Is ERP more intimate even without the OOC connection?
Yes it is and it can not be.
All erotic thoughts/inclinations, even in real life, starts with your visual and then your mind. In real life, your daydreams about sex are erotic solo roleplay fantasy.
In roleplay it's a imaginary visual of a physical or even mental act with another *person/thing/etc.*-you are interacting it with them.
A huge majority of people are not *detached* from erotic roleplay, their minds and emotions go into the scene that is texted or visual in front of them.
Notice I'm not talking about what their real life physical bodies are doing? I'm talking about *emotions and minds*.
It doesn't have to be count the legs and divide by two, it can be erotic roleplay in the act of domination, ie, a collared slave's feeling of being owned. That too, is part of erotic roleplay.
The excitement of erotic mental images is what drives the sl market, sexual merchandise is the leading selling merchandise in the marketplace-from sexy dresses down to pose balls to create a visual sexual scene.
Could treating ERP differently than other scenes explain why there isn't much open sex/sexuality in gorean RP?
See the reasons above. If erotic roleplay was only the act of avatars screwing/texting sexual acts to each other, then you wouldn't have the scenes of domination, the collared slaves, the visual sexy outfits, the care of appearance of skin/hair/body of your avatar, the flirting, the edge of possiblities of what could happen to that avatar etc.etc.
Why are so many OOC judgments heaped on characters who engage in frequent ERP (slutty FW, needy slaves, warriors that only want to fuck and fight)?
Rock bottom analysis?
Judgmental people are not getting what they want and see others ignoring their wants/needs or the others are getting their needs/wants and the judgmental person is ignored.
If judgmental people get what they want and need, they don't bother to judge others, they're too busy enjoying themselves.
What is the right balance of ERP in the gorean genre?
What people want fulfilled in their roleplay in gor.
My counter question is: is the visual having sex on a pose ball or sexual screw of text writing the only concept you have of ERP?