What Kinds of Porn Do Men and Women Watch Most Often?

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There are lots of articles out there describing the most-viewed porn categories on Pornhub and other popular adult sites—however, that’s not what this article is. While big data insights from major porn websites are certainly interesting and informative in their own right, they are limited in several ways, not the least of which is that we don’t necessarily know how the people who visit those sites are similar to or different from the rest of the population. 

So what happens when—instead of looking at big data—researchers survey people about which types of porn they watch most often? That’s the subject of a recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research. It explores what men and women—both heterosexual and non-heterosexual—look at when they view porn.

For this study, researchers surveyed 2,227 adults aged 18-40, of whom two-thirds identified as heterosexual; the remaining one-third identified as gay or bisexual. Participants were given a list of 27 different porn categories and they were asked to rate how often they view each one. Note that all participants in this study reported having viewed porn multiple times in the past year.  

The most-watched porn genres were as follows:

Heterosexual men

1.) Amateur

2.) Oral sex

3.) Big breasts

4.) Threesomes

5.) Anal sex

Heterosexual women

1.) Threesomes

2.) Oral sex

3.) Softcore (nonexplicit sex)

4.) Gangbang (one woman and three or more men)

5.) Large penises

Gay and bisexual men

1.) Anal sex

2.) Oral sex

3.) Threesomes

4.) Amateur

5.) Gay

Lesbian and bisexual women 

1.) Threesomes

2.) Bisexual

3.) Oral sex

4.) Lesbian

5.) Orgy (with at least two persons of each gender)

One of the things that stands out here is that two categories made the top five for each gender and sexual orientation group: threesomes and oral sex. This shouldn’t be surprising when you look at the data I collected on sexual fantasies for my book Tell Me What You Want—I surveyed more than 4,000 Americans about their fantasies and found that threesomes and oral sex were ubiquitous. In other words, it was rare for people to have never had fantasies about these things.  

As for the other categories that emerged, we saw several other references to group sex (e.g., gangbangs, orgies), as well as an emphasis on anal sex and large breasts and penises. Another big category that appeared, at least for men, was amateur. 

Amateur porn tends to portray people with more realistic bodies than professionally-produced porn, which tells us that you have many people who are looking for porn that’s actually based in reality. At the same time, however, you clearly have many people who are looking for porn featuring supranormal breasts and genitals.

This study is limited in that it only considered 27 different types of porn—clearly, there are more kinds out there than this! However, these results offer insight into what people are watching in porn outside of big data analyses—and it’s worth noting that there are several differences. For example, neither threesome nor oral sex were among the five most-searched terms or most-viewed categories on Pornhub last year. This suggests that we might want to be cautious about drawing too many conclusions from any one study or analysis of porn-viewing habits. 

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To learn more about this research, see: Hald, G. M., & Štulhofer, A. (2016). What types of pornography do people use and do they cluster? Assessing types and categories of pornography consumption in a large-scale online sample. The Journal of Sex Research53(7), 849-859.

Image Source: 123RF/Stas Vulkanov

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