Posted By Jeff on January 2, 2009
“The sex industry, I don’t believe, will be affected quite as much as other industries. In times of stress, people would rather have sex than shop.” — Dr. Victoria Zdork
Zdork, a New Jersey psychologist and sex therapist, was quoted in The Seattle Times today. People do tend to have more sex in times of economic uncertainty and sex is an inexpensive way to relieve stress, she said, explaining that oxytocin and other feel-good endorphins are released by the brain during sexual activity.
Thank you, Dr. Zdork, for the sound bite. But I suspect if we went, well, toe-to-toe on this, with our clothes on, we’d probably end up agreeing that there’s not a lot of evidence extent to support or refute the statement. I love your work, anyway. (See interview at Mind Hacks.)
The truth is, we don’t have that kind of granular statistical information about sex. Just because people would feel better *if* they had more sex when they are stressed out doesn’t mean they collectively do so, at least not in any way that has been measured. In researching “Into Temptation” for the last 18 months, I’ve found it both incredibly frustrating and curiously exhilarating that there is so little large scale rigorous scientific data about the whos, whats, whens, wheres and whys of human sexuality. There are a million glimpses and pieces. Putting the puzzle together is frustrating, if you’re in a hurry for a conclusion. But it’s exhilarating at the same time, like walking through the Red Light district in Amsterdam with nowhere you have to be until sunup. There’s so much to see … let the Big Picture reveal itself in time.
The economic downturn can’t be ignored by the folks at FFN, mentioned yesterday, as they prepare to try to raise $460 million in an initial public offering. Bold, savvy, desperate, crazy or all of the above? I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone who’s tried to speculate about it in print so far knows, either. AVN sums it up with a sort of nervous positive spin here; Seeking Alpha takes a more baleful look here. I do know this much:
If all 20 million members of AFF were willing to buy a share each of FFN at $25, the IPO would be oversubscribed. I know I’d buy one, if only for the right to attend the annual meeting. Anyone who thinks AFF, or FFN, or whatever you want to call it, is going away soon, think carefully. I hate to cop a phrase from the recession news at large, but AFF may be too big to fail entirely.
Though, for sure, there isn’t going to be any government bailout.
One of the more interesting things to watch in the adult social networking business in the last ten years has been how competitors have gone after AFF’s market and how it has fended them off — or not. A lot of sites have fallen by the wayside. A few have thrived.
More are on the way. Are, for example, sex.com and kasidie.com — both now in beta, both free sites that look more like MySpace or FaceBook for the non-monogamous masses — do they represent Sexual Networking 2.0, beyond AFF?