Older Pakistani men watch more sex than teenagers, according to YouTube data

Some weeks ago Zahra Haider, a Pakistani girl who is now settled in Canada, stirred a heated debate on social media when she penned an article titled “What I Learned Having Sex as a Young Woman in Pakistan” for news website, Vice. She argued that while Pakistanis were actually “horny and desperate for sex,” they were also horrified by the idea of actually engaging in it because “sex is considered a taboo topic” in the country.

At the time, many social media users criticized Haider, alleging that she was playing into Western stereotypes of the Islamic world. However, a statistical analysis of YouTube’s most watched videos for Pakistan is shocking because it confirms at least one of Haider’s claims.

YouTube trends data for Pakistan, which is regularly updated data, shows that at least four out of the ten most watched videos on YouTube in Pakistan are from the “X-rated” category.

As of the morning August 2, 2016, 4 out of top 10 most-watched videos fell in this category. YouTube trends are based on usage data obtained from Pakistan during the last 24 hours. The data is public and can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection.

In the next 24 hours the trending videos may change, however, the proportion of X-rated videos is unlikely to change.

Moreover, a comparative analysis of the most watched videos and most shared videos on YouTube also reveals something interesting about internet behavior in Pakistan which suggests that sex may, in fact, be a taboo topic in Pakistan, as Zahra Haider had suggested. While Pakistanis have no qualms about watching “X-rated” and “immoral” videos on YouTube, they refrain from sharing them on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, in an apparent bid to maintain a certain image.

Furthermore, gender-segregated data shows that far more Pakistani men watch X-rated videos on YouTube than women. Pakistani women mostly use YouTube to follow their favorite TV shows, with X-rated videos being an insignificant part of their YouTube diet.

Among men too, when we look at the data segregated on the basis of different age groups, more men in the 65+ age group watch X-rated videos on YouTube than in the 13-17 age group. In fact, the number of such videos viewed increases steadily as we move up the age groups (13-17, 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64 and 65+ years old).

On the women’s side, the video watching behaviour remains almost unchanged. As they are mainly following TV dramas, shows, and songs. However, we do see a little proportion of “immoral” videos as we go through different age groups (13-17, 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64 and 65+ years old).

YouTube’s policy about explicit content states: “Sexually explicit content like pornography is not allowed.” However, a “video that contains nudity or other sexual content may be allowed if the primary purpose is educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic, and it isn’t gratuitously graphic.”

Graphic content is also allowed in “cases where videos do not cross the line, but still contain sexual content.” In such cases, YouTube “may apply an age-restriction so that only viewers over a certain age can view the content.” Additionally, users “may report videos that they believe violate this policy, or may not be appropriate for all ages by flagging the video”.

Ali Zain

Ali Zain

Ali Zain is a member of the staff at Daily Pakistan Global. He earned BS Communication Studies degree from University of the Punjab. His thesis titled "Cultural Continuity and Mass Media: An analysis of leading online newspapers of Pakistan" has been published as a book in Germany. He has also translated David Mathews' book "The Ecology of Democracy" into Urdu. He tweets at @alimaan.