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Monday, January 05, 2015

War of the Sexes: Part 6 - Male Entertainment

In the article "Shock study: Marriage rate declines with porn use, threatening economy, society," we learn that:
Pornography is replacing the desire among young men for marriage, according to a new study that finds males are chasing “low-cost sexual gratification” on the web over a wife and family.
There we have our answer.  Men are going their own way because of porn. Case closed!

Or maybe not. While the authors make a herculean effort to show causality, a closer look at the actual study finds the following in the conclusion regarding porn causing a decline in marriage rates:
... the causality likely runs in the direction that we assert. We stop short of saying that we have accurately identified the magnitude of the causal effect.
In other words, they're only guessing which way causality, if any, runs. So never mind. We still don't know if porn lowers marriage rates, lower marriage rates cause increased porn usage, or they're just coincidentally correlated.

Indeed, from table 4 in the study, it seems that any Internet usage (for example, viewing financial sites) by men correlates with lower marriage rates except for viewing religious sites (there's that religion thing again). I'd also be willing to bet that increased use of sports facilities, watching sports TV and TV in general, watching movies and other entertainment, playing electronic games, and probably even working crossword puzzles all correlate with reduced rates of marriage.  In other words, if men aren't married, they're going to fill their extra time with something.  And perhaps, just perhaps, if they spend their time doing stuff they find enjoyable, they won't bother getting into the dating game and marriage. What a surprise! Shocking even, eh?

So clearly, we should ban not only porn, but also sports, TV, movies, games, etc. for men. Indeed, we should ban all activities that males might possibly find enjoyable so that they can focus on women. I'm sure that'll eliminate the "shocking" threat to society of falling marriage rates. Unless, in their spare time, the very bored and frustrated males instead decide to destroy civilization, pillage and rape (increased use of porn correlates with lower rates of rape, for example).

If it is true that porn (and games, movies, etc.) reduce marriage rates, then it will probably only quickly get worse. Movies, games, and porn are rapidly co-evolving with each other and virtual reality to become ever more realistic and immersive. Female (and male) actors won't even be needed for porn or probably even movies in general in the not too distant future. Porn games will probably be created to be customizable active porn movies with perfect 10 virtual stars whose actions will be directed by the gamer. Once there are no humans involved in the entertainment, it will be really hard, if not impossible, to regulate and/or ban.

Men who go their own way will have an ever more realistic virtual reality to retreat into and perhaps they will indeed by happier there.

47 comments:

Peter said...

Indeed, we should ban all activities that males might possibly find enjoyable so that they can focus on women.

Damn straight. If them wimmin keep pushing us about harassment 'n careers 'n childcare 'n stuff, we'll all retreat to our porn and video games. That'll learn 'em.

Annoying Old Guy said...

The one rule of modern feminism "this is a problem for women therefore men need to fix it".

Clovis e Adri said...

I am afraid Bret is not aware of the diferences between porn and the real thing, or otherwise I can´t get his argument.

Bret said...

Clovis,

I'm not much of a consumer of porn, so perhaps I'm not aware of the differences, but there are two points:

1. I'm in disagreement with the "Shocking!" articles that porn itself is likely to be a major impediment to forming relationships and marriages because the study those articles are based on doesn't even quite reach that conclusion.

2. But, if they end up being right about their "Shocking!" conclusion, then I suspect all forms of male entertainment (many of which also happen to be merging) will make it worse over time.

erp said...

Holodeck, anyone?

Peter said...

Bret:

Do you see porn as a vice like alcohol and gambling or basically a harmless recreational past time? If a married woman is upset by her husband's porn habit (assume it is moderate but regular), is she being irrational? Is he justified in feeling aggrieved if she pressures him to give it up?

Bret said...

Peter,

Vice like alcohol? Or is it vice like alcoholism? I mean, an occasional glass of wine - is that really a vice? So I think it kind of depends on overall usage and situation.

I've never found porn entertaining so I'm not much of an expert, but I imagine it's the same as alcohol in that regard. Consider the following two scenarios:

Scenario one:

Wife: "Come to bed."

Husband: "No, I'd rather watch porn."

Scenario two:

Wife: "I have a headache, go away."

Husband goes and watches porn.

Those two scenarios are pretty different in my mind with scenario two (assuming one ignores the sleazy production of porn, which will go away anyway when the characters are all computer generated) being pretty benign.

So now back to the War of the Sexes.

If, as I currently believe, women are going their own way because wealth, legal structures, and safety nets mean they simply don't have much use for men anymore, then men using porn, playing games, and engaging in other forms of entertainment is at worst benign and very possibly beneficial by keeping males out of trouble (for example, rape rates have also dropped with increased porn usage, though, as always, correlation isn't causation).

If, as others believe, that men are engaging in these things and as a result, going their own way and ignoring women, then, well, I don't know. The men apparently believe that they're better off since that's the choice they're making.

So then do we make men worse off (by banning entertainment, at least various forms of it) in hopes of making women better off? That, in my opinion, is a pretty horrendous path, when a society goes out of its way to purposely make a large swath of its population worse off in hopes of making others better off. I rather hope it doesn't come to that.

This is all a preview of the final (I think) part of this series which I'll finish eventually.

erp said...

Bret, may we call it a redistribution of angst?

If when you say women are only out for what they can get from a man (money & power) includes security, partnership, family, etc. I’ll concede that, but we can wait until the whole women equality thing plays out to see if it’s basic to the female animal or not, but what you apparently don’t understand is that men only want one thing from women and that’s sex.

For those men not in Jeffrey Epstein’s Rolodex, there’s the internet which simplifies things and makes picking up strangers on street corners no longer necessary.

Bret said...

erp wrote: "...but what you apparently don’t understand is that men only want one thing from women and that’s sex. ..."

I assume you're being sarcastic? Because that's simply not true. I suppose I'm speaking for myself, but sex is not enough to hold men to women in a lifetime or at least long term relationship.

erp said...

To quote Professor 'iggins, "I think you got it!" Sex doesn't hold men to one woman for a lifetime ergo the problem.

Bret said...

erp wrote: "Sex doesn't hold men to one woman for a lifetime ergo the problem."

It's not a problem because other things do. For example, men are more loyal (as opposed to faithful) than women as shown by the statistic that 90% of all divorces of college educated couples are initiated by the woman.

erp said...

Bret, we are talking at cross purposes. Perhaps a large percentage of those women who are initiating divorce proceedings have problems with their husbands' unfaithfulness (is a man who has sex with a image on a computer screen being unfaithful?) -- and I can't make the connection, what does loyalty mean in this context?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
For example, men are more loyal (as opposed to faithful) than women [...]
---
Please Bret, clarify that a bit further.

If a man cheats his wife with another woman, and she asks for divorce, she is the one not loyal?

In the reversed role, would he be unloyal by asking for divorce after she's the one who cheated?

Bret said...

Clovis, erp,

The man may wander (i.e. be unfaithful), but at the end of the day he sticks with his wife (i.e. be loyal).

But in my experience with friends, the woman has always initiated the divorce and the vast majority of times the man was BOTH faithful and loyal. In only one case, he was unfaithful, but loyal (i.e. he would've rather stayed married), so that's moderately rare among my friend set anyway.

So the woman may or may not wander, but she'll drop her husband if it suits her purpose (i.e. NOT be loyal) in my observations.

Bret said...

To add to that,

Unfaithfulness is a (typically) short term mistake, transgression, or a character flaw.

Loyalty is commitment.

erp said...

Bret, I get it now and if anything that makes it worse. He wants the best of both worlds -- catting around and having his domestic life continue in an orderly fashion, i.e., meals on time, shirts done correctly, kids teeth straightened, etc.

What, other than abuse, would suit a wife's purpose to drop her husband if not for another guy (or girl)?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
But in my experience with friends, the woman has always initiated the divorce and the vast majority of times the man was BOTH faithful and loyal.
---

Now please expand that too, if possible.

The women in those cases you have witnessed just asked for divorce out of boredom? No fights, no long standing problems, no apparent reason at all?

I am able to believe that - I have personally witnessed at least one case of a woman divorcing like that - but they are by far the exception among the set of examples I personally know.

Bret said...

erp,

In your last comment you're emphatically agreeing with the underlying conjecture of this series of posts: that men no longer have anything to offer women. What difference does it really make if he's "catting around?" You're basically saying that other than the woman being able to control his sex life, he offers nothing, so if she can't have that control, she might as well bail, which is pretty much saying she gets nothing of value at all from a man.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "Now please expand that too, if possible."

I started to expand, but that's getting a little too personal. Others who read this blog know me and know the people I'd be referring to, so the most detail I'm willing to put forward is in roughly half the divorces I know, there was no apparent reason for the divorce and all of those were initiated by the woman.

erp said...

Bret, I said that women want: (money & power) includes security, partnership, family, etc. Men used to want to that too, maybe not to the same extent. I don't know if men and women can exist as equal partners in a marriage anymore because roles are no longer defined. Can men's egos stand it if their wives make more money and have more power than they? Can women respect a man who stays home with the children and takes care of the house? Can they hire people to do all domestic chores including childcare? I have no idea and it’s too tiring trying to keep score.

Money and power can mean many things, not necessarily great wealth and master-of-the-universe power, but what was considered a middle class life I think we here all enjoy(ed) may soon become a romantic notion of days past.

Anecdotal, but telling: None of the children of family and friends my kids’ ages now 20-30 somethings are married and most are not in committed relationships. All are self-supporting, some with excellent career tracks, but although most lived with someone right out of college, they’re mostly now on their own or with platonic roommates. None have kids of their own. To compare, when my husband and I were 29, we had three kids, were on our second house, two cars …

Peter said...

The man may wander (i.e. be unfaithful), but at the end of the day he sticks with his wife (i.e. be loyal).

What a prince! And completely unappreciated by his unreasonably demanding wife.

Paging the Vatican. Bret, your and erp's radical efforts to reduce marriage and family to who gets the better material advantages is leading you down the distorting path of all dogmatic rationalists. Take it from a lawyer, "wandering", a.k.a. adultery, is one of the most maritally destructive acts most people will encounter, no matter how common or tempting. A little idealism is called for here, including the Old Testament "Thou shalt not!" variety.

erp said...

Peter, ... and erp's radical efforts to reduce marriage and family to who gets the better material advantages is leading you down the distorting path of all dogmatic rationalists.

Huh?

To repeat, I said: Bret, I said that women want: (money & power) includes security, partnership, family, etc. and Money and power can mean many things, not necessarily great wealth and master-of-the-universe power, but what was considered a middle class life ...

Since my comments are pretty long and, I think, state my positions, it's incomprehensible to me that you think I'm arguing who gets the family jewels (no pun intended).

I welcome a discussion of my ideas, but am getting a bit tired of being accused of something I didn't say and didn't mean to say and to avoid this confusion happening again, please point out what I said that would lead you to think I agree with Bret on this issue.

Thank you.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
I'm willing to put forward is in roughly half the divorces I know, there was no apparent reason for the divorce and all of those were initiated by the woman.
---

Would you please tell me the size of your sample?

If it is big enough, I'd bet cash that most of the cases you think had no reason behind it are a matter of digging it deeper. (Which often is not possible for outside parties, so the ones involved, who actually could understand it better, are either unwilling to or do not want to disclose it).

Bret said...

Peter wrote: '"wandering", a.k.a. adultery, is one of the most maritally destructive acts most people will encounter, no matter how common or tempting.'

Why is that? I've never understood it.

For example, when we got married I told my wife that she can have sex with whoever she wants, with the following rules: (1) don't bring home any diseases, (2) don't get pregnant or abort it if you do, and (3) I'd rather not know about it. She's either been "faithful" or good at the rules, I don't know which and don't really care.

Loyal ("Till death do us part") I care about. Faithful, I couldn't care less and don't understand why anybody does.

Peter wrote: "A little idealism is called for here, including the Old Testament "Thou shalt not!" variety."

How about a little divinity instead, as in "to err is human, to forgive is divine?"

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I'd bet cash that most of the cases you think had no reason behind it are a matter of digging it deeper."

Anything's possible.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
How about a little divinity instead, as in "to err is human, to forgive is divine?"
---
First you need to decide what is or not error, or sin, in your worldview.

As per the agreement you have with your wife, there is no sin as long as both play by those rules, so what's it to be forgiven?

Now, to the extent that other couples share another agreement (where unfaithfulness is forbidden), why do you judge them for their choice? In effect, that's what it looks like when you ask "Why is that? I've never understood it".

Peter said...

Why is that? I've never understood it.

For the same reason civil wars are so bloody and family feuds so bitter. For most people, it results in an overwhelming sense of betrayal they need a lot of time to get over, if they ever do.

Bret said...

Peter wrote: "...it results in an overwhelming sense of betrayal..."

I'm apparently gonna hafta peel the onion back layer by layer, I guess. :-)

So why does it result "in an overwhelming sense of betrayal?"

Here's a typical wedding vow (from wikipedia):

"I take you to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."

So divorcing prior "till death do us part" IS overwhelming betrayal, by definition (assuming one's word and vows having any meaning whatsoever).

But most vows don't usually explicitly talk about sex outside the marriage and objectively, I don't think there's inherently any betrayal at all.

In erp's generation, maybe it was a societal standard/more. In our children's generation? After hooking up left and right? It doesn't seem plausible to me the sex with others could logically be considered betrayal.

So why?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

I guess you can answer that "why" yourself by reasoning out why you included the item (3) in your own agreement ("(3) I'd rather not know about it").

Bret said...

Clovis,

No, that's more a desire that she keep it private. It's "rather," not "must." If it were brought to my attention it wouldn't be a big deal, it's just that such knowledge wouldn't add anything to my life. Note that I would also "rather" not know about my daughters' sexual excapades. In any case, I wouldn't feel betrayed. Of course, that's almost by definition, since she has my explicit permission.

The question I have, it why does anybody else care? What do you really lose if your wife has sex with someone else?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

Most people of my generation I know of, no matter how sexually free he/she was before marriage, usually assume (or have explicit agreements) of faithfulness in marriage. They see the exclusivity as integral part of the deal - otherwise what would be the point in marrying? So it is clear they would feel betrayed by a spouse cheating, for they'd be breaking the agreement.

An aside observation I have is, most people I know about who have more open marriages are usually of your generation.


But I guess your question is at a further level - why do they want that exclusivity?

I can't talk for others, but I strongly associate loyalty and faithfulness as the same thing. And, as far as my observations go, the rate of broken marriages is greater among those who do not take that view.

The separation between sex and love is far from being easily granted, and it may happen that love developed between extra-marital partners during a sexual relationship may easily lead to the breaking of loyalty to the marital partner in the long run. I've witnessed that far more often than the no-reasons-divorce you mention.

erp said...

Divorces were rare or rarer in my generation because the divorce laws required proof of infidelity or some other wrong doing and it was very costly in the days before No-Fault Divorce for spouses to stray.

We like the old B&W movies on TCM and are amused when the lovebirds are kept from each other’s arms because the mean old wife just won't give the hero a divorce. Note: Cary Grant is often the poor misunderstood lover. However, in real life, the bad old days gave philanderers cover -- girls knew the score, so if they went for him anyway, chances are they would be the one to suffer the consequences in the end.

IMO when you say: “For better or worse; Till death do us part,” it means just that – barring violent behavior of course.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "...may easily lead to the breaking of loyalty to the marital partner ..."

In other words, fear. Fear of losing one's spouse to someone else. Which in turn is fear that one's spouse's word (wedding vow) is worth nothing.

Well, they say fear and greed form the basis for most human actions, so you're probably right.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

We all judge our actions based on risks most of the time. So what?

Yet, that's not all. I restricted my arguments so far to what I can put into rational thought, hence the risk calculation.


In terms I can not easily reason, I think there may be many kinds of love. The kind of love I look for is one that raises our existence above the level of farce. And that settles the question, at least for me.

Annoying Old Guy said...

I'm going to mostly agree with Clovis, and I think "fear that one's spouse's word (wedding vow) is worth nothing" is a false dichotomy between "utterly unbreakable" and "nothing".

When I said my wedding vow, it included "cleaving only unto her" which I think can reasonably be interpreted as sexual fidelity.

In terms of evolutionary psychology, men who didn't care about sexual fidelity were outbred by those who did. One generation of birth control isn't going to change that.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "So what?"

So nothing. You answered my question, thank you.

Clovis wrote: "I restricted my arguments so far to what I can put into rational thought..."

Ok, so maybe not fear or only fear, but some other non-rational emotion. I can believe that too.

Unfortunately, since these "reasons" are at the edge or beyond rationality, and I don't feel these things, that means I can never really understand or related to them.

One of my daughters (I can't remember which one), upon learning that my wife had other boyfriends (lovers) before we were married asked, "Daddy, aren't you jealous that Mom was with other men?" I have never understood what she was asking, but I replied, "No, 'cause in the end, I got the girl and I'm the one she had kids with. Why would I care?" I got no response to my return question. Apparently, I'm supposed to care. But I don't.

Clovis wrote: "The kind of love I look for is one that raises our existence above the level of farce."

Me too.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
Apparently, I'm supposed to care. But I don't.
---
Sincerely Bret, I find it hard to believe you don't understand the feeling at all. I can understand you really don't care and so son, but are you really unable to, on purporse, connect and taste it?

Bret said...

Clovis,

I definitely can't taste it. :-)

Peter said...

Your daughter seems to have more refined taste buds. Maybe you should have yours checked out, Bret. ;-)

erp said...

Peter, now, now. Remember Matthew 7:1-3.

Peter said...

I know, I know, erp, but I always wanted to ask Matthew what I should do when the other guy's mote is clearly much bigger than my beam.
*
I actually have a friend on the port side who feels the same way as Bret about marriage and fidelity. We love to get together over beer 'n wings to argue about absolutely everything. I have learned the hard way that, given his views on this, we have absolutely nothing to connect us on male/female/family issues and that my best recourse is to smile blandly, privately think "You're a looney!" and change the subject to the war on terror.

erp said...

Peter, I used to love fencing with lefties because few then (even fewer now), knew anything other than the stock phrases and code words they learn at their masters' knees. In those days, there was little chance of their "policies" being actually the law of the land, so it was fun and nobody ever laid a glove on me. How could they? They had nothing but hot air in their arsenals.

Now that they’ve corrupted my fellow ‘muricans (to use one of Harry’s homey constructs) with colored beads and fire water, I loathe and detest them and what they've done to my country which stood as a beacon for all who wanted to be free. I know now that the term “makes your skin crawl’’ is a literal sensation and stay out of the fray for fear of not acting like a lady and losing my composure, the worst thing a girl could do in my day.

After reading years of Bret’s posts and comments, I bet he’s being more than a little playful and if you listened to his love song to his wife, you’d have no doubt he loves her. They are lucky to have each other and anything else is none of our business.

Peter said...

I assure you, erp, I wish Bret endless family hugs and cuddles with everyone staying faithful for the soundest rational reasons. But he is a blogger who has thrown this out and has to accept the blogger's code--live by your pixils, die by your pixils. :-)

erp said...

Peter, I had no idea there was a blogger's code. Thanks for the head's up. What does it say about making statements and not backing them up with links?

Peter said...

There are several options. You can accuse the person of committing an obscure Latin-worded logical fallacy and try to divert the thread to a discussion of what it means. You can retort sniffily that it's not your responsibility to disprove a negative. You can accuse the person of scientism and tell them they should get out more and trust what their lyin' eyes tell them. Or you can do what Harry does and cite an obscure authority no one has ever heard of who is apparently unknown to Google.

erp said...

The Blogger's Code mentions Harry by name? Impressive.

Bret said...

erp,

LOL!