These are the rare events that pull the Internet away from porn

When it comes to a free streaming video site like Pornhub, the most popular XXX destination on the planet, the question isn’t when people are watching—it’s when aren’t they? Thankfully, Pornhub’s in-house research and stats team(!) has pored over a staggering amount of data from the past few years (with a cool billion visitors each month) to understand what, if anything, compels us to zip up our pants once in a while.

As it happens, major drops in Pornhub activity correlate to world events, broken down here into the categories of Sports, News, Holidays, and Television. Soccer tournaments take a heavy toll on porn traffic across South America and Europe, depending on who’s playing, while the 2012 NBA playoffs produced noticeable losses in the U.S., especially in the teams’ home states.

On the TV front, the recent royal wedding made for a 15 percent slackening in the U.K., while traffic spiked 7 percent worldwide as other nations looked for slightly less pompous entertainment. Likewise, U.S. visits were up 2 percent even as Britons took a night off to watch the Olympics opening ceremony in London. Holidays almost universally meant less porn was consumed worldwide, with especially drastic reductions in Israel for the Jewish high holy days. And, for whatever reason, Japan watched more porn on Christmas. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were occasions when most pornhounds temporarily found something better to do.

Finally, we found out that an iPad release date made for a surge in viewing, while an iPhone release date meant a lull in several countries. Adult videos are not quite appropriate for mobile viewing, in most cases (not that we haven’t encountered weirdos who think otherwise). 

Americans masturbated throughout Barack Obama’s election, and more when the Mayan apocalypse was nigh, but held back when news of Osama bin Laden’s death broke.

Speaking of Osama: the one other data point we would have liked to see? Some indication of whether Americans curb their auto-erotic behaviors on the anniversary of 9/11. Louis C.K. got us kind of curious. 

Photo by itchmo/Flickr