A Porn Site Shows You Strangers' Searches In Real Time (Not Even Remotely Safe For Work)

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The website PornMD, which is a search engine for the major free porn sites, has unveiled a new feature that shows you the text of other people's porn searches in real time.

This blog post has taking me much longer to write than I expected to because I keep getting enthralled by the scroll of keywords that PornMD displays. 

My colleague Alex Goldman told me he thinks of this as "a mesmerizing stock ticker of the world's perversions." I agree, and at the risk of sounding like a total dummy for waxing rhapsodically about a smut index, I find something human and affirming about it.

While we share most things online, porn consumption is one of the few online media consumption experiences that usually remains private. Very rarely will someone "Like" a porn website on Facebook, or tweet a link to some great porn they enjoyed. 

It's nice to see an anonymous broadcast of the desires of our digital friends and neighbors. And if you're a soft-brained humanities person like me, you immediately start imputing stories onto these tiny little fragments. Is the person searching for gay male porn in the "Straight" section because he's closeted? Or is he possibly a gay dude who isn't great with computers? Or: what strange, random thing happens in someone's life to give them a fetish for bears (the animal, not the colloquialism)? 

There's also certainly a more cynical post to be written about how companies (porn and other-wise) present the public with data about their users' habits to gin up free publicity, and we can't know whether that data is accurate or argue about whether it ought to be shared. But let's be cynical about this tomorrow, and just enjoy the colossal weirdness of it today. 

(h/t Robyn Caplan)