By Men's Health Clinic
Did you know that gaming addiction is already classified as a public health problem and medical disorder by the World Health Organization (WHO)? It’s even got a name: Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD).
In 2023, video game addiction has practically become so normalised that it’s created its own branch of stereotypes. But what does the research say about it? According to statistics, the average age of gamers is 35 years old. The age of your average gamer addict? Twenty-four.
Male gamers make up about 50% of gamers, but they also make up 94% of game addicts. There are expected to be around tens of millions of gamer addicts worldwide. With such big numbers, one has to wonder how addiction affects other factors like men’s mental health and, by extension, their sexual health.
Internet Gaming Disorder, or IGD, isn’t just a term used for those who spend a lot of time on video games. According to the American Psychological Association, the term is used only when at least five of nine criteria are met. The criteria include withdrawal, loss of interest in other activities, and gaming to avoid or alleviate guilt, anxiety, and other negative mood states.
Are we saying that gaming leads to depression and anxiety? It’s not always as clear-cut as that. As the criteria states, gaming is often used to escape their negative mood states, so if anything, it’s more of a profound symptom of dealing with situations in a stressful environment.
In other words, it can become a slippery slope from coping with stress to rewiring your whole routine around gaming. That kind of dynamic will tend to become a self-sustaining source of problems. And that’s where you start to have sexual health issues like premature ejaculation (PE), erectile dysfunction (ED), and other related problems.
Everybody’s heard of the stereotype that gamers and game addicts have no sex lives. While it’s inaccurate, many negative factors to gaming addiction could affect one’s sexual health.
Obesity may be one factor, as it’s often pointed out how being preoccupied with gaming often discourages going out for exercise. But it’s also down to an increase in food intake. According to Science Direct, increases in food intake are normal during game sessions, no matter the current appetite of participants.
Regarding sex, video games aren’t exactly known for giving players a realistic interpretation of romance or a healthy sex life. Games like Persona 5 or other role-playing games (RPG) with a romance option will have you believe that performing a specific quest and saying the right thing at the right moment will get you a relationship (and some sexy time).
According to a study, consistent gameplay in games that promote misguided sexist attitudes can influence participants in the short term—making them even more likely to endorse sexual harassment.
Self-esteem issues can also arise from gaming addiction. Research from the University of Southampton suggests that higher rates of gaming disorder are associated with lower self-esteem for respondents.
According to research, the craving to play can often be seen as pleasurable. But the same research suggests that addicted players have actually begun to blur the lines between short-term pleasure and longer-term happiness, a dangerous thing to confuse.
Poor self-control and restraint can be a big warning for how you deal with extended access to your gaming console. This is especially problematic when you remember that video games are designed for extreme replayability, rewarding users with the promise of more and more.
Surveyed gaming disorder respondents report being irritable or depressed when not playing games.
As the saying goes: “Play the game, never let it play you.” It’s fine to enjoy games (or any other hobby), but never let it take up more than a handful of hours in your day.
You can also join support groups for game addicts if you’ve been diagnosed as one.
If you are covered by a good medical plan, it is time to make good use of it. Talking things out is an excellent way of learning more about yourself and what you really need to control your gaming obsession.
Finding out where your sexual needs and wants lie can be a priority. If you don’t have a partner you can explore with, there are a number of toys you can order online to test what your body prefers.
Yes, several studies have found links between gaming addiction and men’s mental and sexual well-being. Gaming addiction is considered as a mental disorder. Research has found that people addicted to gaming have low sex drive.
You can keep devices out of the bedroom, so you won’t have the urge to play into the night. You can also do other activities, like going out or exercising. It’s best to consult with a mental health expert to manage gaming addiction as it is classified as a disorder.
You may be addicted to gaming when you experience a relentless craving to play, a feeling of depression when not gaming, and an inability to stop playing even if needed. While these are common factors among gaming addicts, it’s best to have a sitdown with a mental health professional who will give a formal medical diagnosis.
When was the last time you went for a checkup? It might be time to take a proactive step towards your overall well-being and consult with the pros.
If you think you have a gaming addiction and are dealing with either ED or PE, don’t hesitate to consult with a mental health expert. You never know if there are other reasons why you might have issues like ED or PE. It might not even be related to your day-to-day gaming hobby.
Reach out to us at Men’s Health Clinic (MHC) for comprehensive men’s health services. MHC is not just about ED and PE treatments. We have a reliable team of mental health experts who can provide support for concerns related to sexual health and gaming addiction. Get started by answering our two-minute questionnaire.
With one of our Senior Patient Coordinators who can provide you with more information regarding bespoke treatment options.