Americans' Internet searches turn particularly sexual during June and July, but also over Christmas and frigid January, according to a study that analyzed keywords typed into Google between January, 2006, and March, 2011.
Researchers at Pennsylvania's Villanova University found that every year, searches related to finding a date, porn and prostitutes spiked during these periods.
"Wherever we looked within these three different areas — whether it was searches for 'eHarmony,' or for 'brothel' — there was this exact same pattern," researcher and associate professor of psychology Patrick Markey told MSN.com.
A startling surge (35 per cent) in searches for prostitutes also emerged in March 2008, just as the Eliot Spitzer scandal broke.
Client 9 aside, the researchers have little clue as to why people's online habits turn extra-sexual in the four months.
Christmas eggnog? Hot weather and skimpier clothing? Teens experimenting when they're off school?
The authors of the study, published last month in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, posit that the patterns could be related to variations in sperm quality, as well as hormonal changes throughout the year. Another, slightly more baffling, hypothesis: That as people are increasingly social, they become more privately horny.
"[There is] 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," Prof. Markey surmised.
The researchers looked at searches that included keywords "related to mate-seeking behaviors." Think Match.com, eHarmony, but also "call girl" and "escort." For pornography, the authors chose the comically rudimentary keywords "porn" and "boobs."
Searches for porn (and boobs) increased 4.28 per cent in December and June; dating searches jumped by 5.67 per cent in January and July, while prostitution-related hunts rose by 2.78 per cent in the same months.
Are people more randy with the onset of winter and summer?