Beliefnet
Steven Waldman

The New Scientist reports on a new study on porn usage, which indicates high porn consumption in red states:

“Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year’s presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.”

In fairness, if you look at raw porn usage, the red and blue states are pretty equal. The results skew in the more, er, ironic direction when you adjust for broadband availability. The theory is that some states consume few minutes of porn just because they cant download the really vivid sex video. Mississipians in general don’t subscribe to porn that much; but Mississippians with broadband connections apparently can’t get enough.
Viewed that way, the porn-a-holic states are: Utah, Alaska, Mississippi, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Arkansas, North Dakota, Louisiana, West Virginia.
Does religiosity curb the lustful appetites? Actually, three of the biggest porn-watching states — Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Arkansas — are also among the most religious. And of course, the capital of porn usage also is home to Church of Latter Day Saints, one of the most culturally conservative denominations around.
Church attendance does seem to have some effect. Apparently, people don’t watch that much porn while they’re in church.

“Church-goers bought less online porn on Sundays – a 1% increase in a postal code’s religious attendance was associated with a 0.1% drop in subscriptions that day. However, expenditures on other days of the week brought them in line with the rest of the country, Edelman finds.”

Now, I know many of you will use these stats to point out the hypocrisy of “Christianists” (as Andrew Sullivan calls religious conservatives), just as many did when it was pointed out that red states had higher divorce rates. But it’s also possible that one of the reasons these states are conservative, and religious, is they feel besieged by negative cultural forces.
They’re not lustful because they’re religious; they’re religious because they’re lustful. They’re aware of the rampant sinfulness — in part because they’re busy sinning — and figure they need church all the more.
You buying that theory?

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