Thinking Out Loud

May 27, 2012

Arousal Addiction: Video Games, Porn and Men

A Stanford University professor has a guest article at CNN this weekend which is worth a look: The Demise of Guys: How video games and porn are ruining a generation, which is also the title of a general market book on the same subject. The two addictions are compared and contrasted, but the one thing they have in common is arousal:

Video game and porn addictions are different. They are “arousal addictions,” where the attraction is in the novelty, the variety or the surprise factor of the content. Sameness is soon habituated; newness heightens excitement. In traditional drug arousal, conversely, addicts want more of the same cocaine or heroin or favorite food.

The consequences could be dramatic: The excessive use of video games and online porn in pursuit of the next thing is creating a generation of risk-averse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school and employment.

The article affirms what others are saying about brain chemistry:

Young men — who play video games and use porn the most — are being digitally rewired in a totally new way that demands constant stimulation. And those delicate, developing brains are being catered to by video games and porn-on-demand, with a click of the mouse, in endless variety.

Read the entire piece.

Also check out the author’s 2011 TEDTalk on “The Demise of Guys.”

As I’ve mentioned before here, this situation has major implications for the church: Men just aren’t stepping up when things need doing; they aren’t volunteering. Either gripped by the sinfulness of their online addictions, or unable to find free time for the same reason, the mission of the church is slowly being ceded to women, a demographic which is also seeing a rise in online addictions of a different type. 

We need to have a conversation in each of our churches about this. This needs to be discussed. It needs to be confronted.

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1 Comment »

  1. Hi there Paul. I think that porn certainly does rewire the brain, as do many forms of online addiction. Posting under ‘The Son He Loves’ (thesonheloves.wordpress.com) I share my story of ‘intermittent addiction’ and which you have (thank you) linked before to help men know that they are not alone in the struggle. With regard to porn, or any addictive sin (gambling, chatting into emotional territory with someone not your wife/husband, excessive gaming, constant attention seeking posting, etc.) the danger comes when a person ceases to a) see the need for struggle against sin b) relabels sin to not seem ‘sinful’ and then b) end the struggle with sin altogether – give up/give in. That’s how you can tell the brain is wired – wired shut! And only by God’s tremendous saving power can He break the ‘code’ that the brain is running on and reset it to Christ-centric living and thinking. I am a recipient of such miraculous rewiring. Gents/Ladies, IT CAN BE DONE! (rather RECEIVED!)

    I have not only had a I-Porn addiction completely removed from my ‘wiring’ but recently, another internet problem has been dealt with, again, ONLY by God’s strength. Virtual hoarding. If you are constantly downloading software and utilizing illegal ‘cracked’ software to support your interests, then, my friend, that’s just one more thing that ain’t right and that you must let God deal with. Took me 12 years! Now, not a single digital item (songs, software etc.) is being (nor will be) downloaded that I haven’t or won’t pay for – legit! I hope to write about virtual hoarding soon, as I’m sure I’m not the only one being affected by this inclination, one that traps the soul and mind while sucking away one’s valuable earth-time just as porn does, believe it or not.

    Thank you Paul for your constant warfare in this area. God bless your links and posts and every effort to draw people toward the light.

    Amen.

    The Son He Loves
    aka. Seymour Clearly

    Comment by Seymour Clearly — May 27, 2012 @ 4:25 pm


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