I love watching porn and I’m a girl

Words by Nikeetha Gamage
Art by Nicholas Manton

I love watching porn and I’m a girl ‒ there, I said it. And for your information, it’s not wrong, weird or gross.

It can be pretty hard talking about porn and masturbation as a female, because there is this preposterous belief that we don’t enjoy sex or anything sexual. This belief branches off from the tree of patriarchy, which asserts that female sexuality is paradoxical. On one hand, porn is something taboo that should be repressed, but on the other hand, it is permissible if it is controlled by men and serves the purpose of male entertainment.

However, the stigmatisation of women watching porn and female masturbation is changing as we have become a more open society. We are more accepting of female sexuality and not just the kind deemed acceptable by the patriarchy, but the kind that allows women to satisfy themselves without shame or guilt.

Now that we have dealt with the serious stuff, let’s jump in and find out what the ladies are up to in the porn department!

Firstly, Pornhub and YouPorn have recorded that out of all the porn categories, women watched lesbian porn the most. This illustrates that many women are erotically stimulated by the female form, which confirms the empowering idea that women do not always need to picture men to be sexually aroused. Evidently, women searched up “Hardcore pussy licking” 6.3 times, “Lesbian scissor” 5.7 times and “Lesbian threesome” 3.51 times more than men, on YouPorn.

Lesbian porn star and director, Lily Cade, dissects these statistics by explaining the number of reasons why straight women lean towards lesbian porn. Often there is no interpersonal connection between the man and woman in heterosexual porn, with Cade citing that during man-woman sex scenes, she was instructed to avoid looking into the man’s face. As such, Cade explains that women often prefer lesbian porn because they value the emotional component of sex, which is often lacking in heterosexual porn. The other main reason women are attracted to lesbian porn is that heterosexual porn is often a manifestation of the male fantasy. Cade states that not only was she instructed to avoid the gaze of her male counterpart, but the camera also avoided focusing on his face. All of this aims to make the man anonymous, allowing viewers to put themselves in the position of the male performer so they can play a role in their own fantasy. Accordingly, heterosexual porn often centres on male sexual gratification, which is why women gravitate towards lesbian porn, as it concentrates on achieving female pleasure.

Another interesting fact about women and their porn-watching habits is that most, like men, do it alone. A 2015 Marie Claire survey of 3000 women demonstrated that only 12% watched porn with their partner and when asked why they watch porn, 73% of respondents claimed it was the quickest way to achieve an orgasm. So it is safe to say the main reason why women watch porn is to satisfy their sexual appetite by themselves, just like men. This debunks the idea that the main reason why women watch porn is for male-centred reasons, such as to understand men’s sexual tastes or to turn on their male partners. Consequently, women seem to watch porn with pretty much the same aim as men, which is to reach their sexual climax and not much else.

Women also like porn with more developed plotlines, as well as interesting dialogue and characters. It doesn’t mean that we can’t get off to simple story-arcs, or we only get turned on by intense, romantic characters or dialogue-heavy porn. Rather, as Nikki Gloudeman from media site Ravishly.com suggests, more dynamic narratives and fuller characters tease out fantasies, allowing for a more satisfying sexual climax. This is opposed to tube sites, which are designed to achieve sexual gratification efficiently and quickly. Women liking more developed story-arcs may also connect to the fact that women watch porn for longer than men. American women spend on average eleven minutes per session on Pornhub, whilst men were a minute less. This could stem from women liking lengthier, more narrative-like porn or the established stereotype that women take longer to orgasm than men.

Now moving on to whom women watch the most in porn. Kim Kardashian was the female performer searched the most by women on YouPorn, followed by the famous, Mia Khalifa and Sunny Leone. Such performers are renowned in the porn industry, with Leone even retiring from an established career in 2013. So it can be deduced that women enjoy the ‘classic’ stars. Following the ‘classic’ theme, women are into more practical, relatable porn, meaning they aren’t interesting in watching porn where stars perform stripper-like tricks they cannot do. A 2014 Cosmo survey indicated that only 14% of women watched porn with tricks they couldn’t do themselves. Therefore, this confirms the previous conclusion that women watch porn to more or less just ‘get the job done’.

Overall, we can learn a lot about female sexuality through what porn women are watching, why they watch it, with whom they watch it with, how long they watch it and who they like watching. Watching porn and masturbating is becoming increasingly common and acceptable in our society. We should continue to foster this environment where women feel comfortable to express their sexuality, without conforming to the pressures of the patriarchy. We can also conclude from these results that women not only watch porn to understand male pleasure and spice up their sex lives with men, but for their own autonomous purposes!

#GirlPower

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