Utah leads the nation in online porn

This Salt Lake Tribune article is actually quite disturbing. It is a story about a recent Harvard Business School professor’s study that indicates that Utah is #1 in the nation when it comes to the purchase of online pornography. Add to this the fact that Salt Lake City has shown up toward the top of the list for Google searches for extremely graphic sexual content for several years, and it shows a very disturbing trend.

The good news here (if there is any) is that this study is only looking at online pornography. There are no indications of whether this trend holds for pornography consumption in general, or if it simply means that in Utah the consumption method of choice is online rather than other means. So, it could be that this study indicates that we as a state are more technology-friendly than any other state in the nation, and we simply prefer to do all of our purchases online. Maybe we would be #1 in online book purchases, and online clothes purchases as well. OK – I admit it – am really stretching here.

So, why is it that Utah ranks numero uno in this distinctive category? Utah is a very conservative state, which would lead some to argue that we, as conservatives, are all just a bunch of hypocrites, and that this is now proof that those of us fighting the pornography battle are really closet consumers. I would be wary of such interpretations of this data. The article talks about the trends in areas with young population (OK, so Utah certainly tops this list), as well as college education and higher income. Utah would rank fairly high in all of these areas. It is also a fact that many parts of Utah, including our capitol city of Salt Lake, are becoming more liberal – based on recent voting history and trends. So, I don’t think we can link this strictly to conservative “hypocrites”.

The thing that really scares me is the following quote from the author of the study: “Even when I control for income, age, education, and marital status, Utah residents still consume disproportionately more than people from other states”. I have no answer for why this is the case, but it makes me extremely concerned – especially for the youth of this state. More needs to be done to study this trend, and find out why Utah residents are disproportionately interested in purchasing this material online.

Very disturbing indeed.

5 thoughts on “Utah leads the nation in online porn”

  1. Utah leads online porn consumption for a couple of reasons:
    a) local (offline) porn is scarce
    b) online consumers are honest enough to pay

  2. Disturbing indeed. I saw this the other day and wasn’t quite sure what to make of it either. I appreciate your musings on the topic.

    The one conclusion I think we can draw is that a lot of people in Utah pay to access pornography. We can also surmise that a lot of those people are members of the LDS Church. This a problem that can’t be ignored by the Church and its members. I agree that we ought to try to understand the trend better, but the bottom line for me is that this is a problem that we as a community need to meet head on before it destroys more lives.

  3. I also personally believe that it may be high in the LDS Church due to a certain lack of desire for people to talk about it. Since it’s Taboo, people feel they must hide the addiction and act like nothing is wrong. Even the Ensign edited out direct issues about this addiction in an article they published last year. I personally say enough is enough. Let’s address it directly so that those with addictions can get help!

  4. Something tells me that many people at church are there for community and social reasons, not because of faith in God. I left my wireless access point open for one day and saw my neighbor visit many X-rated sites. No question about that. I suppose most don’t know about logging by wireless router boxes.

  5. Yes this is very disturbing. Why are all of these people paying for something everyone else knows you can get for free?

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