The Lure of Sex in Video Games

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

The combination of sex and pornography in a video game has the potential for explosive growth and has already proven to become so. In Second Life, it’s reported that there are over twenty million accounts with more than half of those being active gamers.

In this video game, there are people making significant amounts of real money by providing a virtual escort service, some are making six-figure incomes.[1] By day, a woman could be a mom, lawyer, or other professional. But by night, she is the voice behind an avatar that charges twenty dollars an hour for a man to have a virtual companion and virtual sex. While living in the game, otherwise known as “living on the grid,” individuals purchase genitalia and sex beds so their avatars can have virtual sex with each other. People are spending real money for virtual sexual experiences in the digital world Second Life.

In the phone sex industry, searching the Internet reveals that per minute rates could be as low as eighty-five cents, making an hour on the phone costing over fifty dollars. But in the virtual world of Second Life, where escorts charge only twenty dollars an hour, gamers not only have visual stimulus, but also voice stimulus, making virtual sex less expensive and more appealing. Excessive video game playing is hindering relationships and marriages, leaving no room for fostering healthy, relationships and sex lives with their real-life spouses and partners. Video games are increasingly cited as a reason for divorce. It is reported that about 15% of the divorce filings citing “unreasonable behavior” are due to excessive video game playing in the United Kingdom.[2] It is arguable that video game addiction is unlikely to be the only factor resulting in broken marriages. On the other hand, it is likely that there are multiple factors contributing to deterioration of marriages, and excessive video game playing may be a mechanism for escape of real life martial problems. Similar to how people use other types of addictions for escape, the video game addict uses video games to escape real life. The addictive behavior is likely a manifestation of root causes discussed in this book, such as need for challenge, ego-seeking behavior, desire for companionship, and even hunger for sex.

As computer graphics improve – this digital eye candy so to speak – the pictures within the game will begin looking more real. Technology will offer the ability to view 3D-images, surround sound, and tactile stimuli for the gamer to be completely immersed in the digital world. As games develop better graphics, it can turn into outright pornography, but players are the main characters in the porn flick. Therefore, the desire to escape and have virtual sex will become more of a draw.

[1] CBS News, “The Steamier Side of Second Life.” YouTube. 2008. Accessed August 27, 2011.

[2], “Eurogamer Digs Into Divorce Online Video Game Claims”, May 31, 2011. Accessed June 21, 2011.

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