The News Isn’t Getting Much Better Regarding Porn Use During the Pandemic

Depending on exactly where you are in the world, you’re just on either side of the two-month mark as it pertains to the quarantine with COVID-19. If you’re here in the United States of America, you’re seeing a lot of cities and states stick their toe in the water as it pertains to reopening. I understand their desire, and it appears our collective efforts to minimize contact has really helped lower the first estimates of a death toll, but the curve has not started to continually go down anywhere.

It seems dangerous to reopen at this time and there are several instances from the last great pandemic, the Spanish Flu of 1918, that shows when you reopen or get together too early, bad things happen. For those who think crowded beaches are safe, do a little research about a parade in Philadelphia that spread the Spanish Flu. Just because you can open, doesn’t mean you should open and just because you can go out, doesn’t mean you should go out. Admit it, you’re loving this excuse to keep your hair growing out.

At the beginning of this pandemic, I wrote about how I thought it was obvious the online porn industry was going to explode and PornHub, which tracks and shares their analytics, especially when things are going well (despite pretending terms like “teen” and “incest” don’t exist in their searches) has been continually providing almost real-time data.

In an attempt to lure more viewers, the site took down its paywall for premium content – whatever that means – when COVID-19 first hit parts of Europe hard. When it went worldwide, so did their promotion. In the early days of their promotion, when many mainstream media outlets picked up what they thought was probably a funny story, the average PornHub traffic jumped by 20% to 30% depending upon which country you were talking about.

Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 12.36.56 PM

I followed up a few weeks later with the good news that those numbers seem to have dropped to the 9% to 12% level in most countries – still a huge jump in traffic considering you’re talking about one of the Top Three porn sites in the world and one of the Top Ten most popular websites in the world. That’s right, PornHub consistently gets more traffic than Amazon, Pinterest, Reddit and LinkedIn.

Unfortunately, as we’ve all settled in for the long haul on this, the numbers have rebounded. History has always shown spikes in porn use on the weekend – which plays to the idea when people are home and have nothing to do they’ll turn to online porn – and that trend also continues worldwide.

While the US topped out at around 25% above average in late March, it had dropped to 9%-12% a few weeks later. It’s come back though and in the last 10 days of April, the average weekday bump in traffic is around 14% and weekend traffic is 18%.

In Canada, the story is a little different. There was not as dramatic a drop off the highs (about 20%) so there has been no rebound. Through April, Canada has consistently shown a weekday bump in traffic of 11% and weekend traffic of 14%.

The UK is the opposite of Canada in that it fluctuates greatly from weekdays (now at about 12%) and weekends (now at 22%-23%). Those trends mirror most of Europe, which PornHub reports at about 14% on weekends and 20%-21% on weekdays.

The worst figures are probably out of Spain, which as far as I can tell, has the one-day surge record of 61% on March 17. These days, weekday or weekend doesn’t seem to matter as they are regularly 25%-30%. Unsurprisingly, their neighbor Portugal is in a similar boat.

If you’re looking for a country with good news, Australia is dipping well below 10% on weekdays and has never gone over 18% on any day during the quarantine. France, which spiked into the 30s, has now settled to less than half of that, even on weekends.

I haven’t seen any statistics of what other websites are looking like, although I’m guessing that things like Facebook and Instagram are seeing much more traffic than usual. I’m not sure if that would count if it goes through an app, though. They don’t consult me on these things.

Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 12.21.03 PM

Unfortunately, the latest comprehensive website stats I can find are dated March 1. I’ve made a record of these and when new statistics come out for all of March and forward, I’ll try to make sure to bring them to you. If PornHub has seen this surge, we’ll be able to judge how the other porn sites in the top 25 websites have gone up or down.

And for those wondering the big deal, some figures can be extrapolated. For instance, we know that roughly 1-in-3 men between 18 and 30 believe they have an issue with porn. So, if 10% more men in that age group are looking at porn, it seems to me that one-third would now be at risk for an issue whereas they might not have before. Yes, somewhat unscientific, but you can’t tell me that extended use of porn over weeks and now months won’t result in higher numbers of addicts than before.

I’ll keep everyone updated on what’s happening as more statistics come in. Cross your fingers for good news. We can certainly use some these days.

 

 

PornHub Lets Us Know How Bad Things Are Getting, Part II: Trust These Numbers?

I promised I’d be back with Part II of looking at select statistics and what they may mean from PornHub in 2019. As I said last week, they may be having a major contribution to the pornification of our society, but they do know how to present a report to make amateur behavioral economists happy. But with today’s stats, I’m a bit more dubious.

Looking by the Ladies

When I’m doing podcasts or presentations, the question always inevitably comes up: “Are there female porn addicts?” The answer is yes, but until I saw these numbers, I didn’t have any idea this many women were actually looking at pornography.

If you remember last time, I mentioned there were 42 million visits to PornHub annually, or 115 million per day. The site reports, on average, that 32% of its visitors are female. That represents an increase of 3% over 2018. Basically, that means 38 million visits per day are from women, and again, PornHub is now the third largest pornography site in the world. That puts daily visits for women well over 100 million for just the three largest sites on a daily basis.

The reality is, women are mostly built the same as men, but in the pre-Internet world of strip clubs, adult bookstores and adult theaters, porn was not marketed to women and was difficult to find. Now that we all have an iPhone or Android in our pocket, access is an even playing field and the pornography companies know it.

Countries that have a higher average than that 32% include top-ranked Philippines and Brazil (39%), Mexico (36%), and Australia and Sweden (35%). France, Spain and Canada are at the average and countries coming in below include United States and Italy (30%), United Kingdom (28%) and Germany (25%).

Most of the Top 10 search terms for women are related to lesbian sex. Also, of the most searched-for pornstars by women, only three of the top 12 were men. PornHub added that among porn featuring only gay male performers, 37% was consumed by women.

Problems with This – PornHub doesn’t ask the casual user their gender. I have no idea if this is the case, but with some of their “member” services I’m sure there is demographic profiling to sign-up and perhaps they are extracting and extrapolating their numbers this way, and they could be 100% correct. I don’t doubt they are far off, but I’d like to understand their methodology.

Also, and this is as good a place as any to mention it, although it’s not just a female search issue. In none of their data do the search terms “incest” or “teen” appear. As a former addict who stays away from the stuff, I’m not going to go count the instances that these two words appear on the front page of PornHub, but faux incest between teen siblings or child/parent are among the most popular genres of porn currently according to every article I’ve read. Maybe if you put them up front on the home page nobody has to type in the words to find them. We can talk about the psychology of that being a popular search another time, but to not admit it’s what people are watching makes all of these stats somewhat dubious.

How Old Are You Now?

PornHub places the average age of one of its users at 36 years old. Instead of trying to explain what the results were, it’s easier to just look at the pie chart they created:

Screen Shot 2019-12-16 at 7.24.20 PM

The average user in the United States is 39 years old according to PornHub data, with 32% of users making up the largest demo, in 25-to-34. It claims that only 15% of American users are under 24 years old. The numbers are almost carbon copies for Canada, where like the UK and Italy, the average user is also 39. The youngest goes to the Philippines at 32 while Spain recorded the oldest at 41.

Problems with This – This is a case of making the numbers work for you. PornHub measures people between the ages of 18 and 65, but it measures the youngest demo over a range of only six years, 18-to-24, whereas every other age group has a ten-year range.

Do some math with me and tell me if I’m wrong. If 25% of their users are 18-to-24 and 36% of their users are 25-to-34, that makes 61% of users under 34 years old. How can the average age be two years older?

And much like the “teen” and “incest” omissions, notice that there is no category for users under 18 years old. Why? Because it’s bad PR. Despite the fact that in America, there is no need to prove your age to gain access to the site, apparently there isn’t a single underage person going to PornHub. Yeah, right.

Again, I’m guessing they’re measuring this with some kind of membership or premium level and even if underage teens can gain access to it, they’re not going to admit that they are not of age. They’re going to claim to be, oh, I don’t know…36?

The Greatest Porn Computer Ever

When I appear on video podcasts, I always make sure to have my phone nearby so I can lift it up at some point and say the “greatest pornography computer ever now fits in every 14-year-olds pocket.” I didn’t realize just how correct I was.

From 2018 to 2019, pornography access via smartphones grew by 7% to 76.6%. Porn access via desktop computer dropped to 16.3% and tablet use dropped to 7.1%. Three-out-of-four people accessing porn are doing it by phone and that certainly skews to a younger generation.

In the United States, 81% of PornHub’s viewers are accessing via smartphone and only 12% are using a desktop computer. Only 74% of UK residents and 71% of Canadians access via smartphone. The highest percentage country for accessing via desktop is Russia, at 34%.

Problems with This – I actually have no problem with how PornHub reported this data. They’ve got the ability to track not only what device you’re using, but what operating system, browser, game console, etc. I believe what they’re claiming here. Big Brother is watching you, even when it’s just to spy on you checking out his porn stash.

My only problem with this data is anybody (parents, spouses, etc.) who still believes they can keep someone’s eyes off of pornography at this point are fooling themselves. This isn’t 2005 and NetNanny can lull you into safety. Heck, take out all of the devices from your house. There’s a great big world out there full of them, and it’s a world that needs to start talking about pornography addiction education or these numbers are only going to get worse.

And, just because I’d like to end on some good news, even PornHub admits that certain events cause it numbers to plummet, specifically sports. What’s it going to take to have a Super Bowl every weekend?

Screen Shot 2019-12-16 at 7.56.45 PM

PornHub Lets Us Know Just How Bad Things are Getting, Part I

I mentioned the other day that we were only weeks away from the annual PornHub year in review statistics. I was wrong. We were only hours away from it. I used to run a regular piece on this site called “Alarming Porn Statistic of the Month.” Some of the numbers I shared in early 2018 don’t alarm me nearly as much as the ones I’m about to share.

There’s a lot to get through this year and if this gets too long, I’ll break it into two parts. But also like I mentioned the other day, remember that PornHub is now the No. 3 porn site in the world. As of November 1, 2019, it ranked No. 10 worldwide, with the other two sites taking in spots No. 7 and No. 9, respectively.

I mention this because it means that whatever the PornHub stats are, two sites have higher statistics. For instance, in 2019, there have been 42 billion visits to PornHub, or 115 million per day. That’s scary, but when you figure two sites have more than that, it’s downright terrifying. The top three porn sites likely result in over 400 million visits per day…more than one visit for each person in America (329 million). The top three porn sites likely result in 140 billion visits per year…that’s almost 18 visits per year for every man, woman and child on Earth (7.8 billion).

And these numbers don’t even take into account the millions of other porn sites that aren’t in the Top Three.

How Things Changed Overall

Screen Shot 2019-12-13 at 5.42.58 PMDon’t feel bad for PornHub dropping to No. 3 worldwide in the purveyor or porn department, though. Those 42 billion visits are up from the 28.5 billion they got in 2017. That’s right…two years meant 13.5 billion more visits.

A staggering 6.83 million new videos were uploaded in 2019 representing 1.36 million hours of new content. Put in perspective, that’s 169 years of new content. As PornHub is quick to point out, if you started watching just 2019’s new videos in 1850, you’d still be watching them today.

“Amateur” was the most searched term on PornHub in 2019, and we’ll get more into search terms, but what’s heartbreaking is that 98,000 “amateur” models joined the ranks of PornHub. I believe that means they make and post videos and somehow get paid because of the advertising. Plenty of states like Vermont, Wyoming, Maine, West Virginia, Montana and more don’t have a single city that reaches a 98,000 population – and this is only adding to the women who joined and remain from previous years…on this one website.

What They’re Looking For the Most

In the Top 10 search terms from PornHub, I’m actually struck by the diversity in terms. First, the terms themselves: Amateur, Alien, POV, Bell Delphine, Cosplay, Mature, Bisexual, Apex Legends, ASMR, and Femdom.

These are so, so different than in years past when you saw a lot of the same carryover from year-to-year with terms like “lesbian” and “Kardashian.” For those wondering, I looked it up and Belle Delphine is an online porn star who dresses like she’s a video game or anime character, going hand-in-hand with the No. 5 Cosplay entry.

This list is really a buffet of likes, kinks and fetishes. Being so diverse, the only conclusion I can draw is that the online pornography audience is becoming just as diverse. If you’re still stereotyping the kind of person who goes online to look at pornography, stop. They are as likely to want to see naked grandmothers as they are wanting to see naked aliens.

Once you get past the Top 10, things look much like they did in most previous years. Ethnic terms had a big increase, as “Japanese” jumped from No. 15 to No. 11, “Korean” jumped from No. 20 to No. 15 and “Asian” jumped from No. 18 to No. 16. “Latina” also jumped up five spots and “Indian” jumped eight. I’d be curious if white people are getting more diverse or if an increase in high-speed access around the world has people of color searching out similar looking people. The next section answers a few of those questions.

Where They Call Home

The United States is always going to have the most people using online porn simply because of the population, access to high-speed internet and general societal acceptance of porn. Japan, which rose from No. 4 to No. 2 in terms of traffic on the website, is still less than a third of what is consumed by Americans.

The biggest story, however, is probably the huge drop-off in viewership in India. The country went from third in 2018 to 15th in 2019. This is largely because the government of India has begun banning websites that it believes its population should not be looking at. While this clearly had an effect on PornHub’s traffic, I’d be curious if any people in India are not still very easily able to find porn online. Did their porn use drop or did it just move somewhere else? Before we can answer that question, we can’t say the government’s plan worked. And as somebody who is very much a libertarian, I would never want my government to ever censor what I can look at unless it’s already against the law.

The UK dropped from No. 2 to No. 3. They’ve tried to enact a law that forces porn sites to get confirmed visual ID of someone’s age. You’re never going to get all the small ones across the world to comply, but the big guys, like PornHub, must, so that probably again speaks more to regulation and less to a decrease in porn consumption.

Finally, while US remained at No. 1 (Australia remained at No. 9) and the UK dropped a spot, the other 10 countries who make up the Top 13 porn viewers all moved up from previous years. This may have to do with India’s drop, but let’s be honest, nobody in those countries was looking at less porn in 2019 than they were in 2018 – or were they?

Screen Shot 2019-12-13 at 5.59.11 PMI never saw the graphic I’ve included in this section when PornHub released it earlier in 2019 about cities who use their service the most, but I figured you’d find it interesting, especially if you live on the east coast of Australia.

I’m going to call it a day here and come back with part two of analyzing PornHub’s stats early next week.

Freaked out at all by these statistics? You should be, because unless we do something as a society, it’s only going to grow at an exponential rate.

 

 

 

Fascinating Stats: Does Watching More Porn Make You Realize You’re Bisexual?

Note from Josh: Let me preface this article by saying that I think the following data is fascinating. I do not want any conclusion drawn that it somehow shows I have any negative feelings toward anybody’s sexual orientation. I have no problem with any gender or sexual identification. I say be who you are, not who others tell you to be. I do, however, think that any data we can gather that further illuminates who is watching pornography can do nothing but help us understand the grip it has on people. I draw no value judgment on this data, but I thought it important to share. If any disparaging remarks are left in the comments section about gender or orientation fluidity, they will be deleted.

While I think their product is garbage, I have always been complimentary toward Pornhub’s annual release of their analytics, which give us a better understanding of how more people are using porn, exactly who those people are, where they’re from and what kind of material they are looking at. Recently, another very popular site released data that was compelling about the sexuality of their viewers.

While PornHub is the nation’s 7th most popular visited site, xHamster, the creator of this new report, is the 27th. For statistical purposes, their content, like PornHub, is all over the place, not catering to any particular demographic. xHamster claims that it polled around 11,000 of its users to get this data. If true, that’s an amazingly large sample group and since their site is one of the most popular in the US, should paint a relatively clear picture of who is using their site.

I’m taking the screen captures directly from their blog. It’s completely SFW and there is no nudity at all. It goes more in-depth than I do here. Obviously trigger warning, but if you’re interested in seeing the other stats, the link is: https://xhamster.com/blog/posts/934387

Here’s the first slide…

Screen Shot 2019-10-20 at 1.41.53 PM

Their site reports:

“…while women who watch porn were more than twice as likely as men to identify as bisexual, nearly one-fifth of men in the study identified so as well. These are much higher numbers than have been previously reported.”

Consider the 11K interviewed, I have no doubt this is accurate, but it is surprising to me. When given the luxury of anonymity, over 32% of porn users do not identify as heterosexual. Personally, I would have thought the straight and gay numbers would have been higher.

On to the next slide:

Screen Shot 2019-10-20 at 1.42.07 PM

Now, we have to remember that this is a pornographic website, not a site that interprets the Bible. While you can’t really stereotype a porn user into any specific demographic these days, those who use the Internet tend to be younger and more liberal than the generations prior.

It’s hard to get a real statistic on how many people overall in the US are gay or bisexual, with figures ranging from the low single digits to the high teens depending on which study you look at.  I think these numbers are much higher than the overall national average, but it is telling that they are tied to porn viewing.

Screen Shot 2019-10-20 at 1.42.18 PM

For me, this is the most fascinating slide in the entire study. There is no correlation between homosexuality and frequency of porn usage, and it clearly drops in frequency among heterosexuals, but it grows among bisexuals.

This leaves a lot of unanswered questions: Does this graphic speak to a bisexual person’s tendency to watch more porn or a person who watches a lot of porn’s tendency to identify as bisexual — and how many of these people who are identifying as bisexual have acted on those feelings in real life?

The site attempts to analyze some of the data by getting even deeper:

We also wondered if there was some way that women porn fans — 38% of whom in our study identified as bisexual — might be somehow skewing the data. So we repeated the calculations with just men. The results were even more dramatic.

Just 10.8% of men who watched porn once a week identified as bisexual, but 27.2% of men who watch porn multiple times a day identify as bisexual. (After all, if you’re looking at naked men all day — even if there’s a woman in the picture — maybe it opens you up to a broader ideas about human sexuality.)

I think it’s absolutely fascinating that more than one-out-of-four men who view porn on a daily basis through this particular site identify as bisexual. It again brings up a lot of interesting questions and I mostly wonder if these men have engaged in a bisexual physical relationship away from the computer.

Since the frequency of viewing is at least once a day, it might be safe to assume that these are the problem viewers who are either addicted or close to it. That means that they have built up a tolerance to run-of-the-mill “vanilla” porn between a man and a woman. Like the alcoholic who starts with beer and moves to the harder stuff, are these viewers watching more exotic or extreme genres of porn? If they are, and they find themselves not repulsed by what they see on screen, might they make a leap that they are more open to different kinds of sexuality other than just heterosexual? One of the top guys at xHamster told the New York Post that was the conclusion they reached:

“We can only provide correlation, not prove causation, but it would seem that watching porn more frequently helps show users what sexuality can be,” xHamster vice president Alex Hawkins tells The Post. “The more porn you watch, the more you may think, ‘Hey, that’s actually somewhat of a turn-on. Maybe I’m not as totally straight, or gay, as I thought.’”

I don’t know what it all means, or if it has to mean anything, but it’s interesting. I hope that actual scientific research is done into sexual identity and porn usage in upcoming years. xHamster, despite publishing porn garbage, has provided us with an eye-opening look into its users that can be a jumping-off point for real study.

I’ll leave you with this final slide…

Screen Shot 2019-10-20 at 1.42.47 PM

That’s depressing. There’s still so much work to be done.