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Violence Versus Sex in Entertainment


by Izzy Kalman (May 2004)

At my new seminar, Bullying and Sibling Rivalry, I have been distributing an anonymous survey form to assess participants’ attitudes and experiences. One of the items is, “After watching an erotic movie, I feel an urge to have sex.” Another is “After watching a violent movie, I feel an urge to injure or kill people.”

Of the 434 people who have so far completed the survey, 214, or 49%, answered “yes” to the first item, that they have an urge to have sex after watching an erotic movie. In contrast, only 5 people, or 1%, answered “yes” to feeling an urge to injure or kill someone after watching a violent movie.

I submit this as another piece of evidence against the armies of researchers trying to prove that violent entertainment causes violence in real life. If it did, we could expect that more than 5 out of 434 participants would feel an urge to become violent after watching violent entertainment. After all, about half are aware of the urge for sex after watching sex. Why aren’t they similarly stimulated after watching violence?

There is a very simple explanation. Sex is a positive biological urge. Mother Nature wants us to have sex to perpetuate the species, and that is why she made sex feel so good. Violence, on the other hand, is a negative biological need. Mother Nature wants us to avoid violence because it causes injury and death, and that is why she made violence painful – so we would avoid it unless absolutely necessary. And if you’re not sure about this, ask yourself “Do I feel any urge to hurt people after watching violent entertainment.” (If your answer is yes, you should consider making an appointment right away with a good therapist.)

The truth is that watching sex is actually more dangerous for society than watching violence. Watching sex makes us really WANT to have sex while watching violence does not make us want to become violent. After watching an erotic film, you either find yourself a partner or masturbate. Watching sex leads to unwanted pregnancies, lost virginities, sexually transmitted diseases, and rape (and to baldness, acne, blindness, and imbecility for masturbators.) And that is why explicit sex is X rated while explicit violence is, at most, rated R.

A seminar participant cited the work of an army psychologist, a Dr. Dave Grossman, as proof that violent entertainment causes violence in real life. I am familiar with his work and thesis from a documentary film called The Virus of Violence that featured Dr. Grossman. His research showed that soldiers who were practicing on shooting simulators similar to video games were more likely to accurately shoot enemies than those who weren’t using such simulators. However, Dr. Grossman himself was able to claim no more than this: people who have a reason to kill others and have access to firearms are more likely to successfully kill others if they use such simulators. A person without a powerful reason to kill, according to this very same film, will not try to shoot someone just because they played a violent video game.

In other words, if your children: 1) have a strong desire to kill; and 2) have access to firearms; then 3) please don’t let them play sharpshooter video games.

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