One of the characteristic features of our modern and technologically-advanced societies entails the sway the phenomenon of violent video games exerts over the hearts of thousands and thousands of people all across the world. Ever wondered as to why do people turn to them as a form of entertainment? A new study that has looked into its appeal has found that gamers are motivated by their desire for sex. More interestingly, it has busted the stereotype that gamers are mostly males.
500 adult male and female gamers from the US were surveyed to glean information about the games they play and the level of violence the latter depict. The results showed that men and women are not much different: while men did prefer violent games more than women, the difference was not as large as expected. Both the male and female gamers claimed to love the violent games.
The participants were also asked about their opinions on sex. Using the Sexual Openness Inventory, the researchers sought to find out how likely they were to engage in sexual activities, as well as their preference for casual sex.
The desire for sex and the propensity to play violent video games were then correlated. It was found that both males and females claiming to be more interested in sex indulged in more violent games. Also, men’s perception of themselves as a romantic partner was not found to be associated with the amount of violent video games they played. On the other hand, a strong correlation was noted in women; that is, women playing violent games more would see themselves as a better romantic partner than those who played less.
Further results showed that women’s motivation to play violent games had a lot to do with feeling attractive and sexy – the activity of playing violent video games made women feel sexier. The researchers concluded that gaming might be enhancing women’s self-perception as a high-quality romantic partner.
In an article published on theconversation.com, the researchers write:
“These findings are a perfect example of where stereotypes don’t describe the beautiful variation we see in our society.
“Our results also break another stereotype about gamers: that they are nerdy, basement-dwelling individuals who are interested in technology more than finding a romantic partner. Rather, gamers are often interested in sex. And the gamers who are most interested in sex tend to play the most violent games.
“From an evolutionary perspective, this makes some sense. Like other animals, in our ancestral past, those who successfully competed and secured resources and mates had the most offspring. People who want more access to a greater variety of partners thus need to be competitive enough to gain access to them. So violent video games might be tapping into some ancient penchant for competitive behaviour for the sake of proving one’s worth as a mate.
“We have dubbed our idea the ‘dominance-practice hypothesis’, as violent video games provide men and women a virtual arena to compete on equal footing. And when women compete, that seems to make them feel pretty good about their ability to be a ‘good catch’.
“So it seems that even in video games, it’s all about sex.”