What Was Popular In Porn In 2017?

Pornhub recently released their annual year-in-review of users’ viewing habits and, as usual, the results were fascinating. Among other things, they reported an average of 81 million site visitors per day in 2017, each of whom stayed for an average of 9 minutes and 59 seconds. Also, users uploaded more than 4 million videos—so many, in fact, that it would take 68 years of continuous viewing to get through them all. That’s a lot of porn!

You can check out the full report here in all its glory, but if you’re just after a few highlights and some analysis, here are some of the things that stood out to me during my review of the data.

· The single most popular search term on the site was “lesbian,” which has now topped the list for the third year in a row. Why is that? For starters, watching two women having sex is an extremely popular fantasy among straight men. Studies find that straight men have a tendency to see female same-sex behavior as highly erotic, so it makes sense that this would be a particularly popular porn genre among male users. However, lesbian porn isn’t just popular among men—it has also become the most-viewed category among women! This could be due to the fact that women tend to be more sexually fluid than men. Consider this: research has found that, among persons who identify as heterosexual, women are more likely than men to report having experienced same-sex attraction and having masturbated to same-sex fantasies. However, it’s also possible that women like lesbian porn for the same reasons they tend to like gay male porn: perhaps the actors seem to be enjoying the sex more, the pleasure appears more genuine, and/or the production value and plotlines are better. This makes sense in light of studies finding that most women who watch gay male porn also watch lesbian porn. So maybe lesbian porn is just more female friendly than most of the mass-produced heterosexual porn.

· The second most popular search term in 2017 was “hentai,” which jumped up six spots on the list from the previous year. In case you’re not familiar, Pornhub offers the following definition of hentai: “a subgenre of the Japanese genres of manga and anime, containing overtly sexualized characters and sexually explicit images.” So why is cartoon porn so appealing? Unfortunately, this isn’t something that has earned much research attention (at least not yet), but one possibility is that it offers the opportunity to depict sex acts and fantasies that might otherwise be impossible to show in mainstream porn. Alternatively, perhaps its appeal has more to do with the fact that it offers distraction and an escape from reality.

·  The third most popular search term in 2017 was “MILF” (just like it was the previous year). Why are MILFs in such great demand in the world of porn? According to research, many heterosexual men are drawn to powerful and confident women. Learn more about the appeal of the MILF here.

· Overall, 26% of visitors to Pornhub in 2017 were female (the exact same percentage as the previous year). This number isn’t surprising, considering that virtually all porn studies have found that women say they watch less porn than men. Be careful about drawing too many conclusions from this gender difference, though. While it might be tempting to see it as evidence that women aren’t as visually aroused as men, research does not support this idea. In fact, studies have found that women are very much responsive to visual sexual stimuli. The gender disparity in porn viewership probably has more to do with the fact that most porn is produced by men, for men. Men’s sexual fantasies tend to be a bit different from women’s in several ways, so it makes sense that there probably isn’t going to be as much porn out there that appeals to women if men are the ones who are making most of it. This insight helps to explain why “female friendly” is one of the most-watched categories among female visitors to Pornhub—women seem to be looking for something different from the mass-produced, male-oriented stuff.

· The top-gaining category for the year was “cuckold,” which increased by 72%. Cuckolding refers to a sexual practice in which, most commonly, a straight man watches his female partner have sex with another man (of course, gay and bisexual men can and do engage in cuckoldling as well--and the same is true for women of varying orientations). So what’s that all about? It depends, to some extent, on the viewer. Cuckolding often includes elements of BDSM, so it may be appealing to some for that reason. However, there’s more to it than this, and some research suggests that there may even be a biological explanation, at least for men, which you can learn more about here.

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