Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 515–521 | Cite as

Seasonal Variation in Internet Keyword Searches: A Proxy Assessment of Sex Mating Behaviors

Original Paper


The current study investigated seasonal variation in internet searches regarding sex and mating behaviors. Harmonic analyses were used to examine the seasonal trends of Google keyword searches during the past 5 years for topics related to pornography, prostitution, and mate-seeking. Results indicated a consistent 6-month harmonic cycle with the peaks of keyword searches related to sex and mating behaviors occurring most frequently during winter and early summer. Such results compliment past research that has found similar seasonal trends of births, sexually transmitted infections, condom sales, and abortions.


Sex Pornography Google Keyword Seasonal 


  1. Baumeister, R. F., Catanese, K. R., & Vohs, K. D. (2001). Is there a gender difference in strength of sex drive? Theoretical views, conceptual distinctions, and a review of relevant evidence. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5, 242–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brewer, D. P., Muth, S., Roberts, J. M., Dudeck, J. A., & Woodhouse, D. (2007). Clients of prostitute women: Deterrence, prevalence, characteristics and violence. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, US Department of Justice.Google Scholar
  3. Cooper, A., Delmonico, D. L., & Burg, R. (2000). Cybersex users, abusers, and compulsives: New findings and implication. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 7, 5–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Elam-Evans, L. D., Strauss, L. T., Herndon, J., Parker, W. Y., Whitehead, S., & Berg, C. J. (2002). Abortion surveillance in the United States-1999. Morbidity mortality weekly report. Retrieved May 3, 2011 from
  5. Fallows, D. (2005). How men and women use the internet. Pew Internet and American life project. Retrieved May 5, 2011 from,
  6. Fortenberry, J. D., Orr, D. P., Zimet, G. D., & Blythe, M. J. (1997). Weekly and seasonal variation in sexual behaviors among adolescent women with sexually transmitted diseases. Journal of Adolescent Health, 20, 420–425.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ginsberg, J., Mohebbi, M. H., Patel, R. S., Brammer, L., Smolinski, M. S., & Brillian, L. (2009). Detecting influenza epidemics using search engine query data. Nature, 457, 1012–1014.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Google. (2009). Google trends. Retrieved March 8, 2011, from
  9. Hakim, D., & Rashbaum, W. K. (March 10, 2008). Spitzer is linked to a prostitution ring. New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2011 from
  10. Herold, A. H., Woodard, L. J., Roetzheim, R. G., Pamies, R. J., Young, D. L., & Micceri, T. (1993). Seasonality of Chlamydia trachomatis genital infections in university women. Journal of American College Health, 42, 117–120.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lam, D., & Miron, J. A. (1991). Seasonality of births in human populations. Social Biology, 38, 51–78.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Levin, M. L., Xu, X., & Bartkowski, J. P. (2002). Seasonality of sexual debut. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64, 871–884.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Macdowall, W., Wellings, K., Stephenson, J., & Glasier, A. (2008). Summer nights: A review of the evidence of seasonal variations in sexual health indicators among young people. Health Education, 108, 40–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Malamuth, N. (1996). Sexually explicit media, gender differences and evolutionary theory. Journal of Communication, 46, 8–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Markey, P. M., & Markey, C. N. (2010). Changes in pornography seeking behaviors following political elections: An examination of the Challenge Hypothesis. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31, 442–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Markey, P. M., & Markey, C. N. (2011). Pornography seeking behaviors following midterm political elections in the United States: A replication of the challenge hypothesis. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 1262–1264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Markey, P. M., & Markey, C. N. (2012). Pornography seeking behaviors. In Z. Yan (Ed.), Encyclopedia of cyber behavior (pp. 337–346). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.Google Scholar
  18. McCarthy, M. J. (2010). Internet monitoring of suicide risk in the population. Journal of Affective Disorders, 3, 277–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Parnell, A. M., & Rodgers, J. L. (1998). Seasonality of induced abortion in North Carolina. Journal of Biosocial Science, 30, 321–332.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Petersen, D. J., & Alexander, G. R. (1992). Seasonal variation in adolescent conceptions, induced abortions, and late initiation of prenatal care. Public Health Reports, 107, 701–706.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Pittman, S., Tita, A. T., Barratt, M. S., Rubin, S. R., & Hollier, L. M. (2005). Seasonality and immediate antecedents of sexual intercourse in adolescents. Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 50, 193–197.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Rodgers, J. L., Harris, D. F., & Vickers, K. B. (1992). Seasonality of first coitus in the United States. Social Biology, 39, 1–14.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Ropelato, J. (2006). Internet pornography statistics. Retrieved May 3, 2011 from
  24. Scafetta, N., Restrepo, E., & West, B. J. (2003). Seasonality of birth and conception to teenagers in Texas. Social Biology, 50, 1–22.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Schroeder, B., Tetlow, P., Sanfilippo, J. S., & Hertweck, S. P. (2001). Is there a seasonal variation in gonorrhea and chlamydia in adolescents? Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, 14, 25–27.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Seiver, D. A. (1985). Trend and variation in the seasonality of U.S. fertility, 1947–1976. Demography, 22, 89–100.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tita, A. T. N., Hollier, L. M., & Waller, D. K. (2001). Seasonality in conception of births and influence on late initiation of prenatal care. Gynecology and Obstetrics, 97, 976–981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tourangeau, R., & Yan, T. (2007). Sensitive questions in surveys. Psychological Bulletin, 133, 859–883.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Warner, R. M. (1998). Spectral analysis of time-series data. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  30. Warren, C. W., Gold, J., Tyler, C. W., Smith, J. C., & Paris, A. L. (1980). Seasonal variations in spontaneous abortions. American Journal of Public Health, 70, 1297–1299.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wellings, K., Macdowall, W., Catchpole, M., & Goodrich, J. (1999). Seasonal variations in sexual activity and their implication for sexual health promotion. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 92, 60–64.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. World Bank. (2011). Internet users (per 100 people). Retrieved May 5, 2011 from
  33. Yang, A. C., Huang, N. E., Peng, C. K., & Tsai, S. J. (2010). Do seasons have an influence on the incidence of depression? The use of an internet search engine query data as a proxy of human affect. PLoS One, 5, e13728. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013728.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ybarra, M. L., & Mitchell, K. J. (2005). Exposure to internet pornography among children and adolescents: A national survey. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 8, 473–486.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyVillanova UniversityVillanovaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyRutgers UniversityCamdenUSA

Personalised recommendations