If You Took My Survey on Porn Addiction Recently, Here are the Results

In late July and early August, I launched a non-scientific survey to help me better target the TEDx Talk I’ll be giving in early December about pornography addiction. The survey was designed to capture the current beliefs of a wide group of people and better understand how best to give my presentation. I thought I’d get about 50 responses. I got over 800.

Response was far bigger than I could have imagined and there was fascinating information to come out of this survey that I wanted to share, especially to those who participated. Now I don’t know the difference between scientific and non-scientific when it comes to surveys, but I do understand that there has never been information taken from another person and then disseminated without some form of bias. If you want to read my take on the bias in this survey, I added it to the end of this article.

All right, now that you’ve read the disclaimers and caveats, let’s look at some of the results:

While I know that there are likely many people who fit into two or more categories, I wanted people to self-label themselves with only one tag. Parents ranked 7.7%, Mental Health Professionals at 7.1% and Teacher/Educator at 6.5%.

The few people who have seen these results to this point have told me they were surprised by over a quarter of the people taking this labeling themselves as an addict, but since “student” was the second highest group, it makes sense. A study from 2017 by The Barna Group interviewed more than double the people that I did and they found 32%-33% of respondents in the male 18- to 30-year-old group were self-diagnosed as having a problem with pornography. I didn’t ask for gender in this survey, but knowing those Barna numbers, the 25.6% saying they are addicts doesn’t surprise me at all.


These two questions were just to get a handle on what the people who were taking the survey were thinking in terms of pornography addiction having the potential of being a real problem or addiction. In both of these questions, I was really only interested in what percentages would be represented by the blue parts of the pie. Both of these results confirmed that this is a topic that needs to be talked about and it’s perfect for a TEDx Talk.


I think it’s telling that a combined 77.6% of people who answered the survey said that those under 18 are most at risk for developing the addiction. I think this shows an understanding of where the seeds of addiction are sown. I know that there are those who become addicted after 25, but I’m still surprised that 6.1% of people think they are at the greatest risk.


Like the last question, these are another two that made me feel good as the responses came in. Only 6% of people don’t think that porn addiction should be addressed in either high school, college or both. If 94% of people think it should be addressed in school — why aren’t we doing it? This should be some ammunition toward getting it normalized in health curriculum. If you need any more proof that people think we need to do better, 96% think we’re not doing a good enough job. These are important numbers for educators to consider. If we can’t count on parents, we need to count on the schools and there’s clearly a need for it.


That last number is the headline for me. Only slightly more than 1 out of 4 people don’t have some connection, either through themselves, a family member, partner or friend, to pornography addiction. Think about that for a second. That’s 27.5% who believe there is no connection to people and porn addiction in their life — but it’s 72.5% who do have a connection! If well more than half of us have a connection to porn addiction in my life, why isn’t anybody talking about it??!!

The next newsmaker here for me is that 42% of people who took this thought they may have a porn addiction. Of the 812 people who answered the question, 342 may be porn addicts???!!!! Almost 1 out of 4 think they’re partner is an addict??!!!

The child questions are somewhat moot because I made the mistake of not qualifying it by finding out how many people answering had kids. Once again, not a scientific survey, but these other answers did come in higher than I expected. They don’t surprise me, but I wasn’t sure if people were seeing what was happening around them and would report it.


This one bothered me the most because I think it plays into stereotypes about who pornography addicts are or aren’t. Nearly 9-in-10 people are worried about male teens become porn addicts, but only 1-in-4 is worried about a teen female. Half of respondents say that they’re concerned about adult males become addicts, but only 1-in-10 is worried about adult females.

Just when I thought we were waking up as a society, we’re met by these numbers. I’m not going to go into a litany of statistical quoting showing that the number of female addicts is growing by leaps and bounds, nor am I going to go into my diatribe about how porn is now available cheaply, targeted at all demographics and easier (and more anonymous) to access than ever before. I can show you were we actually are, but I wanted to know where people thought we are, or needed to be. I felt good about the responses until this question. There’s unfortunately still a huge gender gap when it comes to understanding who are pornography addicts. Yes, historically men have always outnumbered women when it came to consuming pornography and reporting as addicts, but that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be the case.

If any female porn addict says she feels invisible to society, all you have to do is look at the answers to this question and you can understand why.

There were several other questions that asked about presentation style, but I won’t bore you with the answers here. They’ll help me figure out how to communicate the information and you can see if it all comes together when the event takes place.

My TEDx Talk will be part of TEDxHartford on Dec. 6, 2020. While there will be no live audience in attendance because of social distancing, people are invited from all over the world to attend virtually at no charge — although donations are accepted. If you’d like to get a virtual ticket to the event, check out TEDxHartford online.

Caveats on Methodology: In the case of this survey, everybody asked to take it was online, which almost certainly skewed the average respondent younger than in if it had just been taken on the street. Along with sending it to a few heterogenous mailing lists, it was also posted on my website and LinkedIn page, so those who have some interest in following what I’m already doing had the opportunity to take it skewed in their favor. Finally, I posted it on many online forums, bulletin boards and subreddits. I tried to get a mix of people – I wanted young adults, and therapists, and parents and former addicts and partners of addicts, and religious people and a few other groups to specifically respond – so I looked for places online where some of these groups congregated. Considering over 800 people answered every question, I feel confident enough in the results since even another 25 responses would not change any answer by much.

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.

 

 

 

Is it More Important to Be Popular or Taken Seriously?

I’ve operated this site now for 27 months and despite times of lengthy posting droughts, like earlier this year, or times of daily updates, I’ve managed to produce 225 entries. I think with this experience behind me, I can start to develop trends on what works or doesn’t work when it comes to people reading my articles.

From a statistical point of view, the entries from the first few months are both at an advantage and a disadvantage. They have lived on this site the longest, and have been searchable through Google for the most amount of time and the SEO clock has been ticking the longest. However, when they were posted, there were far less regular followers, which still makes up the core of views. This site gets a decent amount of hits based on what I’ve read for traffic numbers of many bloggers. The place that you don’t see great numbers is often in follows, likes and comments. Without having done any real surveys, I believe this is simply because the website has the words “porn” and “addict” in the title. I think a lot of people would be hesitant to publicly follow a site called “Child Molesters are Bad” despite the fact that we can all agree with that sentiment.

I further believe this phenomenon to be proven when you look at what the most popular postings in two metrics. First, there are the ones that are the popular articles based on “likes”. If you want to see a list of these, just head to the homepage and you’ll find them on the right side of the screen. You should actually do that to understand the rest of this article better.

The other metric to view to determine the most popular articles is based on “hits” which isn’t a public display option on WordPress, yet is the actual number of times an article has been read.

By number of hits, these are the top 10 entries in the history of this site:

  1. The Bond Between Sex Addicts and Those With Eating Disorders
  2. Spotting the Signs of Pornography Addiction
  3. The Day I Went to Jail
  4. Facing Triggers Makes You Stronger
  5. Statistics on and The Definition of Pornography
  6. Q&A: PMO and NoFap as Addiction Cures
  7. Q&A: What Does ‘Gaslighting’ mean?
  8. Practicing Empathy Has Been Huge to Recovery
  9. Mental Health Education, Not Gun Laws, Will Reduce Violence in Our Schools
  10. Q&A: Does Hiding a Porn Addiction Mean He Hid Affairs?

Of these top 10 most-viewed entries, only one, The Day I Went to Jail, makes it onto both most hits and most liked Top 10 lists.

So, considering that any entry has to be in the Top 4% of what I’ve written to make either list, which I think is a large enough sample size, what conclusions can be drawn?

First, I think people do want to read about the ins-and-outs of pornography addiction and want real information. Looking at the hits list, only the jail entry is an experiential piece and only the mental health education one is mainly opinion.

When I look at the most liked list, it’s much different. The top two liked articles both have the words “mental health” in the title and they are both experiential pieces talking about my life. In fact, 8 of the Top 10 most liked articles have the words “Me,” “My,” or “I” in the title. You can even make an argument that the other two are experiential mixed with opinion.

There are certainly other variables. Seven of the top 10 most liked articles have been written in the last three months, and liked by mostly the same people. This could suggest that I just have a following that is more apt to hit the like button at the moment.

Perhaps I’ve also consciously or subconsciously got better at writing click-bait like headlines. I look at the Top 10 most liked articles vs. those that are sitting in the 190s and there’s a big difference in the quality and excitement of headlines. Funny, sensational, cliffhanger-like headlines draw people in. It’s why the news media does it all the time. I mean, let’s be honest, when you read the headline and saw the photo for this post, did you think it was going to be about website data analysis? No, but it got you this far.

I think among those posts that are liked the most, there’s also a level of relatability. Tales of mental health issues, visiting other blogs, frustration with Facebook or loving my dogs are things that you don’t have to be a porn addict to relate with. When readers see themselves in the entries they may be more apt to like them.

I think that a similar correlation can be drawn on the most viewed articles. Clicking that you like those articles may “out” yourself as a porn addict, sex addict, someone with an eating disorder, a partner of a porn addict or somebody else you’re not ready to identify as publicly just yet.

I think another year or two of entries will help to establish whether my hypotheses are correct or if I need to rethink how people approach this website.

This is probably all “inside baseball” to those who don’t have a blog or website, but I’d love to hear from those people who have been blogging for a while. Do you find that there is a wide gulf between the entries that are most read and most liked, or is my experience an outlier?

So…one final experiment I want to try. I need you to “Like” this article. In a month, when views will slow down to a trickle (assuming it’s not one of the most “hit” articles), I can compare how many hits the article got to how many people liked it. In liking it, it shows that you are both supportive of my little experiment and read this far. The difference in # of people who “hit” this entry vs. “like” it should give the number of people who never got this far in the article.

Also, while I have you here, there’s a cool book I want to tell you about… https://amzn.to/2qvxVbm

The banana book is winning again. Help a guy out….

Scary, scary statistics: Trying to Explain the Amount of Porn on the Internet

Since the New England Patriots are in their bye week, which means I won’t be getting my weekend fill of statistical data to analyze, I thought it would be a good time for the monthly alarming porn statistics feature, and I found some especially crazy numbers this time around.

We all know that as far as information repository, the Internet is huge, but much like outer space, we don’t think about how huge because we just don’t utilize numbers that big in our everyday life. Also, just like space, we know it’s constantly growing, but rarely stop to recognize how quickly this thing is expanding.

These statistics come from a compendium released by Josh McDowell Ministry in 2018. The executive summary of the report is available via PDF if you click HERE.

Over the last 20 years, how has Internet pornography grown?

1998 – 14 million pages
2003 – 260 million pages
2010 – 500 million pages
2012 – 980 million pages
2018 – 2.3 billion pages

What’s really the difference between 2.3 billion and 14 million? It’s 164 times bigger. With the exception of social media, I couldn’t find any industry that has grown that much in 20 years. In 2018, the world population passed 7.5 billion. Basically, that means there is a page of pornography on the Internet for every third person on this planet.

Imagine if there was one place to buy alcohol in the city you live in currently. Then you move away for 20 years and come back. Suddenly there are 164 places. What conclusions would reach about the last two decades?

This report tries to drive home just how much porn 2.3 billion pages truly is:

It’s 3,110,400,000 gigabytes. Again, too big, right? What does that really look like? I did some math. If you took the average $5 32-megabyte flash drive, you’d need about 105 billion of those flash drives. Still too big?

Maybe it can be simplified. If you printed out each web page onto a typical sheet of paper, it would result in 201 trillion pieces of paper. If you asked someone to count those pages, it would take over 100 million years. Birds were just starting to emerge as a thriving species of animal 100 million years ago. Still too big?

Here’s an easier way to think about it. Remember those 4-drawer filing cabinets that you’d see in your teacher’s classroom or at the doctor’s office before everything went digital. Well, if you put those pieces of paper that you printed out the pornographic Internet onto in 2018, you’d be able to fill 20.1 billion of those cabinets. Wait, that’s still too big.

That really didn’t help. Maybe I can explain it.

Time to try to figure out how to explain this on my own. According to Google, the average tree (whatever that means) can be harvested for 15,000 sheets of paper. Doing that math, you’d need to harvest 13.4 billion trees to print out the pornographic Internet. There are 6.5 billion trees in New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island), the heaviest forested region of the United States. The pornographic Internet could kill them all twice….plus still need enough paper to kill all of New York City’s trees 80 times.

OK, I failed. I can’t explain it. I can’t put into our normal everyday terms just how much pornography is on the Internet in a way we can easily digest it. But then again, maybe we’re not supposed to be able to fathom its largeness. Maybe that should be the red flag that finally causes society to stop and not only ask why is Internet pornography so vast, but what is it doing to people?

I don’t have all the answers. I barely have any ideas. But I think these numbers need to be known by everybody.