PornHub Lets Us Know How Bad Things Are Getting, Part II: Trust These Numbers?

I promised I’d be back with Part II of looking at select statistics and what they may mean from PornHub in 2019. As I said last week, they may be having a major contribution to the pornification of our society, but they do know how to present a report to make amateur behavioral economists happy. But with today’s stats, I’m a bit more dubious.

Looking by the Ladies

When I’m doing podcasts or presentations, the question always inevitably comes up: “Are there female porn addicts?” The answer is yes, but until I saw these numbers, I didn’t have any idea this many women were actually looking at pornography.

If you remember last time, I mentioned there were 42 million visits to PornHub annually, or 115 million per day. The site reports, on average, that 32% of its visitors are female. That represents an increase of 3% over 2018. Basically, that means 38 million visits per day are from women, and again, PornHub is now the third largest pornography site in the world. That puts daily visits for women well over 100 million for just the three largest sites on a daily basis.

The reality is, women are mostly built the same as men, but in the pre-Internet world of strip clubs, adult bookstores and adult theaters, porn was not marketed to women and was difficult to find. Now that we all have an iPhone or Android in our pocket, access is an even playing field and the pornography companies know it.

Countries that have a higher average than that 32% include top-ranked Philippines and Brazil (39%), Mexico (36%), and Australia and Sweden (35%). France, Spain and Canada are at the average and countries coming in below include United States and Italy (30%), United Kingdom (28%) and Germany (25%).

Most of the Top 10 search terms for women are related to lesbian sex. Also, of the most searched-for pornstars by women, only three of the top 12 were men. PornHub added that among porn featuring only gay male performers, 37% was consumed by women.

Problems with This – PornHub doesn’t ask the casual user their gender. I have no idea if this is the case, but with some of their “member” services I’m sure there is demographic profiling to sign-up and perhaps they are extracting and extrapolating their numbers this way, and they could be 100% correct. I don’t doubt they are far off, but I’d like to understand their methodology.

Also, and this is as good a place as any to mention it, although it’s not just a female search issue. In none of their data do the search terms “incest” or “teen” appear. As a former addict who stays away from the stuff, I’m not going to go count the instances that these two words appear on the front page of PornHub, but faux incest between teen siblings or child/parent are among the most popular genres of porn currently according to every article I’ve read. Maybe if you put them up front on the home page nobody has to type in the words to find them. We can talk about the psychology of that being a popular search another time, but to not admit it’s what people are watching makes all of these stats somewhat dubious.

How Old Are You Now?

PornHub places the average age of one of its users at 36 years old. Instead of trying to explain what the results were, it’s easier to just look at the pie chart they created:

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The average user in the United States is 39 years old according to PornHub data, with 32% of users making up the largest demo, in 25-to-34. It claims that only 15% of American users are under 24 years old. The numbers are almost carbon copies for Canada, where like the UK and Italy, the average user is also 39. The youngest goes to the Philippines at 32 while Spain recorded the oldest at 41.

Problems with This – This is a case of making the numbers work for you. PornHub measures people between the ages of 18 and 65, but it measures the youngest demo over a range of only six years, 18-to-24, whereas every other age group has a ten-year range.

Do some math with me and tell me if I’m wrong. If 25% of their users are 18-to-24 and 36% of their users are 25-to-34, that makes 61% of users under 34 years old. How can the average age be two years older?

And much like the “teen” and “incest” omissions, notice that there is no category for users under 18 years old. Why? Because it’s bad PR. Despite the fact that in America, there is no need to prove your age to gain access to the site, apparently there isn’t a single underage person going to PornHub. Yeah, right.

Again, I’m guessing they’re measuring this with some kind of membership or premium level and even if underage teens can gain access to it, they’re not going to admit that they are not of age. They’re going to claim to be, oh, I don’t know…36?

The Greatest Porn Computer Ever

When I appear on video podcasts, I always make sure to have my phone nearby so I can lift it up at some point and say the “greatest pornography computer ever now fits in every 14-year-olds pocket.” I didn’t realize just how correct I was.

From 2018 to 2019, pornography access via smartphones grew by 7% to 76.6%. Porn access via desktop computer dropped to 16.3% and tablet use dropped to 7.1%. Three-out-of-four people accessing porn are doing it by phone and that certainly skews to a younger generation.

In the United States, 81% of PornHub’s viewers are accessing via smartphone and only 12% are using a desktop computer. Only 74% of UK residents and 71% of Canadians access via smartphone. The highest percentage country for accessing via desktop is Russia, at 34%.

Problems with This – I actually have no problem with how PornHub reported this data. They’ve got the ability to track not only what device you’re using, but what operating system, browser, game console, etc. I believe what they’re claiming here. Big Brother is watching you, even when it’s just to spy on you checking out his porn stash.

My only problem with this data is anybody (parents, spouses, etc.) who still believes they can keep someone’s eyes off of pornography at this point are fooling themselves. This isn’t 2005 and NetNanny can lull you into safety. Heck, take out all of the devices from your house. There’s a great big world out there full of them, and it’s a world that needs to start talking about pornography addiction education or these numbers are only going to get worse.

And, just because I’d like to end on some good news, even PornHub admits that certain events cause it numbers to plummet, specifically sports. What’s it going to take to have a Super Bowl every weekend?

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15 thoughts on “PornHub Lets Us Know How Bad Things Are Getting, Part II: Trust These Numbers?

  1. Pie charts are the worst, never trusted them. And with data you can prove everything you want. The source of the data tells usually a lot.
    Porn is so easily to find now, it can be so altering when you come in contact with that at a very young age. Do you think a good conversation between parent and tween or teen could help? Or is there nothing parents can do?

    1. I think the entire answer lies with education from the parents and the schools. I know asking the schools to ever say the P word would freak out too may parents, but it’s clearly an issue that parents in the 2020s are going to have to deal with or run a larger risk of their children getting hooked.

      1. It is actually about mental health and developpment, body positivity, addiction, there are so many themes possible. ‘Eating an apple a day’ and ‘brushing your teeth before you go to bed’ doesn’t cut it anymore.
        My sexual eduction at school consisted of the anatomy of the male and female body and the explenation of how the menstrual cycle works. And I was 15 or maybe 16!
        New area, new challenges. I think it would very beneficial when schools could work together with parents on this. At least parents would know when to bring it up.

      2. You are 100% correct. I remember back around 2000, when I was still writing for newspapers, every school had a “Internet Safety Night” for parents. Those don’t happen anymore. Maybe they need to come back…that would actually be a pretty good blog post topic.

  2. I wonder how much data they’re collecting is coming from dropping cookies on users’ devices and how much is coming from Google Analytics. With my Google Analytics account I’m given the option of getting more data like user sex, age, etc., and they’d just expect me to change my privacy notice to make that clear. I have no desire to gather that kind of data, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s a big part of how Pornhub is getting their data.

      1. Any website owner can set up a Google Analytics account and put a tracking code on their site so Google can monitor all kinds of things about how people interact with your site. They require you to inform people of it in your site’s privacy policy. The basic tracking info is stuff like when people visited your site and what pages they looked at, what country they’re from, what device they’re using, and that kind of stuff. You can also ask it to track more info like age and sex. I’m not entirely sure how that get that information, but really Google knows everything.

      2. Good question. The stats I’ve seen are old, but said of the 30 or 40 million porn search a day, over 100,000 were for illegal porn. I’m sure all these numbers have changed.

  3. Just last night I was talking to a professional addiction counselor/therapist who addresses our Celebrate Recovery ministry every December. He spoke on porn addiction last week. I quoted to him just a few of the stats you posted last week and even he was taken aback. It’s hard to believe how many people are actively participating in its seemingly unlimited spread across the globe.

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