21st Century Sex
(Page 2 of 6)
In 2010 we conducted the world’s largest experiment: We sifted through a billion different web searches, including a half million personal histories. We analyzed hundreds of thousands of online erotic stories and thousands of romance e-novels. We looked at the 40,000 most trafficked adult websites. We examined more than 5 million sexual solicitations posted on online classifieds. We listened to thousands of people discussing their desires on message boards.
The goal? To understand the specific cues that trigger human desire.
Wolfgang likes to look at images of female derrieres. He prefers certain poses: bent over, legs splayed, leaning on her knuckles. He likes these images so much that he is willing to pay for them—sometimes several times a day. This might seem excessive, though not exactly remarkable, except for one fact: Wolfgang is a monkey.
Rhesus macaques studied at Duke University are able to trade fruit juice for peeks at photos of female perinea. Researchers have consistently found that males are willing to trade juice to view these images and will trade more juice to look at monkey erotica than any other image.
Men aren’t the only primates willing to spend money just to look at females, but they’re the only ones to develop it into an industry. The most popular paysites featuring adult videos typically attract an audience that is around 75 percent men, and when it comes to actually paying for porn, the gender gap widens into an abyss. On the web, women prefer stories and men prefer images. So what exactly are all these men so driven to look at?
The most influential male cue is age, which dominates sexual searches, adult website content, and pornographic videos. On Dogpile, terms describing age—such as teen, young, and mature—are the most frequent type of adjective in sexual searches, appearing in one out of every six.
While the data show that youth dominates male desire, and there is a rather shocking number of searches for underage women, there is significant interest in older women as well. More than a quarter of all men report that their first sexual fantasy was triggered by a sexy older person. And what is the single most popular word users enter into the PornHub search engine? Mom. MILFs (Mothers I’d Like to Fuck) are one of the most profitable genres of male-targeted pornography.
Men’s interest in women’s bodies is well known, but the next visual cue may come as a surprise. Men are more interested in penises than women are. An eye-tracking study found that, when viewing nonerotic images, men consistently direct their gaze to the male crotch, through women rarely do. In porn, the penis is always under the spotlight. On the adult website Fantasti.cc, the predominantly male users rate more than
1 million images and videos. Out of the 100 top-rated images, 21 feature close-up shots of a penis. And on all of the major adult video sites, “Big Dick” is a popular porn category.
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