Adult content creators say this porn category has skyrocketed in popularity

Porn is more popular than ever thanks to the internet. But one porn category, in particular, grew tremendously over the past few decades, dominating the current adult content landscape now. And industry experts have the data to prove it.

This week, Mel Magazine published an article about porn’s “best friend and worst enemy,” online search terms. Keywords like “MILF,” or “mother I’d love to fuck,” went from corny descriptors to powerful search engine terms that websites rely on to gain additional traffic. This creates an endless feedback loop where porn studios, performers, and tube sites rely on pre-determined keywords to gain traffic, many of which offensive to marginalized performers. For instance, trans porn commonly uses derogatory slurs like “shemale” and “tranny” to describe trans women.

Search terms also let producers see which trends are growing in porn. In adult filmmaker Bree Mills’ case, her porn streaming site Adult Time has a standout keyword familiar to almost any porn viewer: “anal.” “In terms of our most popular key term searches, I’d say ‘anal’ is big. ‘Anal’ is one of the top things searched for across all adult platforms, and definitely within our platform,” Mills told Mel Magazine.

Adult star Nina Hartley began working in the porn industry during the 1980s, and she vouched for “anal’s” popularity over the past few years. As she told Mel, porn’s marketing terms, categories, and trends are all organic. In her case, she says, “Anything anal has grown in popularity since I first began my career.” Hartley also pointed to highly controversial porn categories such as incest-themed porn and raceplay, arguing that these porn genres are unlikely to leave the industry anytime soon.

“Race fascination, desire, revulsion, and terror is baked into our culture, our memory, our nightmares and our deepest desires,” she told Mel. “Anything taboo in the greater society will have an avid following in the porn world.”

Pornhub Anal Porn Category Popularity Pornhub

Industry analytics reinforce Hartley and Mills’ point. In 2015, Pornhub and Vice revealed that Americans’ anal-themed Pornhub searches increased by 120% from 2009 to 2015.  In 2016, the Independent reported that “more than half” of all porn featured some form of anal sex. By 2018, Pornhub listed anal as its sixth most popular category, beating out “threesome,” “big tits,” and “transgender.”

After analyzing information on 10,000 adult performers, data journalist Jon Millward reported in 2013 that adult films with the word “butt” (or related synonyms) gradually outpaced terms connected to “boobs.” By the start of the 2000s, butt-themed porn flicks boomed in popularity and continued to outrank breasts. Both Millward and Pornhub imply anal sex’s NSFW popularity mirrors real-life interest in porn, citing a 2010 study that revealed over 30% of women had tried anal sex by 24 compared to 16% in 1992.

“So anal sex appears to be growing in popularity both in and out of porn—whether there’s a causal relationship there, it’s tough to say. Women in porn have been doing anal sex sooner over the last few decades though,” he wrote. “I noticed that in the 1980s, they waited about two years after getting into the business before they did anal on camera; these days it’s more like six months.”

Women Anal Porn Popular Pornhub Pornhub

Granted, anal may be popular now, but porn is an industry with its own dynamic tastes. Butts may just be a fad, like any other porn category that suddenly blows up. Case in point, XBIZ news editor Gustavo Turner says genre trends are “constantly evolving,” and viewers eventually become bored of “repetitive content.” The industry has to keep innovating to push sales.

“If you can figure out what comes next, you can get a headstart,” Turner told Mel. “But if you’re too ahead of your time, you won’t find a viable market.”

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H/T Mel Magazine

Ana Valens

Ana Valens

Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.