How Many Women Are Not Admitting to Pew That They Watch Porn?

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Oct. 11 2013 3:01 PM

How Many Women Are Not Admitting to Pew That They Watch Porn?

Woman_porn
Could be

Photo by CandyBox Images/Shutterstock

The explosion of porn across the Internet is a phenomenon greatly feared and woefully understudied. A new Pew Research Center report on the online viewing habits of 1,003 Americans is the latest attempt to mine a bit of actual data about the pervasiveness of Internet porn. Pew found that just 12 percent of U.S. adults who use the Internet say that they've leveraged it to watch adult videos. Among online video watchers, 25 percent of men and 8 percent of women admitted to checking out some adult programming.

Because the survey was conducted over the telephone, those low percentages “may reflect a reluctance to report the behavior among some adults,” Pew reasons. Nevertheless, the number of Internet users who cop to engaging in the activity has risen markedly in recent years. In 2009, just 7 percent of Internet users said they watched adult videos; in 2007, 6 percent said so; now it’s 12 percent. Unsurprisingly, the percentage is rising as the dead-tree Playboy generation declines and the internet porn generation comes of age: Among people who use the internet—about 15 percent of American adults still don’t—23 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds watch adult videos online, compared to 15 percent of 30-49-year-olds and 3 percent of internet users age 50-plus.

Advertisement

But the study’s most interesting stat concerns a group of porn viewers still largely marginalized by the adult industry—women. The percentage of female Internet video viewers claiming to watch porn online has grown exponentially over the past few years. In 2010, Pew reported that only 2 percent of female video viewers said they watched adult videos online. Today, 8 percent of those women admit to it. That's an incredible jump in three years' time. And if we think it's likely that more than 25 percent of male video viewers sometimes navigate into smuttier territory—but are just reluctant to admit it over the phone—then it stands to reason that women, who have been repeatedly told that porn is just for boys, would be particularly disincentivized to openly air the details of their online porn habits. Still, those who are invested in centering online porn as a male thing are unlikely to let these numbers get in the way. When XBIZ, an adult industry news publication, reported on Pew's findings today, it headlined its story: "Study Tracks Percentage of Men Watching Porn Online" and emphasized porn's "strong appeal for men" in discussing "the rise in online viewership."

Amanda Hess is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.