Red State Citizens Consume The Most Online Porn In The USA

According to a nationwide study of anonymous online credit card transactions, Americans living in traditionally religious, conservative states consume more online porn than their godless liberal blue state fellow citizens, with Utah leading the way.

Benjamin Edelman, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School, analyzed anonymous credit card transactions to attempt to find a link between the rise in online porn consumption and division of "red" and "blue" states from a sociological standpoint. "Do consumption patterns of online adult entertainment reveal two separate Americas," Edelman writes, "Or is the consumption of online adult entertainment widespread, regardless of legal barriers, potential for embarrassment, and even religious conviction?"

Ewan Callaway of New Scientist analyses Edelman's findings, noting that after Edelman factored in population density and broadband usage, Utah was actually the state with the most online porn subscriptions per 1000 broadband users. Conservative states made up the bulk of the top ten, in terms of porn subscriptions. As Callaway notes, "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."

Edelman notes a difference in porn preferences between red states and blue states: "Using individual-level data from a Hitwise sample of ten million anony- mized U.S. Internet users, Tancer (2008), finds that adult escort sites are more popular in "blue" states that voted for Kerry in 2004, 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," a fairly fascinating insight that could surely be explored further.

Church-going porn subscribers also tended to download less porn on Sundays, as church attendance provided a drop in porn usage. States that banned gay marriage had 11% more porn subscriptions than states that had not banned gay marriage. And, as Callaway notes, "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."

Conservative hypocrisy is no surprise: anyone who has watched the Republican party fight off allegations of bathroom sexual encounters, child molestation, and prostitutes has witnessed the "Do As I Say, Not As I Do" philosophy that seems to sweep through the right-wing on a regular basis. Yet Edelman's research provides evidence of said hypocrisy; those who feel it necessary to judge others on their sexual choices and "morality" seem to have no problem accessing pornography, which many religions view as immoral and wrong.

And yet although the red states tend to view porn more often than blue states, Edelman finds that porn is a fairly purple subject, accessed in each state across the nation: "When it comes to adult entertainment, it seems people are more the same than different."

Porn In The Usa [New Scientist]
Red Light States (PDF) [Journal Of Economic Perspectives]