People in the U.S. are most interested in sex during the early summer, as well as in December and January, according to a new study.
Researchers analyzed the keywords that people in the U.S. used in Google searches over four years, and found that every year, searches for keywords related to finding dates, prostitutes and pornography showed distinct peaks during June and July, and again during the winter.
"Wherever we looked within these three different areas — whether it was searches for 'eHarmony,' or for 'brothel' — there was this exact same pattern," said study researcher Patrick Markey, an associate professor of psychology at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. The timing of the peaks was remarkably consistent from year to year, he said.
Exactly why these two peaks in sexual interest occur isn't completely clear, Markey said, but the findings suggest they are linked to a general increase in the amount of time that people spend being around other people.
Previous studies of birth records have also suggested these peaks in sexual activity, especially in December, and researchers have speculated that one reason for this is a natural tendency toward giving birth in the late summer or early fall.
"But if that was the only reason, there'd be no reason to watch porn or find a prostitute," Markey said. "It's more like, something about being around more people, or being around people more often, that makes us more interested in sexual activity," he said.
The summer time tends to bring a flurry of social activities, and December can bring holiday gatherings and shopping crowds.