Can playing videogames make you gay?

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Matt Barton
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I'll admit this is a silly question. But after watching MaximumRD's Cho Aniki video, I had to ask: Can playing a videogame make you gay?

Just in case you think I'm being silly, consider...Would you be concerned if your 9-year old son was playing this game? And appearing to enjoy it? I don't mean to be offensive or rude, but I am curious if you think that just playing a videogame (really any videogame) can have such a substantial impact on a developing mind. Even though this game doesn't feature nudity or overt sexual activity, would you consider it somehow dangerous to your child?

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Mark Vergeer
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Becoming gay....
Matt Barton wrote:

..... One I recall had been molested when he was a kid by a male relative (an uncle). He said that the experiences were pleasurable for him, so it was only natural that he become gay later in life. I always wondered if he would have been straight if he had not been molested. However, I'll leave such questions to Mark, our resident psychiatrist. Sadly, this individual tragically ended up shooting himself....

Your friend didn't become gay because he had a pleasurable homosexual experience as a kid. That is SO WRONG to even think that. It really doesn't work that way.

Being molested as a child can cause mental problems later on, especially if the experience itself is interpreted as 'pleasurable'. Being stimulated and aroused can often be mistaken by the victims of sexual abuse as being truly pleasurable - but it is NOT as it is forced upon the individual. Having been sexually aroused whilst being abused is something that often happens and can cause a lot of guilt and confusion later on.

This experience could actually have contributed to the suicide. But I really should not say that as is a more complicated matter.

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Matt Barton
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Interesting responses. I

Interesting responses. I haven't had many gay friends that I was comfortable talking about such things with, but the ones I did had experiences in their pasts. One I recall had been molested when he was a kid by a male relative (an uncle). He said that the experiences were pleasurable for him, so it was only natural that he become gay later in life. I always wondered if he would have been straight if he had not been molested. However, I'll leave such questions to Mark, our resident psychiatrist. Sadly, this individual tragically ended up shooting himself.

In any case, I'd be shocked if anyone ever told me he had become gay after playing a certain videogame. The analogy with violence would seem to hold here. If you're already predisposed towards being gay, you might be drawn to such a game. It's a bit more complicated, because unlike obsessions with violence, a fascination with homoerotica is "taboo" in most circles. I saw this vividly in high school, with the big jocks. They seemed to think constantly about having anal and oral sex with guys, although they tried to hide it by making out like it was a joke or just a way of being offensive. They would of course have beaten me to a bloody pulp if I had asked them about it, but I deeply suspect this was just their way of exploring or expressing these feelings behind the shelter of machismo.

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Mark Vergeer
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being gay is a variation of the norm - it is NO disease

Personal sexual orientation is something that sits somewhere on a continuum

[girls] -----------X-------------[boys] = bisexual
[girls] ---X---------------------[boys] = hetrosexual or lesbian depending on sexe
[girls] ----------------------X--[boys] = hetrosexual or homosexual depending on sexe

You encounter this all throughout the animal kingdom/god's creation. It's a variation on the norm ranging from 5-10 % of the population for the lower two variants.
Homosexual males do seem to have a different brain structure according to some researchers (controversial) which makes specific basal brain structures more similar to female brains than to male brains. Hence it is theorized that a male homosexual can't help but be sexually interested in males as would a heterosexual female. There are slight differences in brain structures in lesbians too when you compare it to heterosexual controls. In short the gay brain resembles that of the opposite sex.

So while sexual preference seems to be something ingrained in the brain and body, like sexual identity is. There's also social component learned sexual behaviour and learned sexual identity. The latter often is equal to the physicial sexual form. If that is NOT the case - gender identity problems arise with people being transsexual.

In ancient Rome - learned sexual behaviour made it perfectly normal for young males to have sexual relationships. Homoerotic interaction was the norm for young men, most of them (95%) went on to have heterosexual relationships when they were older. Also older men would normally have homosexual contacts with young males. So in ancient Rome both pedophile and homoerotic contacts were the norm in certain circles. It is presumed that the incidence of actual homosexuals/lesbiennes was just as high as it is today - but the social norms dictated other behaviours. So in a way some sexual behaviour and desires is learned / normal.

Can videogames make you gay? Well in the sence of the player being happy - perhaps. In the sense of changing ones sexual orientation - hell no!

It's all fairly easy to understand and there's nothing wrong with being either way. I draw the line at folk that are sexually interested in children (pedophiles) as they - by their very nature - have predatory behaviours (isolating the child and emposing mental strain) corrupting the freedom of choice and development of the child when it is violated often resulting in trauma, dissociative disorders or luxating/exaggerating problems found in personality disorders.

In my intervision group (+- 10 people of the same cohort who trained to become psychiatrists) I am actuallty the only heterosexual male among quite a few gay men (one is getting married soon) and heterosexual females - so I am a minority - which is absolute hilarious at times as our group is so different from the norm!

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Rob Daviau
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@ ROWDY Quote First of all,

@ ROWDY
Quote
First of all, after viewing MaximRD's "Cho Aniki" video, I was wondering the same thing everyone else was... "What the hell????"

LOL! Exactly as I intended.

Great response from both you guys, WOW never expected the video would start such interesting conversation, glad I chose it to start off!
Makes the efforts worth it......

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Oldschool games, some people just don't "get it"...

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Rowdy Rob
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Make you gay? No.... but....

First of all, after viewing MaximRD's "Cho Aniki" video, I was wondering the same thing everyone else was... "What the hell????"

I don't think anything in singular can make you something you're not, but as part of an overall trend or social/societal "diet," I believe popular entertainment can influence mores, beliefs, and "styles." Rather than knee-jerk religious/conservative bashing, or being too defensive about videogames in general being "controversial," I believe that games could be considered on a case-by-case basis, and in some cases, perhaps a game specifically designed to affect one's attitudes CAN have an effect, particularly in young gamers.

In this case, I suspect that "Cho Aniki" is intended more as a shock-comedy game than a gay-erotica game. I doubt even a true homosexual would find this stuff "erotic," just silly, and no heterosexual is going to turn gay over this game. This is the sort of game a Japanese player would show his friends, where they'd chuckle and go "what the hell???" It might even be intended as an anti-gay game.

But can a game, in and of itself, make you gay? Well, if it could, then it stands to reason that a game can make you heterosexual as well! When looked at it that way, the concept sounds completely absurd (to me, anyway). But who knows, someone reading this might go "hey, this is the 'cure' for homosexuality!" and go start a videogame camp for gay teens.

If playing videogames can make you ANYTHING, then we can use the power of videogames to cure all sorts of society's ills (crime, violence, smoking, alcoholism, drug addiction, etc.). We can also turn rebellious or docile youth into fanatical, racist soldiers of a tyrannical government.

Video games can make you gay. Yes, the more I think about it, the more rational it all sounds. Ok, not really. :-)

BUT....... as part of a societal trend, I think videogame culture CAN influence kids on a whole, just like any pop culture can. If all the other kids are doing it, your kid might fall under the influence of pop culture too. Trends such as fashion, music, movies, and such, on a whole, CAN have a major influence on a child's mores and behavior, I believe! If not, explain kids getting tatoos, body piercings, dressing in ways that were unacceptable for ANYONE in public 30 years ago. Explain the hippie movement. And there are numerous other anecdotal examples of social trends and mores influence by pop culture, which videogames are now a part of.

Would I "cringe" if my kid was caught playing this "Cho Aniki" game? Yes, because as an adult, I understand what's being portrayed, but a nine-year-old kid probably wouldn't. To the kid, the game might just appear to be a shooter with goofy musclemen. I don't think it would influence his sexuality, any more than listening to the "Village People" did to me when I was a kid (and I did enjoy the Village People). I would cringe, though, because it broaches the uncomfortable subject of sex, which is inappropriate to push on young children in my opinion (except from an educational/self-defense point of view).

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Bill Loguidice
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Not that there's anything wrong with any of it...

No, because that's presuming that sexual preference is learned, which I believe all of the evidence points to it not being. In other words, you're either born gay or you're not. I don't think it's something you can proactively choose or have your opinion influenced by in some profound manner. Of course the issue of bi-sexuality is an interesting one, though I believe in that case the person is really just gay. That I could be open to other interpretations of, though.

Let's put it one other way. Does playing violent videogames make you more violent? No. It may be a trigger to an already inherently violent nature, but I don't believe it's a CAUSE of said violence. In other words, a strong breeze or a friendly kiss may have triggered the violence - the cause is irrelevant. It's too convenient to point to a SINGLE thing as an explanation for an event. Humans are complex and our actions are the result of the sum of our lives to that point influenced by certain innate traits.

Finally, as long as I take an active role in my children's development and am there as much as possible for them with lots and lots of love and support, I don't believe any external influences, be it of a sexual, violent or vulgar nature, will have much of an effect at all. Plus I don't plan on shielding them from everything "bad". I think knowledge is power, you know, and understanding the "bad" in something is VERY powerful, rather than trying to remain ignorant of it.

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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