how many people would rather watch porn than have sex
I doubt that any would rather; I know I wouldn't. But it's about risk/investment/reward outcomes.
- Risk: None (unless your fetish happens to be illegal)
- Investment: very minor (typing "boobies" into Google)
- Reward: minor-to-moderate reward (depending on how good you are at "solo" and your mood)
Interacting with the gender of choice:
- Risk: moderate to high, depending on how emotional you are
- Investment: moderate to extremely-high, depending on how willing the other side is to have sex and how attracted you are to them
- Reward: minor to high, depending on how well the other party performs
So I can just go home, turn on my computer, load some good material and have a go, or I can spend time searching for women who interest me physically and mentally, court them, convince them to have sex with me, and at any point along that I could be devastated if a woman turns me down or breaks up if I become too emotionally invested in her. (This is not even including other personal complications, like anxiety, self-image, and depression.)
Now, let's throw a new option in the mix: Legalized prostitution
- Risk: Low, assuming you go through a reputable, authorized service that does regular STD checks; moderate otherwise
- Investment: Whatever the cost is, and the time to set up/arrive (the rarer the kink, the higher the cost)
- Reward: Moderate to high; you're dealing with a "professional" who will cater to any whims agreed upon ahead of time
porn wasn't a prerequisite for masturbation the last time I checked
Correct, but after time you get desensitized to it so you need a new "high", so to speak. If you have a great imagination you might be able to run with that for a while, but for most they'll need new material.