The Other Porn?

As we all know, guys have a pretty strong sex drive.  Guys who can’t act on it often resort to porn as a way to harness it.

We also have an instinct for thrills and adventure.  We like blowing stuff up and conquering, we crave that moment when the pressure’s on us and we come through.  Obviously, in today’s cubicle-driven world, lots of men don’t have a sufficient outlet for this instinct either.

Yet when we’re driving a tank through the streets of Vice City, it feels like we’re being aggressive in the way were meant to be.  Kind of like POV porn make us feel like it’s real (at least in some cases).

This kid probably feels like a real hero:  (image stolen from Nathan Beaver)

fat-kid-playing-video-games

But he’s not.

So, just like the porn-addict who gives up on sex because of the plethora of hot young babes appearing on his screen, many men today give up on any real adventure because they’ve got so many games to play.

Obviously, we can’t always be at war (which is a good thing), nor do most of us really need to hunt to survive.

So our outlet for our aggressive instincts has traditionally been sports.  Although I wouldn’t describe athletic heroism as genuine heroism, it does require some pretty genuine strength.  Kicking a fifty-two yarder as the clock winds down is anything but easy.

We’ve also had adventure stories, and more recently, movies.  However, just like watching a flick with lots of skin in a movie theater doesn’t quite replicate sex quite as intensely as porn (pace Pee-Wee Herman), in an action movie, you may identify with the hero, but it’s not a substitute for participation.

The same goes for sports, although I suspect that not knowing how a game will turn out (we usually know how the movie’s going to end) enables vicariousness to a greater degree than other forms of entertainment.  Hence, the sports addict, the dude who structures his entire life around hockey season.

So, I suspect that action movies probably don’t replace our own natural drives quite to the same extent as watching sports, and sports not quite as much as video games.  Playing sports can help build the requisite skills for “the real thing” (living out your mission in real life), but can also be a distraction from it.

Yet never as much as video games.  Win at soccer, you’ve actually accomplished something.

Call of Duty 4?

Not so much.

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16 Responses to The Other Porn?

  1. pancakeloach says:

    H8er! LOL

    I suspect you aren’t a gamer, yourself. Y/N? Would you say that nonphysical challenges such as winning a chess match would be less of an accomplishment than a soccer victory? Is the physicality of the sport somehow indispensable to its virtue as a manly challenge to overcome?

    I married a wargame champion who plays video games, you see. My female solipsism is offended by my inferring from this post that you think that some airheaded soccer jock is a more accomplished man than my award-winning nerd. But I could be wrong about your meaning. 😉

    • Martel says:

      My issue with EXCESSIVE gaming is that it replicates the “heroic” instinct in such a way that it might stifle it in real life. Chess is an intellectual & competitive challenge that helps us compete, but it doesn’t trick us into feeling like heroes.

      And if somebody’s leading a healthy life while gaming, more power to ’em. However, lots of incredibly unhappy kids spend a lot of time shooting stuff on a TV screen, and some of them have no lives.

      Obviously, gaming is great for hand-eye coordination, and it can play a similar role as sports. However, like I’ve said, it often mimics physical exertion and accomplishment without actually being that. And I do think that physical exertion is a necessary end in and of itself.

      I also recognize that some gamers become great programmers. Awesome. They’re benefiting from it. That’s not often the case.

      Sports fans can (but many don’t) develop similar problems. There are millions of sports fans that use baseball as a healthy diversion. There are millions of other sports fans who have no life. The heroics on the field make up for the lack of fulfillment in their own lives.

      It’s a question of balance. In moderation, very few things are a problem. But in a de-masculinized society like ours, when I see lots of under-developed males spending oodles of time playing at something male instead of doing it, I suspect it might be a problem.

      • “My issue with EXCESSIVE gaming is that it replicates the “heroic” instinct in such a way that it might stifle it in real life. Chess is an intellectual & competitive challenge that helps us compete, but it doesn’t trick us into feeling like heroes.”

        Couldn’t agree with this more. My husband and I have talked about this very thing again and again. There is either an old saying or one I made up or something in between (can’t recall) porn is to sex as sports is to war. Sports were once an outlet for aggression, competition, etc when played in action vs. watched. Gaming has largely replaced that with something that doesn’t simulate or stimulate in the same way. More harm than good and all of that.

      • Martel says:

        I don’t quite ascribe to this, but I heard someone once say “sports are soap operas for guys”.

        I see the value in sports, even for observers. What the hell else are a wealthy stock-broker and a poor black janitor going to talk about if they’re stuck next to each other on Amtrak? They can be conduits for father-son bonding, etc. However, some dudes are obsessed. There’s a guy here at work, and I’ve overheard about fifty conversations with other people around the office with him involved. About 35 times, it’s been football, baseball five or six times, hockey 5, and basketball twice. I’ve heard him say something about anything other than work and sports a total of TWO times.

        Sorry, but something’s wrong. Were men leading happy and fulfilled lives, I wouldn’t see it as a problem. Considering how miserable most of us are, I can’t help but wonder.

      • pancakeloach says:

        Ah, I see that one must opt-in to email replies rather than expect to automatically receive them – apologies for my tardiness. 😉

        It makes sense that sports are much less addictive – even watching them, there’s a finite number of games after all. Video games can be replayed as many times as one wants. And I can definitely see that the physicality of playing a sports game has a lot of value whereas a 16-hour World of Warcraft raid (or what have you)… doesn’t. It’s one reason why I’m pretty much convinced that Technology is for Adults and any kids of mine are not going to have unlimited gaming console access privileges any more than I’d let them watch TV for hours.

        But as far as misery goes, I’m wondering what comes first – the social rejection or the gaming obsession. My suspicion is that the miserable video-game obsessed boys got that way because they face an anti-male environment every day at school, and their helicopter mothers wouldn’t dream of allowing them to behave in a rambunctious male fashion at home either. “Allow Johnny to play outside unsupervised? The neighbors would call CPS!” For kids who are a little “Odd” (as Sarah Hoyt calls us weirdos) and don’t find that they have any social opportunity in the environment they’ve been placed in by their parents… I can’t blame them for turning to virtual reality to affect the only escape from an intolerable situation that they can. Girls can become quiet bookworms when reality is too depressing and they want to get away from it – modern so-called literature is mostly female fantasy fulfillment. I don’t think it’s at all surprising that the “social loser” boys turn to video games. And no, I can see that getting addicted to those doesn’t actually help matters.

        But that fat kid on the couch? He didn’t get that way without his parents not only allowing it but enabling it by buying him the snacks and video game console and the TV in the first place. How’s he going to participate in sports? Drive himself to practice? Forge his mom’s signature on the permission slips?

        I see video games not as the fundamental cause of the misery but as a coping mechanism to compensate for pre-existing misery. Boys and young men with healthy social lives will have somebody there to pull them out if they start getting addicted, after all. The fat, sedentary kid whose only friends are also obsessed gamers, not so much.

        Anyway I hope that makes sense for something typed up practically in the middle of the night. 😉 Let me know if your experience and/or observations don’t match mine – I think that this is a problem that needs helping!

  2. Sis says:

    My husband plays games on the computer, but he’s good at balancing it with me and family so I don’t care.

  3. earl says:

    Because of what you said…I thought of this spot I saw.

  4. M3 says:

    Video games are good time sinks, and can help develop good hand/eye coord.

    But i’ve never seen a single woman swoon at the ‘athleticism’ of an online gamer.

    Tell a girl you won the 2013 CounterStrike:Source tournament by spending 16 hours playing online and she’ll look at you like you’re nuts.

    Tell a girl you took MVP in (insert your favorite pro sport here) and she’ll be secretly thinking about having your babies.

    I understand the allure of action movies and video games. They allow us to become something virtually impossible for a brief period of time. We suspend belief and become the protagonist and enjoy the adventure in relative safety from our couch. We get to live out the adventure of Indianna Jones fighting Nazi’s and going on quests, where 1 day of being him would take a lifetime for most people to achieve in their own lives.

    But like anything, it can become a drug. Especially when it’s more fun to live in someone else’s adventure than trying to create one of your own due to your own physical and mental limitations.

    • Martel says:

      Very good points. Also, athleticism improves self-esteem on a fundamental level that even quality intellectual pursuits like chess rarely can. The captin of the football team is one of his high school’s apex Alphas. The captain of the chess team?

      I suspect you’d impress more babes even with something like bowling.

      Also, context is key. I’m a pretty good pool player and I’ve gotten lots of positive attention for it. If a woman sees every guy in a room trying to be the best at something (almost anything), the guy who IS the best at it becomes the alpha. So I suspect that the winner of a Madden tournament with a bunch of friends at a party with women will get some alpha cred that he wouldn’t otherwise, but the ways in which video game skillz will improve your chances with women are few and far between.

  5. Paul Murray says:

    Video games offer a cheap sense of accomplishment.

  6. infowarrior1 says:

    Achievement porn is video games.

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  11. You have to try 3single (dot) com. There you talk to amateur grils who look like your neighbor. Have fun 🙂

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