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Back in the day, if you wanted to conduct a huge sociological study, you’d probably need to call up a university and nail down some grant funding. But in 2013? It’s as easy as getting on the horn with the massive porn site Pornhub (NSFW obviously).

With over a billion monthly visits, that means it has more than a billion opportunities a month to surface and catalog secret behaviors and inclinations. Like OK Cupid circa 2011, Pornhub has been moonlighting as a data blog, culling fascinating information about sexual preferences and how they’re related to religion, political repression, and major world events.

So when a study was released earlier this month revealing that bosses frequently infect corporate computers with viruses from porn sites, we naturally reached out to Pornhub to ask if it had any data on high-income vs low-income porn use. The site’s data scientists didn’t have it off-hand, but were up to the challenge.

First, the researchers identified 10 of the highest-income cities in America (including New York, San Francisco, and Napa, California) and 10 of the lowest (including Monroe, Louisiana; Cumberland, Maryland; and Lake Havasu City/Kingman, Arizona). Then they compared various site metrics across the cities, including time-on-site, pages per visit, page views per capita, and common search terms.

The most pronounced differences were observed when comparing time-on-site and page views per capita. In wealthier communities, the average visit duration was 9 minutes and 54 seconds, whereas in less wealthier communities, the average was 11 minutes and 5 seconds. However, the pageviews per capita in high income cities was 9.44 while in low income cities it was only 6.74. It could be that high-earning pornhounds are simply more efficient in their consumption. More likely this is due to faster Internet connections and higher Internet penetration in high-income communities.

In other words, the income gap has led to a porn gap.

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As for porn preferences, while subtle differences exist between high- and low-income cities, the top categories and search terms bear striking similarities. In fact, the top five search terms are the same across high-income and low-income cities, although the order is different. In high-income cities, the top five are 1. Gay 2. Ebony 3. Teen 4. Lesbian and 5. MILF, while in low-income cities they are 1. Teen 2. Lesbian 3. MILF 4. Ebony 5. Gay.

Other differences: “Asian” makes the top 10 in six high-income cities but in no low income cities. “Big Dick” makes the top 10 in all 10 low-income cities but only two high-income cities (Washington, DC and Trenton, NJ). Meanwhile, “Squirt” makes the Top 10 in seven low-income cities, but only one high-income city (Hi, New York City). Finally, the highfalutin’ folks in San Jose, Boulder, Thousand Oaks, Stamford, and Napa, like their porn in HD.

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In the end, porn surfers are looking for more or less the same thing, but faster Internet speeds and wider adoption make it easier for high-income cities to get their rocks off. And while libraries and Internet cafes provide digital access to those who don’t have it at home, it doesn’t do the guy in Monroe, LA much good who wants to watch his squirt videos in peace.

[Image via Miel Van Opstal]