Online Sex Research, Shemale Porn, and the Strange World of Web Erotica

Online Sex Research Asks, “What Are People Really Looking For on the Web?”
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Sex research turned a new page a few years ago with the publication of a new book, A Billion Wicked Thoughts, that reported the results of an online sex research study of 400 million internet searches, about 55 million of which (13%) were judged to be sexual in nature. 

The specifics of how the authors went about categorizing and evaluating their data was controversial. But the sheer size of their database automatically made the study newsworthy. I spent considerable time on these pages reviewing and critiquing the study. Here’s the first in the series of articles I wrote: 

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A Curious Discovery

It’s not so unusual these days for a woman to discover erotic pictures on her husband’s computer. But the images that one wife found recently were especially shocking.

Her first thought when she found them was, “This is the end of our marriage.”

Her next thought was, “This is the end of civilization.”

The pictures were of nude women, ordinary looking women, except with big erect penises where their female genitals should be. Some were clearly computer-manipulated photographs. Others seemed to be some kind of Japanese cartoon called “futanari” which pictured wide-eyed, big-breasted schoolgirls — but with enormous phalluses poking through their panties.

She wasted no time in calling her therapist.

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Was He Gay?

No.  On the internet, there are enough images of real men with erections, in all possible permutations, to satisfy even the most novelty-crazed gay man.

Was his nature in some way secretly feminine?  

Absolutely not. Women don’t go looking for pictures of erect penises. A woman may appreciate it when a living, breathing male partner has become erect out of desire for her.   But only after he’s proven his worth in other ways.

So what was this husband’s problem?

When I polled colleagues, their response varied from “Never heard of it, but it sounds pretty sick,” to “Steve, you don’t get out enough. This kind of stuff has been around forever.”

 

Online Sex Research Sheds Some Light on the Subject

In 2011 I received an advance copy of the book A Billion Wicked Thoughts, that presented the results of an online sex research study that shed some light on the matter of women with penises online, shemale porn, futunari, and many other such oddities.

After reading the book, I was convinced I had my answer to the question of what was wrong with the husband who liked to look at women with big erections.

Answer: Nothing was wrong with him at all.

According to the online sex research that led to A Billion Wicked Thoughts, he was simply the target of a sophisticated internet marketing trick, offering men a novel combination of two ordinary things that many ordinary heterosexual men like to look at:  women’s naked bodies . .  and erect penises.

 

You Mean Straight Men Like to Look at Other Men’s Erections?

Indeed many do, according to A Billion Wicked Thoughts. And the authors have the data to prove it.

Of the 400 million internet searches done by Ogas and Gaddam, 55 million (about 13%) were judged to be sexual in nature. Most of these sexual searches appeared to have been done by men.

No surprise there.

But here’s where it gets interesting. The authors then organized all the sexual searches by category — “butts,” “breasts,” “cheerleaders,” “massage,” etc.

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What Ranks Where?

Then they ranked the categories by popularity. Of the 55 million sexual searches studied, where do you think “penises” ranked?

Number seven. Pretty impressive. Just behind “vaginas,” and just ahead of “amateurs.”

Sure, many of the penis searches studied by Ogas and Gaddam were by gay men. But the authors present additional information showing that a great many of the men searching for penises online were heterosexual. 

Straight men generally suppress the impulse to stare at other men’s penises. But on the internet — where no one but Google is watching — penises get looked at.

 

Why This Kind of Online Sex Research Is Important for Sex Therapy

Many heterosexual men in my office find it upsetting and confusing that they like to look at penises too.

Many worry they’re secretly gay. The vast majority aren’t. According to A Billion Wicked Thoughts, these men are simply responding to an ordinary male desire—to check out and admire another man’s sexual anatomy.

Who knew the impulse to do so was so prevalent? Well, now we all know.

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Why This Research is Controversial

A Billion Wicked Thoughts was an ambitious book. In many ways too ambitious. Both the project and its presentation in the book had some problems, as we discussed in subsequent articles. And as I mentioned above, the book irritated a lot of people.

Nevertheless, the authors’ work has important implications for the field of sex therapy. Particularly in our current era — which might without too much exaggeration be called “The Age of Porn.”

The married man who liked to look at images of women with erections is just one example of the book’s relevance.

Among the study’s more controversial aspects was that its authors, Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, decided to present their online sex research findings in a consumer book rather than in a peer-reviewed academic paper. They had no familiarity with how the sex therapy establishment talks about gender and sexuality, and as a result they rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

But the work was well-received at an Annual Meeting of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR) a few years after publication. And I continue to think many of its findings have value for the field of sex therapy — as I’ll show you in the articles that follow, where I’ll walk you step by step through this interesting piece of sex research.

It’s a bit of a wild ride — but well worth it.

 

Author
stephen snyder md author photo Stephen Snyder, MD

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