When you hear someone describe himself as a “gamer”, one of the last associations that’ll probably come to mind is that he is also a proficient lover. But alas, this is true, based on new research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. The study revealed that men who button-mash are actually less susceptible to premature ejaculation, a condition that affects 20 to 30 percent of men.
Because data on how sexual health relates to video gaming is limited, researchers decided to ask almost 600 men between the ages of 18 and 50 about their lifestyles, including experiences with erectile function and their gaming habits. They discovered that those who played video games for at least one hour a day were less likely to ejaculate prematurely compared to those who didn’t game at all. However—and this is important—gamers also reported lower levels of sexual desire.
This acuity mirrors past research that found that most of today’s teens actually prefer video games to sex. (I know—we don’t get it either.) That study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, reports that almost half of teens in New York City spend at least three hours a day playing video games, a figure which alone has spiked 42 percent since 2013. This is reflected in gamemakers’ profits as well. Last year, consumers spent $24 billion in the gaming industry, $16.5 billion of which was spent on gaming content.
Strangely, despite it being one of the first observational studies to investigate a link between electronic entertainment and male sexuality, the report doesn’t hypothesize why gamers are less likely to ejaculate early. The only conclusion was that their findings needed more validation…via more studies. That’s understandable. It’s important for scientists to legitimize their research, less they jump to abrupt conclusions. But to offer no insight whatsoever? Seems a little cagey.
“Given that this is the very first study to examine this subject, it’s not clear whether we’re talking about a reliable difference here or a statistical fluke,” Playboy columnist, sex educator and researcher Justin Lehmiller explains.
“What I think is interesting about this study is that, for the most part, gamers and non-gamers were pretty similar in terms of their sexual health,“ he says. "Plus, the differences that did exist were relatively small and inconsistent in the sense that gamers seemed better off in some ways (less premature ejaculation), while non-gamers were better off in other ways (more sexual desire).”
If anything, the research disputes at least one unsavory trait often associated with gamers. “Based on stereotypes, I think a lot of people would have expected that gamers would have had more sexual problems across the board, but this study suggests that this isn’t the case,” Lehmiller says.
One study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that a women’s limited representation in video games, where they are generally cast as “characters needing help” or "sex objects to win,” could have negative implications on how young men perceive women. “The video game industry may find it appropriate to encourage an evolution in the way women are represented, because sexism on screen can have consequences which are not limited to the virtual world,” the study’s author said. However, sexism has been found to be far more present in those with religious backgrounds.
Thankfully, changes in how women are represented in games are happening. It starts with the recent cinema success of Wonder Woman, which should create more opportunities for women in—and behind—all forms of media. And in the last five years alone, Lara Croft, the gaming world’s most recognized female, has evolved from a walking set of tits to someone who more accurately represents a modern woman. Good start.