What You Watched (while you wanked) in 2016

2016 can universally be summed up as a pretty crappy year; your favourite celebrity likely kicked the bucket, Conor McGregor refused to succumb to the rising tide of anonymity, and a neon orange tosspot now has his finger of the big red nuclear button. Naturally, with all the doom and gloom abound, people have looked to distract themselves with books, movies, games…and porn. How much porn did people watch in 2016? Conservative estimates would put it at a literal fuck-ton, but luckily the fine people at PornHub have compiled stats for their viewership for 2016 so we don’t have to rely on estimates.

Pornhub itself is the 59th highest ranked website according to Amazon-owned stats company Alexa. While the people at Pornhub may be feeling mixed emotions, being 10 rankings higher than a potentially more apt number, they should be delighted with their positioning, being higher up than Dropbox, Imgur, ThePirateBay, the BBC (the British television one, your dirt bird), Booking.com and Amazon.co.uk. Indeed, the only sites higher than PornHub were Ebay, social media sites like Twitter & Facebook, and a cavalcade of international Google sites (Google.co.jp, Google.ie etc.), just to contextualise Pornhub’s numbers & prowess, if you needed it.

According to Pornhub, they had 91,980,225,000 video views on their website in 2016, which is roughly 12 videos for every person on the planet (or 4 videos for every sheep). These video views used around 3,110 petabytes of bandwidth, and if that doesn’t sound like a lot to you, may I direct your attention to the word “petabytes” there? One petabyte is equal to one thousand million million bytes. Yikes. To put it another way, that’s roughly 6 terabytes a minute, or 99 gigabytes a second. If computers aren’t your thing, let me put it another way: time. According to Pornhub, people watched 4,599,000,000 hours in 2016; that’s equivalent to 524,641 years or 5,246 centuries – yes, in 2016 we all wanked ourselves back to the beginning of the Bronze Age.

In the International rankings, no one could unseat the United States from their top spot in the ‘Most Page Views Per Capita’ rankings, as the US visited a PornHub page 221 times for every citizen. The current population of the USA is approximately 319 million…do the maths there to find out the total views in the US for the year. The US was followed closely by Iceland (202pc, 323,000 people), the UK (189pc, 64.1m people), Canada (186pc, 35.2m people) and New Zealand (173pc, 4.5m people). Ireland slid down the rankings slightly, dropping from 4th per capita to 6th (171pc, 4.6m people). With the retirement of Robbie Keane, and the general decline in form for Irish national teams, maybe there’s a different kind of sport we should all be taking up. Maybe we can get a grant from the Sports Council of Ireland…

Speaking of Ireland, in May PornHub published specific stats about searches in the 26 Counties. Top searches for the Republic include: Lesbian, MILF, Irish, ‘lesbians scissoring’, ‘JOI’, and a series of vaguely incestual terms (step mom, step sister etc.). The most-searched terms were further broken down by County, which is why I can tell you that people from Kerry, Cork, Tipperary North, Roscommon, Cavan, Monaghan, Meath and Donegal love MILFs, natives of Dublin North & Southwest and Galway are true patriots and prefer Irish porn, people from Westmeath & Leitrim were independents, searching for ‘JOI’ (‘Jerk-Off Instruction’) and twerking respectively, and pretty much everyone else searched for lesbian porn. And we were worried about the Marriage Equality Referendum result.

Staying in Ireland, we come to the celebrity corner. The most searched-for Irish celebrity in Ireland, the UK and the world for 2016 was Ballykissangel star Colin Farrell. Other top-search Irish celebs were 50 Shades star Jamie Dornan, model Georgia Salpa, actress Saoirse Ronan, MMA fighter Conor McGregor, former Miss World (and Chris deBurgh offspring) Rosanna Davison and boxer Katie Taylor. The worldwide & UK stats are pretty much exactly what you’d expect, a few hundred or thousand depending on the relevancy of the person; the Irish stats are where the real gold can be found. Exactly 12 people searched for singer-songwriter Hozier in 2016. 8 people in Ireland searched for Hobbit star Aidan Turner. In an intergender battle of the stats between the two fighters featured, Conor McGregor & Katie Taylor, it was Taylor who walked away with all the gold, as almost three times as many Irish people searched for the Olympian than the Lightweight champ.

Regardless of your opinion on the result, you cannot deny that the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America in November was one of the major events of 2016, one which will have far-reaching consequences on all of our daily lives. Porn is not immune to the Donald’s influence. In the day after his election, PornHub tracked how much searches spiked for the various (grown-up) members of the Trump family following Donnie’s election. The most notable jump, by quite a distance, was for 23 year-old daughter Tiffany, who I had never heard of before, nor did porn watchers, apparently, hear of her, as searches for Tiffany Trump rose by 2548% on November 9th. I’ll remind you – not searches on Google or AskJeeves, but PornHub: you can play it off as coyly as you want, but there really isn’t any other reason for being on PornHub (other than looking up stats, of course…).  Searches for Melania rose by 1538%, searches for Ivanka rose by 1169% and, last but not least, searches for the tiny hand-having world leader himself rose by 874%. It’s probably important to note that the Donald demands the most traffic & searches amongst his clan, but it’s more evenly spread out across time.

Of course, not everyone uses PornHub for their masterbatory needs. XHamster, typically the site of choice for the amateur pornstars amongst you, launched their new reality show, the Sex Factor: a 10-episode web series that pitted 16 ordinary sex-fiends against each other to discover who really had the Sex Factor. Despite the obvious nod to the X Factor in the title, the show is much more comparable to shows like ‘I’m A Celebrity’, as the cameras follow the contestants through the daily drama in the Sex Factor house, culminating in a sex-related challenge, and an elimination of one (or more) of the contestants. The eight guys & eight girls battled it out for “instant porn superstardom” and a prize of $1m. I’ve only seen the first episode, but it’s honestly one of the best reality shows I’ve ever seen; gripping, in more ways than one.