Second Life, a participant-created multi-user virtual environment (MUVE), gained sudden media acclaim in 2006. Prior to that, the world was developing many of the characteristics that have come into their own today, such as virtual fashion lines, a thriving virtual economy, scripted interactive furniture, vehicles, and toys. Perhaps not surprisingly, much of the early content was adult in nature, from cyberstrip clubs to kinky lingerie, sex animations, and interactive virtual genitalia. More surprising was the visibility and prevalence of the BDSM (bondage, discipline, and sadomasochism) subculture. In this paper, we report results from a two-year study of the BDSM subculture in Second Life, combining virtual ethnography and artifact analysis with recent HCI theories of experience design to understand how and why this complex phenomenon emerged from Second Life users. We contend that the participant-created world enables the construction of powerful aesthetic experiences, and that these experiences are made possible by the interweaving of visual, literary, and interaction aesthetics.