A Sexually Charged Economy

A recent study conducted by Extreme Tech magazine estimates that pornography, which comprises only one aspect of the commercial sex industry, now makes up 30 percent of Internet traffic. In 2006, the commercial sex industry contributed approximately $13.3 billion to the United States economy — without accounting for prostitution. In fact, some estimates indicate that the U.S. commercial sex industry had 2006 revenues that were larger than the National Football League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball combined. Commercial sex is not only pervasive in the US, but it also has a global reach that extends beyond its borders. From AlterNet’s The Future of Sex? 5 Trends that May Transform Our Sex Lives

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Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

4 thoughts on “A Sexually Charged Economy”

  1. I read that those statistics (specifically the 30% of internet traffic stat) are actually misleading…because it seems to suggest that at any given point in time, 30% of people on the internet are using it for porn, which is not the case (and I’m not sure how you’re interpreting the data?)

    Porn sites take up HUGE amounts of bandwidth…so 1,000 people on a wikipedia site, for example, are using the same amount of bandwidth as 1 person on a porn site. Porn sites are MASSIVE. At any given point of time, the number of people on the internet using it for porn is actually more like 5%.


  2. Good clarification Vesper….This is why I like posting things, to get corrections and alternative takes on things…..For myself, what are probably the more telling stats, as far as what seems relevant, is to look at the dollars involved – what kind of financial power does the industry wield? That’s what caught my eye when I saw this quote. Personally, I do not believe all erotica is created equal. What seems to make something “porn” is that it lacks artistic sensibility, but perhaps more importantly, there is exploitation of the workers and an economic chain that provides big profits to some and meager compensation to the porn stars themselves. So, I suppose I would also be curious as to how much porn is of the consumeristic variety versus artistic erotica.


    1. Oh definitely! The financial ramifications blow my mind. I’ve heard of quite a few porn stars who make more money than the average person. I’m not sure what it takes to be at that level, but I definitely don’t think they are at the bottom rung, financially speaking. I know that in the states there are quite a number of college-aged women who resort to working as escorts and/or strippers, because they make so much more money than working at Dairy Queen or Wal-Mart. It’s pretty insane.


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