected at random from a queue. It's commonly referred to as "puppeting." MeganThat sounds kind of dangerous. SamNot really. Besides the reputation system, there are safeguards to stop sudden dangerous or violent movements, and the couple can break the external control at an instant. And there's always the Plant kill switch. MeganHow well does having someone else control your body work? It seems like the differences between bodies and erogenous zones and such would make it awkward for everyone involved.

Thomas, who had kept his hearing at the table while he participated in the anime orgy, took enough control over his proxy at the table to enter the conversation.

Thomas"Puppeting" is more of a kink about giving up control than regular sexual pleasure. Course, I haven't tried it much as I don't have much physical sex. You know, what with the mismatch between my usual preferred sexual partners and their natural bodies. And also having plenty of great Outside sex. SamIt's a thing for puppets to allow everything up to light genital stimulation, to build up anticipation. Those sort of things are harder to mess up on than more intensive sexual activity. Then they take control of their own physicals when they can't stand the tension any more, and fuck each other silly. It's also common for physical lovers with Plants to switch bodies during sex. I'm a fan of that actually, it's very interesting to fuck yourself. You can also do things like sensitize or desensitize different parts of your body to speed up or slow things down. That includes inducing physical arousal in either gender and remedying premature ejaculation and such. And like with virtual proxies, you can enhance the physical sensations of orgasm to some extent. ThomasSwitching bodies like that works better in the virtual, since virtual proxy specifications are obviously more flexible and less awkward to translate to any given person's control scheme. It takes a bit more time to get used to a particular physical body than a virtual one. It's more of an approximation.

A note indicated that the controller of one of the men had changed.

ThomasCheck it out. That one guy is now being inhabited by one of Xev's custom bots. Very nice. MeganWho is Xev?

Thomas and Sam mock gasped.

ThomasXev is the premier sexbot designer. Or at least the most famous and expensive. Basically, sexbot designers have sex with a customer a bunch of times and use that and other data to create tailor made sexbots for them. MeganAh, OK. I always thought that custom sexbots were just a way to feel less awkward about paying for a prostitute. ThomasVirtual prostitiution's stigma mostly disappeared when it was legalized. I guess you could still get teased for it, since there's unlimited free sex all over the place, so why pay for it? But custom sexbots are said to really make a difference. I can't say myself, since I don't have one. Gift certificates for custom sexbots make great gifts. Hint, hint. Oh, there's a weird one.

T returned fully from the orgy since it was nearly time to dive. He displayed an orgy space featuring 50 identical proxies. They were all naked except for one with a red top hat.

ThomasThis guy's a performance artist or something. He's inhabiting the proxy with the hat. The rest of the proxies are controlled by his various sex ghosts. SamOne person orgies aren't exactly rare. ThomasBut usually they don't occur in public. Just something else that people do that Megs may not have been aware of. The possibilities are endless. Who doesn't want to at least try having doing it with their own sex ghost? For the weirdness, if nothing else.

Saitou stopped playing with Mai long enough to put a simulation of Sam and T having sex on the table using their sexbots.

SaitouHere's some weirdness for you. SamSeems about right. ThomasIt would be way kinkier than that. PawnAlright, alright. Time to dive.
Woo! Dive Time!

SamOK. Pawn, Megan, Thomas, Mike, Keen... that's everyone diving. We're meeting up at node 2501.

Sam brought up a visualization of Indra's Net, showing popular currents in the countless spiraling streams flowing throughout its grid, and pinpointed the destination node. The preview showed a group of lounge chairs on a beach by a crystal clear ocean. The divers accepted the destination node.

MeganSo how does this work? SamFirst, pick some random spot in one of the currents in the spiral. MeganOK, I've picked a spot. How do I get from there to 2501? SamJust slip in, relax, and flow downstream. Your SIS interests will guide your path there. Do you want me to go with you? We can link up so we'll stay together in the stream. MeganNah, I'll be fine. Anything I should know? SamYou never have to actively participate in anything during a dive, and you can leave or disconnect from any node at any time you want. That's not just for your comfort, it also helps make the stream a better place for everyone that shares your tastes. And remember, voyeurism is participation. MeganAnything else? SamThe trip will be smooth unless you specifically allow harsh transitions. But, uh, I would filter away nodes marked as part of "the Bog" for now. They can get kind of... dark.

Megan chose, unwisely as it would turn out, not to take Sam's advice. Pawn saw Megan looking over the options for the dive.

PawnRide the snake, Megan! ThomasPlease don't call it that. MeganWhat does "ride the snake" mean? PawnIt's awesome! Just do it! ThomasIt's a retarded way of describing a fast paced, passive experience through the stream. Don't do that yet. It can be a bit unnerving if you're not used to diving. PawnYeah, well, I'm riding the snake.

Pawn pulled out a steampunk bong with turning gears and hit it.

ThomasActually, that's a good idea.

T's proxy went on standby for a few seconds and then pulled out and started eating a marijuana laced brownie.

MeganDoes pot help the dive? ThomasSure, it can enhance the experience, depending on how you react to it. I'd offer you some, but you know. That's where the tech line is currently drawn. Actually, I wouldn't recommend it for a first timer unless it helps you relax. But it is a help in getting washed. MeganWhat exactly does "washed" mean again? ThomasIt's kind of hard to explain. You ever stand up too fast and you feel faint but it feels good and the world's unfolding all around you and you're sort of... free? MeganI think I know what you're talking about. ThomasMost runs have more of a theme. Spiral diving is a type of free association run. Stay on the pleasant side and just let everything soak in and forget yourself, and you'll become part of the stream and get carried away from your everyday existence. That's being washed. Just be free. SamWhen are you not washed, T? ThomasHey, it's a great way to live.

Sam plugged a cable from the table to the back of her head and was gone into the Net, while the other divers simply ported into the spiral. And they were off.