According to a new Harvard Business School study, eight of the top ten states in terms of online porn consumption were ones where McCain won in the presidential election. Professor Benjamin Edelman analyzed anonymised credit cards receipts from a large online porn company. Based on their limited data, the largest consumer is Utah. Other interesting possible correlations emerged too that Edelman outlines in his paper, "Red Light States: Who Buys Online Adult Entertainment?" published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. From New Scientist:
Church-goers bought less online porn on Sundays – a 1% increase in a postal code's religious attendance was associated with a 0.1% drop in subscriptions that day. However, expenditures on other days of the week brought them in line with the rest of the country, Edelman finds."Porn in the USA: Conservatives are biggest consumers" (New Scientist),
Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don't explicitly restrict gay marriage.
To get a better handle on other associations between social attitudes and pornography consumption, Edelman melded his data with a previous study on public attitudes toward religion.
States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement "I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage," bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed. A similar difference emerged for the statement "AIDS might be God's punishment for immoral sexual behaviour."
"One natural hypothesis is something like repression: if you're told you can't have this, then you want it more," Edelman says.
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.