Two neuroscientists have recorded billions of individual Internet search histories and analyzed what our desired keyword combinations show about what we really want to find online.
Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam relate themselves in a sense to Alfred Kinsey and his 18,000-people-strong interview process that resulted in the nation's most comprehensive recording of American men's and women's sexual desires.
Of course the big difference between what Kinsey accomplished and the final product of Ogas and Gaddam is that while Kinsey recorded people's actual preferences and desires, tracking web searches merely shows what people are thinking about fantasizing about at that moment.
Regardless, what Ogas and Gaddam did that Kinsey could not was sidestep the traditionally difficult survey process to get right to the point. The duo developed a computer program that recorded publicly listed catalogs of sex-related Internet searches and spent – we imagine – an exorbitantly large amount of time condensing the data into something capable of swallowing.
So what do approximately 100 million of us rely on the Internet for to satisfy the myriad desires we tend to keep private?
Surprising to the two scientists was is how similar the searches were by gay and straight men. Though the targeted gender is different, the most popular searches among straight and gay men are their equivalent young sex objects.
Straight men seek teens while gay men search for twinks (young, hairless and fresh-faced dudes), but possibly more surprising is that gay men search for and access porn more often than the straights.
Women on the other hand apparently searched most often for erotica, specifically amateur “fan fiction” that, according to the scientists, feature male characters existing in pop culture.
But don't for a minute think you ladies are off the porn hook – women most definitely sought out pornography on the Internet. According to these results, however, it was a minority.
A full analysis of the study has been packed into “A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World's Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire,” a book now available at family-friendly bookstores across the nation – and, fittingly, all over the Internet.
Salon.com asked Ogas and Gaddam what their top 3 most surprising findings were:
Men prefer overweight women to underweight women. There are almost three times as many searches for fat women as there are for skinny women, and lest you think that's some way we treated the search data, this is also reflected in popularity on adult sites. There are many more video sites devoted to overweight women than underweight women. Now, I should say as a caveat that men prefer healthy weight women overall. But if the choice is between a woman with a few extra pounds or a few less pounds, most guys will choose more pounds.
[EDITOR'S NOTE]: Sweet – pass the cheesecake.
Another big surprise was the age of women that men search for. As expected, the dominant preference was for young women as close to the teen years as possible, but to our surprise there was also very substantial interest in older women in their 40s, 50s, even in their 60s and 70s. In fact, there's a particular genre of porn called “granny porn,” which is just like it sounds. Though it's not nearly as popular as teen porn, it's one of the 50 most popular interests among men.
Men search for penises almost as often as they search for vaginas. There's about a thousand heterosexual sites dedicated to large penises, and large penises are a category of erotica in all the major porn video sites.
Frankly we're surprised the ladyfolk spent so much time on the Internet writing, discussing and sharing this pop culture erotica that's apparently so popular. If you ask us, we'd rather weed the garden (NOT a euphemism), wash dishes or attend church services than pretend the male characters from “Twilight” are getting together for an orgy.
But that's just us. Our Google search bars clearly weren't hooked up to this software else there would have been some seriously skewed data.
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