Fear of Porn

I saw this article on the Independent that talked about Porn and Video Game Addiction – and how it’s leading to a masculinity crisis.  No, really.  That’s the premise of the article.

You can check it out here.

This is all sorts of wrong.  But first, the basics.

According to the article, if you sit and play video games for 15 hours/day, it may impact your socializing skills.  There’s a possibility that was pointed out by the study that this may be problematic.   They don’t really go into the required watching time for porn, but the suggestion is that if you play video games a lot, you’re doing similar stints with your porn habits.

Dang, 15 hours a day.  Impressive.  I mean, think about the injuries.  Yes, Video Game Thumb (er, Nintendo Thumb) is a thing.

I don’t dispute that if you’re playing video games for 15 hours a day and doing the same with porn, you have genuinely run out of time for socializing.  Do the math, it’s pretty clear.  Even just splitting the time, assuming you like to sleep, or eat.

My problem is that the article, which of course is based on the soon-to-be-best-selling-book by the author, talks extremes (some play for up to 15 hours a day) and paints it with this broad brush, grouping everything together for shock-sake, and then making strong assertions.

Zimbardo spoke about the results of his study, an in-depth look into the lives of 20,000 young men and their relationships with video games and pornography.

They even talk about erectile dysfunction from being less interested in real relationships than in porn, then they extrapolate this to say that porn is the root of all evil and will cause world hunger, famine, unemployment and tooth decay.  I may be exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea.

I’ve seen so many people commenting on blogs about porn, about life, about this thing we all write about.  There’s such fear and irrational power associated with things people don’t, and don’t care to, understand.  It’s perhaps one of the biggest surprises I’ve had in this realm of the world.

How about a rational article.  How about looking into the root reasons why someone would do this? How about some stats that show that all 20,000 of your subjects weren’t living in the video game world (which is, apparently, directly related to the porn world)?  How about doing a real study if you’re going to do this type of excited reporting?

I’m embellishing the relationship between porn and video games.  So, to be clear and fair, they’re saying up to 15 hours of video games, and up to 2 hours a week of porn for this same audience.  So, over 7 days, that’s… 17 minutes a day.   Crazy talk.

It’s fear mongering.  It’s poking at people’s buttons, while standing back and knowing that it’s not abnormal, that it is, in fact, normal.  Why do people yell and preach and warn of the end of civilization (or at least the end of masculinity in this case), rather than acknowledge that a few people probably need to have a bit more of a life.

Let’s be honest.  We could write the same article for:

  • Gardening to excess.  Not much socialization there
  • Programming.  Don’t get me started.
  • Cooking.
  • Bicycle riding (like touring) – that’s pretty independent.
  • Needlepoint

I know these aren’t as sexy (sorry) as the others, but seriously.  If you’re into something, you’re into it.  Anything can be done to excess.  And have you played online games?  There’s a LOT of socialization going on there.  There are groups you can work with to solve puzzles.  You can meet up to take on a map at a specific time (or, every night).  You can even work it so you’re online with others your same age and skill level.  Jokes, making fun, having fun, obnoxious comments, arguments, it’s all there.  Yes, it’s different socialization, and I don’t think you should probably be doing it for 15 hours a day, but let’s be real.  That’s a HUGE exception.

And the porn thing.  Just … really?  How many times do we have to talk about the stereotypical magazines under the mattress that we found?  They were probably free too.  So to say that it’s the first time it’s been freely available is hogwash.

Education.  Talking.  Getting involved in your friends and family’s lives.  Enjoying your hobbies (online and offline).  Taking time to do things you like.  It’s all part of being human, isn’t it?

Just to head off obnoxious comments, I’m not advocating wild, under-age porn parties.  I’m not advocating “forget 15 hours a day on video games, let’s go for 20!”  I think we all know that.

But I hope we stop the hypocrisy of shouting from the rooftops about how terrible it all is while returning home to 50 Shades of Gray and Call of Duty.   How about some reasonable and informed and truly representative consideration…

2 thoughts on “Fear of Porn

  1. “What I’m saying is – boys’ brains are becoming digitally rewired.”

    Wow. I guess I’m immune because I’m a girl. I wonder how much rewiring is happening to my brain due to spending 8+ hours on a computer every day… Oh, never mind. I’m still a girl. >_>

    Liked by 1 person

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