What Pornhub Data Says About How People Are Spending Their Social Distancing Time

As more and more people around the world begin to follow directives to stay home to practice social distancing and self-isolation (provided they are able to) to help control the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, people are handling it about as well as you might expect. But for every person frantically teaching themselves to make bread, ordering a fancy stand mixer or hosting a video chat happy hour, there’s someone who goes back to the basics of self-care by spending time masturbating. (And, TBH, we love and support that choice.)

The number nerds at Pornhub (who are never stingy when it comes to sharing cool data about porn-viewing habits) took a look at what we know so far about the state of porn amid coronavirus as we’re all spending significantly more time at home. And, unsurprisingly — especially as the porn giant introduced free access to Pornhub premium in various areas experiencing lockdown — we’ve seen some movement.

“It became evident that as people were spending more time at home, either self-isolating or working at home, that traffic to Pornhub had risen,” according to the site’s report. “Worldwide traffic to Pornhub was up 11.6 [percent] on March 17th.”


As the report notes, Italy, as the first country in Europe to put a nation-wide quarantine into effect, was the first receive Pornhub’s offer of free premium service — and saw a 57 percent increase in use on March 12. When they introduced that offer in Spain and France, they saw a 61.3 percent and 38.2 percent increase in those countries.

What time are people watching porn?

As North American isolation efforts kicked off, Pornhub saw increases of 6.4 percent in the United States and you 7.2 percent in Canada. But they also noticed, as with other major events (government shut downs, polar vortexes) that keep people out of work, there was a change in timing for when people choose to frequent their site. Unsurprisingly, people are staying up later and free from the kind of restrictions to carnal pleasure that a rigid commute or nine to five job might provide.

“The largest increase of 31.5 percent happened in the early morning around 3am, while the gain at 7am was a nominal 1.4 percent. We can surmise that people stayed up later because they didn’t need to go to work in the morning and also slept in a little longer. Traffic at 1pm was 26.4 percent higher than normal when people may otherwise be at work,” they write about American audiences. “Traffic across all of Europe followed a similar trend as more people were working and staying at home, and many borders began to close. Overall European traffic was up 8.2 percent on March 17th, with the biggest increases from 2am to 4am, followed by a -1.4 percent dip at 7am. Afternoon traffic was 26.4 percent higher at 1pm. Traffic was adjusted for the individual time zone of all European visitors.”

And what are people searching for, exactly?

If the Internet has taught us anything, it’s that any major cultural event or moment (no matter how solemn or serious) can and will be made weird and pornographic. Shocking no one, people are searching coronavirus-related material: “Searches containing ‘coronavirus’ and ‘corona virus’ first appeared on January 25 and continued to grow. In the past 30 days, our statisticians recorded more than 9.1 million searches containing either ‘corona’ or ‘covid.’ Searches peaked on March 5 at 1.5 million.”

People in North Dakota are 43 percent less likely to be making those searches. (So, like, good for them.) But coronavirus-adjacent searches are most popular in states like New York, Washington, District of Columbia, West Virginia, Vermont and Kansas — who are the most likely to be searching pandemic porn.

But considering there isn’t all that much else to do and we’re all in need of a bit of self-care where we can get it, we can’t totally blame them.

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