Imagine that I conduced a small study of women who were on a beach one sunny summer day. I split the women into two groups, those who are wearing nothing but string bikini bottoms and those that are wearing one-piece speedos. I tell you that the topless women report feeling more confident, do you then conclude that being topless is good for self-esteem?
Porn stars aren’t paid nearly as well as mainstream celebrities—even the most famous ones. Given the size and stigma of the market, one would expect porn salaries to be higher to encourage actors to enter that market. As it turns out, this discrepancy has little to do with the way the porn industry operates and everything do with monopolies created by copyright protection.
A protest in Toronto last weekend against sexual assault stereotypes, affectionately called the “Sluts March”, reminded me that I have omitted (or perhaps avoided) talking about rape here on Dollars and Sex. You may think that violent crime falls outside the scope of economic analysis, but there is a question about rape rates that is worth examining within an economic framework: How has the rise of internet access contributed to the fall in rape rates over the past twenty years?
It’s a good day for porn in the red states of America. According to a new study in this month’s Evolution and Human Behavior, researchers expect a significant increase in Google search terms like “xvideo,” “tits,” and “boobs” in states in that voted Republican in yesterday’s midterm elections—and a significant decrease in those that voted Democrat.* This phenomenon is likely because victory increases testosterone levels, creating a biological impulse to go out and spread one’s seed.
I wonder how many Americans were sitting in church yesterday thinking about porn. After all, about one in three internet users in the U.S. visit a porn site every month—and of those who do, the average number of visits is about two per week. According to the National Election survey (2004), 68% of Americans believe that the Bible is the literal word of God with about 40% reporting regular church attendance. So, are Americans polarized into two groups, churchgoers and porn watchers? Or do churchgoers also watch online porn?