Curiouser and curiouser

New data reveals our most private internet searches and what they say about us

Ever wonder what your friends, neighbors, and co-workers are searching for online when no one else is around? Well, a new book has all those answers, plus more.

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is a former data scientist at Google. He spent that last four years going through thousands and thousands of pages of internet search data to write his new book “Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Re- ally Are.”

In addition to Google searches, Stephens-Davidowitz also “downloaded all of Wikipedia, pored through Facebook profiles,” and even managed to get his paws on the complete (though anonymous) search and video view data from the adult film site PornHub.

So what do guys search for the most? Take a wild guess.

“Men Google more questions about their sexual organ than any other body part: more than about their lungs, liver, feet, ears, nose, throat and brain combined,” Stephens-Davidowitz writes.

One of the most popular questions they have: Does age cause one’s member to shrink? (The answer: Yes, it does! According to Men’s Health, “Normal cells, once hale and hearty, get replaced by non-elastic fibers called collagen, which just sort of reel in the whole apparatus.”)

Other questions that seem to be plaguing American males include: “How can I make my penis bigger?” and “How can I make my sexual encounters last longer?”

When it comes to what married people are searching for online, one of the top phrases is “sexless marriage.”

Stephens-Davidowitz explains: “Searches for ‘sexless marriage’ are three and a half times more common than ‘unhappy marriage’ and eight times more common than ‘loveless marriage.’ Even unmarried couples complain somewhat frequently about not having sex. Google searches for ‘sexless relationship’ are second only to searches for ‘abusive relationship.’”

Another popular search: “Is my husband gay?”

““Gay’ is 10 percent more likely to complete searches that begin with ‘Is my husband . . . ’ than the second-place word, ‘cheating.’ It is eight times more common than ‘an alcoholic’ and 10 times more common than ‘depressed’,” Stephens-Davidowitz says.

Then, of course, the thing people are perhaps most interested in: porn searches.

According to Stephens-Davidowitz, Americans seem to be going through an, ahem, interesting phase when it comes to adult content. Three of the most popular search terms are “painful,” “extreme,” and “brutal,” as well as anything focused on “nonconsensual sex.”

Interestingly, Stephens-Davidowitz writes, “search rates for all these terms are at least twice as common among women as among men.”

Another popular term people can’t seem to get enough of right now is “incest.”

“A shocking number of people visiting mainstream porn sites are looking for portrayals of incest,” Stephens-Davidowitz writes, noting that 16 of the top 100 searches made by men are seeking “incest-themed videos.”

So what’s the takeaway from all this? (Aside from the fact that America, a country Republicans love to say was founded on good, old-fashioned “Judeo-Christian values,” is actually a land full of curious perverts.) Internet searches provide perhaps of the most honest and comprehensive insights into understanding the true nature of humanity.

“I am now convinced,” Stephens-Davidowitz says, “that Google searches are the most important data set ever collected on the human psyche.”

Now, excuse us while we go scrub our browsing history…

 

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