Which State Consumes The Most Online Porn?

Utah, that’s which state! Or so says Harvard researcher Ben Edelman, who “analyzed subscriber data from an unnamed ‘top 10 seller of online adult entertainment.’” When comparing broadband subscribers, Utah comes in first with an average of 5.47 per 1000. In second place is Alaska with just over 5.03 per 1000, and coming in third is Mississippi.

Before you start giggling about dirty Mormons, however, Edelman notes that “in regions where more people report regularly attending religious services, overall subscription rates are not statistically significantly different from subscriptions elsewhere.” (However, churchgoers are less likely to begin their subscriptions on Sunday, which implies that they “shift their consumption of adult entertainment to other days of the week.”)

Instead, it looks the higher consumption is actually connected to states “that have enacted conservative legislation on sexuality.”

Now that we’ve veered into political territory, here’s a bit of interesting red state/blue state trivia to fuel future accusations in the comments:

Furthermore, I found no significant relationship between subscriptions to this adult entertainment service and presidential voting in 2004, based on poll data by congressional district.

However, using individual-level data from a Hitwise sample of ten million anonymized U.S. Internet users, Tancer (2008), finds that adult escort sites are more popular in “blue” states that voted for Gore in 2004 [we assume he meant Kerry? -ed.], while visitors from the “red” states that voted for Bush in 2004 are more likely to visit wife-swapping sites, adult webcams, and sites about voyeurism.

The Salt Lake Tribune has Edelman speculate on why Utah is so porn-happy:

Another possibility for Utah’s top porn billing may be the scarcity of adult entertainment outside the home.

“If it is distinctively difficult to get this material in retail locations in Utah, Utah residents who seek such material may have to get it online,” said Edelman, in an e-mail. “On net, then, Utah residents would be buying more online adult entertainment — but perhaps not more total adult entertainment. That said, I analyzed only online adult entertainment, so I’m not in a position to assess the magnitude of this effect.”

Here’s a link to the report (PDF), so those of you who love to argue over methodology can examine it in more detail.

“Utah: Online Porn Capital of America?” [PC World]

Comments

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  1. yukonrye says:

    It’s because Mormons are so polite they insist on actually paying for internet porn.

  2. RodAox says:

    Uhh strange, based on the porn i consume OH should have been somewhere up there…. Oh wait I dont pay for it….guess the list is correct :)

  3. N.RobertMoses says:

    The problem is that he just analyzed subscriber data from an unnamed top 10 seller of online adult entertainment. All that will be relevant to is that particular company, since it is basically a poll. Polls are unreliable, anyway.

  4. Spider Jerusalem says:

    Yukonrye: Win.

    Any sensible adult can find free pr0nz.

  5. JulesWinnfield says:

    This just in from the Department of Irony: It’s all gay porn in Utah.

  6. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I’ve been using my Utah billing address for years. Just ride the wave, baby, ride the wave.

  7. HoooooooT says:

    I like to think my people in Texas are just too smart to actually PAY for porn…

  8. ScottRose says:

    “may be the scarcity of adult entertainment outside the home.”

    That sounds like the most sensible conclusion to be drawn from this survey. If people can’t get porn locally, then they’re going online for it. Pretty common-sense stuff.

    Of course, why anyone in any state would prefer a trek to the local XXX video store over a quick download is beyond me..

    • Dave J. says:

      @ScottRose: It’s not hard to get adult entertainment alternatives in Utah if you live within 50 miles of the Nevada border. Or go to parties w/ BYU students.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @ScottRose: So they can sign the DVD boxes for an adoring public, of course!

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @ScottRose: “may be the scarcity of adult entertainment outside the home.”

      I’m not sure if that’s true — red states I’ve lived in have tended to have far higher concentrations of strip clubs, “titty bars,” XXX stores, even Hooterses. I’d like to see blue state/red state data on adult entertainment venues before making that judgment.

      • Thanatos says:

        @Eyebrows McGee: Well in Utah you cant get Penthouse or Playboy or any other magazine like that anywhere but a sex shop. And from what ive seen there are less titty bars ect then other places.

      • TEW says:

        @Eyebrows McGee:
        I believe that Hooters was started out of the south which is a much more conservative area. Most of the whole red state/ blue state data would be poor because there are too many variables. If the state demands that publications like Playboy not be sold at a 7-11 then the data might be different then a state that has it next to the mints. The different state laws make the data unreliable.

  9. Matt says:

    Whoo something for my fellow Utahns to be proud of…wait no it isn’t. Who pays for porn online? I need to preach to the missionaries that come to my door about the miracle of Google to find ‘companions’.

  10. ThickSkinned says:

    Yep, they loves them some Jello and porn. And ice cream. And magic underwear that protects the faithful from bullets and knife attacks.

  11. Jabberkaty says:

    Well, Maine’s right up there.

  12. Claytons says:

    There’s really not a huge divide between the top ranked and bottom ranked states, and without knowing the content of the sites and a variety of other factors, it’s really not fair to attribute the higher rate in certain states as a “red state” issue.

  13. rpm773 says:

    I thought 5.47 was terabyte per capita

  14. failurate says:

    Alaska! Where the men are men and so are the women.

    • bluewyvern says:

      @failurate: Alaska definitely makes sense. Huge male-to-female ratio, and not many places to buy…much of anything, really.

      Pretty scenery, though.

  15. Trai_Dep says:

    Boy, if this doesn’t say something about “Family Values”…
    I guess the difference is that CA, NY & MA not only indulge, but we figure our pervy brethren should share the same boinking privileges.

    (Note shameless working in “family”, “share” and “boinking” into a story referencing Utah sexual practices)

  16. cuchanu says:

    It could be that because the Mormon girls give the guys blueballs they watch it for medical reasons.

  17. RandomHookup says:

    >cuchanu: Funny thing is, I had exactly that happen. US Army MD prescribed masturbation to a married Mormon soldier who was far away from the wife.

  18. tankertodd says:

    We’re in the midst of economic crisis and this is what we read about? While we’re at it, what about the scientist who figured out where belly-button lint came from?

    Wow. Talk about outside the lane.

  19. Raekwon says:

    Funny how when it’s something about the Mormons people are always quick to make light of sacred things or spread falsehoods yet if it was about the Jews or Southern Baptists people refrain.

    As for why Utah consumes so much Internet porn I think a lot has to do with accessibility outside the home. There really are no strip clubs, sex shops, magazine and video store here compared to everywhere else.

    • SillyinPhilly says:

      @Raekwon:

      If you think they refrain if it is Jews or Southern Baptists, imagine if they made light of Islam.

      In the media, Catholics are always fair game.

    • floraposte says:

      @Raekwon: I think if Mississippi had been top instead of third you’d be hearing plenty about Southern Baptists.

    • yukonrye says:

      @Raekwon: Mormons are currently ranked #2 on the list of kooky world religions. Scientology has them beat by a small margin. Making fun of Jews or Baptists is on the same level as making jokes about airline food.

      • Raekwon says:

        @yukonrye: How is it “kooky” exactly? And if it is so “kooky” why is it one of the fastest growing religions in the world?

  20. jrubow says:

    I agree with you. Very funny, not funny ha ha, but funny faux pas. Can’t make fun of religion, except the Mormons.

    • bluewyvern says:

      @jrubow: Scientologists are good, too.

      But point taken. I would prefer to be able to satirize all religions equally.

      • Raekwon says:

        @bluewyvern: Yeah Scientologists are also often picked on. I’ve read their material and while I personally find their beliefs a bit strange no reason to persecute them. Catholics lately have also been added to the automatic lampooning lists.

  21. antoineawwad says:

    who the fuck still pays for porn these days. thats ridicules.

  22. Stream Of Consciousness says:

    I was sure WI would have made the top 10!!

  23. LandShark says:

    “the scarcity of adult entertainment outside the home”

    I don’t buy it. I live in L.A. and I’ve never purchased adult material in a store. Any purchase I make would be on-line. This would be doubly true in a conservative small town where everyone knows everyone and no one wants to be seen in a porn shop.

  24. jswilson64 says:

    Sure wouldn’t be Tennessee – there’s a porn store at every exit on I-40.

  25. draketrumpet says:

    Ohh, I have an idea! Maybe the researcher wanted to find the most interesting story, which of course would be mormon heavy Utah looking at more porn than any other state. He had some results he wanted to find, and then found the data to match it.

    Think about this: Only broadband customers were surveyed. I know so many cheap mormons, even ones that are well off financially, that are too cheap to subscribe to broadband and suffer through dial up. Maybe this data is more skewed than one might have thought. I mean, remember that lame researcher who claimed autism was linked to vaccinations with mercury in them. He was the only one to ever get those results. But he published them, made them well known, and bam! Everyone blames vaccinations for autism and make a big huff and fuss over it when they could have been directing their energies towards more promising explanations.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @draketrumpet: Perhaps the authors titled their study Usage of Online Porn to alert savvy readers that, y’know, it concerned online porn. Dial-up or cans-on-string aren’t part of the sample.
      Just because you’re not down on the whole “science” thing doesn’t mean it’s not valid.

  26. Jack T Ripper says:

    I didn’t know that everybody in Utah was a practicing Mormon. I guess that means that everybody in New England is Catholic and everybody in the south is a Baptist. I like how quickly people will jump to the stereotype and assume that they know something about that which they know nothing.

    Here is something interesting about the Mormon population in Utah. In the area between Ogden and Provo it is about 30% Mormon and in the thousand little towns with less than 5000 people in them the ratio is much higher. So yeah, the ratio may be pretty high on the Mormon side, but in the areas with the most population it is quickly becoming the minority. I work on a team in Utah with twenty people and there are two mormons on the team. I would suggest not believing the stereotype of everybody in Utah being mormon. It is absolutely not true.

  27. Jack T Ripper says:

    Here is my other theory. It is the strong values in Utah that cause porn use to be high because chicks won’t put out until you put a ring on their finger. Go out to California where the women are as loose as you want them and you don’t need porn as much. Another stat in Utah that is interesting is the number of STDs that we DON’T have from screwing everything with legs. Something to think about…

    • Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

      @ocdetails:
      It’s only the mammals with two legs you don’t screw in Utah.
      There are a lot of sheep in Utah & all are are terrified!

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @ocdetails: So according to your theory we should be encouraging teenagers to indulge in porn in lieu of pre-marital sex.

      Well, I can’t come up with a good argument against it.

  28. rockasocky says:

    Tsk tsk state of Hawaii……we have a Waikiki full of tourists walking around looking for fun, and you go online to find it instead.

  29. loueloui says:

    As a resident of the great State of Florida, I demand a recount.

  30. MooseOfReason says:

    If anyone wants to attribute the amount of porn downloaded to “conservative” legislation, read the newest XKCD comic:
    [xkcd.com]

  31. mizmoose says:

    Oh great, it’s the ghost of Martin Rimm, investigating the Evil Pornography on the Intertubes!

    Please Just Kill Me Now.

  32. Solly says:

    @Trai_Dep:
    “…it concerned online porn. Dial-up or cans-on-string aren’t part of the sample.”

    Maybe I am missing something in your snark, but how is “Dial-up” not online? If you had said Usage of Broadband Online Porn, I would understand.

  33. banmojo says:

    Yeah, this poll title is totally wrong – this doesn’t show the top pron consuming states, it shows the top ‘pay for pron’ states, which may in fact have more to do with a HIGHER sense of morality, and in fact may reveal that Mormons are less likely to STEAL than their nonMormon fellow pron consuming citizens.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @banmojo: Just because you’re getting something for free doesn’t mean you’re stealing it.

      Unless someone’s going to prove there’s no such thing as legitimately free smut on the Internet I don’t think you can assume it has anything to do with being more moral.

  34. oneliketadow says:

    Actually it just means that Utahans are too dumb to find the free stuff.

  35. Chairman-Meow says:

    It must be due to that Mormon squeaky-clean lifestyle they are always waving in our faces.

  36. savdavid says:

    Mormons don’t want gays to marry and the men could have dozens of wives (at least in the past) but they don’t want gays to have one marriage partner. However, the want their porn.

  37. P_Smith says:

    Over the years, I’ve heard numerous stories of fundy christian conventions at hotels where the use of pay-per-view porn increases dramatically, so this is no surprise. And if anyone wonders why porn use increases in states that falsely claim to be worried about “gays and morality”, remember that all these states that produce morons like Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Ralph Reed, James Keating, Tom Delay, Jim “Bonehead” Boehner, Bill McCartney (and his promise keeper cult), Anita Bryant, the Phelps family, etc.

    If you wonder why Utah so overuses porn, think two words: “sexually repressed”. Take a good look at these results published in Time Magazine on the total alcohol consuption in the US during 2007: [www.time.com]

    Utah has the lowest rate of consuption for alcohol (both beer and wine), but all the states surrounding Utah with the exception of Idaho, had the highest rates of consumption or near the highest. Idaho has a small population and only one moderately sized town near the Utah border.

    That tells me one of two things: either (a) all the states around Utah are laden with drunkards, or (b) the Utahns are travelling out of state to get shitfaced. No doubt the drinking-and-driving stats for Utah and the other states would show which was the case.

  38. Daveinva says:

    As previously and accurately noted, this study is very, very bad.

    1. One sample, from one company. Top Ten provider? Sure, okay, but hardly representative. Perhaps they just don’t provide the porn that “Red States” want.

    2. The far more obvious and damning flaw: the study only measured PAID consumption of pornography. Which, as anyone who has used the internet in the last ten years, is a useless measure of *free* porn consumption online. Not only is there a vast quantity of free porn readily available to anyone able to use Google, even the high-quality product is freely available to anyone willing to employ rudimentary file-sharing technology (Rapidshare, Netload, Bittorrent, etc.).

    All this study tells us is that people in Utah are more likely to purchase their porn instead of stealing it via online piracy.

    Well, that, and the study tells us that its creators are incompetent social scientists eager for cheap publicity.

  39. econobiker says:

    “Harvard researcher Ben Edelman, who “analyzed subscriber data from an unnamed ‘top 10 seller(s) of online adult entertainment.”

    Ie: who is actually is stupid enough to pay.

  40. richcreamerybutter says:

    Both my domain name and online resume contain innocent terms that happen to show up in unsavory searches. Statcounter confirms the Utah findings, but at least in my results I’d say the Middle East is a solid second.

  41. domesticdork says:

    The study itself may be no good, but if a better one was done I would not be *at all* surprised if Utah were still #1. Sexual repression = sexual obssesion

  42. axiomatic says:

    Come ON Texas! We can do better than this!

  43. OnceWasCool says:

    Utah!!! Who knew that many cult members watched porn. I guess sneaky sneaky rules up there!