You’re Not Depressed Because You Look at Porn. You Look at Porn and Happen to Also Be Depressed.

We chided the Deseret News once before for their inability to distinguish between causation and correlation. They apparently don’t read our blog, because they’ve done it again.

Their recent article, Video games, porn hook young men, with sad consequences, explores the horrors of young men consuming porn and playing videos games*. Quoting the Center for Disease Control, the Deseret News mentions “regular porn users are more likely to report depression and poor physical health than nonusers are” which is probably accurate; but the DesNews goes a step further when they add “porn takes the place of real interaction, either sexual or social.”

What the author has assumed is that correlation equals causation; they suggest that watching porn causes a person to avoid real interaction or be depressed or be in poor physical health. What if I told you the little 16 year old is hormonal, confused, overweight, unpopular, horny, and has a genetic disposition for depression and, in order to cope, he does something he enjoys—looks at porn or plays video games?

The porn and video games didn’t cause the depression; his piece-of-shit parents, his oppressive religion, his DNA, his lack of social skills and lack of confidence, or his school environment (or a combination thereof—or something else altogether) caused his depression. The porn and video games are an escape from his crappy life, his seemingly unquenchable hormones, and his perpetual heartache.

When a teenage kid shoots up his school, he doesn’t do it because he played too many video games. He does it because he’s fucked up, and fucked up people do fucked up things.

Apparently fucked up people also like to watch porn** and play video games. And you know why so many crazies watch porn and play video games? Because so many of everybody watches porn and play video games. You’d have a hard time trying to find a sample size large enough of people who have never done either—or who don’t currently do one or the other.

Just to be clear, we’re not suggesting that watching porn or playing videos games don’t potentially have adverse effects—especially when done nonstop for days on end. Either of those activities when taken to the extreme can lead to being desensitized, to poor health, or to burdened relationships; and so can anything taken to the extreme. But for every guy who masturbates 10 times a day or binges on video games, there are thousands of men who still consume their fair share of porn and video games without going off the deep end.

While it’s convenient to blame teenage behavior on some outside source, perhaps that behavior is an effect of something else and not the root cause.


*They say some really stupid stuff in that article, like that experts are “not short of evidence” and then give one example of one crazy killer who happened to also play video games.

**It really gives the rest of us moderate porn watchers a bad name.

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