Bible Belt Leads Gay Porn Consumption

By Lisa Wade @ Sociological Images

According to data released by Pornhub, 5.6% of porn users in Mississippi seek out gay porn, compared to 2.8% in North Dakota.

4

On average, gay porn is more heavily consumed in states where same-sex marriage is not legal than in states where it’s illegal, but every single state in the South has a gay porn use that exceeds the average in states with same-sex marriage. (Data prior to Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide.)

1aFor me, this raises questions about what’s driving sentiment against same-sex marriage and porn use and if and why it’s related. I can think of at least three theories:

1. There is the (barely) repressed homosexuality theory, of course. This is the idea that some people express homophobic attitudes because they fear being non-heterosexual themselves. So, out of fear of exposure, or fear of their own feelings, they are vocally anti-LGBT rights. There’s data that backs this up in at least some cases.

2. Another possibility is that both homosexual inclinations and anti-gay hatred are high in Southern states, but not in the same people. This is one version of the contact hypothesis: the presence and visibility of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people threatens the norm of heterosexuality, increasing opposition. This is consistent with data showing, for example, that white racial resentment is higher in counties with larger populations of black folk.

3. Or, it may be that politicians in Southern states stoke anti-gay attitudes in order to win elections. They may be doing so as a simple strategy. Or, it may be part of that notorious “culture war,” a politics that supposedly distracts poor and working class people from their own economic interests by getting them to focus on so-called social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.

As fun as it is to snicker at the fact that the part of the country that claims a moral high ground on homosexuality is over-represented in pursuing it (at least digitally), there’s also probably some pretty interesting social/psychology sociology here.

Cross-posted at Pacific Standard.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

By Lisa Wade @ Sociological Images. Reposted with permission.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on March 29, 2017, in LGBT+, sex and sexuality and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. “On average, gay porn is more heavily consumed in states where same-sex marriage is legal than in states where it’s illegal”

    The data more specifically says that gay porn is a greater PROPORTION of the total porn. It might be 100x more heavily consumed in same sex marriage states (for all we know from this data), but it’s slightly more highly consumed as a PROPORTION.

    Now why is this so? To me at least, the reason is obvious. In the bible belt a high proportion of people are Christians and don’t consume ANY porn. But if you’re gay, you’re not a Christian, therefore you make up a disproportionate amount of the porn usage. But in same sex marriage states few people are Christians, thus EVERYONE is using porn, including the heterosexuals.

  2. All three of the theories proposed on this topic are quite plausible. In my opinion, it could be that every state has a certain amount of homosexual people and it is just coincidental that these states that have not legalized gay-marriage yet are just old school homophobic states. Being gay is something a person is born with and having a law where you are restricted from your freedom because of your sexual orientation seems very tough. The states down South are also very big and have a good amount of the population within each of the southern states. Also, if a state has a small population compared to others, it can skew the data.

  3. This reminds me of the irony of some states and what they watch. Your post reminded me of something I saw of a map of porn searches from pornhub based on most popular searches in the US based by each state. You brought up some fundamentalist areas being anti-gay but quite a bit of gay porn searches considering. Well look at this too. There still is racism in America and I find it ironic that some of the southern states favorite porn searches are what? Yep black and ebony porn. I don’t know what the hell is up with the states that have cartoon listed lol.

    http://time.com/4239600/most-popular-porn/

    That link is from time magazine fyi.

  4. I think the Bible belt might lead the country in all porn. When I was a teenager I briefly had a job in the book warehouse of Grove Press in New York. While Grove Press was known for books like the Autobiography of Malcolm X and all of Samuel Beckett’s plays, it also had some porn titles. I sometimes worked as a packer and most of the packages I put together than included the porn titles were headed South. In fact a surprising number of them were addressed to folks with the title Rev.

  5. there’s also probably some pretty interesting social/psychology sociology here.

    From what I’ve read and heard, (and I’ve seen such stats before) I think that definitely number three is a major part and likely one as well. In rural America and especially in the South, pandering politicians pontificating on god, gays and guns is always a winner.

    I’ll unabashedly add here another quote from my novel:

    Disillusioned with Athenian politics, Plato opined that neither oligarchy nor democracy were suitable political systems to bring about social harmony.

    As Plato saw it, oligarchy brought about the social injustice of a ruling, wealthy elite whose primary concern was their own appetites. But democracy brought about social injustice as well, because ordinary people had no understanding of how to manage the complexities of government, and as a consequence of their intellectual deficiency, they were easily deceived by the emotional rhetoric of self-serving politicians.

    Today, we can add to that the emotional propaganda–under the umbrella of free speech–filling the airwaves, especially from conservative media: misinformation and disinformation and the ever present bait and switch scam, exactly how “Captian Queeg” Trump gained the White House.

    • Yep. Democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others.

      I heard that somewhere, and makes sense.

      As I recall, Plato thought that benevolent kings would be best. Good luck finding that.

  6. I think something important to consider is that the pornography industry like we know it today is a recent phenomenon. Although viewing sex for entertainment has been common since the dawn of ancient civilizations (Roman orgies and the like), the accessibility of the porn industry today is very unique. Given the accessibility there is also an element of anonymity, you no longer have to be someone with “contacts” to access porn, any one with access to the internet may do it. I think that in a place where homosexuality is socially viewed as a consummate degeneration, any curiosity towards any sexual practices viewed as having homosexual tendencies are taboo which leads to repression and furthermore to a more persistent curiosity of something forbidden. Gay porn in the “Bible Belt” doesn’t surprise me given that what is forbidden usually only leaves us with the all-consuming temptation of forbidden fruit and the recent accessibility of porn and it’s various categories makes it easy to cater to the curiosities of even the most puritan of folks.

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