However, here I will just explore one further possibility. It is based on the notion, by the philosopher Michel Foucault, that heterosexuality is actually not the innate default sexuality that society has come to understand as normal sexuality. Instead, humans are in fact capable of multiple sexualities with societal circumstances, and people’s responses to them, playing a large role as to what orientations are triggered and suppressed. Foucault draws on the example of an ancient Greek culture where prescribed roles were about sexual position rather than whether you engaged in homosexual activity. Men of power for example had to ensure that they were in the dominant giver position. The subordinate role was for slaves and men of low status.
So what role might societal circumstances be playing in regard to this potential Southern state gay porn phenomenon? Social environments, where sex outside of marriage is generally treated as ‘bad/naughty’, and where teenage masturbation is denigrated, encourages the association of sex with ideas of what is ‘shameful’ or ‘wrong’. So when masturbation begins for a teenage boy who buys into this moral code he connects his own actions with the idea of wrongdoing. At first, possibly due to sexual and gendered cultural norms (e.g. of heteronormativity), this begins with heterosexual fantasies. Later, however, as heterosexuality becomes more acceptable in the conversation of males nearing adulthood, the fantasies lose their association with ‘bad’. Yet with the arousal having always been triggered in line with a notion of being ‘naughty’ the heterosexual masturbatory fantasies possibly lose some of their appeal. So the man goes elsewhere for forbidden fantasies and in an anti-homosexual environment gay fantasies can fill that void. (Perhaps this idea is also worth examining for the link between many Catholic priests and the scandals of paedophilia in recent years).
Other non-southern states with negative gay attitudes such as Kansas and Utah rank lower down on Pornhub’s gay-viewing propensity list and seemingly contradict this argument. As stated, however, these figures are far from clear-cut and on top of that such an explanation is dependent on the complicated nuance of everyday societal conditions, which will ultimately encourage deviating standards of perversity.
Still there just may be something to PornHub’s other figures on popular gay searches. Utah shows an enormous propensity over other states (i.e. 854% more likely) for searching gay content through using the term ‘Mormon’.