Adult entertainment is a thriving business that shows no signs of losing momentum. In fact, the adult industry racks up an estimated $13 billion in annual revenue in the U.S. alone. That’s more than the U.S. bottled water industry made ($8 billion) in 2012. To put these numbers in perspective, the multi-billion dollar annual revenue of the adult entertainment industry in the U.S. surpasses the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC. Globally, the adult entertainment industry racks up around $57 billion in annual revenue. So is adult content as commoditized and consumable as water? Based on the fact that 68 percent of young adult men and 18 percent of women watch adult content at least once a week, it wouldn’t be farfetched to think so.
Of course, it’s difficult to determine exactly how much money adult entertainment really secures as most production companies in the field are privately owned or independently established. What has been determined, however, is that since 2007, the global adult entertainment revenues have dropped substantially, by 50 percent, due to the internet’s free access to adult content.
Although generally viewed as a hush-hush topic, adult content consumption is anything but buttoned-up, a fact that becomes clear when looking at its numbers of production rates and avid consumers. It’s an ever-expanding commercial industry that feeds into our natural curiosity and active interest in sex.
Adult material is universal and although contrary to many moral standards, it hasn’t been proven to be unhealthy. It’s true that certain depictions of sex featured in adult content, like violence against women for instance, changes the attitudes of what sex is and what a woman’s role is for viewers. There’s no doubt that the objectification of women is perpetuated by the adult entertainment industry’s misrepresentation of female sexuality and its overall commoditization catered to a predominantly male viewership.
While many may find the topic of adult content consumption a bit cheeky, it’s one that reveals much about the sexual attitudes of a nation, a demographic, and a culture. In our ever increasingly globalized world, it can be argued that despite our profound and often-historical differences, there is a strong world culture that reveals itself in the subjects that intrigue and stimulate us most—for better or worse—and that bit of knowledge is anything but hard to swallow.
To help sort through the piles of information on this evidently not-so-taboo topic, Covenant Eyes—an Internet filtering and accountability program service—crunches the numbers on adult content consumption statistics to provide an insight into the who, what, when, and where of watching adult content. The list of facts compiled here is based in part on the revealing study the service has provided.
7. Which demographic views adult content most online?
Adult sites get more viewers on average than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined and there are millions of active adult entertainment websites worldwide. It would seem like everyone watches adult content. Despite age restrictions which generally state viewers must be over 18, the average age of initial exposure to adult material is 11 years old. The demographic that watches adult content online the most is men in the 35 – 49 age group; men are also 543% more likely to look at adult content than women.
6. How many people watch adult content at work?
Although hardly ever explicitly stated in an employee handbook, watching adult content at work is forbidden. But as we know, a simple mandate isn’t enough to keep people from doing it. According to a survey conducted by comScore, an Internet analytics company, 44 percent of U.S. workers admitted to looking at adult material at their place of work. Another study revealed that 70 percent of adult content traffic takes place between 9am to 5pm, the standard working hours for many Americans. Even Fortune 500 companies are not exempt from employees that watch adult content at work; half of these companies experience at least one incident where an employee watches adult content at work every year.
5. Does being in a committed relationship affect consumption of adult material?
Those of us coupled up might be happy to hear that being in a happily committed relationship reduces adult content usage substantially. One report by Covenant Eyes, an internet accountability and filtering company, states that in America, happily married men are 61 percent less likely to look at adult content. This indicates an unsurprising correlation between regular sexual activity and the general health of a romantic relationship that affects the rate of adult content consumption. On the other side of that coin, it’s reported that 56 percent of divorced couples broke up due to one partner having an obsessive impulse to watch adult content.
4. How many women watch adult entertainment?
70 percent of women keep their adult content-watching habits a secret. An estimated 9.4 million women access adult content websites every month. Contrary to the popular idea that women steer clear from watching adult content, 1 in 3 adult entertainment site visitors are in fact women. According to a 2004 study by the Internet Filter Review, 17 percent of women considered themselves to be addicted to watching adult content. Women are also far more likely than men, reports suggest, to act out in real life the behaviors they see in adult content, such as having multiple sexual partners or affairs.
3. What’s the Adult Entertainment capital of the world?
For decades, the undisputed adult entertainment capital of the world has been San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California. This title is owed to the fact that most major adult film productions are shot at this location. The U.S. remains the world leader in adult content production, number of adult stars, and number of adult content websites hosted in the country.
2. What category of adult entertainment do people search for the most?
9 out of 10 online adult content consumers watch free content online and 1 in 5 searches on a mobile device are for adult content. The top 5 worldwide Internet search terms related to this are: ‘youth’ (13.5%), ‘gay’ (4.7%), ‘MILFs’ (4.3%), ‘breasts’ (4%), and ‘cheating wives’ (3.4%). Perhaps disconcertingly, then, the most desirable attribute for adult content searchers is youth.
1. What country watches adult entertainment the most?
In 2010, Fox News reported that Pakistan was rated the number 1 country that searches the internet for adult material the most based on a statistical analysis of web search terms conducted by Google. In the report, it was stated that Google also determined which adult content-related terms were the most searched for by Pakistani citizens. The results reported are off-putting to say the least. Among the phrases that were the most popularly searched, animals featured heavily. But perhaps what’s most revealing about the report is the demonstration of how a profoundly religious and conservative country (blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan) has an apparently strong appetite for such unconventional and illegal material. This indicates the possibility of a correlation between sexual repression and its inevitable need to be released, a need that often surfaces in unhealthy ways. Since the report, however, The Express Tribune Pakistan reported that Google have pointed out it should be taken with a pinch of salt as data “may contain inaccuracies because the sample size is too small for the results to be statistically sound”.