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Updated 21 January 2015

South Africans’ secret porn viewing habits

From portable porn to Kim Kardashian, Health24 takes a peek into the secret porn viewing habits of South Africans, laid bare by the world’s biggest porn website.

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Gone are the days of sneaking a porn magazine under the covers and gasping for air at the turn of each page with the hope that no one will see you. Today the secrecy of feasting your eyes on intimate sexual actions remain, but it is far more accessible because of porn websites.  

So when the world’s biggest porn website, Pornhub, took a long and hard look at the habits of their viewers over the past year, Health24 wanted insight into South Africa’s porn-watching habits too. We asked them, and this is what we found out:

South Africa is not one of the top 20 countries in the world who spend their time watching porn online – but they do watch and it is here to stay.

On average, South Africans spend 10 minutes and 14 seconds per visit. This is 21 seconds less compared to in 2013, but still higher than the world average of 9 minutes and 16 seconds.

Getting closer to 'Kim Kardashian'

In keeping up with the Kardashians, South Africans seem to be taking the obsession to the bedroom too as Pornhub reveals that their favourite porn star goes by the name "Kim Kardashian".

Pornhub also found that South Africans want their porn on the go or literally in the palm of their hands, with 71% of traffic shares coming from mobile devices.

However, this does not mean that they are watching porn 24/7 at the same rate. Sunday seems to be the most popular day to log on to Pornhub and this is in sharp contrast to 2013 when they slacked off on a Sunday.

Porn viewers are also giving new meaning to the term "proudly South African". In 2014 the most popular search term was "South African", climbing 29 positions to overtake "Indian" as the top spot.

A message to SA women

Pornhub also had a special shout-out to the ladies.

"We tip our hats to you, ladies of South Africa, for accounting for a knockout 32% of the Pornhub viewership in your gorgeous country."

Cape Town-based sexologist Marelize Swart, who is also Health24's resident sexologist, told us she welcomed this finding.

"The fact that SA women make up a third of Pornhub viewership tells me that SA women are starting to explore their sexual freedom in a big way and that is a good thing.

"Women need to empower themselves sexually and in that way actively challenge the 'double sexual standard' where women are still being judged more harshly than men who behave the same".

Watch our interview: When does watching porn become an addiction

The benefits of porn

Swart told Health24 that consensual adult porn does have its upsides. "We as humans enjoy and gain pleasure from watching other humans, specifically in intimate situations and this is the basis of the ever growing porn industry.

“It can also act as a tool for sexual exploration and spicing up our sex lives, for talking about relationship problems and desires, and it makes us more aware of the fact that other people have different tastes and interests than our own,” she said.

When it comes to the bedroom, instead of trying to be "a porn star" when engaging in sexual activities, rather treat your partner how you would like to be treated, advised Swart. "Being a great lover isn't only about what you do in bed, it's about what you do out of bed too."

She said that other benefits of watching porn include that it is easily accessible, anonymous, free and low risk, e.g. it is physically impossible to become pregnant or to catch a sexually transmitted disease.

Swart pointed out that research in several studies suggests that moderate pornography consumption does not make users more aggressive, promote sexism or harm relationships. "If anything, some researchers suggest, exposure to pornography might make some people less likely to commit sexual crimes."

However, she did caution on the danger of compulsive porn watching. "If watching porn negatively affects areas of your life such as school or work, or relationships, then you should seek help immediately."

Read: Porn addiction - what's the fuss?

The dangers of sex addiction

Sex addiction therapist Theo Kriek told Health24 that what starts off as innocent fun looking can turn to addiction because the pleasure from watching porn is only temporary.  He warned that it can destroy relationships and even lead to death.

"There is the risk of losing a partner, increase in marital or relationship problems, feelings of spiritual emptiness, feelings of hopelessness and despair, failed effort to control your sexual behaviour, acting against your own values and beliefs and a decrease in work productivity.

"It can also lead to a declining ability to respond sexually to your partner ... because the brain has now been hijacked by the need to watch porn."

Kriek said that it can also encourage taking sexual risks with others and see women being degraded and objectified as sex objects.

ReadPorn may reduce your brain size

Unusual sex desires

He also expressed deep worry over Pornhub's finding that teen-themed porn was the most searched for term globally.

"There seems to be a great attraction to the forbidden because the more dangerous, severe and forbidden the porn images, the bigger the reward in driving up the intensity and the high one attains in feeling that high on an emotional level." He warned that there are also a lot of predators prowling on the Internet looking for opportunities to snatch children.

Kriek noted though that there is hope for people ensnared in porn watching. "The first step in getting help is to admit to the problem. Though professional, marital or societal problems may follow, admission of the problem must come, no matter the cost."



10 worldwide intriguing insights into Pornhub's traffic:

1) Pornhub saw a whopping 78.9 billion video views through 2014.
2) The United States accounts for the lion’s share of traffic.
3) "Teen" was the most searched term in the world.
4) Egypt is the only country in Africa on the top 20 countries list
5) November stripped January as most popular month of the year
6) The Philippines spends the most time on Pornhub with 12 minutes and 40 seconds.
7) The top category of porn viewed by women was "lesbian".
8) Mobile traffic share from Nigeria grew by 109%.
9) On Christmas Day, traffic worldwide drops on average by 18%.
10) Globally, desktop traffic fell by 13%, mobile increased by 12% and tablet by 20%.

Also read:

Dry, tight and warm - the dangerous practice of dry sex
Porn actors must wear condoms, court rules
60 percent of sex workers are HIV positive
What sex scientists say about pornography

Image: A couple in a passionate embrace from Shuttertstock.


 
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