According to a paper just published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, Internet pornography — like so many storms, like so much kale — is seasonal. Porn’s peak seasons? Winter and late summer. Researchers at Villanova examined the Google trends for such commonly-searched-for terms as “porn,” “xxx,” “xxvideos” … and other, more descriptive phrases that, because I am looking at a portrait of James Russell Lowell as I write this, I will let you look up in the paper itself. Once they’d gathered those terms, the authors examined them in Google Trends. And what they found was a defined cycle featuring clear peaks and valleys — recurring at discernible six-month intervals.
Megan Garber is wowed by the “power of the Internet to reveal the patterns of human emotion in a new scope, from a new angle”:
The Internet knows what we want. It knows what we do when we are alone, or think we are. And it knows all of us with the same totality of intimacy.
Neuroskeptic has more questions:
The authors note that a six-month sexual cycle has been reported before. It crops up in everything from abortion rates, to condom sales, and diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections. But why? One possibility is that it’s purely a social construction driven by the fact that in Western cultures, Christmas and summer are the main holiday seasons; but it could reflect a more primitive biological cycle.