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Why Girls are Becoming as Obsessed with Gaming and Porn as Their Male Peers

By July 31, 2019 August 2nd, 2019 No Comments

Disclaimer: Fight the New Drug does not educate on the harmful effects of video gaming obsessions or addictions. This piece is intended to share information experts have gathered that explains how video gaming in excess combined with any amount of today’s hardcore violent porn is a toxic combination.

Porn and gaming aren’t just for guys.

Just listen to girl gamer Erica Garza, in her recent article for Time, about her introduction to both as a young tween:

“I kept a low profile and threw myself into a handful of solo obsessions to keep me from troubling thoughts of self-loathing. One was playing video games. The other was watching soft-core porn. Though I’m confident I found video games first, I discovered late-night Cinemax shortly thereafter, and it’s difficult to recall which pursuit I loved more and which I used more. The two are intertwined in my memory.

Both worlds were irresistible to me as a tween. But as compelling as they were, they were equally isolating because of my gender. It seemed to me that video games and porn were intended for boys, not me. This sense of not feeling like I belonged forced me to engage in secret—which proved to be a pathway to unhealthy use.”

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The connections between porn and gaming

Porn and gaming have long been considered issues that only affect guys. Think about almost every movie or book out there that depicts a modern teenage boy—a lot of them show young men blasting aliens or looking at pictures of women online as typical daily habits, right?

Excessive and compulsive consumption of pornography or video games comes from a pretty similar source issue: people can often rather spend time focusing on screens, building connections in a fantasy world rather than spending energy and facing possibly rejection in the real world.

Related: Groundbreaking Study Finds Video Game Addiction Is Linked To Compulsive Porn Use

Unsurprisingly creators of porn—and, sometimes, video games—realize the connection and capitalize off of it.

Just a guy issue?

You may not have noticed, but most of the research done around porn or video games is specifically related to young men, rather than young women.

Philip Zimbardo, psychologist and former president of the American Psychological Association and Stanford professor, delved into the struggles of modern young men in his TEDx talk “The demise of guys” in which he discusses how gaming and porn have the capability of becoming “arousal addictions,” meaning that they both rely on novelty in order to stimulate the brain.

Related: Mixing Porn And Gaming Fuels Social Isolation, Says Top Psychologist

He did a survey of over 20,000 young people, the majority of whom were young men, and found that “they are combining playing video games with, as a break, then watching two hours a week [of] pornography.”

Zimbardo found that excessive porn usage could result in porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED), which is becoming increasingly common in sexually active men under 40. While this particular side-effect is specifically related to men, both porn and gaming are far from “just guy things.”

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Not an isolated issue just for guys

A study by Marie Claire showed that one out of three women watch porn at least once a week. A German study showed that women are “just as easily hooked on online porn as men.” It is definitely not an issue only guys deal with.

Women are increasingly becoming part of the gaming community, too, though it has been a male-dominated field for a long time. Women in games are frequently portrayed as sex objects or damsels in distress, which can be even further isolating for female gamers. Failing to acknowledge that these issues affect women, too, can lead to even more problems.

Garza wrote about how porn and video game usage were both worlds she was drawn to at an obsessive level, but she experienced even more shame and isolation because she’s a girl.

RelatedWhy Porn Leaves Consumers Lonely

“I felt that watching porn was just another thing I was doing wrong as a girl,” she wrote in the Time article.

The added shame can keep women from being honest about their secret pornography habits and keep them from getting they help they need, because this is “supposed to be” a guy problem. Don’t believe that women can also struggle with porn? We get letters from girls as young as middle school on the regular, looking for help with tackling their porn issue.

Even the women who don’t consume pornography or video games regularly still have to live in a world where a lot of other people do.

Sexism sells

Like porn, some popular video games combine violence and sexism in order to objectify and mistreat women on the screen or at least objectify them for entertainment. For example, BioWare, a popular video game developer, created a game last year with “full nudity” ratings and optional graphic sex scenes, where you can choose from a number of sexual partners, both human and alien. Even one of the general managers of BioWare Aaryn Flynn admitted that the game is, “totally softcore space porn.”

A recent study showed that boys that play games in which “women are secondary characters…who are used as sexual objects by players” show a decrease in empathy towards female victims.

Related: Why Having Strong Human Connections Can Help Fight Porn Addiction

In some games like Grand Theft Auto, you can hit the female characters—usually strippers or prostituted persons—and are rewarded with points or extra health.

“When you watch a film you may zone out, but when you play a video game you cannot zone out. When you watch a TV show, maybe you don’t identify with the character, but in a game, you have no choice. You are the one who controls the character’s actions,” Brad Bushman, the author of the study, told Time magazine.

Harness

Compulsive behaviors, lack of empathy, objectification, exploitation, and shame are far from foreign to women. The more research being done, the more we’re seeing just how much escaping reality and living in fantasy worlds—whether that’s porn or gaming—are universal issues that affect everyone.

Other universal issues? Loneliness and isolation, both of which can be fueled by obsession with sexually explicit fantasy worlds built apart from real relationships or real life. Bottom line: people need other people, which is why we fight for real relationships.

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