Something in the Water? Internet Pornography is Big Business

There must be something in the water in Elmhurst, Illinois?  This town has the dubious distinction of being the number one place in in the USA for viewing pornography online.

As this infographic shows the traditionally religious day of rest, Sunday, is prime time for this activity and it only dissipates around Thanksgiving, no doubt due to the close proximity of other family members!

Like it or not, pornography on the web is big business – there are more than 24 million such sites on the Web and just over $3,000 every second is spent by those who view them. In the US alone Internet porn generates $2.8 billion per year and that figure needs to be measured against the estimated $4.9 billion that the industry generates globally


Societal Effects

Setting aside any moral position on the subject, the evidence is fairly conclusive that apart from sheer economics, Internet pornography is having a major societal impact.

Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam undertook a large research study in the field of collective sexual identity.  Gaddam, the co-author of their resulting publication “A Billion Wicked Thoughts” says that “Web porn has changed everything”. Tastes once regarded as deviant more widespread.

Another report also shows that Internet porn is creating a generation of young men who are hopeless in the bedroom. “A ‘paradoxical effect’ is created whereby with each new thrill, or ‘dopamine spike’, the brain loses its ability to respond to dopamine signals, meaning that porn-users demand increasingly extreme experiences to become aroused”

But psychologist Michael Castleman takes a contrary view. In an earlier blog post he writes “The evidence clearly shows that from a social welfare perspective, porn causes no measurable harm. In fact, as porn viewing has soared, rates of syphilis, gonorrhea, teen sex, teen births, divorce, and rape have all substantially declined. If Internet porn affects society, oddly enough, it looks beneficial. Perhaps mental health professionals should encourage men to view it.”

What ever the conclusions reached by research one fact remains; with 12% of Internet web sites pushing porn, it is likely to be around for a long time and be a huge money spinner for those who profit from the industry.

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About thedigitalconsultant

Roger Smith is a retired international, digital consultant and former British Council Director of Online Operations within the East Asia region.
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