Embarrassed to be thinking about sex? You’re not alone!

For decades there has been a rumor that men think about sex every 7 seconds, and women a mere few times a week. While science and popular wisdom have yet to come to a mutually agreeable conclusion, one thing is certain – the search engines are inundated with it. To anyone who has ever uttered the cliché “sex sells”, this is not news, but the relative distribution might surprise you…

According to GoogleTrends, in the last 12 months the following countries had the most individual searches for “sex” in descending order:

1. Viet Nam
2. India
3. Indonesia
4. Egypt
5. Morocco
6. Turkey
7. Poland
8. Hungary
9. Romania
10. Denmark

These results do not necessarily indicate anything about the people in the listed countries, but they can be surprising in light of some long-running stereotypes. For example, if the rumors are true, and men really do think about sex exponentially more often than their female counterparts, then why is it that Hungary appears higher on the list than fellow European country Denmark whose male to female ratio is much higher (48.9% and 50.5% respectively in the age range 15-64 years old)?

It is important to underscore, however, that these results are merely a reflection of search engine traffic – not an exercise in mind-reading. They may well be affected by social stigma, and the guarantee of anonymity a search engine provides. In some countries, it is not uncommon to turn on the TV late in the evening and see half-naked models advertising expensive phone calls. In others, however, the mere mention of the word sex in mixed company is considered highly inappropriate. For this reason, it is likely that people in countries where sex is more of a taboo choose to search for the answers to their questions and points of curiosity in the privacy of their own home.

Since this is a linguistic blog, it might also be interesting to know the ‘sex’-searching breakdown by language.

1. Vietnamese
2. Indonesian
3. Turkish
4. Arabic
5. Polish
6. Hungarian
7. Romanian
8. English
9. Danish
10. Dutch

This list is surprising not for what is there, but more for what isn’t… The existence of the so-called ‘Latin lover’ and ‘Italiano lothario’ have been well documented in the pop culture of the ages. The libidos and exploits of such men have inspired songs, books, and even operas for centuries, but on this list there isn’t a “romance” language to be found (they do both appear on the top ten languages that search ‘love’ though).

Go figure!


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