We're pretty familiar by this point with the sorts of things people tend to search for when they're searching for porn — but what do we search for when we hit up plain old Google for information about sex? A lot, it turns out. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz over at the New York Times (via Kotaku) recently delved into the world of what we Google when we Google about sex, and the results are... both surprising and unsurprising.
How can those results be both at the same time? I'll admit that I'm not entirely sure... but maybe it's this: In some ways, I think the results of the data analysis drive home exactly how much of a blessing and a curse the Internet can be. We can go right to Google in order to find out exactly what we want to know the second we want to know it — but first off, there's no guarantee that the answers are accurate; and second off, the fact that we're asking technology about our questions instead of each other is somewhat problematic. Not only does it show how much we don't know about how our bodies specifically work and how sex in general works, but moreover, it shows our unwillingness to speak to actual people about all our questions and concerns. I'm firmly of the belief that we need to be talking about sex openly with each other in order to demystify it — not just reading webpages about it — but maybe that's just me.
It's worth noting, by the way, that the data Stephens-Davidowitz dug up doesn't take sexual orientation into account; a lot of the searches seem quite specific to heterosexual relationships to me, so do with that what you will. In any event, here are some of the highlights — head on over to the New York Times for more data and analysis.
Our Body Parts, Ourselves:
When it comes to our anatomy, we all have a lot of questions about our nether regions. Men are incredibly preoccupied with size, with nine of the top 10 questions searched for each month concerning that topic. They phrasing varies, but "How to make my penis bigger" is the most popular at 4,250 searches per month. "How big is my penis" is the third most popular, with 3,192 searches per month... but can I take a minute to ask a question about this? Why are you asking the Internet how big your penis is, guys? It's not sentient yet, as far as I know, so it probably won't be able to give you a satisfactory answer. That would be like me asking the Internet how big my boobs are. Sure, it can tell me how to calculate my bra size — but I have to take the measurements myself first. Break out that tape measure, men — that's the only way to know for sure.
While we're on the subject, though, let me also say this: Obviously, I can't speak for all people who dig men, for I am but one lone person, but dudes? I'm pretty sure that most of the people you hook up with don't really care that much about size — and if they do badger you about it, they're probably not worth your time. There are many more important things that go into making sex fun and feeling good than the size of a penis. I promise.
Anyhoo, women, meanwhile, also Google a lot about their bits. A lot of the searches are health related — but they're definitely not all health related. 30 percent of them are about shaving vaginas, tightening them, making them taste better, and making them smell better. We do, by the way, do a lot of searching about vaginal smells: The scents of fish, vinegar, onions, bread, and sweat are just a small portion of the concerns we have. Ladies? When in doubt, go to an actual doctor. Seriously. Doctor Google is almost never helpful.
Of Early Birds and Worms:
We seem to be having a bit of a disconnect over how long a sexual encounter should last. The second most commonly Google sex question for men is apparently how to make sex last longer — but for women (or at least, straight women), one of the biggest questions is how to make a man come faster. Not going to lie: I'd be curious to know why each group of people has such a dramatically different view of how long sex should last. Does our culture teach men that they need to be able to have marathon sex for it to be considered any good? (If that's the case, that's effed up). Does our culture teach women that they're only desirable if they can make their dude orgasm in record time? (Also effed up). Maybe once we untangle this, we can work towards a healthier relationship with sex in general.
First, let me present the data; then I'll tell you what I think we should take away from it. The data is this: According to Stephens-Davidowitz, "sexless marriage" is searched for three and a half times more than "unhappy marriage" and eight times more than "loveless marriage." But lack of sex isn't just a married person concern; searches for "sexless relationship" come in second place only to a search that deserves a piece all its own, "abusive relationship."
Now, I'm not a sex or relationship expert by any means, but here's what I think we should take away from that data: First off, if a relationship isn't making you happy anymore, either work on it with your partner or end it. Regardless as to whether it's a sex thing or not, the only way to figure out why your partner is behaving a certain way is to talk to them about it. They may not tell you; if they don't, or if whatever is going on has made you realize the whole thing isn't working for you anymore, it is A-OK to end it. Happy singledom always trumps unhappy coupledom. And second: Clearly no one is alone in dealing with a lack of sex in a relationship. It's a common problem. No one should feel embarrassed or ashamed or whatever about it. OK? OK. Good talk.
Head on over to the NY Times for more.