When younger, I lacked the drive to be randy, so when Dad told me that 'boys are no good!', my response was 'well okay that's fine!' because I really had no reason to argue the point (sorry for the pun not sorry). I did not date until I was 19. At an early age (not abused [in regards to these topics]), I was both aware and able to observe that romance and sex were common in the world for other entities out there.
Those facts did not scare me, but there was a curiosity that I had about a world that included/involved everyone except apparently/obviously me (and so... I started to wonder whether or not I was an outlier because I was not like my peers who were gushing about all the celebrity/famous boiz and was not smooching, etcetera). Of course, I wanted to fit in (puns again), but I was not in any hurry (if that makes sense).
Eventually, I found MUs and something sweet started on my first one (before I ever had any personal RL XP). My 1st PC that I ever made was with a gentlemanly player whose loving character was a faithful man to mine for many years. I can still remember some incredibly kind things that they RPed (and still remember and can fondly quote, myself, even though it has been over a decade plus, but I still do)!
We were on an RP-enforced MUD, so the standard operating procedure was to not steer the IC happenings in an OOC way. I did have questions because I was so naive, and he patiently explained so much, and there will forever be a soft spot that I will always have for that guy! I really enjoyed that so much! After 8 years, an email came my way and told me that he had to go for Real Life (and I fully supported that: it was only right to).
It took a long time to find RP/partners as caring/honest as I need again, but then I eventually did. I know now that I am lucky whenever I do find them.
I waded through being Cullen-ed and even worse elsewhere but did not speak up until later (after others were affected). Maybe, I should have, but...
Out of pride to not be too OOC, I used to force myself to just deal with frustrating situations, because I had this chip on my shoulder that told me that I was not 'playing right' and was 'too meta' if I were to speak up OOCly.
Also, I wanted to figure out a better solution than simply leave because walking out all OOCly and not figuring out an IC way felt wrong to me, plus walking out on someone always felt too mean (until I became bitter because the madness would not stop).
Also, the way I was used to handling 'careless whispers' used to work: explaining to friends that she had a lover already and encouraging them to meet one another and to talk about it (all of us together) with the assumption that if people really were friends, then they would care to support the union of lovers, and then because lovers cared for each other, lovers would naturally support the fact that lover needed to have friends, so everyone figured it out and could still be friends without a lot of drama).
Maybe that only worked because my 1st partner was a gracious guy and WoT inspired? I really wish that everything could work out like the above more often, though. I think it would be the best way to be.
My 2nd decade of MUing went worse. Everything I tried to do got messy, and it felt like a constant tasering -- figuratively speaking -- all over the map.
I ended up feeling like I was tricked into situations that were not great, my PCs would speak up about their lover, people would not take her seriously, and then I and my chars ended up with so many issues that drove me wild.
It was not the sex (which is fun to write in a certain context for me because it is not something at which I am capable due to endometriosis), but it was the fact that sex as a component of the dynamic amidst matters of the heart and feeling like I had been caught up in betrayal from friends -- IC and OOC -- when I had no desire for all the hurts (but would always want to be loyal and would not have been that way to them). Yeah, I know I sound girly!
People who were claiming to be friends proved themselves not to be at least not like those I had known before who were supportive, and the 'lovers' ended up 180-degrees disrespectful and unnecessarily mean in many cases. Also, I witnessed a lot of women going through similar things (which was not something I was privy to previously: lucky I guess)?
I ended up in stressful situations, made concessions and felt forced to minimize what I wanted and felt terrible for cowering and not fighting (sometimes feeling like I was powerless but should have done so anyway), and felt like I was struggling to figure out what to do. Whether it was to bait/drop/run faster because people were not listening, or redirect interest to someone else who might like what they want to do and then figure out how to never have to ever deal with 'all that' ever again if at all possible.
Reporting on repeat seemed like it would be weak and did not feel like something that I could/should do, and one of my Cullens ended up in a position of power on a MU. I hunkered down and was not going to let them control my ability to play a game that I loved and was not going to report issues to them so they could rescue me and get me to trust them again.
Seriously, I was going crazy and could use some serious help, but I did not want to cause drama, either. It all felt like this huge Catch 22.
I was not used to that 'whole mess'. It felt like everybody went crazy and that I was about to, too. Thankfully, there are enough people out there who actually/finally cared to counter the bad/sad derping (which I appreciate)!
Good folks (like my first romantic TS partner and the last one) are out there, and so... That is why I play with hope. I cherish them and would probably do almost anything for them.
Something that I think might help most games is a system where people can feel comfortable to speak up in an OOC way (finally starting to do this now, because I am worn out). Also, one where the admins are not going to punish either side from the get-go but instead start off with a mediation/translation/meeting process.
Sometimes, understanding how people are feeling can make a difference (and reiterating it in different words). Sometimes, banhammering is not a great way (especially if the behavior can be addressed). Making sure that people can speak up (without a knee-jerk reaction suddenly happening) is a good idea. At times, banning does need to happen. It is a hard problem (sorry not sorry pun), but a little finesse can really go a long time, I mean... way. I hope! Okay!