Sex is a seasonal matter: in the U.S., there’s a spike in sexual activity during the cold, winter months, and then another, smaller spike during early summer.
For example, we already know that during these two times of the year, condom sales shoot up, first intercourse happens more often, and children are more often conceived. Consequently, abortions and STI diagnoses increase in the first 3 months of the year and in late summer-early fall. (Here‘s a review paper on this.)
These two, 6 months apart, seasonal cycles are so consistent and intriguing, that they have their own names: the holiday season effect and the summer vacation effect.
And now, researchers have established that the same seasonal patterns are evident in Internet Google searches.
In a new study just published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers used Google Trends to determine how often people in the U.S. searched for keywords related to three sex and mating behaviors:
– porn (e.g., included “boobs,” “xvideos,” or “milf”);
– prostitution (e.g., “call girl,” “massage parlor,” or “brothel”); and
– mate-seeking (e.g., “eHarmony.” “Match.com,” or “Okcupid”).
And indeed, between January 2006 and March 2011, there was a notable increase in searches for all three topics during December and January, and then again during June and July. The increase was about 5% – that’s thousands, perhaps millions more searches a month!
These days, about 80% of Americans have access to the Internet. So what people do online can tell us a lot about what – and when – the population as a whole does, wants, and thinks. And the population thinks about sex a lot. Especially during winter holidays and summer vacations 😉
Markey, P. M., & Markey, C. N. (2013). Seasonal variation in Internet keyword searches: A Proxy
assessment of sex mating behaviors. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42, 515-521. doi:10.1007/s10508-012-9996-5