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Arch Sex Behav. 2015 Jan;44(1):137-47. doi: 10.1007/s10508-014-0361-8. Epub 2014 Oct 3.

Do American States with more religious or conservative populations search more for sexual content on google?

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, Canada, cara.macinnis@utoronto.ca.

Abstract

In America, religiosity and conservatism are generally associated with opposition to non-traditional sexual behavior, but prominent political scandals and recent research suggest a paradoxical private attraction to sexual content on the political and religious right. We examined associations between state-level religiosity/conservatism and anonymized interest in searching for sexual content online using Google Trends (which calculates within-state search volumes for search terms). Across two separate years, and controlling for demographic variables, we observed moderate-to-large positive associations between: (1) greater proportions of state-level religiosity and general web searching for sexual content and (2) greater proportions of state-level conservatism and image-specific searching for sex. These findings were interpreted in terms of the paradoxical hypothesis that a greater preponderance of right-leaning ideologies is associated with greater preoccupation with sexual content in private internet activity. Alternative explanations (e.g., that opposition to non-traditional sex in right-leaning states leads liberals to rely on private internet sexual activity) are discussed, as are limitations to inference posed by aggregate data more generally.

PMID:
25277691
DOI:
10.1007/s10508-014-0361-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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