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Game of Thrones has become a global phenomenon, and fans were waiting for more than a year for Season 7 to begin on HBO. New episodes can result in huge statistical shifts, ranging from ratings to social media to even illegal downloads. As it turns out, new episodes can also affect online porn consumption as well, and the Season 7 premiere caused a drop in porn viewership that's actually pretty significant. Porn traffic dropped in the U.S. by more than 4%.

Statistics compiled by popular website Pornhub indicate that porn traffic in the 9 p.m. ET hour on July 16 dropped by 4.5%. As Pornhub is visited by millions of users on a daily basis, 4.5% actually represents a huge number of people. In fact, Sunday night is one of the most popular times for visits to Pornhub. The Game of Thrones premiere led to a serious drop in users, and the numbers didn't climb back up to normal right away. Check it out!

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pornhub game of thrones traffic season 7 premiere

Interestingly, traffic began to dip below the average in the hours before the premiere even started. Fans may have been stepping away from their computers earlier than usual to prepare for the big episode. It wasn't until an hour and a half after the premiere began that traffic made it back to the Sunday average on Pornhub. We can see that the events of the premiere didn't traumatize viewers too much, however, as it seems that plenty of people were returning to Pornhub as the post-premiere hours passed.

Interestingly, the 4.5% traffic drop for the Season 7 premiere is larger than the drop for the Season 6 premiere, which measures at 4.1%. Given that the Season 6 premiere had to deliver on the giant cliffhanger of Jon Snow's death, the more significant drop for the Season 7 premiere indicates that fans were especially antsy for the show to return. As the hiatus between Seasons 6 and 7 was the longest in Game of Thrones history, I can't say that I blame anybody for prioritizing the Westeros action over porn for a couple of hours.

Pornhub compiled traffic statistics throughout Season 6 that could point to a trend for Season 7. Take a look!

game of thrones pornhub traffic changes during season 6

If Season 7 traffic follows the pattern of Season 6, we can expect the drop in traffic to be less significant next week. With the exception of the fourth episode, only the Season 6 finale resulted in a larger drop than the premiere. Even the "Battle of the Bastards" penultimate episode that generated so much buzz last year couldn't get above the 4% mark. Only time will tell if traffic will pick back up for future episodes of Season 7. There are fewer episodes in Season 7, so more folks may be inclined to take a couple hours off from Pornhub and tune into Game of Thrones live for the next couple of months. We'll have to wait and see.

You can catch new episodes of Game of Thrones on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. In case you missed the premiere, check out our breakdown of the biggest moments of the episode and the horrifying way that the series might kill off a whole bunch of people in the not-too-distant future. If that's a little too grim for you... well, there's always porn.

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