Search zeitgeist, sex edition

This piece analyzing data on how people use Google to search for topics related to sex is a fun tour of the submerged portion of the human psyche.

Of particular interest to me was this:

Women also show a great deal of insecurity about their behinds, although many women have recently flip-flopped on what it is they don’t like about them.

In 2004, in some parts of the United States, the most common search regarding changing one’s butt was how to make it smaller. The desire to make one’s bottom bigger was overwhelmingly concentrated in areas with large black populations. Beginning in 2010, however, the desire for bigger butts grew in the rest of the United States. This interest has tripled in four years. In 2014, there were more searches asking how to make your butt bigger than smaller in every state. These days, for every five searches looking into breast implants in the United States, there is one looking into butt implants.

Does women’s growing preference for a larger behind match men’s preferences? Interestingly, yes. “Big butt porn” searches, which also used to be concentrated in black communities, have recently shot up in popularity throughout the United States.

In a recent post, I wondered what factors drove the frequent shifts in the ideal female body? Are women driving the change or are they reacting to male preferences? And what part of the change has roots in culture rather than evolution?

More and more, I suspect the cultural impact to be significant. If female bodies were purely evolutionary signals of physical fitness, the ideal shouldn't change so frequently decade to decade.