Are Porn and Video Games Hurting Young Men?

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About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is the type of working mom who opens her car door and junk spills out all over the ground. She serves as Executive Editor of The Good Men Project and is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on sites like xoJane, hlntv.com, and The Huffington Post. Joanna loves playing with her sons, skateboarding with her husband, and hanging out with friends. Her dream is to someday finish her almost-done novel and get some sleep. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.

Comments

  1. I am not a huge fan of porn but just want to comment that when I was in my 20′s, during the mid-late 1980′s, I had frustrating sex with boyfriends who changed sexual positions rapidly, had no interest in foreplay and thought I should orgasm easily without proper stimulation. These guys were my age or older and did not grow up watching porn on the internet because there was no internet. There was video porn in those days, but nothing like the 24 hour a day access there is today.

    I have no way of knowing if the percentage of clueless male lovers has increased due to porn, but it doesn’t seem like a new phenomenon at all. It seems like it has always been a challenge for men to understand female sexuality (and visa versa). This is an issue that goes back to ancient times, probably.

    Sex got better as I and my partners became more experienced and I got better and telling and showing guys what Iiked. Some guys are capable of learning how to please women and some aren’t, but most want to please their partners, they just may not know how.

    I agree that porn provides a very negative and unrealistic view of sex and I do wonder what it does to guys’ minds (and girls, too) to watch so much hard core porn from an early age, before they have any real world experience. But I don’t know if it’s causing an epidemic of bad or selfish lovers — I just don’t know how one can prove that or not.

    • Terence Manuel says:

      Sarah, you made some good and honest points.

      Being a good lover comes with experience. It is like anything else in life. Practice, practice, practice. It does make perfect.

      In my view there are several dynamics at work. First, most men lack the sexual experience of most women. All studies clearly show women have more sexual partners than men. While many surveys show women STATING fewer partner, academic and more thorough studies conclude otherwise. Bottom line, if a woman says she has been with 5 partners, you need to double or triple this number. If a guys says he has been with 10 women, then cut it in half (bragging effect).

      Secondly, as women are more sexually experienced. Men are greatly undersexed. Therefore, the only way to overcome this imbalance is for women to take responsibly for their own orgasm. Speak up in bed. Tell him WHAT you want! Tell him HOW you want it. Tell him WHEN you want it! He is at a disadvantage.

      Finally, women can get sex far more readily than a man. It just a fact. You are far to mature and experienced to deny this. Please do not bother trying.

      Until these dynamics change and/or improve, men are going to continue to rely on porn and prostitutes.

  2. Tom Matlack says:

    Great piece Joanna. Thanks for posting.

  3. As someone who was most certainly addicted to video games and who is in the demographic that this pretty much targets, I have a number of insights.

    #1. Involved parents. Parents can now let video games occupy their sons time and they don’t have to do any parenting. Give a boy a computer and a $15/mo World of Warcraft subscription and he’ll have an infinite amount of entertainment for $15. These games are addictive. I started playing MMORPGs in 5th grade and by the time high school rolled around, I was spending at least 30 hours a week playing MMOs and during the summer it was probably upwards of 60. I had no father and my mother couldn’t even be bothered to feed me, so I was able to do whatever I wanted, and what I wanted was to be able to avoid reality and feel like I was in control of something. MMOs gave me an outlet. It gave me an opportunity to be successful. I had a leadership role in one of the best guilds in a game of more than 10 million players. It felt good to be important.

    Porn. I started watching porn at the age of 10. It’s been a daily and multiple times a day thing every day since that time. I think I’ve gone more than 4 days without watching porn once in my entire life. It is not inherently a problem, but it gives boys an outlet they would not otherwise have. Whether we admit it or not, boys (and men) are expected and required to do the lion’s share of approaching and initiating. In junior high and high school, your options are limited. If you strike out a bunch of times, you quickly lose any opportunity to get a date or a girlfriend and you quickly earn the label of socially awkward loser. I cannot begin to describe the pain and suffering that comes from serial rejection from women at such a young age. How does a boy get confidence socially when he is perpetually rejected by women and that rejection is used as a tool to humiliate him by his peers? If you combine this with say, absentee parents who don’t regularly demonstrate affection towards their children, then you have a recipe for a child who feels they do not have any inherent self worth because they are being told by the world that they do not have any self worth. You can’t tell a teenage boy that the reason his parents and women and peers are rejecting him is a problem with them and not a problem with him. He won’t believe you.

    He will have friends with whom he plays games, who are also having the same sort of social issues. It becomes a sort of band of brothers; a group of boys who have been rejected by the world who escape into video games where they can feel in control and good about themselves. Where they can have accomplishments.

    We have a society that is truly, heinously brutal on boys. If they are deprived of early success, they choose a comforting and enjoyable escape that technology has provided them; video games and porn. I no longer play video games because I realized that it was an addiction that I couldn’t control. I cannot play games “casually.” The porn remains, of course, because I have no other outlet for sexual satisfaction. I, and probably every other boy/young man in my situation, long for a personal connection, affection, love, etc. To be honest, sex is not even secondary on my list. Hugging, cuddling, holding hands, and having someone who looks at me with caring and affection as opposed to indifference or disgust. That is what I want.

    Unfortunately, I am a man. As a man, I must be the one to make it happen. I will need to approach women, ask women out, plan dates, pay for dates, and be the person who takes action. Otherwise, I will remain alone. How do you make this happen without self confidence? How do you have self confidence when you have experienced nothing but failure? I cannot answer either question, and it is a miserable catch-22 in which to find yourself. I have never in my entire life had a woman smile at me unprompted or approach me or say hello or ask me out on a date or anything. Not once. I’ve never been told I’m handsome, or sexy, or attractive, or been made to feel attractive and desirable. There are millions of boys and young men in this position. So many people view porn as the cause of problems with relationships, but it is the result. Had I ever experienced at any point since I first asked a girl out in the 5th grade one who said, “Yes, I like you, I’ll go out with you,” I am fairly certain I would not be in the situation. Nothing succeeds like success, and nothing fails like failure. Confidence needs to start somewhere, and you need someone to help you start it. Without that, you have a continual downward spiral of declining self confidence, depression, and misery. I firmly believe that one of the biggest issues of the next decade will be overwhelming under participation in society of men and massive levels of suicide among millennial men. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if I found myself as part of that statistic.

    • Random_Stranger says:

      “I, and probably every other boy/young man in my situation, long for a personal connection, affection, love, etc”

      Collin,

      Don’t give up, you’ll find that most girls/women want that too. If I can offer any advice, I’d suggest you remain plugged into, and expand upon, whatever social outlets (work, school, clubs, church, ect) permit you to get acquainted with potential partners and demonstrate how much of a catch you really are.

    • “How do you make this happen without self confidence? How do you have self confidence when you have experienced nothing but failure?”

      How do you tie your shoelaces without self-confidence? YOU JUST DO IT. You don’t need any self-confidence to approach or ask a woman out. I met a woman while deeply depressed (I don’t suggest doing this BTW) and I told her I was incredibly depressed and didn’t think I was good enough for her. She still wanted to fuck me. You don’t need self-confidence to pick-up women.

      • That’s an awful analogy and you know it. You need self confidence to do it. Just because you’re depressed doesn’t mean you lack self confidence.

        • “Just because you’re depressed doesn’t mean you lack self confidence.”

          Yes it does! Being depressed means you lack self-confidence, self-worth and you feel like shit.

          You do not need self-confidence to do anything. All self-confidence is, is a belief in your own abilities and that you will be successful. If you have a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar you don’t have the luxury of relying on positive feelings or being motivated before you take action. If you wait to feel motivated, you will get even more depressed. Its called do-nothingism. You have to do something precisely when you DON’t want to do it. When you don’t think you will be successful. That is how you break the depressive cycle. You have to soldier on.

          Its a habit. A consistent habit that if practiced can help one avoid deep depression. I know this because I do it. There are many areas where I have kept going even with very little motivation and a strong believe in my own failure. In fact for most things I do I like to have the frame of mind “I expect to fail but I will do everything I can to succeed”.

          Or in other words: BE RELENTLESS.

          • FlyingKal says:

            So you were lucky enough to stumble upon a woman who WANTED to fuck you.
            How is that in any way related to your depression?

            (Might be that she thought she could, or wanted to, “fix” you. You know, as in the “suffering artist”-syndrome)

          • FlyingKal says:

            PS. The analogy is awful because you don’t need to ask the shoelace för permission before tying it.
            The “just do it!”-advice can be interpreted in all sorts of wrong way on a subject like this.

          • How? It’s a simple question. How do you do it? I cannot bring myself to do most things because of my lack of self confidence and depression. Just do it only works if you can motivate yourself to do it. If you feel no motivation, then you won’t be able to do it. When you struggle to get out of bed in the morning, you aren’t going to have any energy or motivation to, let’s say, smile at a cute girl on the street.

            • Collin,
              The way that I looked at it when I was younger was that things weren’t going to change for me if I didn’t make an effort, and I also realized that I knew what it felt like to be rejected. Knowing that I didn’t get too tied up in the possibility and over think it. However if there was someone that I was interested I just told myself that I would try talking to them. I realized that rejection didn’t hurt like it use to, and eventually I became more successful at initiating conversations with women. I swear that women sense fear. But you have to be motivated to make a change, but when you are motivated to make that change start out small and just go talk to people, what’s the worst that can happen get rejected? You know what that feels like, and if you hit a home run then you know that it was worth it.

  4. Peter Houlihan says:

    Actually I’d be alot more concerned about video games than porn, and it’s something I’d be concerned about for both genders.

    I don’t know that many men who I would say have a porn addiction, as in they spend most of their free time looking at porn and have difficulty with real relationships. I’m sure there’s some people out there who struggle to separate fantasy from reality, but I think there’s a difference between “watches alot of porn” and “never does anything else.”

    I do, on the other hand, know more than one man and woman with some form of video game or internet addiction. Personally if I ever have kids there’ll be a strict time limit on the thing. Stuff lole WOW and Secondlife scare me alot more than pictures of women in the nip.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      *Stuff like WOW and Secondlife

    • I spend maybe 30minutes to an hour a day at times on porn, depends how busy my life is. Sometimes it’s 2 hours (use to happen a lot with medication that made it difficult to reach orgasm) and sometimes none at all. I’m definitely calmer on days I do it, but I can go a few days, even a week without any form of release and it isn’t too bad. My new medication has a side effect of increased libido though and thus the porn viewing has increased to match, all of this is without a gf though so I presume with one I would prefer to be with her mostly.

      Is that an addiction? Not for me, it’s a CHOICE. I CHOOSE to do it, and is that choice any worse than choosing to play a few hours of games a night? Watching TV? I still do things in the daytime that don’t involve entertainment (In fact I find it hard to watch tv, play games in daytime as I usually want to clean, build, work, etc). Some people treat porn as if it’s heroin but for most people I think it’s more just the daily cup of coffee, a pick me up, a bit of help for fantasy. I use it mostly because I LOVE the action of sex, seeing it, the mechanics, I love the vulva, I love curvature of a woman’s body, her facial expressions, her reactions, everything. I find it incredibly hard to visualize that stuff, my imagination isn’t very good and I get frustrated as I can’t visualize the image in my head so masturbation is annoying without porn. I am also far more turned on when I am looking at porn than I am without, I do believe I at least have a lot of visual stimulation from such imagery and masturbation without that stimulus isn’t as good.

      But ask me if I prefer porn, or a woman? I’d rather a woman. But having a woman is a luxury and a privilege, not all of us find it easy to get a partner and it can be quite difficult especially if you’re overweight like me and suffer confidence issues, even worse if you have no job and suffer from illness. I am well aware of the fact many women do not wish to date a jobless man, and until I am working and build my confidence up more I question if I could actually get a date.

      I am more concerned over games that require large amounts of time to play. Battlefield 3 I can play a few hours a day, do a round here n there. But world of warcraft takes many days to reach the top level, then you have to “gear up” which can take quite a few hours, then find a group or raid for endgame content can take up to 1-2hours, then 2-5hours in the raid. I found myself wasting an hour getting into a raid n waiting for it to start, then it was 3-5hours of raiding and still the raid wasn’t complete. 3-6hours a night, and having to keep that schedule so you are on when your guildmates are on can restrict your life a bit if you want to be successful, 3-6 hours of very few breaks and having to bring your A game especially after a long hard day of working then you look at the clock and it’s 1am, you have to wakeup at 7 or 8. That kind of game is an absolute timesink, I had 2-4000hours of playtime, many have told me how it’s a second job where they play 40 hours a week. At my absolute maximum porn consumption, it would have been 10-15 hours MAX a week but even then probably less, hell any longer and you penis would get very raw!

      • Agemaki says:

        I am pretty obsessive about gaming but I manage to keep it all within my breaks when I’m not in school (which oftentimes means gaming really hard for a month or so once just once a year). The rest of the time that obsessiveness goes into my schoolwork. Work hard, play hard as they say. :) I’ve gamed for more than 24 hours solid (with breaks for bathroom/snacks). About a year ago I put in ~48 hours in a game in three days. And that was just after a long plane trip from studying abroad, which should have exhausted me. But those are the best gaming memories, just as studying Japanese for every waking moment for several months was one of the best parts of my study abroad experience.

        I have always had a very active imagination (and find it more difficult to find porn that can turn me on as much as my own fantasies) so I usually masturbate without porn. I do masturbate a lot but I reach orgasm easily so it only takes a few minutes to have two or three.

        I think that a lot women find confidence attractive. I certainly do to a certain extent. But confidence is a complex issue. Liking yourself for who you are is a big part of it I think. My boyfriend is very shy and doubts himself a lot (is very much the wall flower type) but I feel that he sincerely does value himself, and I think that is actually kind of rare and it’s really attractive. I guess I just wanted to reassure you that there probably women out there somewhere who will recognize your good qualities. But in the meantime, kudos for being open about your use of porn. In my humble experience, boyfriends who were open and accepting of their sexuality tended to be far better lovers than those who thought that sex was dirty and refused to express their desires.

        • Thank-you. I learned that I shouldn’t be ashamed of my sexuality, I like porn and I started realizing when I opened up about it that women were thanking me for it on the GMP. I think too often they may get this negative stereotype of what men look at with porn but when they hear how there are men just wanting to see sex in a loving but sexy way instead of the degrading way then it probably helps them to understand how porn viewers are diverse. Most of the anti-porn sentiment I see only really applies to a small portion of the material I’ve seen, stuff I don’t look at, most of the stuff I see in fact is solo or real couples and has no degrading acts. Its all about pleasure, happiness, orgasms, positive emotions.

  5. I’ve seen this song and dance before, and it just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

    As Sarah pointed out, the kind of behavior being complained about predates widespread high-speed internet access.

    This is doubly true when you consider the fact that the shifting gender-gap with respect to college enrollment is a continuation of a trend that began in 1975 (seriously, look it up, this is when male enrollment plateaued but female enrollment continued to climb), well before the internet or video games were of any consequence.

    I suspect the real problem here is what it always is: a desire to confirm stereotypes. People want to see what they already believe, and so they go looking for it.

    There are alternative explanations. For example, last year economist Ainhoa Aparicio looked into the relationship between construction wages during a housing boom and the impact on school drop out rates among males. Not surprisingly, within the same country, areas with very high construction wages also had high drop out rates, and the increase in the drop out rate tended to lag the increase in the wages. In other words, wages increased and THEN men dropped out of school.

    Aparicio’s dataset looked at the housing boom in Spain. For reasons relating to data-colleciton, a similar examination of the US labor market will be impossible for some time.
    Aparicio’s paper is available here:http://www.iza.org/conference_files/ESSLE2011/aparicio%20fenoll_a5134.pdf

    However, the Department of Education in Nevada stated that during the housing boom, which likely began in the early 1990s, they identified construction wages as a major factor in encouraging students to drop out.

    Really, this shouldn’t be surprising. During the housing boom the average salary for construction workers was $54k/yr in much of the country. Compare this to the average salary for someone with a college degree in 2007: $51k.

    But no one wants to consider the idea that young men might have been making a rational choice to drop out and enter a high paying field that did not require a degree. Instead they would rather just keep banging away at stereotypes.

    • Terence Manuel says:

      Economism. It does not explain everything.

      • You’re definitely right, we should instead look to ideas that cannot be tested empirically and can never be proven definitively.

        /sarcasm

        • Terence Manuel says:

          Mike,

          As an economist by education and training, I was not trying to be a wise ass.

          We have seen a declining labor force participation rate and a steep decline in construction and manufacturing jobs. However, the dropout rate remains fairly constant.

          Based on the implied causality of your position, would not one expect the dropout rate to decline?

          There are many other factors besides wages. Benjamin Friedman wrote a paper back in the 70s,”The Declining Econoomics Valuation of Higher Education”

  6. Eric M. says:

    I in some ways admire Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan for braving political incorrectness and broaching the subject of boys. It would be nice if the government gave enough of a rats *** about boys to acknowledge that there may be a problem. But, the anti-male lobby is powerful and would label them misogynists if they did so. So, it’s either ignore boys or get voted out of office. Guess who keeps losing.

    Although they broach the subject, of course, in conclusion they predictably conclude by blaming the victims, the boys themselves which is worse than ignoring them.

  7. Terence Manuel says:

    “The lack of general sociability could cause the quality of life in our whole culture to deteriorate. People would rather be in their rooms with their Internet or talking on a cellphone. It’s already happening. It may be too late.”

    This has already occurred. People do not talk anymore. There is the lost art of conversation with many many Americans today. They would rather text, blog or email. We are witnessing the de-socialization of America. Voice mail should be eliminated in American business. Call ID should be tossed. People would then be forced to hold a conversation!

    “While of course it’s completely anecdotal, if you talk to young women about their sexual pasts, many will recount a lover who barely seemed to notice her in bed… These guys are famous for changing positions rapidly, aggressively pursuing actual intercourse without a lot of foreplay, and expecting women to orgasm from positions which logically don’t make a whole lot of sense to real women without supplemental stimulation.”

    Let’s start with the big picture. First, we Americans are sexually repressed people. Of all modern, advanced, and economically developed nations, we are the most backwards when it comes to sexuality. We have made it (sex) far too complicated. I have no solution. We are so screwed up I would not know where to start.

    Now, with respect to these men. Most men in America, in my view, are undersexed. Women (hetero) spend the bulk of their efforts lusting and chasing after roughly a small percentage of men. So, the majority of men get undersexed. Nearly a third of adult men are involuntarily celibate.

    Many women have ridiculously high and unrealistic expectations of men. Until they find Mr. Uber Attractive, they settle for sex/hookups with bad boys and the remainder of the 20% of men who get most of the sex.

    So, I am not surprised by two emerging trends: the rapid growth in porn and prostitution. These men are simply sex starved. I know it sounds silly but it is true. Many men are turning to women of different cultures.

    The sad thing is neither party is really sociable anymore. Why? The lost art of simple conversation.

    • “Now, with respect to these men. Most men in America, in my view, are undersexed. Women (hetero) spend the bulk of their efforts lusting and chasing after roughly a small percentage of men. So, the majority of men get undersexed. Nearly a third of adult men are involuntarily celibate.

      Many women have ridiculously high and unrealistic expectations of men. Until they find Mr. Uber Attractive, they settle for sex/hookups with bad boys and the remainder of the 20% of men who get most of the sex.”

      So, what you’re trying to say is…we should all buy into stereotypes.

      • Terence Manuel says:

        It is not stereotypes Mike.

        I will grant you that I have no empirical data to back up this assertion. It is just my “on the ground” observation.

        Question: Ever wonder why women (our new empowered women) do not “marry down?” Just asking. Not a swipe at women as I believe in and support the progress women have made to be free human beings. But, I notice that well educated professional White women do not “marry down.”

        I am not complaining about it. Hell, it is what it is!

        • Terrence,

          Literally everything in these two paragraphs is a stereotype:
          “Now, with respect to these men. Most men in America, in my view, are undersexed. Women (hetero) spend the bulk of their efforts lusting and chasing after roughly a small percentage of men. So, the majority of men get undersexed. Nearly a third of adult men are involuntarily celibate.

          Many women have ridiculously high and unrealistic expectations of men. Until they find Mr. Uber Attractive, they settle for sex/hookups with bad boys and the remainder of the 20% of men who get most of the sex.”

          You stereotype men as having high-libidos, women as “too picky” and holding out for “Mr. Right,” you mention numbers that cannot possibly be proven…

          This does not seem like the right way to answer a problem at all.

  8. Eric makes a very good point here. I have seen research about both video games and porn which show the potential issues with them (of course related to overuse and parenting, etc). But it crucial, as with anything, to not blame the boys themselves…. They need to NOT be ignored and NOT be blamed for the disservice society is doing them.

  9. Okay couple of things…firstly, this idea that video games are affecting boys more than girls is a bit, well outdated. The last set of stats I saw put it at about 50/50, meaning if video games are causing boys to be anti-social, then they should theoretically be doing the same thing to girls. So if not, what’s the difference there?

    Secondly, and I really don’t mean this to be as hostile as it might sound, but there’s nothing saying a parent has to let their child play video games, like….at all. The games themselves are not the problem. If parents worry their kids are playing games too much, then limit the time they are allowed to play them. Or hey, maybe don’t buy them at all.

    Same thing with porn, really…if you’re worried your kids have access to porn, then don’t let them use the computer unless you (the parents) are in the room. Set limits and enforce them. Back when I was a kid (not too long ago) the computer was in the family room, and we were limited in how much time we could spend on it. I had a Playstation, but only a couple games for it because my sister and I had to use our allowance to buy them (and the Playstation). Again, how long we could spend playing it was limited, and my parents kept track of it.

    I just think it’s too easy to say that porn and/or video games are the problem. Those things, in themselves, are not bad. It’s when parents don’t actively parent that there’s a problem.

    • I too had a limited amount of time online (although it helped that AOL charged by the hour back then) And videogames. I see no reason why parents cant do that today either. Course I don’t have kids, so maybe there’s something I’m not seeing

      • Yeah, I so remember the whole charge-by-the-hour thing. And it used up our land line…and oh yeah we actually had a land line. lol.

        Anyway, I also don’t have kids, so maybe I’m missing something too.

  10. Noah Brand says:

    I am confused by how much the original article is gendered. You have to ignore a LOT of “I’m so embarrassed about all the porn I wrote back when I was a teenage girl and didn’t even understand how penises worked” confessions to imagine that only boys get weird notions of sex in the absence of actual education. Or, well, I guess you don’t have to ignore those confessions, just not see them. Our culture makes it pretty easy to not see them, to be fair. But man oh man, are they out there.

    Likewise, the notion that video games are a boy thing is… well, it’s a notion, but it’s not one supported by any research or sales figures of which I’m aware.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I think that if studies are showing video games are 60/40 m/f then their theory must be that the video games are either being played more hours by boys or are affecting boys differently, which is entirely possible.

      I may have to read that book in the spare time I find… Probably around the same time I find a unicorn of course ;)

    • Random_Stranger says:

      “the porn I wrote back when I was a teenage girl”

      Kinda of stretching the popular understanding of porn (if not the strict definition). Writing is an extension of personal fantasy and not an external force shaping it. Internet porn, on the other hand, shapes an impressionable persons’ conception of sex and consequently the way he interacts with others.

      If boys are using porn disproportionately more than girls (which I think is true, but don’t actually know), than we would expect more boys developing more difficulties conducting real romantic relationships with real people.

      As for video game, must confess I’m not buying it. Playing games with real people in a fantasy world is still more social than zoning out on television which we’ve had for generations now.

      • “As for video game, must confess I’m not buying it. Playing games with real people in a fantasy world is still more social than zoning out on television which we’ve had for generations now.”

        Well and here you’ve hit on something I think. Obviously I’m like totally biased in favour of not demonizing video games now. But anyway, I think it’s sort of video game’s time. Back when t.v. first started, everyone was so worried about how it’d harm the kids. Elvis’ hips – it’ll hurt the kids. The horribly named “race music” – it’ll screw up our kids. It’s what we do in the U.S., we come up with a piece of technology or a new form of media, then freak out if our kids like it.

        As to the point that video games are at least more interactive than, say, watching t.v…well yeah, totally. Just make sure they’re age appropriate and that you don’t let them substitute as a babysitter…and really a video game is more engaging than passively watching a show.

      • Romance is favouring emotions over the libido right? Does romance include sex? When the man changes positions a lot, etc does that neccessarily mean he’s not being romantic, or is it that he’s not being romantic to HER standard?

        Even in High-school I knew much of the porn I saw was fake, who’s to say most men don’t realize it’s fake? Is it really shaping their sexuality based upon a fake female experience, or are they smart enough to realize it’s fake and just enjoy the fact they’re watching people have sex? Porn didn’t shape my sexuality, it gave me ideas on what I’d like to try but they’re ideas I could have got from friends, or made it up myself. Probably the only way to teach kids healthy sexual interaction would be to teach them HOW to have sex, how to pay attention to their partners need and have a sex ed class that is more than avoiding stds and don’t rape. I actually support sex ed that teachs consent, empathy and trying to be in tune with your partners feelings and needs, avoiding std’s, a basic rundown on how to have sex with fulfillment for both (I’m sure many young adults could learn how to give oral better for instance). I’d keep it for the older high-school students, taper it up so when they leave school they have a pretty good idea about sex, the mechanics, where pleasure zones are for each gender. Maybe adults would have much better sex, it would reduce stress most definitely and lower the stories of fumbling fools without a clue on what to do. I wish I was taught how to have sex, give oral properly etc before my first time, would have made the experience a bit more enjoyable.

        The main problem with porn and how kids are influenced by it is probably the fact usually the ONLY way kids learn about how to HAVE sex. I was taught to avoid std’s etc, but I wasn’t taught how to please someone or find pleasure, that was swept under the rug n treated like something dirty. Even writing this comment I am wondering how much negativity I’d receive for daring to mention something so outrageous, but seriously….What harm would it do? The kids that will have sex will still have sex with or without education, I doubt knowing HOW to have sex doesn’t make someone want it even more but it can help avoid situations where someone gains a negative experience of sex and later doesn’t’ want it much because their first 1-5+ partners couldn’t make them orgasm, or feel pleasure.

        Some kids are taught how to shoot guns from a young age, hell most kids probably know how to drive a car better than they could have sex. Information isn’t harmful in this case, even young kids won’t be having sex since it requires a hell of a lot of hormone and body development to actually start the sexual attraction process, and those that are matured to that point will try it with or without knowledge. I’d rather them be fully aware, fully informed, so they can make their own choices and enjoy it if they choose to. I think it’s sad we have such a negative view of sexuality in our society, we can learn how to fix a car, drive, shoot guns, build stuff, ask out a girl/guy, but once you ask them out you’re on your own on what to do. We regularly entrust knowledge to kids of things that can injure or kill, Hell I steered a tractor at 6 and drove one at 9 or 10, I could have done some serious damage if I wanted to, but I see this hesitation to teach sex and for what? Fears it’ll make kids start having sex en mass? Rubbish.

        • Random_Stranger says:

          Archy,

          I don’t think there is anything wrong in providing adolescents a sex positive message, nor do I think pornography is a problem for adults who can separate fact from fiction. But I’m not convinced developing minds have the resilience to develop their own sexual expression without having that expression heavily influenced by their environment, whether their cognizant of the influence or not.

          And if porn is the dominate message their getting on sexuality, then their own sexual appetites are going to reflect/desire an unrealistic fantasy world not to be found on planet earth. And let’s face it, a number of those fantasies (but not all, or even most I wager) are domination type fantasies that project violence onto their partners, typically women.

          Again, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this medium for grown men and women who seek an escape from reality, its just not good for boys and girls for whom, this becomes their concept of reality.

          • Hopefully they look at amateur content of real couples, then it simply becomes a thing of learning from your elders. But there needs to be some form of learning otherwise porn will fill the gaps since there isn’t anything else.

  11. John Anderson says:

    Before video games, kids were watching too much TV. My nephews play more video games than my nieces, but my nieces spend more time on the internet than my nephews. Granted it’s not watching porn, but I can’t see how interacting on social media is significantly different from interacting in an on-line game. I’ve seen on-line games were you can make comments to other players. It was an interesting read, but I do find one thing irritating,

    “If boys continue to drop out of school at the rate they are, it affects national productivity, national success. Plus, it’s creating a new generation of men who are not suitable mates.”

    Why does society feel the need to find an adverse effect on women or girls in order to justify assisting men or boys?

  12. John Anderson says:

    “Our son was instantly addicted, in a way we never saw with Wii Sports or the educational games he’d been playing on the computer prior to this. Suddenly he wanted to only have playdates that focused around the game, and would be really angry when it was time to stop playing”

    When I was about 19, I used to play a sword and sorcery game (I think it was called Zoare) where you attained character levels and Centipede among others. I got so frustrated with my inability to advance in the games that I broke into the data files. I gave myself 36 levels in Zoare and I replaced everyone’s name on Centipede’s top ten scores file with my name. I forgot to change the scores so that pissed a few friends off. When I calmed down, I made it a point to revisit those games and legitimately beat them, which I did before graduating.

    Part of the frustration came from not being able to crack the top ten, a social pressure. Part of it reminded me of failures in team sports being picked last as a kid. Part of it was I’d be damned if I let that game beat me. I know many people who “flip” a game and don’t go back to it. Failure is sometimes a bigger motivator than success. Some gambling studies have shown that when people win, they are more likely to stop playing to protect their winnings, but when people lose they’re more likely to continue to try to get it back. Your son might be experiencing some or all of this.

    My game playing wasn’t without consequence though. We put them on the school’s server to make it more accessible for competitive top ten scoring. We were stupid enough to use our real names. I was threatened with social probation something about the school frowning upon people breaking into their network.

  13. Well, find romantic porn for your son and daughter to watch, if you catch them looking at porn then say please view this instead and let them do their thing alone. I think often it’s not that they want a certain kind of porn, it’s just whatever pops up first and is easily available. But then again, this is also illegal (supplying porn to minors) I believe so I’m not quite sure what parents can do. Banning it outright will probably turn it into a forbidden fruit and increase desire maybe?

    But seriously, is porn what is harming our boys? I find it hard to believe seeing sex is all that harmful. Violence however, seeing people torn apart, plenty of younger kids gain access to M, MA, or R rated violent movies and games.

    “While of course it’s completely anecdotal, if you talk to young women about their sexual pasts, many will recount a lover who barely seemed to notice her in bed… These guys are famous for changing positions rapidly, aggressively pursuing actual intercourse without a lot of foreplay, and expecting women to orgasm from positions which logically don’t make a whole lot of sense to real women without supplemental stimulation.”

    If you talk to young men about their sexual past, many will recount a lover who barely DID anything in bed, a starfish basically. Sounds like you have men willing to try various ways and women who aren’t all that interested, but of course this is only some and not all. Did young men in the past successfully pleasure women and make them orgasm more? Or is it more that these men are inexperienced and women are failing them by not saying what they like? Of course many men will probably mimic porn and think based off the porn actresses moans that a certain position works, but depending on the video it could be fake or real. I guess this is why amateur content should dominate, more reality, less or no fake moans, etc.

    The big question is why these boys are living in fantasy, why are they choosing to (if they are) go into a fantasy world vs the real one? I suffered a heavy amount of bullying and in games I was able to be powerful, popular, things I NEVER felt before. I was able to chill out, ignore my troubles in the real world and have some great entertainment. It was probably one of the only times I could be happy, and if someone took that from me without offering other ways to enjoy something then I truly do believe my depression would have been worse. Add the fact that many games are multiplayer, video games were one of the ONLY ways I could socialize AND find people that actually liked me, didn’t treat me like shit. We use to drag our computers to a hall and you’d have 30-50 people playing games together, face to face, it was a great way to socialize as we’d have breaks and talk, you could do team based stuff just by sitting on one side of the room. Even online multiplayer stuff has a lot of team-building skills, checkout the level of detail and leadership that goes into the successful raiding guilds in World of Warcraft, the diplomacy of keeping the raiders happy, following orders, working as a team to a common goal of killing an extremely hard boss and getting shiney purple loot. I’m sure many of the raiders had issues with socializing, social anxiety disorders, super shy, etc but I also know many were quite normal and just wanted a fun way to relax.

    The big question is why these boys want to look at porn? Obviously for masturbation, curiosity about sex, a way to help them orgasm. Take away porn and what happens? they’ll still masturbate, still be curious about sex, still fantasize, etc. Would people like it if they got gf’s and had sex with them even at younger ages? What do you do for the guys like myself who tried to get gf’s but were socially outcasted? Porn and masturbation gave me a release at night, a stress reducing activity that I fully believe helped my depression by giving me some time of feeling happy. I never thought I’d be able to see naked women who were attractive, I felt like a loser and felt I couldn’t even get the worst looking woman. Porn allowed me to learn about the female body, to see what the fuss was all about, allowed me to see intimate acts that I never thought I’d be able to get myself, it turned me on and let me relax.

    What harmed my productivity and success wasn’t addiction to games, that was just a coping mechanism. Bullying is what was harming me, missing school because I’d rather be at home than put up with torment, wanting to kill myself so I didn’t care about stupid homework or assignments, I rarely did any during my worst time at school, my grades failed because I was emotionally exhausted. I had nothing left to give, completely drained, taunted n bullied daily, multiple times per day, how do you focus when people are treating you like shit?

    Why boys are failing. Maybe it’s because we have so many programs and calls for women to succeed that we failed to address the fact you need to ensure the boys succeed too. We have the focus on raising the girls abilities in S.T.E.M fields but do we have the focus on raising the english levels of the boys? I’ve heard school has also been feminized, in a sense that the methods that girls learn the best are the most common ways to learn and the ways the boys learn the best are becoming rarer, so that could be causing a problem where girls unfairly have an advantage. There is also the study in the UK proving female teachers had a marking bias which favored the girls, harming the boys, and with the majority of teachers being female it can harm the grades of boys quite a bit.

    Video-games and porn are a cop-out IMHO, the boys I think are failing because of other reasons and it probably doesn’t help to hear over n over how bad men apparently are in society, I know it pisses me off to hear how bad men are in all forms of abuse without also hearing about how bad women are too. By the time I was in school the common thoughts were that men were basically cavemen, the girls were smarter and the men were dumb, maybe we need to address how society treats men and boys in THIS day n age, not int he 1950′s.

    Sometimes we need a release, porn provides that. Sometimes we need an escape, video games provide that. Like nearly every activity addiction can happen, but are the majority addicted?

  14. It’s never really about video games.

    The same has been said about literally any new media, from books to radio to tv and now video games. This is nothing new, nothing that hasn’t been said already. Accompanying any new media is a slew of adults crying “think about the children!” and frankly, I think this stems mostly from ignorance. While yes, video games in excess is bad. But anything in excess is bad! Exercise, eating, drinking… All bad in excess. Moderation is always key.

    Now, the problem I find with most parents who are not gamers is that most dont realize games have a rating system. They end up buying a game that is inappropriate for a child but constantly complain about the evilness of video games. Parents need to be informed buyers and follow the ratings on the games. Most big titles like call of duty are rated mature, which means they are suitable for ages 17+. These games are not meant for or are even targeting children! The average gamer is I believe between the ages of 28 and 32. Do not buy these games for a child.

    But the other part of it is that being an informed buyer means that understanding that most games have a multiplayer option. They are meant to be played with other people. Most games for the Wii are meant to be in person multiplayer games! A game like Super Mario Bros, Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Country, and especially Mario Party are all meant for groups to play in person together. Games like Guitar Hero or Rock Band, Dance Central or Just Dance, or Little Big Planet are also highly involved, group dynamic games. The idea that play video games is not a social activity is just plain silly. I would strongly urge parents that are concerned about what their child is playing to pick up a controller and join their child.

  15. The concern that echoes from posts like these — concerned parents worried video games, new music, the internet, cell-phones, etc are ruining their kids is the stuff of neo-Luddite paranoia. It taps into fears of unknown technology, of generations raised in a rapidly changing world, and assume the worst.

    I can tell you that video games do not, as a rule, create problems with young men. Neither does porn. Violence on television, video-games, music, porn… none of these are ruining the next generation. What creates problems with young men are the actual problems themselves, i.e. lack of parental involvement, poverty, fear of social/societal rejection, body issues, discrimination, sexism, etc. and so on. Remember: correlation does not equal causation, particularly in such a broad demographic as young men.

    It reminds me of the “rap music is turning our kids into gangsters!” panic of the 90s, back when Frank Zappa could make Congress and conservative parents look like fools. People see extreme outliers and assign them retroactively as the norm. But this is false.

    That said, I do agree with Terence, who noted above that economism does not explain everything. It doesn’t. Any sarcasm or snark notwithstanding, there is never any value in reductionism There is more to life than supply and demand.

    And yes, these other factors are testable, measureable, and most importantly, observable =)

    I wouldn’t be worried about Call of Duty damaging your kids Joanna. I’d be more worried about CNN, Fox News, or the hundreds of other cable networks glorifying violence with less facts than a Wikipedia article. I’d be more worried about why your kids’ interest in video games bothers you. Not that there’s anything wrong with you OR your kids. Because there isn’t. (And what do I know, right?) But as a latch-key kid who loves gaming, who watches porn, and who generally falls into that demographic that SO MANY people like to over-analyze as “damaged” I can assure you… the problem is definitely not what you think it is.

    So take heart! The allure of a pixilated screen is actually a gateway into many great careers, from programming to graphic design to community management, blogging, writing, reporting, social media management, cinema, and more! And despite what people think, it’s actually very possible to develop meaningful connections and relationships online, with totally online people AND people you know in real life (IRL).

    Anyhoo, those are my two cents. Spend ‘em how you will.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I think what scares me about the games is not the games themselves — I monitor EVERYTHING in my kids’ lives like a maniac. They’re small still, 4 and 7, so they need it. Call of Duty is WAY out of their range of understanding, and being as Phantom Menace made my eldest cry in fear, I think Call of Duty is just simply the wrong game for him—now and maybe for a long time.

      What scares me about the games was the intensity of need they seem to express over them. It’s like nothing else in their lives. Seriously nothing. Not Legos, Dinosaurs, playing outside, riding bikes, being with friends… They glaze out in front of the screen and just lose hours if I let them. And if you want to talk what’s measurable, there are many studies showing that children of their age shouldn’t spend more than a very short time in front of screens.

      Our pediatrician recommends a maximum of an hour of screen time per day, and unless someone’s sick or it’s a special day, we stick to that.

      Also, yes, I think you’re right about it being the parental neglect or simple lack of involvement which does a lot of damage. My husband would laugh and say my kids don’t risk that! I’m so up in their business!

      • You’re right, the age appropriate point is a non-issue as we can agree that 4-7 year olds don’t need to be playing gory war games… at least not until they’re 12 ; )

        But you describe this intense “need” your kids have for video games and how it scares you. Why is that? do you feel like they’ll start to act out the games in real life, lose touch with reality, shrug off school/friends/life? I think the hunger that parents see is in nothing new — kids have obsessed over toys, foods, movies, games, since time immemorial. It’s just the difference, the newness of this particular medium that confused and frightens parents. Because they can’t relate, they can’t quite understand, and since it;s nothing like what they know they’re not sure how to set boundaries, play with their kids, etc.

        Do you play video games with your kids? If not, you should. Maybe by being “in the moment” with them, you’ll see this “need” which concerns you as nothing more than childish obsession that all kids (and adults) have/are capable of.

        If you *do* already play games, then perhaps you’re just not as into them as they are. And that’s okay. But just because they really love games, doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them, random studies of correlation to causation notwithstanding.

      • Joanna – please take a look at the ESRB rating system. Call of Duty is a game meant for adults, not children. And I completely agree with Zek, join your child in video games. Play them with your son. You’ll understand why he might be feeling the way he does, and you’ll have fantastic bonding time with your son.

        Honestly, Super Mario Bros is addicting, because you want to get to the next level. It takes timing skills, concentration, good hand-eye coordination… and it can be frustrating when a parent comes in and wants to shut off the game in the middle of a level.

        By the way, you CAN set parental controls on the Wii through the settings. You can block content you don’t think is appropriate and only allow the system to play games of a certain rating, which in your case, would be E for everybody.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          Yeah, I do play Super Mario Bros with them (like I said, I’m all up in their business!) and I love it. I get addicted to it! I have to cut us off and I’m known for swearing and yelling and generally getting crazy over it.

          I guess I worry more when they’re bigger and more independent. I mean, at some point they’ll be old enough to play Call of Duty and then I’ll have to let them and trust in the whole process…

          • “I mean, at some point they’ll be old enough to play Call of Duty and then I’ll have to let them and trust in the whole process…”

            Call of Duty is rated M…meaning that it’s recommended for no one under 18. Same goes for almost every single video game that people get up in arms about for violence or sexual content. Even if you want to let your kids play video games, you can totally and very easily justify not letting them play something rated M. I’ll go a step further though, and say that since you’re the parent…really you don’t have to let your kids play any video game you don’t approve of. A lot of gamers I know that have kids actually have a rule where they don’t let their kids play a video game without first playing it themselves. Then they’re not just going off of what the ESRB rating says, but they know first hand whether a game is a problem or not.

            When I was a kid, my parents wouldn’t let us watch movies that were rated R until we were 18, unless they’d seen it and decided it was appropriate. Now my sister bucked at that and found friends who had R rated movies, and I followed the rules. Neither my sister or I were scarred by this…because really the point was that with setting limits (even if we didn’t follow them) it indicated that this was a medium that should have limits.

            And I mean, I get that obviously you can’t control kids all the time. But setting limits, and making sure your kids understand the purpose of those limits, really does a lot of good, I think. (And when I say understand, I mean like even in the most basic terms that sitting around too much isn’t good and physical exercise is vital). Then even when they break the rules, they’ll at least be able to look back as they’re older and understand why those rules were there in the first place.

            And yeah, I don’t mean to be snarky here…just, as an adult gamer I tend to get a bit touchy when people get all worried about gaming.

            • I second this, Heather.

            • “Then even when they break the rules, they’ll at least be able to look back as they’re older and understand why those rules were there in the first place.”

              I disagree.

              My parents were just like yours, except I was the one that broke the rules all the time (can’t say the same for my brother, I just don’t know).

              I remember seeing my first R-rated movie and just not understanding what the big deal was. As a result, I lost a lot of respect for my parents and began to view them as either “out of touch,” unjustifiably overprotective, or just place wrong. To this day I’m often confused as to what the problem really is and why we police the what children are, and are not, allowed to see.

              To me, violence in movies often makes a great deal more sense than violence in real life.

              Consider: when Bruce Willis guns down dozens of people in Die Hard, he does it because they are terrorists who are going to kill people if they don’t get killed first. This is definitely a weak plot used to justify making a movie called Die Hard.

              Yet this weak plot still gives a much better justification for shooting someone than “Because the 49ers lost.” In case anyone is wondering, last year 3 people were shot following a single 49ers game.

              The thing about Hollywood is: no matter how gratuitous the violence, it’s still going to be more appropriate than real life. It will probably ALWAYS be more appropriate than real life.

              So what’s the real problem here?

            • I am actually inclined to agree with you Mike, but since I’m not Joanna, and especially since I’m not a parent, I don’t have much of a place to talk about how Joanna raises her kids. I am an adult gamer, however, and I might be able to provide some insight about video games so she can make a more informed decision.

              I just don’t want to open that can of worms about parenting styles because that is probably a little too personal for most parents.

          • Good then! haha perhaps it can be easier to see why they get hooked on it. As far as games like Call of Duty, they’ll be exposed to it eventually. It won’t ruin them. It certainly didn’t ruin me. But by the time they’re teenagers, I would think that they can successfully separate fantasy from reality. Almost all my friends are gamers, and so am I, and I can assure you that people do not instantaneously shrug off all social life in favor of video games. If someone does, then the problem is with the person themselves, not the video games. Most gamers grow up to be well adjusted people.

            Video games can become very much a part of social life, however. More adult video games have much more complex story lines, nuances and depth, and the idea of “winning” or scoring points in most single player games disappear. They become more story driven, and many conversations I’ve had with other gamers involve the story line and our experiences in-game. While its easy to look at a game like Grand Theft Auto and think “my god, it’s a game where you kill hookers!” it’s missing the fact that there are consequences in game for making that choice. It also misses the fact that it’s not the objective of the game. It is simply a choice you can make. In fact, a lot of games involve morality choices in them. But people who choose to make bad decisions in a game doesn’t make that person bad.

            • Yeah I’m going to second yours too. :)

              Oo and also add, that if anyone’s interested in a really honest look at video game addiction from someone who had a problem, and is involved in the games industry, take a look at Extra Credits’ episodes on it. They usually do animation for their videos, but this time they opted for live action…which is why it’s not the best quality video. But what he says is really good.

              http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/game-addiction-pt.1

            • Eagle34 says:

              Steph and Joanna, I also recommend these games as ones with great storylines and characters you want to play as because they’re so affecting:

              The Metal Gear Solid Series: Playstation, Playstation 2, Playstation 3 (Action, Espionage)
              Silent Hill series: Playstation, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, (Horror)
              Heavy Rain: Playstation 3 (Suspense, Drama)
              Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time Trilogy: Playstation 2 (Action, Adventure)
              Ico: Playstation 2 (Fantasy)
              Shadow Of The Collosus: Playstation 2 (Fantasy)
              La Noire: Playstation 3 (Crime, Thriller, Drama)
              The Darkness 1 and 2: Playstation 3 (Action, Horror)
              Alan Wake: Xbox 360 (Action, Horror, Suspense)
              Max Payne 1, 2 and 3: Xbox, Playstation 3 for the third game (Action)

              There you go, the major ones.

            • *Cries* I am PC only…which is why I haven’t played Journey yet. Someone put Journey on PC now, please. lol.

            • I played LA Noire, and loved it, right up until the end of the game. It was such a compelling story that I got really pissed off at Cole and I literally have not played that game since. In a way I think that’s what made it a good story, because it totally drew me in. Out of the Rockstar Games, I think their best one was Red Dead Redemption. What a compelling storyline that was. The atmosphere of it, the theme of the story… riding into Mexico for the first time gave me such chills.

              I reallly want to play Heavy Rain. I’ve watched gameplay for it and it looks fantastic. I have an Xbox though, so I can’t play it. :(

  16. Well, my own relationship/sexual history is much different from Sarah’s. When I first started having romantic relationships, I found the guys to be much more attentive (even when clumsy) to mutual pleasure. They were more gentle and kinder in bed. As I have gotten older, I’ve experienced men that just start doing things they saw on porn on me without even asking. They seem less kind in bed. Things that make no sense to do with someone if you were looking for mutual pleasure. They try to do all these crazy positions too fast, all these ridiculous tricks, they don’t communicate, they want to do things that I personally consider things they learned from porn that are purposely meant to bring him visual or physical pleasure but as a woman, don’t bring me much of either. And these are nice guys. I don’t date jerks. In public, they are kind men. Men that love their families. But you will not convince me that porn has not had a lasting and negative impact on men and how they relate to women and sexuality.

    I also use to hear men say, “you know, I only look at porn once-in-awhile”. It use to be a rare thing. And the porn they were looking at, from what older men have told me, was fun and silly. The people had normal bodies, even had hair on their private parts! That’s really no longer applies. A lot of porn today is much more brutal. I can’t remember the last time I heard a man say that he only viewed porn once-in-awhile. It’s my personal belief that porn is a huge white elephant that people (especially with men) don’t want to fully recognize as a legitimate issue. They don’t want to admit how much they look at and how often they are looking at it. You don’t have to be addicted to something and have your life going down the tubes. You can manage work today, home, family, friends and still be addicted to things that are impacting you negatively. It’s my fear that this is what has happened with a lot of people. You can’t live in a country that has issues ranging from obesity to debt and think that somehow, people got their sex lives completely in control. We don’t. We over eat. We over spend. And we got way too much porn in society. The only difference between over eating and over consumption of porn is that over eating will cause actual physical visual results. There are no such results when it comes to porn. It’s all hidden.

    I had a conversation with a young man a bit ago about how he use to love to do art and now he doesn’t. He does what he has to do..works, attends family events, dates..but he mostly looks at porn now. He laughed about it. I didn’t really know what to say to him. It just shocked me.

    I’ve seen how this conversation on porn has changed very quickly in a few short years. I really think that we aren’t even giving young boys and girls a fighting chance. Their sexuality is quickly becoming/became shaped through porn. And like most things in this country today, we seem to have such a lackadaisical lack of empathy for what boys and girls are faced with everyday. We forget that porn isn’t just on the computer. It’s showing up in pop culture everyday. The pop culture that rudely evades their lives. From Brittany Spears dressed up in school girl porno outfits, to reality TV and music that talks about B*tches and H*es and shows girls bouncing their body everywhere. It’s easy to blame the parents. It’s easy to pretend the issue is solved if parents would only, “do their jobs”. But I think we are forgetting that pop culture is a steamroller that even in the best of parenting cases, is going to reach kids. Even if your kid hasn’t seen porn, it’s safe to bet they know what it is. It’s referenced so much and so causally in mainstream media, it’s just about unavoidable. If your kid doesn’t have a cellphone, you can guarantee that their friend will. Now, I do believe a parent can do their best to have regular conversations with their child about sex. But I don’t think that fixes the problem that is going on in our society.

    As for video games, I don’t know about anyone else but when I am driving home from work, and it’s still light out for hours more, I don’t really see a lot of kids outside playing in their yards. When I bike after work, I don’t see a lot of kids biking either. When I was a kid, we all biked around to each other houses. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough. I don’t know. I do think controlling video game use is more easily done then controlling porn use for little kids. If you don’t buy the game systems, your kid can’t play it. But that’s not really the case when it comes to porn since porn seems to be every where. This doesn’t even touch on how porn crops up in video games with over drawn busty, nearly naked babes.

    Technology is not like anything we’ve ever had before. We see it’s influence in how a lot of kids use Facebook to socialize now. I only see internet/technology interaction growing and real human connection and interaction becoming more sparse.

    • B*****’s and Ho*s, are you sure that is from porn? From what I gather it had nothing to do with porn but arouse from rap and a “street” culture, I’d say prostitution had more of an impact there.

      Also how do you know they started doing things they saw in porn, did you ask? I am genuinely curious. Is it stuff that could have been taught without porn? I’ve seen things in porn I’d like to try but it’s also stuff I could hear from friends, learn via other means, or even make up myself.

      I use porn regularly whilst I am single, but when dating someone I doubt I’d use it much unless there is a sex-drought.

      “The people had normal bodies, even had hair on their private parts! That’s really no longer applies. A lot of porn today is much more brutal.”
      And women shave their legs, nothing to do with porn. Shock, horror. Would you date someone who didn’t shave their beard? Styles change, currently hairless is quite popular, and there is NOTHING wrong with that if the people choose to remove their hair. Apparently shaving your chest is meant to be popular too for the men, but I have no intentions of that but if my partner wants to shave or wax it then I’d consider it.

      Yes there is a lot of brutal porn, but it’s not the majority of porn! The majority of porn is actually quite vanilla, no brutality, just sex. It sounds like you’re trying to suggest most men are watching porn that is far more brutal than previously, based on what though? I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys brutal porn, most just wanna see sex and most are actually looking at amateur porn these days with people who have normal bodies.

      “But you will not convince me that porn has not had a lasting and negative impact on men and how they relate to women and sexuality.”

      I can understand you have major concerns over porn but I think you really need to open your eyes more to the world of porn out there, maybe you’ve been unlucky and only known people into the brutal stuff but it doesn’t reflect on all of us who look at it. I can’t help but feel you’re trying to instill this sense of shame for looking at porn, that today’s porn is somehow degrading and dirty, that porn is damaging but quite frankly you’re generalizing about a very diverse medium. Some porn is bad, some porn is good, I completely reject the idea that porn itself is damaging to men and their relationships with women. Pretty much every man I’ve known who’s thought of women in a degrading manner did not learn that from porn, most was from the treatment they received at the hands of one or two very influential women who did major damage to them to cause them to become bitter.

      Maybe the reason their is so much sexualization is because of the puritan past, where sex was dirty and shameful which makes it a great way to tantalize and create controversy, push the boundaries of what is moral and become “edgy”. I dunno about other men but I don’t care to see heavy sexualization, if I want porn I’ll go look for it, but conflating popstars with sexy/revealing outfits to porn is a bit much don’t you think? There is a difference between revealing clothing, and porn. There is a difference between using sex appeal to lure in viewers, and porn. Porn is the EXPLICIT depiction and portrayal of sexual subjects, if Britney was masturbating on stage naked in her videos then yes it’d be porn, but dancing in a “schoolgirl” outfit even if it’s revealing isn’t porn. It may look smutty, but it ain’t porn.

      Morals are often used to suppress sexuality and what happens? Some follow it, some rebel, some will shove their sexuality in your face as a way to say “Fuck you, you can’t control my sexuality”. Porn isn’t the cause of problems in society with sexualization, porn is just a medium used as an outlet for sexuality. Find the root cause of sexualization and attack that instead. Standards in advertising would be a start.

      • spidaman3 says:

        “B*****’s and Ho*s, are you sure that is from porn? From what I gather it had nothing to do with porn but arouse from rap and a “street” culture”

        Which is exactly what she was saying

        • I wasn’t clear if she was blaming porn, or saying simply it’s spreading. It’s also not porn…

          • That’s what I was sying Spidaman3, thanks. It all ties into how are culture plays off of all kinds of media information.

            Archy, the truth is, I really resent the idea that you believe I am the one that needs my eyes “opened”. We have different beliefs surrounding porn. Just because you accept sexual material and I don’t doesn’t mean your eyes are open and mine are closed. Even when porn doesn’t showcase the more brutal elements, 9 times out of 10 it’s the woman being treated negatively or stereotypically or being objectified. Despite the fact that there is some porn out there that is built around subordinating men, for the most part, the woman is the object in the video.

            Whether you are learning things from porn or learning them from friends, even when you are learning things from friends, that could still be heavily porn influenced. And with the amount of porn out there and the amount of men that consume porn today, my guess, and it’s just a guess, is that men are more influenced by porn then not. And that’s my guess because I look at the reality that porn is hugely consumed by men, that it’s easily available 24/7 and it’s about everywhere one looks today and the dialogue and how men use porn today has changed.

            I know that they were doing things they saw in porn because I saw and experienced the shift in men between my early dating experiences and my later experiences. I heard the different way men would talk and paid close attention to it. I saw the way their sexuality was changing and the demands they were now making that were so different from my earlier experiences. They were less focused on it being a mutual experience and more focused on copying the fantasy they had been seeing since they were boys. Sex today seems to be less about connection and more about watching other people hump and copying what they are doing. I’m 31 and I was on the cusp of when the internet started taking off. Not everyone had internet in their homes and we didn’t have the technology we have now that made porn so widely available. I saw and heard how much more often my boyfriends and guys in general would reference pornography with me or while talking to their friends. There is a very clear cultural shift in the amount of porn men are consuming and taking into their bedroom. There has been a very obviously cultural shift in how men conduct their sexuality with the advent to porn. This has naturally influenced women as well. This is all in my experience. You are free to disagree but it’s hard to disagree with someone’s life experience. This is what I believe, experienced and seen.

            Yes, I would date someone that didn’t shave their beard. I like facial hair on men. Further, I didn’t say shaving was perverted or that there was something wrong with doing it. I was making a comment about how sexual media influences the practices people engage in enough to shape popular trends.

            We disagree on this point. You telling me that there isn’t much brutal porn out there isn’t going to change my mind anymore then me telling you there is. I don’t think anyone though would disagree that brutal porn has become much more normalized then ever before. Where it use to be shocking to hear of a man choking a woman or hitting her, it is now common knowledge that that is sometimes something that is done to a woman in porn. You probably don’t know a lot about what your friends watch behind closed doors. Do you really think a lot of guys walk around proudly saying they love the most abusive porn they can find? Trends in porn though do show there is a big enough appetite for it that its not uncommon to come across.

            As for what you feel me trying to install shame for men watching porn, I feel that an entire culture that promotes porn is trying to install shame in women. For how we look with our regular bodies vs the beautiful young women that are always in porn. From how we grow older while the women in porn rarely do unless you are looking at something that makes a woman’s age something to fetishize and make “fringe”, from what women are now expected to do in the bedroom to satisfy the fantasies now men seem to want in their bedroom. There is lots of shame to go around. The key here is that I don’t want men called names. I don’t want men projected in media to be used for their wallets or wealth or status only to be interchanged for younger better versions. I don’t want men to be depicted in situations that are degrading to masculinity itself. I sincerely question how much men want the same when they support the industry of porn.

            Yes yes…we all know that sex can be seen as “dirty” and “shameful” and that is not a healthy outlook to have. But going to the other extreme and making everything free range simply because it feels good, especially for one half of the population over the other, is not healthy or balanced either. I do not believe we have a healthy or balanced sexuality in our society today. I do not think the abundance of porn solves any issue of misplaced sexuality. If it did, we would be seeing happier, more connected relationships and sex. We don’t see that at all. Infact, I think we see more dissatisfaction and more ravenous hunger for more salacious and graphic material.

            And sorry, but yes, an underage Brittney Spears dressing up in an over sexual school girl outfit an singing about “baby give it to me one more time”, has it’s root in an over sexualized and heavily influenced porn culture. What industries fetishizes school girls? What industry fetishizes “barely legal”? Is it actual porn? No, I didn’t say it was actual porn. I said it was heavily influenced by an over sexual porn culture.

            While you are telling others, “fuck you, you can’t control my sexuality”, what you fail to understand is that the porn industry is controlling a heck of a lot of people’s sexuality. Especially when people start bringing that stuff in their private lives. They are controlling you more then you want to admit.

            If you see how advertising standards play a role in society and messages given about who we are and what we should be, but you some how fail to see how porn does the same, you are missing something key. Advertising works because it plays off our silly desires and insecurities. Porn works the exact same way. Porn is a form of sexual advertising.

            • Yes to all of this. Writing a book now that covers some of this. Thank you for the most welcome gift of sanity validation. :-)

            • I’ll try reply properly to this comment after I heal up, just had surgery yesterday and I’m on heavy painkillers.

              “They were less focused on it being a mutual experience and more focused on copying the fantasy they had been seeing since they were boys. Sex today seems to be less about connection and more about watching other people hump and copying what they are doing. I’m 31 and I was on the cusp of when the internet started taking off.”
              I’m trying to understand this part, by the sounds of it you were dating men younger than you are and over time these men were growing up watch more porn, or were your first dating experiences with men who were older and didn’t grow up watching porn but just saw the ol playboy, etc and later on the younger guys saw the internet porn?

              RE: Degrading porn, the brutal stuff, Max Hardcore copped a jail sentence for it so it’s not fully supported. I absolutely hate the stuff though and wouldn’t care to see it go, they can maybe leave BDSM for those that want it but that genre usually isn’t against a particular gender but more swapping power etc.

              If I don’t reply for a few days, I haven’t forgotten/not trying to ignore this discussion but I just had my thyroid removed (going all ok atm).

    • Erin, this comment is very intelligent well written. I think we’re in a similar era with our conversations about porn as we once were with conversations about smoking. At first, there was a lot of push back and denial about the addictive nature of cigarettes and the harm they were doing because people did not want to give them up, so they denied it was a problem. People said they could quit anytime. They said second hand smoke did not hurt other people, and even to discuss it infringed on their rights to smoke. The first people to talk about the dangers received quite a backlash. It took society a long time to get real about smoking. I think it will be the same with online porn and kids watching it from such young ages. There will be a lot of denial and excuses. It’s sad because some of the same people who feel we are not doing enough for boys and young men in this country–which we’re not–are the same ones who say that porn is not the problem or not one of them. In terms of video games, in my 25-year career in education and educational psych, I saw a huge rise in ADD related to neurological changes in (mostly boys’) brains, and how that plays out in school is very sad to see. You can debate whether this is due to the games themselves or poor parenting, but the bottom line is that boys are being harmed, and there is still too much denial about the harm, regardless of its source. The harm is happening, and it disproportionally affects boys.

      • “I think it will be the same with online porn and kids watching it from such young ages.”
        Media content should be age-suitable for people, more needs to be done for helping young minds stay away from hardcore imagery whether it be violence, porn, etc, but the majority of that responsibility is on the parent. Some parents need to realize the computer is not a babysitter, they need to ensure there are appropriate content locks to do their best at keeping it away from their kids. I personally believe porn is less damaging than the violent culture we have, and it also largely depends on the type of porn these kids look at. Seeing a violent porn video would be more damaging than a romance/intimacy based porn video. Porn is just a medium and we all need to clarify what kind of porn we’re talking about more I think, because porn to one person is thought of as violent and degrading, yet to another it could simply just be sexy because they have looked at different videos. A person watching hardcore violent porn will get a different experience to someone watching hardcore non-violent porn.

        “At first, there was a lot of push back and denial about the addictive nature of cigarettes and the harm they were doing because people did not want to give them up, so they denied it was a problem. ”
        It’s a huge leap to go from a highly addictive substance like nicotine, to compare it to pornography. What’s next, heroin? Most enjoyable activities can be addictive but I’d say that’s largely up to the mind of the person and there are other circumstances which would create addiction. Many can play computer games without addiction but some do spend way too much time and become addicted. Is it the game at fault, or is it something else? I’ve been through a period of my life quite addicted to a game but I attribute much of that addiction to the fact I was escaping the horrors of my offline life, the game was simply an outlet. I could have chosen drugs, alcohol, sex (well this one was harder to get), reckless behaviour, thrillseeking sports, exercise. All these things can be addictive.

        “In terms of video games, in my 25-year career in education and educational psych, I saw a huge rise in ADD related to neurological changes in (mostly boys’) brains, and how that plays out in school is very sad to see.”
        What is it about these games causing change? Is it tapping into and rewarding competitive behaviour? Many things in life need moderation, there may be a danger of addiction but is that more because the person is far more susceptable to addiction? ADD/ADHD tends to cause a low level of dopamine which has some control over impulsive behaviour and addiction, if it’s not games it could be drugs, sex, etc that causes the addiction but it’s the mind itself that needs to be treated. Those individuals need to be identified and helped with addiction so they can enjoy various activities in moderation or find other activities that can fulfill them that aren’t as addictive.

        ” It’s sad because some of the same people who feel we are not doing enough for boys and young men in this country–which we’re not–are the same ones who say that porn is not the problem or not one of them.”
        Why is that sad though? Is their definitive proof porn is damaging children? Also their definition of porn might be different to someone elses, or the porn they watch could be extremely different to what others watch. The porn Erin talks about a lot on this site is stuff I pretty much never watch, can’t stand it, I watch mostly amateur content of real couples doing their thing and simply letting others watch. I’d find it difficult to beleive that kind of porn is damaging at all, if it is then the discovery channel should be banned for the sex happening there too. I do believe violent porn can be damaging, sexist porn can be damaging, exploitive porn, anything that a young mind couldn’t properly comphrehend (whereas adults can see it for what it is mostly, fantasy).

        So when people talk about the damage porn does, WHAT kind, genre, etc do they mean?

      • Great points Lori. I think the parallel between smoking and porn you made is particularly interesting. I am also in agreement with you regarding the difficult issue of where we acknowledge that we are socially failing young boys with how adult men and women deal with porn themselves. Particularly with men since young boys very much need strong male leadership in their lives. It’s not just young boys that are having their sexuality shaped through porn, there are plenty of older men that have been grown adults for generations before porn made a break through over the internet. But it still holds the power to reshape even their sexuality. I see in in wives that are now in their 60s confused and hurt why their husbands of 50+ years are locked away in the computer room or when they come across material of beautiful young women that their husbands have been enjoying. If even older men are being heavily influenced by current sexual material, and they are, where does that lead younger generations? I even seen a change in women. I fear that a lot of women, especially younger ones, are buying into their own sexual objectification. Lots of women are into porn now-a-days. But we all know that porn is primarily made and consumed for male pleasure first. What does that say about female sexuality too? It’s a very jumbled up confusing issue.

        • “I see in in wives that are now in their 60s confused and hurt why their husbands of 50+ years are locked away in the computer room or when they come across material of beautiful young women that their husbands have been enjoying.”
          I’ve seen hundreds of romance novels, full of lust n sex in the possession of women 50+years old, the covers adorned with men young enough to be their sons. Do you worry about this medium as well? Just curious if it’s porn in particular, or any fantasy material with age gaps, ideal beauty etc that bother you.

        • “But we all know that porn is primarily made and consumed for male pleasure first. What does that say about female sexuality too? It’s a very jumbled up confusing issue.”
          You’re not giving much agency to these women who willingly look at porn, in fact it’s quite insulting. Ever think that maybe they don’t see it ALL as degrading and they consume porn of a decent nature (that is infact quite plentiful). Who’s to say they are buying into their own sexual objectification? You do realize many adults do see women as more than just sexual beings, and many of those also look at porn?
          I fear there are women who are so focused on one aspect of porn that they conflate it to being representative of most/all porn, who feel so objectified and degraded by it that it is biasing their judgment of an absolutely massive medium that can’t be defined by one genre or type. I find it as silly as those who want to ban video games because of the existence of GTA. I see quite a few of these women who seem to think when men say they look at porn, that pretty much every one of those men is looking at porn that is degrading, violent, and misogynist. But it’s an assumption that judges these men without having a clue as to what they look at. How is that at all helpful?

          • Co-sign Archy.

            The anti-porn tone here is extremely discomforting. Porn is not equivalent to addictive substances, nor is it inherently bad. Views of it as such seem to come from places of personal fears and sex negativism than from actual critical analysis of porn and its place in society. Notably, porn has existed FOREVER. And access hasn’t exactly been “restricted” over the greater period of human history, or in most cultures.

            Shoot, Romans were drawing explicit sexual organs and acts since at least Pompeii. Many indigenous African societies have families living under the same roof in a single room, thus children will learn about sex by happening upon their parents having sex right next to them. I could go on, but the point is: there’s a lot of talk about the negatives of porn, and very little about the positives.

            Maybe we could start with some right now? Like how porn Teaches men (and women) that it’s okay to have sexual fantasies, to look at naked bodies, to masturbate, explore one’s sexuality, be kinky, and to be a sexual being on a regular basis as part of a healthy, normal lifestyle.

            These positives stand in stark contrast to the tone I’m noticing in some of the comments regarding porn, tone that sounds almost repressive, almost condemning, as if a 60+ year old man who’s just now opening up his sexuality because he has greater access now is somehow addicted or perverted. Such projections are dangerous throwbacks to the times when people were actually punished for embracing their own sex life, whether it was gay, straight, queer, or what have you.

          • Zek J Evets said: “The anti-porn tone here is extremely discomforting. ”

            Personally, I find porn to be pretty anti-female more times the not and that’s extremely discomforting for me as a female who really wants to be able to have emotional, mental and sexually healthy relationships with men. For me, it’s scarey to see just how much men enjoy women being treated certain ways that have become popular through porn and fantasy.

            I don’t think that more kinky sex = better more open sex. I think this is a misconception. To me, it’s like we’ve gone from one spectrum to the other. We’ve gone to being to closed up about sex to being way too self indulgent in it. I think that people have the ability to explore sex and fantasies independent of porn’s sway and that it would probably be a lot healther of a way to explore those facets of ourselves without adopting preconceived ideals about what a certain media is telling us our sexuality should be. And porn does have a sway in what any pesron is thinking about. That’s the nature of media. Porn isn’t Switzerland, it’s not neutral. Now if you wanted to promote sexual material that was neutral and respectful to both men and women, that is the kind of sexual material I could get down with. But that’s not the kind of sexual material we have through porn.

            There is a lot of interesting research on the study of how porn affects the human brain and addiction. There are a number of good articles right here on GMP. Gary Wilson and Marina Robinson are particularly knowledgable in this department. They have on article on GMP called, “Did Addiction Politics Leave Us Stranded on a Slipperly Slope”. It’s a good read. You might want to check it out.

            • Further, you took my 60+ year old man reference to make your own point. For one thing, I don’t think the ability to look at porn automatically equates to someone openning up their sexuality. Secondly, I am discouraged by your ability to dismiss the 60+ year old women’s experience concerning their partner’s porn use. The reality is that for a lot of these women, they are beginning to feel lost and disconnected from their partners because their partners are spending time seeking out material of girls 30-40 years their juniors and are spending more times with their computers then with a real person.

              Finally, I am all for celebrating the sexuality you want to celebrate. Gay, straight….bi-sexual. Great. But don’t make it seem like this is an issue of equality and throwbacks to “old imes”. No one is saying that sex in itself is bad or that having a healthy sexuality is bad. The topic is about the affect items like video games and porn have on young boys. It’s important for us to be able to make the distinction betwen sex and sexuality and pornography when we are discussing these issues.

            • Erin,

              Wasn’t exactly speaking to you, but okay…

              Have you ever watched porn with a man before? Have you ever tried watching porn from a man’s perspective? Better yet! Have you ever tried looking at porn made for women and/or couples? There’s TONS of it out there, and I think that if you base everything you know about porn from Skinamax or Brazzers, you’re getting a skewed view. And I’m pretty sure that you do, since you seem to associate all porn with misogyny, which is kinda simplistic since in the porn industry, women hold a lot of power and make most of the money. Also, keep in mind that in all kinds of porn, there are lots of women who actually enjoy that kind of sex. Just something to keep in mind!

              But regardless, I’m confused how you feel porn stops you from having an “emotional, mental and sexually healthy relationships with men”. I mean, are they turning you down to watch porn, or are they pressuring to act like a porn star? If it’s either, then I might helpfully suggest you need to start meeting different men.

              Notably, I don’t think that kinky sex automatically = better sex. Rather I’m saying that honest sex = better sex. Having sex that turns you on and fulfills your fantasies or needs is good sex. Having sex that isn’t based on repressive ideas of sexuality is good sex. If that means missionary does it for you, then great! If that means you like BDSM, then great! If that means you like dressing up as furries, then great! If that means you like porn… get the picture? (I know my girlfriend and I watch all kinds of porn together to get ideas, including Kama Sutra videos!)

              Your concern for the 60+ woman is commendable, but as a guy I can tell you that I empathize with the 60+ man. Men are often made to feel ashamed of their own unique sexual identity outside of mainstream ideals because people will label them pervs or creeps. Old men aren’t allowed to enjoy sex because that’s not how grandpa’s act, right? Nope, they’re supposed to be sexless, because old men having sex is disgusting and wrong, right? I don’t think you believe that, but c’mon… I’m discouraged by your ability to privilege one person’s feelings over another person’s needs. Believe it or not, that old man might actually have had to suffer lack of sexual fulfillment too, and maybe only now he’s been able to overcome that traumatic lack. His wife, if she cares, should be less concerned for herself and become more informed about the changes in her husband’s sexuality, then think about what it means for their marriage.

              No one is saying that sex in itself is bad or that having a healthy sexuality is bad. The topic is about the affect items like video games and porn have on young boys. It’s important for us to be able to make the distinction betwen sex and sexuality and pornography when we are discussing these issues.

              But you just did. Like repeatedly. In your comments you state that porn is ruining men — but it’s really not. Blaming porn, which by definition is not a person, for actions taken by people is pretty strange to me. You say the topic is about young boys but then you talk about old married couples. You say the topic is about video-games too but all I’ve heard you do is talk about how bad porn is.

              I’m sorry that you’re not able to see how porn influences sex positively as easily as you focus on the negative outliers. But perhaps if you learn more about porn you’ll see differently? Or not. Either way, the things you’re blaming for ruining men aren’t actually ruining men. How do I know? Because I’m a part of that generation of young men with lots of male friends in that generation, nephews, brothers, cousins, and more besides.

              I’m sure other guys have different opinions, but it seems that here most guys agree: video games and porn are not ruining us at all. So stop psycho-analyzing us like we’re broken. We’re not a character for your fears to play against. We’re people, with feelings and we don’t like it when people say something’s wrong about us just because we enjoy something you don’t like. How about ya play some Super-Mario or watch “The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann”? You might just learn a thing or two about life!

              ; )

            • Personally I’ve watched porn with my boyfriend and it does absolutely nothing for me. I guess I’m not visual enough, or something. It wasn’t a turn-on at ALL, and I love sex, but honestly, after the shock of seeing people’s private parts wore off, I just felt bored. It was SO repetitive. Oh there’s another guy with a big d!ck. I wonder what orifice he’ll stick it into this time? Oh, that one again.

              That said, as I remarked in an earlier comment, I don’t think porn is destroying relationships in general. (I know it can be a problem in particular relationships.) I do understand the insecurity that many women have around porn, as I have those insecurities too. I mean, if my boyfriend really wants to have sex with 20 year olds with fake tits and shaved pussies, I feel like he should be out there pursuing said 20 year olds. What’s he doing with me? Why is he wasting my time? That’s what goes through a lot of women’s heads.

              Anyway, As I said before, I haven’t noticed a decline in male sexual skills in the last 20 years (I’m in my 40′s) though maybe some women like Erin have had different experiences. It is hard to generalize from my limited sample size. But, when I was young, my friends and I complained to each other about “wham bam thank you ma’am” sex. Maybe now the problem has gone to the opposite extreme, with guys developing a ridiculously large repertoire of fancy yet unstimulating moves, leaving women equally frustrated. I don’t know. I think a lot of this stems from men and women being somewhat different sexually, which means it’s really important to communicate what you want.

            • Sometimes it’s easier to find the 20′s porn vs the 40′s stuff. Thinner women porn are more likely to be younger as well, and since it’s fantasy in a culture that hates fat it’ll be quite popular. But it depends what the individual man or woman is looking at, whilst you may be seeing this hot young woman with fake tits wondering why he is with you, he might just be thinking “I love how the penis looks penetrating the vulva”, be thinking of the act of sex. Most of the amateur content I see is college age to about mid 30′s, haven’t seen too many older couples but that could just be a generational thing, sexting has only recently become popular so maybe 10 years we might see more amateur “mature” content.

              “But, when I was young, my friends and I complained to each other about “wham bam thank you ma’am” sex. ”
              Did you and your friends communicate what you want from sex, instruct the men what to do, what you like? I hear a common complaint from men that they have to be mind-readers and guess what women want. Sounds like a major communication issue could be affecting many relationships?

            • John Anderson says:

              @ Sarah

              “Personally I’ve watched porn with my boyfriend and it does absolutely nothing for me.”

              Try watching 9 1/2 Weeks with your boyfriend. It may be eroticism that you’re looking for rather than hard core sex.

        • Random_Stranger says:

          @Erin, Lori

          Really, really think the two of you are working with a very stereotyped understanding of porn -I gather you’re not consumers which is your right. I’m not sure what would convince you, but if anything the advent of the Internet has decentralized the production of porn from the studios to people’s bedrooms -where do you think YouTube comes from? If anything, porn today is far more “real” than the feminist conceived caricature of a misogynistic medium condemned in the 80s.

          And smoking is not a good example, because unlike cigarette consumption, porn consumption is strongly gendered and not an equal opportunity indulgence. It is simply not proper for a group of people who have no experience of it, and no need for it, to judge and condemn people not like them and of whom, they cannot relate. The better analogy is if men in mass started to judge the use of vibrators and urge the removal of this scourge of female sexuality from the bedroom because we perceived it undermining our intimacy. Sound totally patriarchal? You can imagine then, why men recoil at the criticism, particularly when lobbed by people who, from the nature of their privileged status, have no need of such a crutch.

          That said, I echo my earlier points -porn is perfectly fine for adults, but destructive to children which was the point of article.

      • John Anderson says:

        @ Lori Day

        It’s great that you’re writing a book on this. I can resist taking the opportunity to get your take on something I was thinking about. From the research I’m seeing, excessive porn use seems to be harmful only in the sense that it impacts (mostly) men’s ability to have an intimate, long term relationship with women. It affects women’s self esteem in these relationships and some men start to prefer their porn to having an actual woman. I’ve heard that excessive masturbation sometimes results in men having an inability to orgasm PIV. The tightness of their hands and I guess the control of the stimulus to get it just right makes vaginal sex less stimulating. I was looking for the study. If I locate it, I’ll place it in another comment. I’ve seen some studies that have suggested that porn use has actually reduced the incidence of sexual assault.

        Unlike with secondhand smoke, people can’t be directly hurt by secondhand porn use assuming that the studies, showing a reduction in sexual assaults, are accurate. I realize that society does have an interest in preventing individuals from causing extreme harm to themselves like in suicide prevention especially when it involves mental health issues. I think euthanasia should be allowed but someone should be of sound mind when making that decision and society should restrict that to extreme cases. I don’t know if a guy destroying his inability to have an enjoyable intimate relationship with a woman, negative impact on a woman’s self esteem, reducing the dating pool for women or keeping certain relationships intact, rises to the level of extreme personal harm. In the absence of that, I tend to side with freedom of choice.

        I was wondering what your take on this was especially since it doesn’t seem to impact most people that severely.

  17. (R)Evoluzione says:

    Porn and video games are a symptom of underlying societal trends that damage men and their roles in society. They are not the cause. Porn and video games are simply safe outlets for male energy and positive aggression for men and boys who have no other outlet for these energies.

    You spend an eternity vilifying porn and video games, and by extension men and boys, but until the underlying structural social issues are countermanded, there will be no positive movement on any of these issue. On the bright side, because porn and video games are, as I said, an outlet for male energies with nowhere else to go, we are seeing declines in sexual violence and crime. So the situation is not all bad. Still, a society with weakened roles for men is a weakened, vulnerable society destined for decline. Oh wait.. we’re already well down that path. That ship has sailed. So, men, enjoy the decline. If it’s porn & video games that makes you happy, more power to you. I personally don’t feel that way, but then again, I find my hedonic bliss in other ways that have also been facilitated by the current social conditions.

  18. wellokaythen says:

    Generally valid concerns, but a bit overstated I think. I also think there are several things getting jumbled together here that need to be disentangled from each other.

    1. Being “antisocial” versus being introverted. If a person often prefers to spend time alone instead of with a group of people, then extroverts/extraverts tend to see this as a symptom of something fundamentally wrong, and worried extroverted parents (can’t tell if that’s the case here) often see this as a sign that a child is being damaged. There is a lot of “unsocial” behavior that is labeled “antisocial” when it is in fact simply being introverted. If your son prefers to play by himself than with other kids, that is not always a bad thing.

    2. Being a “suitable mate” versus living a good life. Imagine how offensive the idea of “being a suitable mate” would be to many men. It is similar to advice that women might hear about making sure that they can find a husband. (“Careful, you don’t want to spook him….”) Many women find that approach extremely patronizing and stifling, and for good reason. There is a limit to what you have to give up to be part of a couple. Leaving aside the fact that there are plenty of women not automatically turned off by video game and porn habits. Leaving aside the fact that not everyone has to have a long-term relationship to be happy. Leaving aside the fact that your would-be mates may simply have unrealistic expectations that you are under no obligation to live up to.

    If your son at some point in his life sincerely prefers video games to having a girlfriend (he can do both) or prefers porn to getting married (he can do both), then I would hope he would get some respect for his individual choices, whether they seem unusual or not. There are multiple ways to be happy.

    Part of the reaction to online porn and present-day video games is a common reaction to new technology. Older forms of solitary play have been around long enough that we don’t even see how poorly interactive and unsocial they are. We just think they have virtues because we’re familiar with them and we hate it that the next generation doesn’t value them like we do. As a kid I had my head buried in a book more often than I played with other kids. The defensive part of myself thinks of course books are just better because they’re more, I don’t know, interactive or something, right?

    Would we really be having this conversation if the boy was obsessed with spending most of his spare time engrossed in fantasy realms created by books instead of video games? This reminds me of the hostility that paper-based role-playing games faced in the 1980’s. Remember those terrifying predictions about D&D? Young men were losing their grip on reality and becoming suicidal, neurotic, violent cretins under the grip of satanic forces, just one step away from all the satanic cults in every town preying on millions of teenagers. Trying to stifle a yawn, here.

    What’s funny is that this concern over video games has created such an enormous media following that it has spawned an increasingly profitable counter-attack genre, all about how video games are GOOD for your kids and modern-day TV makes your kids smarter, not dumber. It seems you can write a bestseller saying anything you want about the effects of video games and porn.

  19. Speaking of addiction

    “According to Nielsen Media Research, the average American household watches 8 hours and 15 minutes of television in a 24-hour period. The average amount of time per individual (over the age of 2) is about 4 and a half hours.”

    At least porn and video games are more interactive and have the side effect of improving motor control and computer skills.

  20. Agemaki says:

    I’m a female who grew up playing computer games and I’ve always felt that my demographic tends to get ignored. One of the main reasons why I like role-playing games particularly is the interactive romances. I don’t think it’s so different from liking fantasy or romance novels. In fact, you could say that for some games the *primary* reason why I play them is the hope of romancing some cute fantasy character. (Thane from MassEffect or Fenris/Zevran from Dragon Age) I don’t think that men and women are so different in this regard. Some people prefer romance novels (or movies), others like porn or games. And there are a lot of girls who like yaoi manga and anime, some of which is pornographic.

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