The following article was originally posted on Next Web by Matt Hussey. It has been edited for content and clarity.

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It’s no secret that adult entertainment is one of the leading industries driving website traffic online. But just how much of this traffic is actually going to porn websites, and what locations is it coming from? We got an inside look alongside SimilarWeb to explore the murky world of online porn consumption. The results may surprise you—and also provide fresh perspective on how online marketers working in this category maximize their returns.

Pornographic websites are responsible for 4.41% of all desktop visits on the internet worldwide. To put that in perspective, ExtremeTech surveyed usage data pulled from Google’s DoubleClick Ad Planner and discovered that the most popular porn site on the web serves up 4.4 billion page views per month. Reddit, by comparison, clocks in with just 2.8 billion.

Related: 11 Mind-Blowing Porn Stats You Won’t Believe

The adult entertainment category ranks seventh on the list of leading categories on the internet, falling just below computers and electronics and surpassing a variety of other very strong categories, including games and sports.

Which countries have the most shares of porn sites?

Porn sites are clearly the unheatlhy habit of choice for many, as it outranks gambling, beauty and fitness, travel, health, and recreation. The adult entertainment industry is known for driving huge profits, and is in fact twice as large as the online finance industry, in terms of traffic share, as we can see in the chart below.

Adult entertainment percentage desktop worldwide
Countries with biggest share adult entertainment

World average – 4.41%

According to SimilarWeb’s analysis, the top two countries with the highest share of adult websites are Iraq and Egypt, two very socially conservative countries that many wouldn’t have previously thought would factor in the top 10. Rounding out the category are predominantly European nations with the likes of Japan and Peru making up the Asian and South American contingent.

Which countries have the longest sessions, and visit the most pages?

Meanwhile on the list of countries with the longest average session time, East outranks West. Middle-Eastern countries along with those in Asia dominate the top of the rankings. Interestingly, neither the the USA, UK or Canada are ranked on the below chart, suggesting that there is a very lucrative market for adult websites overseas.

Countries longest sessions adult entertainment

World average – 0:03:16

Countries most pageviews adult entertainment

World average – 3.8

Once again Europe is dominating the list—and in terms of highest pages viewed per visit, specifically northern Europe. However, way out in front is Hong Kong, with its nearest Asian neighbor, Singapore, placed in fifth.

Which search engine is used to find porn?

Google is the clear search engine of choice for users looking for porn, with a whopping 83.48% of all adult-site search coming from the brand. Maybe this isn’t too surprising since Google is by far the biggest and most popular search engine, and with adult sites especially, people want a search engine they can trust. However, there have been suggestions that Google’s filtering results are sending more users to Bing.

Traffic source adult entertainment

Which countries have the smallest shares of porn?

In our analysis of the countries with the smallest shares of adult websites, the top five are, not surprisingly, dominated by predominantly Muslim countries, which is unsurprising given the overall highly negative stance on pornography.

Countries smallest share adult entertainment

World average – 4.41%

Countries that are heavily influenced by religion comprise most of this list, though there are a few outliers—namely Australia, New Zealand and surprisingly Thailand with a significantly small share, too.

Countries highest bounce rate online porn

The countries with the highest bounce rate are also predominantly Muslim countries, suggesting perhaps that visitors came to the sites and quickly “bounced out” because of the risqué (and probably forbidden) material on display.

Related: Survey Finds 40% of Young Males in India Watch Rape-Themed Porn

Social networks traffic adult entertainment

Fun fact: our data shows that the social media channel driving the most traffic to adult websites is not Facebook as we had expected, but reddit.com. You might be surprised to see that Tumblr is missing from this list, but that’s because the blogging site is built on subdomains, and therefore each subdomain is counted as a separate website. (Analysis can be done on Tumblr alone, but this would warrant its own study.)

Top suppliers adult entertainment traffic

 

Why This Matters

The key takeaway here is that porn sites have absolutely flooded the web. And the more our society becomes sexually saturated, the more porn makers pump out harder and harder material to make sure they stay on the cutting edge.

“Thirty years ago ‘hardcore’ pornography usually meant the explicit depiction of sexual intercourse,” wrote Dr. Norman Doidge, in his recent book on neuroscience, The Brain That Changes Itself. “Now hardcore has evolved and is increasingly dominated by the sadomasochistic themes … all involving scripts fusing sex with hatred and humiliation. Hardcore pornography now explores the world of perversion, while softcore is now what hardcore was a few decades ago …. The comparatively tame softcore pictures of yesteryear … now show up on mainstream media all day long, in the pornification of everything, including television, rock videos, soap operas, advertisements, and so on.”

Related: 10 Companies Who Made Changes to Stop Contributing to Sexual Exploitation

And not only is there more porn to watch, but also there are more ways than ever to watch it. Today, not only do we have high-speed Internet, we’ve got it on tap for devices we have with us 24 hours a day. Families have gone from having one shared computer to often having multiple personal laptops, smartphones, and tablets. It’s now virtually possible to have an Internet-enabled screen in front of our eyes nearly every minute of the day.

As porn’s availability has risen, so have its devastating effects on people, relationships, and society at large. As therapist John Woods recently wrote, pornography “is no longer just a private problem. It is a public health problem.”

What YOU Can Do

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