For a neat look at how data visualization can illuminate sexual subcultures, check out Jon Millward’s Deep Inside: A Study of 10,000 Porn Stars and Their Careers. By extracting data from the Internet Adult Film Database, Millward was able to statistically analyze trends in the adult performers’ ages, ethnicities, weights, performing names, and so on.
Among other interesting tidbits (such as the fact that the average female performer’s hair is brown), Millward notes: “So when I hear somebody claim that porn is ‘degrading’, I can’t help but ask: which porn? Is an anal scene involving three men and one woman more or less degrading than a scene in which three women have sex with strap-ons? How about a solo scene in which a woman appears alone? … Much like sport, or violence in films, or cruelty to animals, I don’t think you can really drill down into the topic on an intellectually respectable level until you’ve strictly defined your terms.”
More information on a topic is always preferable to less. And Millward’s fascinating visualizations help make his point that adult performers are a diverse and interesting population worthy of study and respect.