Dr. Helen

The Demise of Guys? Or Shaming the Guy Brain?

A reader (thanks!) sent me a link to a CNN story on Dr. Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan’s new book The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It. The article discusses how porn and video games are ruining a generation of guys:

Is the overuse of video games and pervasiveness of online porn causing the demise of guys?

Increasingly, researchers say yes, as young men become hooked on arousal, sacrificing their schoolwork and relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz.

Every compulsive gambler, alcoholic or drug addict will tell you that they want increasingly more of a game or drink or drug in order to get the same quality of buzz.

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.

Apparently, all this porn and video gaming is making guy unable to commit or do well in school:

Such new brains are also totally out of sync in traditional school classes, which are analog, static and interactively passive. Academics are based on applying past lessons to future problems, on planning, on delaying gratifications, on work coming before play and on long-term goal-setting.

Guys are also totally out of sync in romantic relationships, which tend to build gradually and subtly, and require interaction, sharing, developing trust and suppression of lust at least until “the time is right.”

Yep, it’s the guys fault and their brains are just screwed up from the gaming and porn-watching. School didn’t used to be so static, but now that it’s geared for the passive and inert, maybe it’s just boring and guys aren’t connecting. Instead, they are connecting to something that gives them more control and satisfaction. Besides, if they do say something “lustful” at school, they might be expelled for sexual harrassment. At least gaming and porn won’t bore you to death or  get you in legal trouble (yet).