XXX

Christian Right-Wingers Love Porn: New Studies Suggest the Bible Belt Has A Kinky Side

They preach abstinence and shame the adult industry, but findings conclude that the more Christian and conservative you are, the more you’re into porn.

10.11.14 3:53 PM ET

Do conservatives watch more porn than their liberal counterparts? Perhaps.  

A quick Google search for political sex scandals will lead you to pages of naughtiness, Republican and Democratic alike. Human sexuality exists outside of party lines. Whether you’re conservative or liberal, chances are you have sex.

A new study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, produced by researchers from Canadian Universities, found American states that identify as more religious and conservative are also more apt to search for sex online. Of course, the study makes a point of separating the religiously conservative from the politically conservative. The latter is more likely to look for sex specific terms, such as “gay sex, free porn and xxx,” whereas those that consider themselves religious were looking for generalized sex terms that could’ve theoretically fallen under the “health and wellness” category.

In heavily religious states, abstinence is often pushed as the only safe sex, with very little to offer in the way of sexual education. Unfortunately, that leaves a growing number of people with questions about sex but no answers. Enter Google: the best way to find an answer to personal, possibly embarrassing questions without calling attention to yourself. So of course the study finds that religious communities have a higher percentage of sex-related searches. That’s what happens when you can’t find it elsewhere.

Earlier this year, Homegrown Video announced the results of a six-month study on amateur porn demographics. Just under a third of all homemade sex tape submissions were created in the “Bible Belt.” Perhaps even more surprising is the increased female involvement. According to Homegrown Video owner Farrell Timlake, women are now submitting their own videos almost as much as men. Mind you these are not porn stars, just regular folks at home who film themselves for the world to see.

But perhaps even more interesting is the type of user-generated content coming from areas of the country some consider repressed. “We get so many interracial tapes from states that people would stereotype as being racially bigoted areas,” says Timlake. “And that plays into the same thing: the more repressed it is, the more taboo it is, the more somebody is going to want to see it or touch that fire.”

Conforming one’s sexuality to perceived social norms is bound to create conflict—especially for a public figure who publicly fights for family values while personally going against them. Republican Senator David Vitter issued a public apology in 2007 for his involvement with the “D.C. Madam.” His name came up as a prostitution ring patron, and yet that scandal hasn’t seemed to hurt him much, considering his intentions to run for Louisiana Governor in 2015. Perhaps it was the way he apologized. Vitter both acknowledged his “sin” and wrote in a printed statement, “Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling.” With this spiritual logic, people shouldn’t feel guilty about looking at porn. If it goes against their religion, all they have to do is ask for forgiveness.

Of course, Vitter isn’t the only one. Former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner was caught sexting naughty photos, which caused his resignation. Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman came out as openly gay in 2010 after working on anti-gay marriage campaigns. There’s a colorful history of public figures kowtowing to their political beliefs publicly while privately indulging in their true desires. Until they get caught.

As sociologist Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals points out, “There’s nothing wrong with variability in sexuality, but when people are touting these very hard lines about what others should and shouldn’t be doing and then in their private lives they’re not doing what they say, that doesn’t surprise me… because they themselves are putting boundaries around their own sexuality, limitations on their own desires. It’s almost like they’re painting themselves into a corner.”

Sex is a basic human function; a physiological drive we cannot ignore. And yet, collectively our culture is still repressed when it comes to the subject of sex. According to Dr. Tibbals, even in 2014 with as much progress as we’ve made, we remain a sexually uncomfortable society. Ultra-conservative parents who won’t discuss sex with their children risk having the kids seek answers on their own, perhaps learning more extreme aspects of sex from easily accessible sites like Pornhub. As news headlines have shown, some people who bottle up their sexuality wind up acting out in a way that may be shocking to themselves, and those around them.  

Obviously, a large percentage of people watch porn. The numbers don’t lie. But what’s more interesting is why people still feel ashamed about it. “The more parameters you add to anything the less play you have as an individual, thus the increased likelihood to feel trapped or in crisis or not happy,” says Dr. Tibbals.