How much porn does the internet actually contain?

Sex is the most profitable industry in the world, and porn brings immense profits. Adult content caters to primal human instinct and desires and has always attracted millions. Today, it is even reported to constitute as much as half of the internet content. But does it really?

Daily statistics

Some figures are simply staggering. According to Webroot.inc, every given second, just over 28 thousand users are viewing porn, spending roughly $3000 on this entertainment, and the word “adult” is being typed into search engines 372 times. So, what are the volumes of daily smut consumption?

  • 37 porn videos are shot in the U.S. – the largest producer of smut.
  • humans exchanged 2.5 billion porn-related emails.
  • search engines register 68 million queries connected with porn, which accounts for  25% of total searches. Sadly, this also includes 116,000 queries connected with child pornography.

Porn habits

Not only do Americans produce the most porn, but they also consume it avidly.

  • As many as 200,000 U.S. residents fall into the “porn addict” category.
  • 40 million Americans visit porn websites on a regular basis.
  • Over a third of all downloads are porn-related.
  • Around a third of users have been exposed to adult content unwillingly via misleading links, ads, pop up ads, or emails.
  • Around a third of all viewers are female.

The sheer scale of content penetration is astounding. This underscores the importance of research concerning the psychological effects of porn on teenagers and adults, as such content is nearly inescapable.

Overall volumes

Organization InternetSafey101/Enough is Enough, which labels itself “the national leader in making the Internet safe for children and families”, estimates that smut constitutes 30% or all online content in the world, and porn sites draw in more viewers than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined. The same organization has also highlighted a few alarming trends:

  • An overwhelming majority of porn videos (88%) contain some kind of violence against females.
  • Over the period from 2005 to 2013, there was a tripling in the number of searches for “teen porn”, which now reaches half a million daily.
  • Young adults who watch violent porn content are six times more prone to suicide. However, correlation does not mean causation.

Organizations promoting certain emotional causes are often biased in their calculations. The claim about violence, for instance, is based on a single study that classified all BDSM as violent.

Alternative view

In their book “A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the Internet Tells Us About Sex and Relationships”, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas, Ph.D., and Sai Gaddam, Ph.D., presented an analysis of Internet searches, concluding that just 4 % of most popular sites contained pornography between 2009 and 2010. They interviewed representatives of search engines, who reported a 10-15% share of porn.

This study is perhaps the most credible source to date. Thus, although porn may have constituted half of the online content in the early stages of internet history (specifically, 40% in 1999), the situation has since changed.

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