roboNumerous authors, Dr. Larry Crabb among them, confirm that two of the deepest longings for men are sexual intimacy and victorious accomplishment over a challenge. Call them intimacy and impact, or sex and significance, they have the same soul-deep pull for boys and men.

We are well aware of the draw that sexuality has on males from an early age, and the vulnerability that most men have to the temptation of lust, sexual promiscuity and pornography. Many years ago Dr. Harry Schaumburg coined the term False Intimacy in his excellent book of the same title.

False Intimacy is the pursuit so many men experience when they go after the God-given longing for sexual relationships, but choose false, ultimately shallow, forms of satisfying this deep need. Disconnected sexual promiscuity and online surfing for pornography are such common examples they are often viewed as being healthy rites of passage for any young man.

Pornography provides the lure of the beauty of the female body, but it can’t come through on its hidden “promise” of relational fulfillment. It’s false intimacy‑ the girl in the photo or on the computer screen is admittedly enticing; she’s available and she won’t say, No. She won’t turn you down, but she always leaves you wanting more.

Any boy or man who has gone after her knows very well that she does not satisfy the genuine longing for deep connection and mutual love. The thirst isn’t quenched. Far from it.

Kill enemyWhat is not as apparent is that the vulnerability males have toward sexual porn is similar to another kind of temptation. I call it Adventure Porn. It comes in the form of video games that provide entertainment, but also the sense of accomplishment and victory over a challenge that men find so enticing. We long for significance.

The draw toward sports or warfare video games for boys (and increasingly, girls) is obvious. Just about any parent who has raised a boy older than 10 knows how compelling the challenge and reward of seeming victory are for boys.

As with a lot of our sources for entertainment, video games in themselves are not innately sinful. But the promise of false adventure they offer, the inordinate time they can consume and even the route they can take to actual addiction are indicators that they appeal to something deep inside a boy or man, and it’s going out of control.

Just like the false intimacy of sex porn, the adventure porn of video games promises more than it can deliver. Take on an opposing football team or army; step into battle; defend your turf or those you care about. It’s thrilling, manly stuff. But lose the game or get killed…hit Reset. Start over. There are no real consequences and no real risks. As a result they offer no real rewards, just false adventure.games

I don’t recommend we prevent our sons from enjoying the legitimate companionship and fun that video games can offer. But I do urge us to view it for what it can become—a source of isolation from real relationships, a means of escaping real challenges and an empty way of building a sense of accomplishment and significance.

It’s like filling a broken well with cold water to satisfy a God-given thirst. The well leaks and cannot hold water. (Jer. 2:13) It’s not real significance and it’s not real accomplishment. It’s Adventure Porn.

Have you experienced the pull of false adventure in video games, or seen it in your son? What steps do you recommend as way of dealing with that in a healthy way?