Web surfers are losing interest in sex, according to a recent survey conducted by Penn State University's School of Information Technology.
Based on the number of searches run through the Excite directory, the survey found that sex and entertainment has been replaced by more serious surfing in the past few years.
The research looked at the patterns of more than 200,000 users. In 1997 approximately one in six web queries to search engine Excite was about sex.
But by 2001 only one in 12 surfers was searching for sex and many of these enquiries were about human sexuality rather than pornography.
During the same period, other searches rose from 13.3 per cent in 1997 to 24.7 per cent in 2001.
The researchers noted an increased interest in commerce and travel which probably coincided with an 80 per cent increase in commercial web servers.
It also found that, while in 1997 people were willing to look harder for the information they wanted, 30 per cent of Excite users examined only one page of results per query.
The waning popularity of porn is borne out by web use measurement company JupiterMMXI which said that such websites are no longer in the top 10.
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