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February 28, 2009 9:42 PM   Subscribe

A recent study [PDF] conducted by Benjamin Edelman (Harvard Business School) found that conservative and religious states consume the most online porn. "The biggest consumer, Utah, averaged 5.47 adult content subscriptions per 1,000 home broadband users....Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year's presidential election..." posted by ericb (68 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Liberals don't need porn because we get laid.
posted by delmoi at 9:43 PM on February 28, 2009 [18 favorites]


It's research. Know your enemy!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:46 PM on February 28, 2009


Because everyone is a microcosm of the state they live in.
posted by GuyZero at 9:46 PM on February 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


"The biggest consumer, Utah, averaged 5.47 adult content subscriptions per 1,000 home broadband users"

People pay for porn?
posted by nola at 9:48 PM on February 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh come on, this is about people who pay for pornography. These states have older median populations that are less aware of free porn.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:50 PM on February 28, 2009 [13 favorites]


I'll tell you something else about Utah; it is against the law to fish from horseback. And if that isn't bad enough, in Salt Lake City no one may walk down the street carrying a paper bag containing a violin. Stay away from there if you know what's good for you.
posted by netbros at 9:56 PM on February 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


"... conservative and religious states consume the most online porn. "

Terrible what the food shortages are causing.
posted by terranova at 10:00 PM on February 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Who the hell pays for porn? That should show you how backwords these dickheads are. Makes sense really. Who's stupid enough to pay for shit you can get for free? Utah.
posted by dead cousin ted at 10:04 PM on February 28, 2009


Now we now why conservatives are underrepresented on Metafilter. Not enough porn here.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 10:11 PM on February 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


This bolsters my theory that conservatism is the result of a lack of imagination.
posted by longsleeves at 10:16 PM on February 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: stupid enough to pay for shit you can get for free.
posted by danb at 10:16 PM on February 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


We liberals shouldn't be looking at this as a reason to yell at conservatives for their hypocrisy, but as an opportunity to reach across the aisle with a kleenex.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:17 PM on February 28, 2009 [14 favorites]


Conservatives pay for porn because getting it for free would be socialism.
posted by swift at 10:22 PM on February 28, 2009 [23 favorites]


From Idaho the taters come, and to Idaho the taters will return.
posted by hifiparasol at 10:24 PM on February 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


This is bad statistics©. Or rather bad journalism ... the study says people in conservative states pay for more porn. Nothing else.
posted by luriete at 10:26 PM on February 28, 2009


Considering research research that confirmed the long-standing feminist belief the the objectification of women, well, causes people to objectify women, I'm going to make a claim that should be rather obvious. The states that view the most porn are the ones who wanted most to shock-and-awe some Iraqis and are mostly responsible for leading us into this war.

This line, especially, makes me feel that this claim is intuitive and non-controversial: Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don't explicitly restrict gay marriage.

Suck it, moderate libs who somehow think that pr0n is liberating in the abstract.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:29 PM on February 28, 2009


This is entirely unsurprising. In fact, I 'd say that it's pretty intuitive. Show me someone with an abiding interest in the sexual proclivities of others, and I'll show you someone with a guilty conscience.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:42 PM on February 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the people who pay for porn are like the folks who still only have dial-up access.
Ya kinda feel sorry for them.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 10:44 PM on February 28, 2009


Non net-savvy people in big liberal cities don't pay for porn online, they pay for porn at adult video stores.

Non net-savvy people in conservative rural and exurban areas have fewer adult video stores available, so they're forced to sharpen their wits and find it online. And they find the path of least resistance by paying for it.

Sounds plausible to me, at least as plausible as the interpretation offered. Need more data.
posted by bluejayk at 10:44 PM on February 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is bad statistics ... the study says people in conservative states pay for more porn. Nothing else.

Exactly. There is not a single conclusion one can confidently draw from this. Maybe people in liberal states are better at finding free porn. Maybe liberals living in conservative states are so bummed that they live in hillbilly land that they assuage their sadness with porn. Etc.
posted by Crotalus at 10:51 PM on February 28, 2009


"Conservative hypocrisy is no surprise."

A) If we assume that conservatives have a stronger pull toward "vice" than liberals, then it is actually more self-consistent for conservatives to advocate social and legal controls; just as someone who is predisposed towards alcoholism would benefit more from enacting prohibition than someone who can always drink responsibly when alcohol is available.

B) This is a aggregation fallacy. Just because a conservative state shows up in some statistical rank, doesn't mean conservative people are the cause of that rank. For example southern states are both the most Republican and have the most blacks. That doesn't mean blacks are more Republican. Do conservatives or liberals within states consume the most porn? My money is on liberals. (and given allen.spaulding's link above, would that be evidence of greater "liberal hypocrisy"? Porn isn't politically correct among either political party, so I suppose anyone that belongs to one of the two major political parties and dares to masturbate is a hypocrite by affiliation)

C) Presumably religious conservatives have larger families than secular liberals, resulting in a younger population. Presumably young people consume the most pornography.

And so forth.
posted by dgaicun at 10:56 PM on February 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wait so Allen, your argument is that since states that tend to vote conservative also tend to pay more for their porn therefore the hardline feminist view that porn is inherently demeaning to women has been vindicated?

Nice.
posted by Jezztek at 10:57 PM on February 28, 2009


Republicans are also more likely to want to fuck little boys.

S'true. Mark Foley told me.
posted by bardic at 11:05 PM on February 28, 2009


Sometimes a warmonger is just a warmonger.
posted by lumensimus at 11:18 PM on February 28, 2009


The study was essentially this:
Who buys online adult entertainment? From a top-10 seller of adult entertainment, I obtained a list of the zip codes associated with all credit card subscriptions for approximately two years, 2006–2008. While it is difficult to confirm rigorously that this seller is representative, the seller runs literally hundreds of sites offering a broad range of adult entertainment.
It would be sloppy thinking to assume there's a single reason why pay-to-view online porn subscriptions are more popular in conservative states and it would be even sloppier to then proclaim some grand generalities about all conservatives in the world and all porn in the world because certain varieties of the two happen to be slightly more prevalent in certain parts of one country.

Maybe it's partly incomes -- conservatives have more leisure time and more cash, so they are more likely to buy and use such sites? Maybe it's partly because things like strip clubs and prostitutes are harder to come by in conservative US states, so people in these states have to import more titillation electronically, in the privacy of their homes? Maybe it's partly because the many liberals in these only slightly more conservative states are buying online porn more frequently because they have fewer brick-and-mortar choices? Maybe online porn use tends to be hotter where broadband has deepest penetration (baby!)? Maybe people who buy porn are less sophisticated consumers of porn and therefore know only the pay-for-view legal routes to it? Maybe the milder sorts of porn (Playboy channel, etc.) are the ones conservatives tend to settle for? Maybe conservatives are less likely to feel comfortable breaking the law by taking copyrighted material for free through unapproved channels rather than just buying it from its producers? Maybe people with credit cards buy online porn and people without credit cards pay in cash at the porn store (if there is a porn store in that town)? You could sit and come up with possible reasons all day, and all of these reasons might contribute to this slight statistical prevalence of a certain kind of porn buying in certain places, if you weren't intent on proclaiming this single study as evidence of something you were always going to believe anyway.
posted by pracowity at 11:26 PM on February 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh come on, this is about people who pay for pornography. These states have older median populations that are less aware of free porn.

This is exactly what I said when I heard this. Meaningless.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:35 PM on February 28, 2009


Jezztek - way to misread. My claim is simple. Recent scientific studies show that those who look at pornography become less empathetic and are more likely to objectify others (something that has long been proposed but only recently verified in this manner). When we see a study that says that the states that purchase the most pornography are also the ones that gleefully bombed a country because it was full of brown oeioke, we shouldn't be surprised.

I know that some people are arguing that purchasing patterns != consumption. This is true but it's unclear to me how controlling it is. I remember not too long ago Moby insisted that his record sales were lower than similar artists b/c his fans were so smart that they were downloading his music from p2p networks. I thought then (and still do) that he was ridiculous: these are Moby fans we're talking about, not physicists. While there are some marginal effects caused by people getting pornography for free, I'd be surprised if they controlled and I suspect the proportion of consumers who pay for porn is fairly consistent across states. I think the more significant criticism is that of false aggregation.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:37 PM on February 28, 2009


wow, somehow people came out as oeioke. Not clear what happened there.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:39 PM on February 28, 2009


wow, somehow people came out as oeioke. Not clear what happened there.

You weren't typing with one hand, were you?

When we see a study that says that the states that purchase the most pornography are also the ones that gleefully bombed a country because it was full of brown oeioke, we shouldn't be surprised.

That's a really absurd chain of inferences.
posted by delmoi at 11:48 PM on February 28, 2009


Give me another hour alone on this computer and I'll personally flip Illinois to a red state.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:17 AM on March 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


wow, somehow people came out as oeioke. Not clear what happened there.

Move your right hand one key to the right and type "people" you'll see what's up.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:30 AM on March 1, 2009


Metafilter: full of brown oeioke
posted by benzenedream at 12:46 AM on March 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Recent scientific studies show that those who look at pornography become less empathetic and are more likely to objectify others (something that has long been proposed but only recently verified in this manner).

Maybe they do and maybe they don't, but the pitiful report of the pitiful study that you cited shows nothing of the sort.

Where's the control group? How do we know that it isn't simply measuring male sexual arousal? If this is the case, then even the most politically correct, right-on male feminist might stop pondering his partner's intentions when he's about to have sex with his partner -- even if she's a fuzzy armpitted, hairy-legged, boiler-suit-wearing harridan.

Also, what does it mean to objectify somebody anyway? Do those women who are attracted to men because of the size of their bank balance objectify men? And if so, what porn were they looking at that engendered that particular tendency?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:03 AM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Despite the valid criticisms of the article, I suspect that its implication that conservatves consume a lot of pr0n is correct. They may even consume more.
posted by caddis at 4:18 AM on March 1, 2009


If someone consumes more porn than me, my hat is off to them. Where do they find the time?
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:14 AM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did you say you took your hat off?
*fap fap fap*
posted by pracowity at 5:23 AM on March 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


From the story allen.spaulding links to:
This means that these men see (pictures of scantily clad) women "as sexually inviting, but they are not thinking about their minds," Fiske said. "The lack of activation in this social cognition area is really odd, because it hardly ever happens."
That's hardly great science or proof of much of anything. Are there any links to the study itself? 'Cause that "article" is pretty crappy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:39 AM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


When we see a study that says that the states that purchase the most pornography are also the ones that gleefully bombed a country because it was full of brown oeioke, we shouldn't be surprised.

so utah should have more bomber pilots per capita than any other state - right?

sloppy, sloppy thinking
posted by pyramid termite at 5:59 AM on March 1, 2009


5.47 out of 1,000 oeioke pay for porn in utah... aka .0547%. compared to the very lowest: montana at .0192. This is only a .0355% difference. this means nothing as it is well within any reasonable margin of error. Terribly unscientific study, especially considering both of these states have very small populations. Also, we have no idea what type of content this "unidentified major porn provider" actually provides. Maybe they only distribute "Nailin' Palin" and Brett Michaels sex tapes, which inevitably would sell better in red states.

By the way, sex isn't any good if you aren't willing/able to view the person you're fucking as a "sex object". We're animals, deal with it.
posted by ryaninoakland at 6:00 AM on March 1, 2009


A recent study conducted by me (metafilter.com) found that liberals and posters on metafilter are the most insufferably smug, blindingly non-analytical, one-trick shit-stirrers.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 6:06 AM on March 1, 2009


Mumkin's been taking the brown oeioke.

Don't do the brown oeioke, people. It's bad! If you've already taken the brown oeioke, report immediately to Little Green Footballs where they've got a psychiatric team on stand-by.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:45 AM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Doesn't say very much about Harvard Business School that one their own would put out such unscientific bunk.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 7:09 AM on March 1, 2009


By the way, sex isn't any good if you aren't willing/able to view the person you're fucking as a "sex object".

Er, I think the more accurate argument is that viewing them as *both* a "sex object" and a person makes the sex better.
posted by mediareport at 7:27 AM on March 1, 2009


Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don't explicitly restrict gay marriage.

I wonder if that increase was all gay porn...

(What is the sound of one foot tapping?)
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:29 AM on March 1, 2009


Brain scans revealed that when men are shown pictures of scantily clad women, the region of the brain associated with tool use lights up.

...
posted by ryoshu at 7:32 AM on March 1, 2009


Hey Steve_at_Linnwood. Where ya been man?
posted by netbros at 7:34 AM on March 1, 2009


Utah is full of porn-munching oeioke.

Sorry that was a typo... porn-munching oissubke.
posted by dgaicun at 7:49 AM on March 1, 2009


What is the sound of one foot tapping hand fapping?

FTFY.
posted by elizardbits at 7:53 AM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Trickle down economics.
posted by DU at 8:16 AM on March 1, 2009


This study had a sample size of 21 men. I'm not a statistologist, but I think that's a pretty small sample, too small to draw any meaningful trends from. Also this statement:
And the men who scored higher as "hostile sexists"—those who view women as controlling and invaders of male space—didn't show brain activity that indicates they saw the women in bikinis as humans with thoughts and intentions.
Isn't this confirmation bias? "We plugged this sexist's brain into a monitor, showed him some pictures of bikini clad women, then all his sexist brain centers lit up, so clearly pictures cause objectification." What?

Bah.
posted by device55 at 8:39 AM on March 1, 2009


I have lived in Texas, Idaho, and Utah, and also in California, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. I can easily believe there are more fapsters in the red states, just judging by the oeioke I've met. Especially Utah.
posted by RussHy at 8:43 AM on March 1, 2009


Liberals don't need porn because we get laid.

Tell that to Warren Jeffs.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:54 AM on March 1, 2009


Because everyone is a microcosm of the state they live in.

Truly, you are a rugged individuallist. Nothing you do could in any way be captured as a statistical data point that indicates you are anything less than a wholly unique, free-thinking, unconstrained superman who unencumbered by his culture. You Are A Special Snowflake, Indeed!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:45 AM on March 1, 2009


I am shocked, shocked I say!
posted by sfts2 at 11:48 AM on March 1, 2009


Er, I think the more accurate argument is that viewing them as *both* a "sex object" and a person makes the sex better.

Then why is hatefucking so awesome?

stop oversharing
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:49 AM on March 1, 2009


Isn't this confirmation bias? "We plugged this sexist's brain into a monitor, showed him some pictures of bikini clad women, then all his sexist brain centers lit up, so clearly pictures cause objectification." What?

It's also a ridiculously politicized inference that "tool use" = "objectification," whatever that means. For example, tool use isn't a trait found in all animals (are we to understand that non-tool using animals are actually somehow thinking about the long term well being of their parters as individuals when they mate?), and the way humans are currently believed to pull it off is by "internalizing" the tool -- the brain essentially tricks itself into thinking the tool is a part of the body. So one could also reach the conclusion that men who register activity in the "tool use" part of the brain when looking at women are actually just experiencing heavy "internalization," perhaps empathy. I mean, I wouldn't ... but I also reject the inferences made in the initial study. The logic that says "the tool use center is firing, so they must subconsciously think they're looking at nothing more than the equivalent of a hammer" is sophomoric.

It's interesting to note that the psychologist who performed the study dismisses the equivalent test on women by saying women work differently. Even if that's true, it could still falsify her results, if women were found to also have an active "tool use center" when examined as well.
posted by Amanojaku at 11:54 AM on March 1, 2009


Then why is hatefucking so awesome?

Isn't it the person you're thinking about when hatefucking, Astro Zombie? It's hard to hatefuck an object, I'm guessing.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:12 PM on March 1, 2009


The logic that says "the tool use center is firing, so they must subconsciously think they're looking at nothing more than the equivalent of a hammer" is sophomoric.

Obviously he's associated such stimuli with the use of some kind of tool...
posted by Sys Rq at 12:13 PM on March 1, 2009


I really, really hope "oeioke" becomes the standard spelling of "people" on Metafilter. It's just so goofy. And all the ways to pronounce it! "Oy-oke!" "Uh-ee-okay!" "Uheeukuh!"

I make my own fun.
posted by tzikeh at 12:21 PM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


And all the ways to pronounce it! "Oy-oke!" "Uh-ee-okay!" "Uheeukuh!"

Unless you're an oeioke, that word should never, ever come out of your mouth.
posted by benzenedream at 12:49 PM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of all the dumb things I've posted whilst drunk on MeFi, this is easily the one that's the most embarrassing the next morning.

The idea wasn't that bad. Studies show porn-consumption makes people less empathetic. Perhaps the questioning of why conservative states purchase the most porn needs to be turned on its head. Maybe porn-watching makes people more conservative. I know this goes against the Larry-Flynt-as-hero view of porn, but it could also explain the correlation re: gay marriage bans.

It's as legitimate an argument than anything that relies upon some idea of repression, although the same concern applies re: aggregation. These are small parts of all of these states, etc. But man, did I ever express it like an all-star. all ower to the oeioke
posted by allen.spaulding at 1:17 PM on March 1, 2009


Oeioke is the new Nigger black.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:25 PM on March 1, 2009


That'd be oiwer to the oeioke, akkeb,soaykubf.

I should think the type of porn being viewed is the more interesting information.

It seems the culture of conservative areas is one in which people are more likely to pay for porn over the internet. That's interesting, but it really says nothing about the nature of that culture.

If one is paying for one-on-one heterosexual porn, that says one thing; and if one is paying for homosexual orgy porn, that says another thing; and if one is paying to view freakporn1, that's says something entirely different.

My salacious sense of humour hopes that it turns out the more conservative a local culture, the more filthy and freaky their taste in porn.

1I hear videos of one-legged re-sexualized gypsy midgets pegging Sigfried and Roy's albino tigers while blowing on a kazoo is popular in Lake Forest, Ca, of all places.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:41 PM on March 1, 2009


<5>

Uh, dude, you're way off base math-wise.

5.47 of 1000 is .547 out of 100 so 0.547%. A 0.0355% difference would be 0.355 people out of 1000. Depending on how you want to say it, Utah subscribes to 284% as much porn as Montana or Montana subscribes to 35% as much porn as Utah. That's a better than a full log. I'd call that significant.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:42 PM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, .547 percent is so small it's conceivable that these regions are not hypocrites, but rather a tiny minority suffering under an oppressive regime. So "Liberals don't need porn because we get laid" might not apply if you're a recent college grad headed to oil geological surveys in rural midwest.

The culture might have a significant effect, but it could be behavior from a minority not identifying with the culture attributed to the region.
posted by pwnguin at 2:53 PM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


People pay for porn?

For the fucked up stuff Republicans are into, yeah, you probably have to pay to watch.
posted by wcfields at 10:37 AM on March 2, 2009


For the fucked up stuff Republicans are into, yeah, you probably have to pay to watch.

Actually, paying for it is probably a big part of the turn-on to a Conservative Republican--a sort of masochistic fetish.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:58 AM on March 2, 2009


What's wrong with paying for pornography? Porn actors have to eat too.

Some copyright defenders are all self-righteously against people downloading copyrighted music or movies for free (which, to be honest, seem actually easier to find what you're looking for than specific pornography). Why shouldn't we be similarly disturbed by copyright infringement of pornography?

Do musicians have more artistic credibility than porn stars? More rights under copyright law? Is downloading copyrighted pornography as immoral as downloading free music or movies?

I actually don't see anything wrong with free pornography (or free digital music or movies), but I'm always curious about the disparity between those who strongly contest that downloading copyrighted music for free is immoral, but anyone who pays for porn is an idiot. ??
posted by mrgrimm at 5:18 PM on March 2, 2009


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