Our Searches, Ourselves: What Google Says About Our Sexual Psyches

We like big butts, for one thing.



Some of our most-persistant perceptions about sexual turn-ons and anxieties may be challenged by Google search data.

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, an author, data researcher, and former Google analyst, parsed sex-related Google searches in a recent New York Times op-ed. Contrary to what you might imagine, the results actually left him feeling better about humanity. 

Online search data about sex certainly can't be extrapolated to the U.S. population overall—it's "suggestive, not definitive," Stephens-Davidowitz reminds us. But what people look-up most frequently from the privacy of their own browsers can still be telling. For example:

  • The overwhelming majority of questions users ask about "my penis" relate to fears that it's too small or a desire to make it bigger, while more than 40 percent of queries about a partner's penis were concerned with the organ being too big
  • Men's second-most-common sex query is how to last longer during intercourse. Meanwhile, there are "roughly the same number of searches asking how to make a boyfriend climax more quickly as climax more slowly." 
  • Interest in how to make one's butt bigger has quadrupled between 2010 and 2014, with more searches for how to get a bigger butt than how to get a smaller butt in every state last year.
  • There are more searchers concerning boyfriends who "won't have sex" than girlfriends who won't. For "husband" and "wife," these searches are roughly the same.

Check out Stephens-Davidowitz's full sex-search analysis for more. For data on the most common sexual kinks, check out this survey from last November.