The Surprising Sexuality of (Male) Gamers
The modern stereotype of people who frequently play video games needs finally to be put to rest. Gamers, as they’re known, are actually not losers residing in their parents’ basement, but rather people from all different backgrounds who enjoy the entertainment value that spending time playing video games affords.
Along with that stereotype is the belief that gamers’ sexuality must also be less than ideal. Losers in basements can’t have a healthy, positive sex life, right?
Let’s find out…
Research published earlier this year explored the sexual health of male gamers. As the researchers (Sansone et al., 2017) of the current study note, “Videogame use has been associated with improvements in cognitive functions, with improvements in specific intellectual fields according to different game types, such as working memory, processing speed, and executive functions. This ‘brain training’ seems to have positive influences on and, in some cases, preventing obesity and ensuring a correct lifestyle.”
So the researchers wanted to explore gamers’ sexual health as well. In the present study, they did this through the administration of two scientific research questionnaires, the Premature Ejaculation Diagnostic Tool (PEDT) and the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-15) online. Researchers also asked the men (ages 18 through 50) to provide additional information about their lifestyle and living habits, as well as their gaming habits.
In all, 599 men answered the call to complete the surveys, but 199 of those men had no sexual activity during the previous four weeks, so the researchers didn’t examine their data. In all, the scientists analyzed data from 396 survey respondents and classified them into two groups — gamers (who averaged at least one hour per day playing video games) and non-gamers (who averaged less than one hour per day playing video games).
Compared to non-gamers, the researchers found that gamers were less interested in sex — their sexual desire was significantly less. However, gamers were less likely to suffer from premature ejaculation when they did have sex.
Gamers Less Likely to Have Premature Ejaculation, Sexual Desire
The clearly good news based on this self-reporting survey research is that gamers say they have less premature ejaculation than their less-gaming counterparts.
What about the reduced sexual desire reported by gamers? After all, most people might say, “Hey, loss of sexual desire is a bad thing.”
But remember, we’re talking only about men here… Men typically appear to have a higher level of sexual desire than women (although that may be just due to men in many relationships being more vocal about their sexual needs than women). So maybe having a slightly lower level of sexual desire may not be such a bad thing — it really depends on the specific relationship.
How do the researchers explain the possible mechanism at work here?
…[T]he ‘reward system’ of videogames might affect the dopaminergic system; as previously described, dopamine levels increase while gaming. The dopaminergic system also is involved in facilitating orgasm and ejaculation, and dopamine acts as the most important ‘pleasure hormone,’ with an excitatory role in intercourse. D1 receptors, because of their decreased affinity, are activated only during dopamine peaks, in contrast to D2 receptors, which are activated by a slow, progressive release of dopamine. Gaming, as a source of repeated dopamine peaks, might lead to an enhanced steady-state homeostasis and to decreased activation of receptors given the same levels of dopamine; this might cause tolerance in the ejaculatory reflex and a decreased interest in intercourse, providing an explanation to our results.
I think that’s a possible, reasonable explanation, since gaming is intrinsically rewarding (otherwise people wouldn’t be doing it so often). And it would also neatly explain why there’s diminished sexual desire in male gamers.
Keep in mind, this is apparently the first observational study that’s investigated this link directly. More research is needed to confirm these results.
But the results are surprising, in that gamers are not the obvious sexual losers the traditional societal stereotype makes them out to be. In fact, if you’re a person looking for a partner who doesn’t suffer from premature ejaculation and isn’t always bugging you for sex, a gamer may be just the ticket.
Sansone A, Sansone M, Proietti M, Ciocca G, Lenzi A, Jannini EA, Romanelli F. (2017). Relationship Between Use of Videogames and Sexual Health in Adult Males. J Sex Med., 14, 898-903. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2017.05.001.
Grohol, J. (2018). The Surprising Sexuality of (Male) Gamers. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 4, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-surprising-sexuality-of-male-gamers/