Ogas and Gaddam Rank Nudism at Number 19 in Top 100 Sexual Searches But, Is Nudism Sexual Online?
Is Nudism Sexual Online? Let’s find out!
Jordan and I recently visited the Museum of Sex in New York City to check out their latest exhibitions. They always have interesting things to see, along with frequent workshops and events. I think it’s great to have this sex-positive space in Manhattan.
As we were walking through the museum, we came across an exhibit titled “Endless Searches,” which features the top 100 sexual searches that people conducted online from 2009 – 2010.
This list came from Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, neuroscientists and authors of the book, A Billion Wicked Thoughts. For this book Ogas and Gaddam analyzed 400 million internet searches and found that 55 million, about 13%, were sex-related.
They looked at general search engines like Google and Dogpile as well as search engines specializing in porn, like Booble and NudeVista.
As we looked over the list, one word caught our attention in particular. In the 19th place, prominently placed was the term – Nudism.
We were surprised to see Nudism listed as number 19. After all, this was a visual display of the top 100 online searches for sexual / erotic content.
The description next to this display only mentions the authors’ names and the search engines by way of explanation. As you can see in the photo below, there are no details as to how the terms were picked out and sorted.
Obviously we had a lot of questions! How did nudism get classified as a sexual search? Were people searching it on porn sites or in Google? What exactly were they punching in, “nudist sex”? Did they start out doing nudist-related searches, and then the Internet led them to porn? Somehow Gaddam and Ogas concluded that people were searching about nudism for titillation.
We quickly contacted the museum to find out more. For those of you who might not be aware, Jordan is pretty relentless when it comes to getting answers and / or explanations. At least in this case, the Museum Of Sex management was great in getting back to us with their thoughts right away – this is one point that we would like to commend them for.
Here are just a few little snippets from our correspondences with the Museum of Sex and the issue of nudism being classified as sexual:
Jordan: “We understand that some people might have certain voyeuristic motives when conducting online searches for “nudism.” That said, we can’t assume that those people make up the bulk of searchers. Unless there is significant data to the contrary, the term nudism should not be included within the pornography category.
If someone searches for anal sex or MILF (or pretty much any of the other terms depicted) then the intent is to bring up results that truly belong in the realm of pornography.
As such, we ask that the term “nudism” be removed. If you have sufficient data to indicate that we are wrong then I ask that you please be kind enough to send it to us.
We have enough issues to deal with. Mainstream America is extremely conservative and any mixed messages about nudism or naturism weaken us and make educating people that much more difficult.”
Museum Of Sex: “The top 100 wall is based on the work and research of neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam. The categories on the wall encompass hundreds of thousands of individual searches from 2009-2010. As mentioned in the wall text, it is impossible to say _why_ someone is searching for any of the terms on the wall, whether it be for interest, curiosity, arousal, research or voyeurism.
We know that people are searching for these terms, but it is impossible at this stage of the research to confidently determine the ‘why.’ Just as we cannot sufficiently determine whether someone is searching for something submissive or dominant when they search for ‘S&M.’
If you look at the terms on the wall you will see that there are actually several terms which, like the term ‘nudism,’ may have alternative reasons for being ‘Googled’ other than voyeurism (e.g. breasts, tattoo, etc.).
The exhibition recognizes that this method of research an imperfect process and attempts to explore this. The ‘What We Leave Behind’ section explores these ‘fragments’ through artistic interpretations.
Just like Alfred Kinsey’s research was revolutionary, it also contained inherent flaws due to the technique of gathering information. There is no one true, perfect map of what we are sexually looking for and ‘Universe of Desire’ only attempts to look at trends and ask questions, not give definitive answers.”
Jordan: “The fact that the term was included in the first place is what I have an issue with.
Nudism and sex are the same as linking up search terms such as apples with farmers. True, some farmers grow apples but when people put in the search term apples, there is an extremely high probability that they are not researching farmers in general.
Would it be possible to at least clarify the issue in a more direct way? Right now, there is no real explanation about the terms other than what appears under the ‘Endless Searches.’
Is there any way to add a short disclaimer explaining the very thing you emailed me?
(If you like, we could have someone draw it up for your review)”
The Museum Of Sex: “To address your question, Ogas and Gaddam wrote a program to scan ALL searches, both sexual and non sexual over a period of a year.They then categorized each of the search terms into groups of similar words.
Because search engine searches usually contain multiple words, they used other context clues to determine (as best they could) whether or not a search was “sexual” or not. They also examined other searches from the same individual.
I understand your passion for increased clarification on this one term, but it is important to note that “Nudity” is not the only word in the top 100 searches that have both sexual and non-sexual connotations, there are, in fact, many terms that have similar ‘problems’ (i.e. penis, daddies, ebony, lactation).
Thank you for your offer of additional text, however there is already text in the gallery that explains that this is based on the research of Ogas and Gaddam, explains their method of identifying data points, and notes how this is still an imprecise science.”
And that was pretty much the end of it.
No doubt there are people looking for erotic material when they search for nudism or related terms. But the porn industry has been targeting these words for so long that coming across porn is inevitable when searching them online.
So we still wonder, were people actually searching “nudism” for titillation or were they merely curious and led astray by the porn that came up in the results?
The museum’s responses didn’t answer all of our quandaries, but we wish they’d posted the same explanation next to this dicey list.
It is quite depressing that nudism is in there. If we ever needed proof of the widespread misconception that nudism is about sex, then this is it? Or is it proof of the more basic notion that nudity equals sex… It’s also maybe a sign of a losing battle with the words nudism, nudist, etc.
I suppose more answers can be found in Ogas and Gaddam’s book. We intend to contact them and see if we can get more answers. In the meantime, if any of you wish to lend a hand and make your voices heard… You may contact the Museum of Sex directly at: info [at] museumofsex.com
This is just one of the many issues that we are currently addressing. We are currently in the midst of fighting Google, Facebook and a slew of other online companies.
So rest assured, the Young Naturists are still out there and fighting the good fight. While our successes are few and far between we are keeping the pressure on!
Thank god for Jordan’s OCD – where would we be without it ;)