I wrote a post a few months back on the public exposure of ponyplay where I looked at the inclusion of ponyplay in some mainstream entertainment (TV, music, movies, etc). Today I want to do the opposite. I want to look at internet searches for pony play related terms and try to correlate them with mentions in mainstream media.
To get this data, I went over to the Google trends tool, which let's you look at the relative number of searches for a given search query over time (the data have been normalized to allow easier comparison). So let's take a look at the search volume for the search queries "pony play" (blue) and "ponyplay" (red):
The first thing I realized from this graph is that apprently pony play (two words) is the preferred term (as opposed to ponyplay) by about 2:1, so let's focus on that term. Let's start with the smaller spike (just to the left of the big one) that occured in October 2007. This one was the easiest to pin down: an episode of the TV series Bones ("Death in the Saddle") that prominietnly featured ponyplay aired on 9 Oct. 2007 sending viewers off to the internet to find out more.
Now for the huge spike in searches for pony play that occured in February 2008, dwarfing everything else. What, or rather who, could have inspired so many people to run off to the internet to find out exactly what pony play means? None other than Madonna herself. Apparently Madonna has done more than any other person to introduce the general public to our kink.
On February 13th of 2008, Madonna's film Filth and Wisdom debuted. I have not seen it, but UT San Diego's Nina Garin says "...It tries to be shocking, especially with all that pony play..." (source). A few days following the debut, an article appeared in The Sunday Times: My unbridled humiliation as Madonna’s spanking pony, which makes for an interesting read.
It's hard to know if Madonna has a genuine interest in pony play (whether aesthetically or sexually), or is just trying to be shocking since the movie is not the first time she has included pony play in her work. Lady Gaga has seemingly also embraced ponyplay themes albeit more subtly.
Anyway, there's also a mini spike in August of 2012, but I can't seem to figure out what caused it. If you happen to know of some show (TV, radio, etc.) that featured pony play in that month, please let me know. I really would love to find out what prompted it.
Just for fun I took a look at ponygirl, ponyboy and their plurals and was a little disappointed at the result:
It seems searches for these terms is on a decline, but given the normalization employed, we probably should not read too much into the results. Don't get too excited that searches for ponyboy have remained fairly constant. Ponyboy is a charcter from a novel, and thus I believe that this (not interest in BDSM ponyboys) is what accounts for the steady volume in searches. However, let's end on a more promising note: the search query "human pony":
Oh and because Folsom was only a few weeks ago (but mostly just for the hell of it), here are the relative searches for Folsom. Can you guess in which month the fair is held?
Can you identify any of the spikes (e.g. January 2009 for human pony)? If so, please let me know!