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Old 03-04-2009, 05:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Porn in the USA: Red States consume most porn

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Porn in the USA: Conservatives Are Biggest Consumers
Porn in the USA: Conservatives Are Biggest Consumers
8 of Top 10 Porn-Consuming States Voted Republican in 2008 Presidential Election
By EWEN CALLAWAY

Feb. 28, 2009

Americans may paint themselves in increasingly bright shades of red and blue, but new research finds one thing that varies little across the nation: the liking for online pornography.

A new nationwide study (pdf) of anonymised credit-card receipts from a major online adult entertainment provider finds little variation in consumption between states.

"When it comes to adult entertainment, it seems people are more the same than different," says Benjamin Edelman at Harvard Business School.

However, there are some trends to be seen in the data. Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.

"Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by," Edelman says.

Political Divide

Edelman spends part of his time helping companies such as Microsoft and AOL detect advertising fraud. Another consulting client runs dozens of adult websites, though he says he is not at liberty to identify the firm.

That company did, however, provide Edelman with roughly two years of credit card data from 2006 to 2008 that included a purchase date and each customer's postal code.

After controlling for differences in broadband internet access between states  online porn tends to be a bandwidth hog  and adjusting for population, he found a relatively small difference between states with the most adult purchases and those with the fewest.

The biggest consumer, Utah, averaged 5.47 adult content subscriptions per 1000 home broadband users; Montana bought the least with 1.92 per 1000. "The differences here are not so stark," Edelman says.

Number 10 on the list was West Virginia at 2.94 subscriptions per 1000, while number 41, Michigan, averaged 2.32.

Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year's presidential election  Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.

Old-Fashioned Values

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.

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.
I think this is a very interesting idea. I don't buy it, but I do find it amusing. It would almost have to see the drug statistics for these same states and see a similar trend to believe it. Otherwise I find it an interesting anecdote.

What do you think about this article?
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There is always a problem in using aggregate level data that makes it hard to track if the correlation is valid. But in any case, this matches up well with teenage pregnancy rates and teen sexual activity rates.
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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seems logical to me. Repressed folks, more porn. Hmmmm, nothing too surprising about that.
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This study tracks paid-for porn. Perhaps conservatives are less aware of the availability of free internet porn.
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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or methods of pirating -- ARRRRGGH
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by cdwonderful View Post
seems logical to me. Repressed folks, more porn. Hmmmm, nothing too surprising about that.
I'm usually not a fan of doing the "QFT" thing, but you totally took the words right out of my mouth, sooooo.....

QFT!!!

edit: a short anecdote to back that up;
Living in Tallahasee, Florida (a super redneck town), I had never seen so many porn shops. Yet strip clubs are pretty much illegal.
Down here in Clearwater (south Florida, so liberal), there's five strip clubs for every bus stop, but I honestly can't remember ever seeing a porn shop.

It can't be repressed if you're enjoying it in public, now can it? :-P
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Last edited by highdro69; 03-04-2009 at 06:28 PM..
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I find it deliciously ironic that Utah tops this list. This was rather a big deal in the local paper a couple of days ago. With the amount of repression that goes on here (meaning Utah), it really wouldn't surprise me if there was some truth to this.
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Old 03-04-2009, 07:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't think you can draw a lot of conclusions from this data. It assumes that voter registration numbers are necessarily correlated with porn consumption. Seems a bit opportunistic.
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Old 03-05-2009, 10:07 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm sure it's tempting to lord this over morally superior acting conservative people, but I can't really bring myself to care. Everyone watches porn. C'est la vi.
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Old 03-05-2009, 02:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I suppose I was the only one bothered by them taking the credit card information I know that its only the purchase date and zip code but when you live in Montana how many neighbors with high speed do you have?

I don't find it to surprising what is interesting is the supposed sunday drop off in purchases

It would be interesting if they would do some studies on what areas have the most prostitutes, maybe the red are more look don't touch and the blue have to get their hands on it

The free pron is what I was thinking maybe the blue just have more socialized pron
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