Phantom touch is the phenomenon whereby if you focus on the visual stimuli, it can override your tactile sensations, creating a feeling of touch (and shivers and goosebumps 😊). This isn't limited to touch -there's phantom falling, phantom heat, and many other types of stimuli- and it can be "practiced" in that the more you focus on it, the higher the sensation is.
Cuddling and headpats stimulate this phantom sense, and are super intimate and fun 🥰
best headpats are slow, sensitive, and patient. For facepats, keep your hands just outside your partner's viewpoint (this is generally between the eyes, but can be inside/outside), and be sensitive to how your partner reacts to it.
But why stop at headpats? Fullbody massages are also fun: carefully run a finger through the torso, arm, and especially hands are super sensitive. If partner is looking at a mirror, you can also try legs, and tummy ^.^
Pole dancing, and lapdances: these are fun ^.^ and a very good starting points into foreplay
phantom sense can also be heightened by environment: taking virtual baths, showers, sitting by the fireplace, hairbrush, and asmr 😊
Getting to phantom sense
Some peeps report having no phantom sense, and while people differ a lot, in some cases we've noticed there are common issues getting in the way.
VR sickness is the thing where you get dizzy spending various amounts of time in VR. In our experience, this breaks down into a few things:
general vr learning curve: the first few hours are inevitably going to feel weird; however, as your brain acclimatizes to the weirdness, a lot of it goes away by itself. Kitten's personal experience started with Moss (which is super cute and awesome, and you don't move at all) which got her from "able to play vr" for 10 mins -> > 1 hour session times; then vrchat with snap turning, which went from ~20 min playing sessions to ~2-3 sessions with a 10 minute break every hour or so.
lens cleaning: this might be obvious, but even small tiny stuff on the lens gets amplified in-vr, and increases the rate of getting vr fatigued
the dissonance between what you see happening, and what your inner ear experiences (eg walking forward in vr, while staying in place IRL). For kitten, to this day, whenever she moves around during world hopping, she finds it much more comfy to sit down physically first (because that way she can pretend she's in a wheelchair 😂 ) then move around.
FPS. To point at the elephant in the room, vr is horribly, extraordinarily computationally expensive. Social vr in particular also don't have limits on individual avatars performance levels (at least on PC); meaning anyone can appear in super unoptimized avis, leading to low FPS, leading to cognitive exhaustion.
In general, whenever you can trade between graphical fidelity vs more fps (below 30-40), _always_ trade for more fps; because it doesn't matter how shiny it looks, if you can't spend more than 15 minutes in it without a headache.
VRChat, and steamvr gives a bunch of tools to keep this in control:
In steamvr, you can adjust graphics resolution, this basically the topmost lever to get your fps up
In vrchat, you can set whether you want to display guest / new avatars. Not only is it a good anti-crash to keep these disabled, but having fewer avis to render means higher fps in large publics
If your brain gets particularly upset while moving around with locomotion, you can try vrchat's comfort mode / tunneling effect, which fades the periphery while moving around. This helps a lot for reducing "too much stuff moving all at once".
In populated worlds with lots of friends, you can set "avatar distance hiding", basically hiding everyone more than 5-10 meters away. Hiding avatars has a modest impact on fps, as it's that much lower things to render.
The Proteus effect describes a phenomenon in which the behavior of an individual, within virtual worlds, is changed by the characteristics of their avatar. This change is due to the individual's knowledge about the behaviors that other users who are part of that virtual environment typically associate with those characteristics. Like the adjective protean (meaning versatile or mutable), the concept's name is an allusion to the shape changing abilities of the Greek god Proteus.