The most Googled sex questions

Many of us turn to Google when we’re looking for answers, perhaps even more so when it comes to questions we might be too embarrassed to ask anyone ourselves.

We’ve taken a deep dive into how the US is searching for topics around relationships, sex tips and sexual health to shine a light on what questions are keeping Americans up at night.

What exactly is gaslighting & bread crumbing? How can you increase your sperm count? These are the sorts of questions Americans have asked Google in their thousands over the last year, suggesting the answers might not be as simple as some may think.

What are the symptoms of chlamydia
‘What are the symptoms of chlamydia’ is the most Googled sex question in the US, generating
over 2 million
searches in 2020
Erectile dysfunction
On average, Americans
make over 260,000
searches
for erectile
dysfunction and related
terms each month.
Marriage counselling
‘Marriage counselling’
was one of the most
searched for keywords,
with volume surging
around the time of the
first lockdown.
What is ghosting
‘What is ghosting’ looks set
to be the fastest rising term of
2021, with January & February
seeing an 80% uplift when
compared with November
& December.

Which States are searching the most?

Explore the map and table below to see which topics are driving the most volume per 10,000 people.
Sexual health searches (per 10k population)
State
Sexual Health
Sex Tips
Relationship Troubles
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Chlamydia symptoms
People in D.C. made
the most searches for
chlamydia symptoms
per capita - followed by
Rhode Island and North
Carolina
.
How to put on a condom
People in D.C.,
California, New Jersey,
Illinois and New York

are most confused
about how to put on a
condom.
Gaslighting
Relationships in D.C. and
Utah showing signs of
gaslighting at a higher rate
than other states - followed
by Colorado, Washington
and Oregon
.
How to have sex
Google is teaching
people ‘how to have
sex’ in Utah – the state
saw the highest per
capita searches for that
term in 2020.

Terms overall – How have they changed over time?

With physical contact put on hold for much of the last year, the way people have been searching for terms around sexual health, sex tips and relationships has reflected this change.

Sexual Health

‘What are the symptoms of chlamydia?’ is the most searched sex question of 2020, with 2.5 million searches.
What are the symptoms of chlamydia

Searches for this term reached their peak in September of 2020, coinciding with easing of lockdown measures across the country.

STD testing near me

‘STD testing near me’ also saw a similar trend, with search volumes almost doubling by the end of the year.

Sex Tips

‘How to have sex’ was the most in demand sex tip, though interest dropped throughout the year.
How to have sex

Searches for this term spiked as the world entered lockdown, though interest has been tailing off over the course of the year.

How to measure penis

Lockdown boredom also got the better of some men, with ‘how to measure penis’ seeing a similar surge in the first half of last year.

Relationship Troubles

‘What is gaslighting?’ was the most searched for question around relationships, with over 1.5 million people turning to Google for an answer.
What is gaslighting

Searches for this term have seen spikes throughout various times of year, with July seeing the biggest spike and 140,170 searches altogether.

Marriage counselling

Marriage counselling also saw spikes in volume from April, with the added stress of lockdown potentially being a driving factor behind this.

2021’s Rising Queries & Predictions

What is ghosting

‘What is ghosting’ is the query set to see the biggest spike going into 2021, with searches continuing to rise at a rapid rate, resulting in its highest ever volume in February.

How many calories does sex burn

As we entered the new year, ‘how many calories does sex burn’ saw a significant surge in interest in January, with people keen to explore all avenues to burn off any festive indulgences. Whilst volume has dropped going into February, it’s still at the highest number of searches since August of last year.

The US Overall

From the 3 categories, these are the search terms with the highest volume overall

Top sexual health search terms

Search Term
2020 Volume
1.
What are the symptoms of chlamydia
2,518,100
2.
STD testing near me
1,121,940
3.
How long do periods last
642,410
4.
How to put on a condom
499,070
5.
What are the symptoms of genital herpes
411,470
6.
What is a STD
402,700
7.
STI check
364,190
8.
What is the clap
192,890
9.
How to get rid of genital warts
128,620
10.
Can you get rid of herpes
117,950

Top sex tips search terms

Search Term
2020 Volume
1.
How to have sex
1,052,550
2.
How to measure penis
196,970
3.
How to increase sperm count
161,010
4.
How many calories does sex burn
145,470
5.
What is sexting
119,460
6.
How to be good at sex
43,850
7.
How to have multiple orgasms
32,350
8.
Is squirting normal
8,450
9.
How long should I last in bed
5,450
10.
Is it ok to have sex every day
2,970

Top relationship troubles search terms

Search Term
2020 Volume
1.
What is gaslighting
1,594,210
2.
Marriage counselling
1,164,260
3.
Relationship goals
750,480
4.
Friend with benefit meaning
302,300
5.
Relationship advice
219,990
6.
What is ghosting
136,500
7.
What is an open relationship
124,450
8.
How to make long distance relationship work
50,950
9.
How to get out of a toxic relationship
34,110
10.
What is bread crumbing
17,930

Breadcrumbing and gaslighting explained

We’ve also partnered with sex & relationship writer Jen Kaarlo, to give their thoughts on some of the most damaging search trends around relationships, and what actions you could take should you ever find yourself in a difficult position.

Jen Kaarlo
Jen Kaarlo
Love, Sex & relationship writer, and speaker on feminism & women’s rights
“It’s important to set
your boundaries from
the beginning and
identify that you are
deserving of balanced
and genuine attention.”

What is breadcrumbing?

While ghosting has always ruled the land of bad dating behavior, breadcrumbing is starting to take the reign. So, what is breadcrumbing exactly? Breadcrumbing is the act of leading a person on by leaving a trail of interest and intrigue but never developing the communication beyond a surface level of engagement. A few examples include, texting or reaching out but doesn’t commit to spending quality time together, only interested in sexual endeavours, and unreliable and avoidant in their communication.

“It’s important to set
your boundaries from
the beginning and
identify that you are
deserving of balanced
and genuine attention.”

Whenever a potential partner doesn’t show a secure communication style it can weigh heavy on the heart, and while ghosting can be disappointing, it’s an end point that can help with achieving closure. The act of breadcrumbing can have damaging consequences that last way beyond the time of a courtship. It’s important to identify this type of dating conduct from the get-go, as it’s as rare as The Hope Diamond that the behavior will adapt over time. It’s important to set your boundaries from the beginning and identify that you are deserving of balanced and genuine attention.

What is gaslighting?

What can start as breadcrumbing can quickly develop into gaslighting which is the act of psychological abuse where an individual manipulates a person and gets them to question or doubt their memories, thoughts, and situations around them. A devious power play, gaslighting can happen to the best of us and we may not even see what’s happening to us until the act has already occurred. Gaslighting can unfold in many forms, such as the offender minimizing your feelings, making you question your memory, name calling, and deflecting all together. This can play out when they lie about how events occured, suggesting your feelings are wrong, and repeatedly suggesting how lucky you are to be with them. The abuser looks to make the other question and doubt their own feelings, lose confidence and self-esteem, and spin their own strategy to put their partner in a perpetual state of weakness.

Once you begin to identify these damaging tactics it’s important to take small steps to combat such behavior. Start to document all these interactions by detailing the event: how it unfolded and what was said (even writing a few bullet points can be helpful). By taking notes immediately following the altercation it will help minimize the chances one can be talked out of their feelings by the perpetrator. Looking back on these records of events will help the victim to see negative and harmful patterns unfold over a period of time. It won’t just be one-off negative interactions but an unhealthy dynamic. Often gaslighters get a thrill by winning and by not engaging in combative interaction they can easily lose interest.

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