Playing video games can be a fun way to relax and enjoy a little bit of escapism, but most men would never guess that being an avid gamer could impact their ability to last longer in bed, possibly for the better! We analyzed the results of a recent research study exploring the connection between gaming and sexual function and spoke with Takeesha Roland-Jenkins, a psychology and neurology expert (MS psychology, MS neurology), and what we discovered was surprising.
What impact does gaming have on male ejaculation latency?
A new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine explored the possible connection between male sexuality and video game-playing habits, and the findings were both interesting and unexpected. It turns out that men who were avid video game players reported experiencing premature ejaculation (PE) less often than men who did not enjoy playing video games as often.
The researchers surveyed 599 men 18 to 50 years old. After removing men who hadn’t had sex during the previous four weeks, the analysis showed that gamers (playing >1 hour/day on average) had a lower prevalence of premature ejaculation.
The researchers also looked for a connection between gaming and other sexual dysfunctions such erectile function, orgasmic function, and overall satisfaction but didn’t find any. However gamers appear to be more likely to have decreased sexual desire.
Premature ejaculation: what it is and who it affects
Premature ejaculation is what happens when a man has an orgasm before he (or his partner) are ready, usually within one minute of beginning penetration. What causes premature ejaculation? It can happen to men of any age, and for a variety of reasons, both physical and psychological. According to The 2011 Global Online Sexuality Survey, which was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine as many as 1 in 3 men in the United States may experience PE.
Expert findings about the recent research
Takeesha Roland-Jenkins is an expert in both psychology and neurology, and she has a unique insight into both the psyche and the brain. We spoke with her about the results of the recent study.
When asked about the neuroscientific side of gaming’s effects on the sex drive, Ms. Roland-Jenkins said, “[P]laying video games does stimulate increased dopamine activity. Dopamine influences sexual motivation, but the consistent stimulation of dopamine receptors in the brain may have a relaxing or calming effect that dulls the senses in terms of sexual activity, thereby decreasing sexual desire as well as premature ejaculation.”
Despite the research findings regarding video games and sexual health, When asked if she recommends men with PE to play more video games Ms. Roland-Jenkins replied that in her opinion it may not be a good idea: “I would not recommend that men who suffer from PE play more video games, due to the mixed results which indicate a lower prevalence of PE along with a decrease in sexual desire. PE may be a sign of an underlying problem and it would be beneficial to speak with a medical professional in order to determine what the causes of PE may be.”
Ms. Roland-Jenkins explains further: “A frequent gamer may experience a rewarding or euphoric feeling while playing video games due to enhanced dopamine activity, but the rewarding feeling will be stronger toward playing video games than having sex. Therefore, this process may reduce both sexual desire and PE.” Unfortunately, it seems that while there are a variety of different things a man can do to prevent premature ejaculation, playing more video games may not be the best option.
Does this mean that gaming and sexuality may have a different link? Ms. Roland-Jenkins points out another potential link between gaming and sexuality, though perhaps not the one that was expected based on the research findings. “In addition,” she says, “the lack of sexual desire for video gamers may be due to increased levels of game-related stress in combination with becoming tired due to excessive gaming. In other words, more energy may be directed toward gaming, leaving little energy or interest in sex.” Could it be that the findings were not related to sexuality so much as to exhaustion? Where can a man with PE turn for help, anyway?
Where to seek treatment
After we established that playing video games, while fun, is not a viable treatment for PE we thought we’d provide some direction to men who are experiencing PE. To find a sex therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (www.aasect.org) or the Society for Sex Therapy and Research (www.sstarnet.org).