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Poll Suggests Parents Find Sex Worse Than Violence

Discussion in 'Game/SP News & Comments' started by Fairie, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. Fairie Gems: 5/31
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    [​IMG]A recent poll on the website What They Play (a website for parents containing information regarding video games) found that more people believe sex to be far more offensive than violence. Here's the whole article:

    Sex is an evolutionary imperative, a completely normal act between two consenting adults who love each other or who just met in a bar. Either way, it's a much more natural and wholesome act than, for example, cutting off another person's head. In most cases, murder isn't actually consensual at all!

    So it may come as a surprise -- but probably not if you know how American paranoia works -- that a recent unscientific poll on parental gaming guidance site What They Play rates those in reverse order. To the question, "As a parent, which would you find most offensive in a videogame?", the winning response with 37% was "A man and woman having sex." Coming in second with 27% was "two men kissing", with third place's 26% taken by "a graphically severed human head." Really? That's less disturbing than sex and guy-on-guy kissing?

    Maybe these parents have never actually seen a graphically severed human head, while they probably have seen sex. You know how you get creeped out thinking about your parents getting it on? Maybe they do too. Site co-founder and former 1UP EiC John Davison was also surprised (direct quote: "W.T.F.?"). The current poll on the site, asking a True/False if Grand Theft Auto IV features full-frontal nudity, serves to gauge if parents are paying attention to the content descriptors, which clearly state "Partial nudity." 35% of them got it wrong.

    Of course, online polls don't rely on random samples, and don't necessarily have appropriately large sample sizes, so it's important to keep in mind that the results can't be taken as a totally accurate representation of American attitudes. Still, it's a somewhat disturbing look at the views of parents. And of course, these are the parents who are seeking information on games and trying to stay informed via What They Play. Imagine the thoughts of those who are much more blissfully ignorant. Terrifying.


    The full article can be found here at 1up.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2015
  2. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Still subject to a decision in a normal person.

    Sex is completely normal between two people who have just met in a bar? :rolleyes:

    Speaking of evolution, humans have been fighting for centuries. While it's not good or natural in the sense of "proper and all right", it could be reduced to a simple clash for resources, as primitive as a drunk one night stand.

    Besides, fighting in games is not real. Sex may not be real, but the getting off on it is. Getting off on pixels is not what parents want children to do, which is reasonable.

    Nice news post, by the way, just taking issue with the article.
     
  3. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    Nice remark about the bar thing.

    Agreed, but "getting off" on violence is not better or morally acceptable. I believe most teenagers get as much excitement from headshots as they get from curvy pixels. And sometimes both sex andviolence are mixed together.
     
  4. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Well, when they chop heads, they know it's not real, and scoring headshots in multiplayer is counterpart to playing paintball.

    As for curvy pixels, the exciment is not merely aesthetical. It's simply the same reaction as to a live woman on the biological level, which can't be said about violent games.
     
  5. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Sorry, but I don't buy that argument. It's either "real" in both instances, or neither. There's nothing about simulated violence in games today that'd make it any less realistic than sex. Actually, there practically aren't any games that would show or let you engage in realistic (or anywhere near explicit) sex, whereas there are literally hundreds of games where the violence is graphic enough to make someone unaccustomed to it throw up.

    I can't see the line of thinking that violence is OK but sex isn't as anything but textbook Puritanism.
     
  6. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Am I the only one who finds this incredibly ironic? We keep being told that the consumer is not being informed, that parents are not aware what is in the games their children are playing, that the industry should be regulated, that the industry should be policed, yada yada yada. Yet a full third of people who took the poll didn't notice the content descriptor? I'm starting to think there's really not much point in having ratings and descriptors if the people who keep requesting them can't even be bothered to read them.
     
  7. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Death Rabbit just conducted a poll that suggests that "No Sh*t, Sherlock" is preferable to "Duh" when describing the findings of this poll.

    :p
     
  8. Splunge

    Splunge Bhaal’s financial advisor Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Actually, this isn’t all that surprising.

    What do you think parents worry about more – that their child is going to go out and murder someone, or that he/she is going to get someone pregnant (or get pregnant, in the case of a girl), catch an STD, etc.? I’m betting the latter.

    And given that most parents probably believe that video games at least partially influence behavior, it’s not surprising that they would be more concerned about sex in games than violence.
     
  9. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Tal, if you hurt someone virtually, you will experience only a shade of a real feeling, with a distinct marker of a make-believe reality. But you generally don't experience what a real murderer does.

    In turn if you have sex, a factual and physical encounter does not take place. However, the same nerves respond and the same biochemical reactions take place as in real foreplay and possibly masturbation or intercourse. The stimulus is not real and neither is the act, but the response of the body is the same. This is why getting off on porn is cheating if you're married.

    There is a difference therefore in the nature and the intensity of the feelings.

    Personally, I avoid and dislike both, but I think sex is worse than violence. I don't play evil characters, nor do I play games like Manhunt, but at the same time I don't have a problem playing an orc-slashing paladin or playing a strategy game from the point of view of a commander, or a game like Die by the Sword. However, a sex-based game is just not for me. I don't see anything inconsistent in my view. I don't see myself as a puritan, either.

    If we're talking real murder, as in you take a knife and go butcher innocent people, then that kind of game is sick and should be banned from the market altogether, including adults. But I don't think a little sword-fighting for a good cause will do harm. In fact, I'd be worried if my hypothetical 15 year old child played an evil character in a roleplaying game for sure, but I wouldn't have a problem with merely some combat.
     
  10. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    I would find it understandable (regardless of whether I agree or not) that parents would worry about their child getting involved in pregnancy, STD, and so on. I suspect however that parents are simply worried about their child having sex period.
     
  11. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I don't think I'd consider using porn being the equivalent of cheating in a marriage, but that's a mostly religious issue. Regardless, my point about there not being any games with realistically simulated sex still stands. The kind of partial nudity that you rarely get to see in games (properly rated to boot) is seen and ignored by us daily literally everywhere - on TV, in the press, on billboards by the road, on the Internet, etc. Yet everyone takes it for granted there, but as soon as it shows in the games, it's as if some innocent child's dreams have been shattered, despite the fact that we're talking about M or AO rated games before you can get anywhere close to seeing anything resembling real sex.

    You can't have "real" sex with a character from a computer games. And if you want to consider masturbation being the equivalent to that, well, you can masturbate with or without computer game stimulus.

    I'd say that adult themes in computer games feel as real as those in violent games to at least the same amount of people in both cases.

    We'll have to agree to disagree on the subject of sex being worse than violence, then.
     
  12. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    A very interesting post by Chevalier.

    GTA anyone?

    Playing an evil character is wrong? I feel that this is wrong. The Orc slaying Pally is ok but not the evil character? I guess it depends on the definition of evil. I do believe that there is nothing wrong in playing a character that is utterly different from you. When I was a kid I played some crazy characters (the type that would sacrifice virgins to summon demons that he would later unleash in the countryside) but there is no direct correlation between the role you play and your own self in real life (the worst thing I had done at that time was jaywalking).

    Come to think about it, if my hypothetical 15 years old kid was playing a self righteous paladin intent on slaughtering each and every orc that walk the campaign setting, I would be more concerned. A kid who plays a villain knows that and does it to rebel and express something (it can be a way to symbolically reject society in the limits of the game) whereas a kid who would paly a role that abides within the tenets of a self righteous, holier than thou attitude resulting in a fanatical obedience to prejudices dictating actions resulting from syllogisms such as "I'm good, orcs are evil, therefore I kill orcs."

    I'm not a psychologist, but I would feel more at ease with a kid who would break society's rules in the game rather than enforce them and supplement them with other rules that verge on the fanatical.

    I think that the entire sex vs violence is biased. Our society is largely influenced by both. We are led to fantasize about both. Just switch on your TV to get both sex and violence. Any series now depict more and more violent scenes. Ads are using sexual imagery and innuendos to sell anything from soap to yogurts.

    Judging from the posts in this thread I believe it's all a question of degree. The problem is we try to separate sex and violence when they are inextricably mixed. What I find really frightening about teenagers is that they refer to sex and violence in a crude way. Peer pressure plays a part for sure but for many kids today sex and violence commingle. The rampant nature of porn is certainly responsible for the reification of women. Pornography and love are two different things, but both involve sex (whether or not it is consummated is not relevant). If they become the same then it results in using someone as a sex object and thereby denying this person his or her individuality. That's why the analogy between sex in a game (as a way of getting of) and sex in real life is unsettling.

    Regarding violence, there is no reason why it can be condoned in a game because "they know it's not real" ... The point is games are designed in such a way that the violence becomes more realistic with every new game. I'm concerned that there will come a time when they won't be able to tell if it's true or not. I've heard 11 years old kids talking about Saw. The fact that they know it's not real is important but it was unsavoury to hear that conversation.

    When you work with kids you come to realize that they lack a certain frame of reference, it seems that nowadays for them it's more and more difficult to grow in that sense. It's easy to blame it all on faulty parenting, divorce and recomposed families, IMO society on a wider scale is to blame. End of rant.
     
  13. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Actually, it's a moral matter, not one pertaining to the cult, so freedom of religion isn't going to work as a shield there. ;) I'm quite sure no court would rule that porn is fine in marriage. The point is deriving sexual satisfaction from outside sources (outside from the point of view of marriage, which is exclusive). I can perfectly imagine a pronounced atheist hating the very idea. Most women are disgusted by porn anyway.

    That is true, but does it really make it good? And I was under the impression we were talking about comparable degrees of intensity...


    Sex has more appeal than violence. We have a biological drive to reproduce, but not a biological drive to fight for the sake of it. I think sexual content affects the internal life of a person more readily than violent content does.

    Of course not, but the same parts of your body will be stimulated and on the biological and chemical level there won't be much difference.

    Generally, porn is masturbatory. So is the kind of sexual content which is used to advertise games - just mostly to a lesser degree.

    Not sure of that, though admittedly I haven't conducted even informal research, so I can only speak from the point of view of my experience with people. I'm not sure I could fully agree with you. There's always the part in which sexual content interacts with a biological drive, producing sexual satisfaction, whereas violent content doesn't entertain a counterpart of that.

    @Caradhras: Playing an evil character is not necessarily wrong, although save humour, most potential motivations ring wrong to me. Going through every spell in the Necromancy school in between summoning evil outsiders and doing random things to villagers, is troubling. Doing it for sheer fun is even more troubling - although I'd be careful not to misinterpret someone's simply morbid humour. I'm certainly worried about people who style themselves evil too consistently and too seriously for it to be just a bit of fun. Thinking one's a CE assassin in real life is a bit more worrying than thinking one's an LG paladin or CG ranger, don't you think?

    Obviously, the, "I'm a paladin, orcs are evil, therefore I slay orcs," kind of play is not what being a paladin is about, but hey, seen me playing? ;) I'm certainly worried about the kind of prejudice you describe. It's wrong, it's not quite LG, it distorts the view of alignments, messes up with the ethics of the players themselves and I generally refuse to play alignments in such simplified ways (although sometimes matters of good vs evil are really, really simple).

    However, stop for a second. What is a real problem: prejudice itself or the suffering it causes to people in practical situations? Practicing genocide on orcs is in the very first instance what: an evil act or some prejudice? Beware leftist propaganda. ;)

    I'm not sure I get your point...

    From a certain degree onward, agreed. To a certain degree, such as a humorous use of Die by the Sword or a typical NWN module, it should be okay. Admittedly, I'm unsettled by the crematories and omnipresent wall of faithless analogies in Mask of the Betrayer, which is too much for me. I don't feel comfortable surrounded by skeletons and graves, especially in places which are not exactly natural graveyards. In a real life situation, it would be absurd and it would be something to press all air out of your lungs, whereas in a game, we're getting pretty much used to it. I don't think that's good. In fact, orc slashing suddenly doesn't feel that bad.

    I completely agree with you about violence and 11 year olds. In fact I'd rather not see any play D&D cRPGs even, much less FPS, games which revel in gore for the sake of it being completely out of question regardless of age - I just don't think we should play such games. We have better things to do with our lives and better games to play if we must.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  14. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Eh, no... more like an issue of hypocrisy. In public, few people will admit to using pornography (let alone anything more controversial). What they actually do behind four walls, however, is a very different thing. Maybe no court in Poland would condone such blasphemy as porn in the holy matrimony, but then again, few countries live by the Bible as Poland does. Anyway, to my knowledge, you can get a divorce under pretty much any made up pretences in most Western countries, so porn isn't an excuse any better or worse than a whole series of others.

    It doesn't make it good, but it just shows that computer games are an easy target.

    We have a biological drive to fight just as much as to reproduce. Likely much more so, because "fighting" can be expressed in so many more socially relatively acceptable forms, from aggressive behaviour, yelling, verbal assaults, competition, monopolizing, sports and on and on before you get anywhere near any physical violence. But it's all the same thing, just packaged differently.

    I'll never believe the argument that violence is less harmful than mildly sexual content.

    Exactly the same as with realistically simulated violence. The fact that most of us are so desensitised to it by now doesn't mean that it doesn't happen, only that we're used to seeing it every day to the extent that we're not even aware of it any more.

    You'd need a REALLY active imagination to see anything resembling porn there.
     
  15. Urithrand

    Urithrand Mind turning the light off? ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    I like how everyone's saying "porn is used to masturbate, there's no comparison of that to violence". I beg to differ on a purely chemical level. How many of you have never played a violent video game, and after a really difficult battle that you finally managed to overcome either said or felt "Frikken YEAH! Eat that you *insert appropriate explitives here*". That is very much violence's answer to masturbation if you get my meaning. It is the release of hormones and energies which would previously have been stored up in readiness for a real life confrontation. The same as masturbation is the release of similar hormones and endorphins which would previously have been stored waiting for a genuine sexual experience.

    I think you'll find that violence is every bit as affecting on a person as scenes of a sexual nature (which as several people have said, are extremely few and far between), it is purely a fact that it is considered less shameful to think "BOOYAH! Have a slice o' that scumsucker!" than it is to get an erection over a naked pixel.

    Whether sex in games is morally worse depends entirely on your morals. Christians as a whole (and this isn't a flame) are taught to find sex shameful and as such will generally share chev's perspective.
     
  16. Morgoroth

    Morgoroth Just because I happen to have tentacles, it doesn'

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    I dare say it is. Of course you'd have to define "normal" but in my expirience it's certainly not deveating enough from the social norm to be called unnormal. It might be unnormal in Poland though and probably becomes more unnormal with age but within certain age groups it's common enough to be called "normal" behaviour.
     
  17. Tarrasque

    Tarrasque Whoever said Paladins had to be charismatic? ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    My view on sex and violence within games is the same as my view on them within books and film. If said sex and violence is justified within the context of the situation then so be it. It is when that sex and violence is put in solely because it could be that I have issues. (Laurel K. Hamilton novels being a case in point.)

    A distinction has to be made however between the consensual sexual activity that is generally portrayed and the non-consensual violence.

    Ignoring religious and more traditional social views on sex (otherwise we would be here for weeks), sex between two consenting fully aware adults has no adverse effects for either party - assuming certain precautions are taken.

    The violence portrayed however is non-consensual however. The ork/dragon/marine does not consent to being killed/maimed and it certainly isn't beneficial to them. The question that should be asked then is - what is worse - teaching a child that activities that do no harm and require consent are ok, or teaching them that activities performed without consent and cause serious harm to another being are ok?

    This of course assumes that the child is incapable of understanding the difference between a game and real life.

    Are you telling me that you can find sexual content in the Dawn of War 2 teaser? :eek:
     
  18. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    You can get a divorce under any made up pretence in many jurisdictions, but finding porn to be a transgression against the vows is a separate issue. Many self-proclaimed authorities claim porn is somewhat normal, but I can't imagine a court verdict ruling that porn is a normal healthy thing, doesn't concern the other spouse and is not a fault ground. In fact, if it came to divorce, I'm sure a porn addiction would be grounds for fault.

    Easier than TV or films.

    Nope. Unless psychological counts as biological. Sex drive can cause strong physical sensations. There are also many people who feel bad when they don't have sex from time to time. No normal person suffers physical discomfort, let alone involuntary movement of organs, from lack of fighting. No normal person needs to have a fight every some time to feel good (sparring for sport doesn't count as much). Therefore the conclusion stands - on the biological level, sex is much stronger than violence.

    That's not fighting any more than flirting is sex. :)

    Mildly violent vs mildly sexual content, or grossly violent vs grossly sexual content. Not gross violence vs mild sex. Need to compare similar degrees.

    The violence does happen in some way and a virtual violent act probably has some lasting effect. However, it doesn't happen in the same real way as sexual sensations from porn do. Those sexual sensations are real, even if acts are simulated.

    HotU (or was it SoU) nymph?

    Whether you mean shameful as something which should be private or something which is not quite honourable, in Christian theology sex is neither - in marriage. I could go on a bit, but I'm not sure you want a theological discussion. At any rate: sex is a great thing. Just as any thing, it has its proper time and place.

    Normal is not the same as statistically average and even in terms of statistical average, we aren't so far gone astray yet, hopefully.

    I'd say games which are really about violence (once again, I in no way defend violence in games unless where it's warranted, including proper context and proportion) teach that violence is "cool" rather than "ok" and that only losers skip opportunities to get their way at the expense of others. That's bad. However, in an example with orcs, it's usually orcs ambushing humans or invading human lands. Whoever attacks you waives his rights to such an extent as is needed for you to defend yourself. Therefore we can't really say that violence in such contexts is non-consensual - the orcs obviously don't want to get stabbed, but they know what they're doing. It's different when we go raid a peaceful orc village, obviously. ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  19. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    Chev, I doubt you'd be surprised, but beg to differ ;)

    Violence can take form in many ways, as was said, and I can tell you I know quite a few fairly normal people who need to blow off some steam, so to say - whether from exercising themselves in sport, drinking a few beers, swearing, or what have you. If anyone here can live through a normal working day without experiencing violent urges towards anyone, I admire their composure. Anyway, just because you feel such urges doesn't mean you have to act on them, just like you don't have to immediately act on any sexual urge you feel - if you act at all. I don't know about you people, but I've been looking at mature content quite a while before I started masturbating.

    It seems almost accepted in this thread that sexual impulses in games are acted on more often, and I doubt that's the case. Just like not every kid that sees a decapitation will take up a knife and kill someone because they saw it in GTA III, not every kid will go out and get laid because they played A Dance with Rogues (great mod, btw, if you have NWN and don't mind adult content give it a run). Sexual impulses are just as much a part of life as violent ones, and can lead to almost as much trouble. Besides, I'd guess sex predates games, and even pornography, by quite a while, so it's not like kids wouldn't be interested in it - eventually - if games never had any sexual content.

    Personally, I find sex less offensive than violence. The taboos surrounding it, imo, make it more dangerous than it is by creating feelings of guilt, furtiveness, and often, well, aggression that can very easily lead to hypocricy and excess. This survey, if it is representative, reminds me of one question on another board: a 12-year old was asking if there was a way to remove the explicit content from The Witcher - he didn't mind the violence, but thought the sexual scenes were unsuitable. Sad, really... especially since no one was forcing him to go there anyway ;)
     
  20. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Well any kind of addiction is probably grounds for divorce. But I doubt there's an official definition of "porn addiction" (ignoring the obvious cases where someone spends 10+ hours a day looking at porn). Maybe in Poland even casual interest in porn is grounds for divorce, but I seriously doubt that that's the case in most other European countries. It'd be interesting to know for certain, though.

    You have to be kidding... the majority of human aggression is caused exactly because many people can't find a socially acceptable outlet for their base instincts (e.g. fighting), which causes them so much discomfort that they either hurt themselves or others. Of course sports count. Sports have been invented as a replacement outlet for when there weren't any wars going on. There's no way you can isolate sex and aggression. Why do you think humanity has been warring from the dawn of time? Just because we've had nothing better to do?

    And that's just nonsense. Obviously we're not talking just about literal "fighting" but aggression overall.

    Um, yea, just in case you haven't noticed, in games, you blast, shoot or chop up people and monsters to death regularly. The amount of nudity (sex is practically unseen) you see in the process of negligible in the overwhelming majority of games.

    Porn in games again? Where? Even if you do see nudity or a sexual scene somewhere, it will almost certainly not be explicit.

    Interesting example, given the fact that nymphs should actually be naked, whereas in SoU and HotU they're covered up to the extent that you can't even see a nipple. That doesn't even go beyond partial nudity and is light years away from porn.

    Actually, that's more or less what is "normal" as far as sex is concerned. Not what some people think is normal, but what most people actually do. Anything else is in the realm of sexual morality and (more often than not) hypocrisy.
     
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