Dating Science: The Seasonality of Sexy Internet Searches

Cristen Conger

Libido apparently peaks in the summer and winter. Courtesy: ondiraiduveau/Flickr Creative Commons

Spring has a reputation for making people frisky, but research suggests that it isn't as saucy a season as spring fever stereotypes might lead us to believe. Rather, examination of birth records, sexually transmitted infection rates, condom sales and other bedroom-related data tend to show distinct summer and winter peaks. Called the "summer vacation effect" and the "holiday season effect," it seems weather might not be as much of a sexytimes determinant as having time off from work in order to facilitate said sexytimes.

A 2012 study cleverly investigated whether those biannual libido boosts are similarly reflected in people's online activity. To do so, the researchers analyzed Google Trends for keyword searches related to porn (i.e. "porn," "boobs" and "nude"), prostitution (i.e. "call girl," "escort" and "brothel") and mate-seeking (i.e. "eHarmony," "JDate" and "OKCupid") January 2006 through March 2011. For a control factor, they also compared the sexy search volume to a cluster of non-seasonally influenced terms related to pets, popular websites and car parts and also

As expected, the sexy Internet searches indeed peaked during the coldest and hottest months, with prostitution and mate-seeking searches experiencing above-average upticks in January and July, and porn searches escalating in December and June (which is interesting that more porn consumption precedes seeking more in-person interactions). A major pitfall of the study is that the data don't reveal who is doing the searching and whether these online mating inquiries lead to any offline mating activities.

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