365 days of SL, day 126:
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Believe it or not, I've never actually been to a real public sandbox in SL before; whenever I had the need to rez something, I've either used friends' land or BG (which, when you really think about it, also is a friend's land). If that hadn't been available, I'd have turned to other places that allowed public rezzing, like the late Alikat estate or the rez zones along the Linden roads; in the past, I've been to a sandbox area in at least one furry sim, but it was just that — a small area (made to look like an actual sandbox), intended for temporary rezzing of e.g. purchases from the nearby vendors.
This one was different: the entire sim (just off the coast of Zindra, SL's Adult-rated continent) was a big sandbox, intended to be a sandbox and nothing but a sandbox; flat as a pancake, without any permanent structures, just sand and... well, whatever people happened to have rezzed at the moment.
It was a pretty strange feeling, too; I don't think I'd be comfortable doing any work on anything there, certainly nothing intimate; and by "intimate", I don't just mean sexual stuff, I mean anything that I feel emotionally attached to. It could be something as harmless as the furniture for my home — I'd not take my actual furniture in real life out on the street to work on it in full view of everyone, either. (And if you think "didn't you just talk about rez zones along the Linden roads above?" — yes, I did, but on those roads you'll often be alone. Even then, you do have a point; I'd not feel entirely comfortable there, either.)
As such, I can't help but feel sorry for people who have no choice but to resort to these sandboxes, although I'm not sure I should. It may well be that they just don't mind — I shouldn't project my own feelings on them. And for all I know, as guarded as the area made me feel, maybe there's less anonymity to them than I think, too: maybe there's a core group of folks there that regularly see each other there and that (sort of) know each other. Or maybe not — I just don't know, and I shouldn't make assumptions.
Nevertheless, I'm glad I don't have a need for these in the first place.
Location: Vortex Adult Sandbox (139, 179, 22) (Zindra Help Vortext: Adult Sandbox, Mentor and Outreach Center)
A word on ratings: SL has three ratings, General, Moderate and Adult, which in practice mean about what you'd expect them to. Non-mainland regions can be anything they want, but Mainland sims are restricted to either General or Moderate these days. IIRC, it didn't use to be like that, but all the Adult content was coralled and moved to a newly-created continent a while ago, Zindra, to strike a balance between the desire to not meddle in residents' affairs (and bedrooms) and the desire to keep those that didn't want to be exposed to it from becoming so.
It seems like a fair balance, too — it does raise some serious questions about why we, as a society, see sexuality as such a negative, shameful thing to begin with, but I can understand that the Lindens feel it's not their place to tackle such questions. They're not philosophers; they're a business, and the compromise of having a dedicated Adult continent seems fair to me.