81 Shocking Facts about Pornography

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published August 19, 2016
  • A new porn film is created in the United States every 39 minutes.[4]
  • Women like to watch lesbian porn more than straight sex. In fact, the word “lesbian” is the top-viewed category for Pornhub’s female viewers.[5]
  • According to PornHub (one of the Web’s largest porn sites), American’s porn-watching sessions are, on average, the longest in the world. Americans spend an average of 10 minutes and 39 seconds on the website every time they visited. The U.K was second, with Germany taking third.[16]
  • According to PornHub, in 2013 the states that spent the longest average time on their site were Mississippi (11:47), Hawaii (11:36), and Arkansas (11:32). In contrast, people in Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire had the shortest porn-watching sessions (at 10:00, 10:01, and 10:02, respectively).[16]
  • Worldwide in 2013, PornHub had over 14 billion hits. That averages to 1.68 million visits per hour the entire year.[16]
  • Jeanette Ellis, a woman from Gaffney, S.C., was arrested after police caught her going door-to-door selling porn on VHS. She claimed that she found them in a box down the street. She was charged with not having a permit.[8]
  • The 1988, People vs. Freeman court cases stated that adult film production, as long as it does not “hurt” others, was protected as free speech under the First Amendment. In other words, if porn involves consenting adults, it is protected.[10]
  • About 20% of men view porn while at work
  • One in five men, or 20%, admit to watching porn online at work. About 13% of women do.[7]
  • Pornography addiction as a behavioral addiction that causes serious negative consequences of physical, mental, social, and/or financial well-being is hugely debated. Currently, there is no diagnosis of pornography addiction in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).[2]
  • On February 1, 2009, Comcast Cable accidentally aired 37 seconds of porn during Super Bowl XLIII.[13]
  • In 2001, hackers in a Dresden, Germany, supermarket streamed a sex channel on a big screen meant to show daily specials.[13]
  • During a primary school meeting in Northern Ireland, a priest accidentally showed X-rated photos to a group of parents. He was later asked to take a sabbatical leave from the priesthood.[13]
  • Porn was mistakenly aired for an entire 10 minutes in the background during a national TV news report on Syria in January 2013.[13]
  • In Normandy, France, a preschool teacher thought she was clicking on a cartoon when she inadvertently clicked on a hardcore porn file. Not realizing her mistake, she left the room before the clip began, and the film played for several minutes.[13]
  • The size of the porn industry worldwide is $100 billion. Between $10 billion and $12 billion of that comes from the United States.[6]
  • Revenue from traditional porn films has been shrinking due to piracy and abundance of free content on the Internet. The porn industry has seen an 80% reduction in DVD sales over the past five years.[14]
  • Porn revenue is larger than all professional basketball, baseball, and football franchises—combined.[14]
  • The size of the porn industry is $100 billion worldwide
  • While male porn stars are usually paid around $150 per scene, women performers earn between $600 and $1000 a scene.[6]
  • There have been 22 reported HIV cases in the porn industry in the United States. Half the cases were among men who worked in gay films. The rest were both men and women in heterosexual productions.[12]
  • In the 1980s, an HIV outbreak led to the death of several porn film actors, including Al Parker, Marc Stevens, Wade Nichols, and John Holmes.[12]
  • Porn revenue is more than the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC ($6.2 billion).[7]
  • Twelve percent of websites on the Internet are pornographic.[7]
  • Over 40 million Americans are regular visitors to porn sites.[7]
  • Around 70% of men aged 18–24 visit porn sites in a typical month.[7]
  • Child pornography generates around $3 billion annually.[7]
  • According to a 2009 study by the Journal of Economic Perspective, Utah had the most per capita porn subscriptions. Montana had the lowest rate of porn subscriptions.[11]
  • Men tend to focus on a woman's eyes and lips while watching porn
  • While viewing porn, men tend to focus on a woman’s eyes and lips over breasts or genitals. Researchers speculate that men look at women’s faces to determine how “turned on” the woman is.[11]
  • After President Bush won the election in 2004, Republican states saw a jump in porn-related Internet searches. After President Obama won, blue states saw a jump in Internet searches. Researchers suggest that being on a winning team creates a surge of testosterone, which increases sex drive.[11]
  • In August 2012, the porn industry was shut down when a performer was diagnosed with the STD syphilis. That performer was sentenced to jail for knowingly exposing costars to the disease.[12]
  • The advent of home video and the Internet has seen a boom in the porn industry worldwide.[12]
  • Every second the online porn industry makes over $3,000.[7]
  • Every second, nearly 30,000,000 unique Internet users view porn.[7]
  • Nearly 2.5 billion emails per day are pornographic, which is 8% of all emails.[7]
  • Over 35% of all Internet downloads are pornographic.[7]
  • There are over 116,000 searches for “child pornography” every day.[7]
  • Sunday is the most popular day to watch porn. The least popular day of the year is Thanksgiving.[7]
  • There are almost 68 million porn searches each day
  • Nearly one in four Internet search queries is about porn. That’s 68 million a day.[7]
  • There are around 42 million porn websites, which totals around 370 million pages of porn.[7]
  • “Fluffers” are people who are hired by film studios to “arouse” male participants before a pornography scene.[6]
  • While men tend to become aroused by a specific stimuli (straight men: women; homosexual men: men), women experience arousal after viewing pretty much any kind of sexual stimuli, including guy-on-guy porn, girl-on-girl, or even bonobo monkeys.[9]
  • Film production of pornography began immediately after the invention of the motion picture in 1895.[2]
  • Porn has used almost every communication medium, including lithographs, the printing press, the Internet, photography, VHS, DVD, satellite TV, and more.[14]
  • Some pornography is created without any human actors at all. In 2004, the cover of Playboy was the video game character Blood Rayne.[15]
  • Pornography is different from erotica. Erotica portrays sexuality in high-art, which focuses on feelings and emotions. Pornography focuses on sex in a sensational manner and emphasizes the physical act to arouse a quick reaction. Because the definition of “pornography” is subjective, the distinction between porn and erotica is always shifting and contextual.[10]
  • The history of pornography is nearly impossible to write because the very definition of pornography is subjective, shifting, and contextual. While one image may be considered erotic or religious in one culture could be condemned as pornographic in another.[10]
  • In his socially radical pornographic work Justine (1791), the Marquis de Sade details orgiastic scenes with long philosophical debates on the evils of property and traditional social hierarchy.[10]
  • The only remaining pornography taboo that is nearly universally accepted is child pornography.[10]
  • Those who watched porn alone were less sexually satisfied
  • A 2011 study found that couples who watched porn together felt more committed and sexually satisfied than couples where one partner watched it alone.[9]
  • Porn is often divided into two categories: soft core and hard core. A work is hard core if it includes graphic sexual activity, visible penetration, and unsimulated sex scenes. Soft-core porn typically contains nudity or partial nudity in sexually suggestive scenes, but does not include explicit sexual activity, penetration, or extreme fetishism.[10]
  • Porn can be divided into several genres, including ethnic porn, amateur porn, gay porn, lesbian porn, bisexual porn, group sex, and others.[10]
  • The San Fernando Valley has been a pioneering region for producing porn since the 1970s, and a large amount of porn is still filmed there. In Europe, Budapest is considered the industry hub.[3]
  • A study from the Kinsey Institute showed that women on hormonal birth control (such as the pill) would zero in on people’s genitals while watching porn. However, women not on birth control were more interested in contextual elements, such as the background or dialogue. Researchers speculate that the pill decreases the sex drive.[9]
  • While 25%–33% of those who watch Internet porn are women, they make up only 2% of paying porn site subscribers.[7]
  • In North Korea and Iran, producing and distributing porn is punishable by death.[2]
  • Porn makes up 30% of all the data transferred across the Internet.[7]
  • The average porn site visit last 6 minutes and 20 seconds.[7]
  • Around 33% of porn users is a woman
  • One in three porn visitors is a woman.[7]
  • The word “pornography” is from the Greek words porne (prostitute) and graphos (to write or to record). So, in other words, pornography means “writing about prostitutes.”[10]
  • The modern concept of pornography did not exist until the Victorian Era, although images of a sexual nature have existed long before, such as the Venus figurines and rock art.[6]
  • The first original English “prose pornography” was the 1748 text Fanny Hill a.k.a. Memories of a Woman of Pleasure. It is one of the most prosecuted and banned books in history.[2]
  • It is illegal in Australia (except in two states) to sell or rent any X-rated materials.[6]
  • The word “pornography” first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1857.[10]
  • The richest porn star is Jenna Jameson.[6]
  • The earliest surviving American film showing intercourse is known today by the title A Grass Sandwich and was shot in New Jersey in 1915.[2]
  • After WWI, porn movies were called “stag movies” and could be seen only at men-only parties.[2]
  • A Harvard study found that online porn subscriptions are higher in conservative states.[9]
  • Almost 70% of room service profits are from porn
  • On average, 50% of hotel guests order porn on their televisions.[6]
  • A survey of Hilton, Marriot, Hyatt, Sheraton, and Holliday Inn hotels found that almost 70% of their room service profits come from porn movies.[6]
  • A study in Psychology of Women Quarterly notes that both men and women who watch porn were less likely to support affirmative action practices for women.[9]
  • Countries with the easiest access to hard-core porn have the lowest sex-crime rates in the world.[17]
  • The three main groups that have traditionally opposed pornography are feminism, religion, and law.[10]
  • A Netherlands study found only a very small association between porn use and sexual experience (e.g., paying for sex, one-night-stands, adventurous sex, etc.).[9]
  • In a survey from Men’s Health and Women’s Health, 72% of people surveyed said they would be open to tuning in to porn with their partner if he or she requested it.[9]
  • A recent study found that watching porn did increase hostile sexist attitudes, but only in people who already had those tendencies. These tendencies include higher antagonism, unfriendliness, suspiciousness, disagreeability, etc.[9]
  • The English Obscene Publications Act 1857 was the world’s first law criminalizing pornography. The American equivalent was the Comstock Act of 1873. However, the term “obscene” was left undefined, which left the laws ambiguous.[10]
  • Victorians believed that pornography was only for a select few. While wealthy white men could look at porn safely, other groups of people—including women, minorities, and the working class—were seen as being highly vulnerable to corruption. In fact, when erotic images from Pompeii were discovered, they were shipped in secret to a museum in Naples.[6]
  • The $3.2 million film 3-D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy is billed as the world’s first 3D porn film.[1]
  • The average age at which a child first views Internet porn is 11
  • The average age of first Internet porn exposure is 11 years old.[11]
  • Disseminating pornography to a minor is considered illegal in most U.S. states.[3]
  • Both Larry Flint, a pornography producer, and Salman Rushdie, a prize-winning novelist, argue that pornography is crucial to freedom. In fact, according to them, a society’s level of freedom can be evaluated by how accepting it is to porn.[17]
  • After the murder of teacher Jane Longhurst, the UK banned the possession of “extreme pornography.”[2]
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References

13D Porn Film: ‘3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy,’ a World First, Opens in Hong Kong.” Huffington Post. Updated June 14, 2011. Accessed: April 16, 2014.

2 Baird, Robert M. and Stuart E. Rosenbaum. Pornography: Private Right or Public Menace? Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1991.

3 Bridge, Adrian. “Sex Trade Moguls Thrive by the Blue Danube.” The Independent. July 21, 1996. Accessed: April 16, 2014.

4 DeKeseredy, Walter S. and Marilyn Corsianos. Violence Against Women in Pornography. New York, NY: Routledge, 2016.

5 Duberman, Andrea. "Women Prefer Gay Porn to "Female-Friendly" Straight Porn, Says Survey." The Huffington Post. October 1, 2014. Accessed: August 20, 2016.

6 Frater, Jamie. “Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Pornography.” Listverse. February 4, 2009. Accessed: April 16, 2014.

7 Gobry, Pascal-Emmanual and Nick Saint. “15 Things You Need to Know about Internet Porn.” Business Insider. August 5, 2011. Accessed: April 16, 2014.

8 Griffo, Megan. “Jeanette Ellis Arrested for Allegedly Selling VHS Pornography Tapes Door-to-Door.” Huffington Post. Updated March 7, 2013. Accessed: April 13, 2014.

9 Gueren, Casey. “11 Things You Didn’t Know about Porn.” Women’s Health. October 3, 2013. Accessed: April 16, 2014.

10 Jones, E. Michael. Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control. South Bend, IL: St. Augustine’s Press, 2000.

11 Kylstra, Carolyn. “7 Things You Didn’t Know about Porn.” Cosmopolitan. 2014. Accessed: April 16, 2014.

12L.A. Pushes for Condoms in Porn Legislations, but State Lawmakers Balk.” Capitol Weekly. June 24, 2009. Accessed: April 16, 2014.

13 Miles, Kathleen. “Ten Facts about Porn Industry ‘All Time 10s’ Video Shows How Big the Adult Industry Is.” Huffington Post. Updated October 31, 2012. Accessed: April 16, 2014.

14 Morris, Chris. “After Rough 2013, Porn Studios Look for a Better Year.” CNBC. January 14, 2014. Accessed: April 16, 2014.

15 Morris, Chris. “Video Game Gals Take It Off for Playboy.” CNN Money. August 25, 2004. Accessed: April 16, 2014.

16One Stat That Proves America Really Likes Its Porn.” Huffington Post. Updated January 23, 2014. Accessed: April 13, 2014.

17Porn Is Vital to Freedom: Rushdie.” The Times of India. August 8, 2004. Accessed: April 16, 2014.

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