The Secret Global Effect Of Doomsday Predictions

“All the lonely people, where do they all come from?” —The Beatles, “Eleanor Rigby” (1966)

In A Nutshell

Back in December 2012, decades of apocalypse rumor reached fever pitch. According to an ancient Mayan calendar, this was it: the end of the world. Know how America reacted? By watching lots and lots of pornography. After the event, website Pornhub revealed that their traffic had jumped 10 percent in the run up to Armageddon, one of the most significant single-day increases they’d ever seen.

The Whole Bushel

Over the years, smut-peddling supremos Pornhub have gotten in the habit of testing their traffic against major world events, to see how a major sports ceremony might affect their number of visitors. Plenty of regular websites do this, but as one of the biggest porn sites on the Web, Pornhub is just about the only highly trafficked porn site that both does this and publishes the results, meaning they’re the best indicator we’ve got of global porn habits. Their findings sure make for some interesting reading.

Over the years, they’ve revealed that porn traffic increases during Black Friday, plummets during the Christmas and New Year period and nearly bottoms out on Thanksgiving. But perhaps most interesting of all was their analysis of porn usage on December 21, 2012. On the date that one in 10 people reportedly believed the world would end, the site saw their US traffic leap up by a sturdy 10 percent.

Article Continued Below

To give some perspective, that’s the largest nationwide jump they’ve ever reported. While individual states saw their porn use leap 42 percent during January 2014’s chilly “polar vortex” weather pattern, the national increase was a mere 5.2 percent. Even Black Friday, which saw the biggest non-apocalypse-related jump, only saw a 7 percent increase of traffic. In other words, no single other event in recent history has driven Americans toward pornography like the impending destruction of everything.

Now, obviously this is only traffic from one site, but it does paint an interesting picture of national priorities. Namely, that plenty of people would rather spend their last moments in the company of their laptop and a box of tissues than with their loved ones.

Show Me The Proof

Pornhub Insights: Pornhub Traffic Trends Driven by Worldwide Events (link is SFW, though the URL may not be)
Gizmodo: The Historical Events That Drove People To (And From) Porn
Reuters: One in seven thinks end of world is coming: poll
Gizmodo: The US Sure Watched A Lot Of Porn During This Week’s Deep Freeze