Hardly anyone admits to watching online porn

Pew reaches a new height of revelation -- by offering that only 12 percent of people admit to watching porn. Which means that almost everyone who replies to surveys is surely lying.

This is Scarlett Johansson angry because her boyfriend is one of the 12 percent (eventually) in the movie "Don Jon." ReelzChannel/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

There are some things you won't readily admit, aren't there?

You occasionally have difficult thoughts involving Ryan Reynolds, Zeppelins, and clockwork mice.

Sometimes, you fantasize about walking into work in only your underwear and singing the French national anthem.

And then there's your predilection for sniffing people as they walk by.

But we've all reached the stage where we're prepared to admit that, very occasionally, we have viewed uplifting material of an adult nature on our portable devices. Haven't we?

It seems that we haven't. For, as The Washington Post reports, a new Pew Internet and American Life Project report (PDF) has been tossed out to the world. It reveals that hardly anyone ever watches online porn.

The survey asked respondents to speak candidly about their online video behavior; 57 percent of adults cheerily admitted to watching comedy shows. Almost the same number took great pleasure in watching educational videos.

But when it came to supposed smut, respondents' sense of self was shut.

A mere 12 percent of adults declared that yes, ho, hum, they had, indeed, happened upon a sexually suggestive video or two.

This act of mass amnesia was so pronounced that even Pew itself offered that its results "may reflect a reluctance to report the behavior among some adults."

I would project that it reflects a reluctance among 88 percent of adults.

Men were marginally more forthcoming than women; 25 percent bowed their heads and admitted the truth. A mere 8 percent of women did the same.

How can such results ever explain, for example, the 300,000 porn searches performed in approximately one year by people using the computers of the British parliament ?

How can they support incidents such as the one last year in Oregon, when a man broke into a house solely to view porn ?

And what about the seminal case earlier this year in Oklahoma, when a man stole a church computer and demanded that the porn block be removed ?

While the report offered many deep and fascinating elements -- such as that YouTube is a "driving force" behind increasing levels of online video viewing -- I wonder whether we can take any of it seriously.

I know that in all relationships there are times when one party (or even both) fakes it.

But if the propensity to lie in surveys is as extreme as is the case here, then every single poll ever taken is severely tainted by bilge.

Or is it just the ones about sex?

 

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