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Why are women still secretive about their porn habits?

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BY TRACY CLARK-FLORY

Hopefully, by now, we are all well aware of the fact that porn is not solely a male domain. Yes, women watch porn, too — in fact, they make up an estimated one-quarter of tube site viewers — and it seems they feel mostly OK about that, according to new YouPorn data. The tube site found that most women believe they are just as entitled to watch porn as men. But they also describe it as a private, and sometimes embarrassing, act.

 

Over the course of a month, YouPorn surveyed more than 24,000 female visitors about their porn-viewing habits. The findings overall showed that female porn viewers are not a homogenous group — there are few results that show anything like an overwhelming majority on any one topic. But the data does shed some light on women’s changing relationship to porn.

 

Most notably, slightly over half of the respondents, 51 percent, felt that it’s just as “acceptable” for women to watch porn as it is for men. This attitude seem to be playing out in romantic relationships as well. The majority, 68 percent, felt that watching porn without their significant other was not cheating, and 69 percent said they wouldn’t be embarrassed if their partner found out they were watching porn. It’s no surprise, then, that, while 17 percent said they felt “naughty” after watching porn, the majority reported that they simply felt “satisfied” or, well, “horny.”

 

All that said, watching porn remains a largely private act for YouPorn’s female visitors. The majority, 89 percent, prefer watching porn alone. As for watching porn with a significant other? Most felt doing so hadn’t actually improved their sex lives — so it’s no wonder they prefer doing it alone. While these women were OK about romantic partners discovering their porn viewing habits, they otherwise kept it private: 54 percent said they haven’t talked to friends about it, and 51 percent said they would be embarrassed if their friends found out.

 

Amid all this private viewing, it seems women are figuring out what they want from porn. Only 30 percent of women rely on a search engine to find their porn — the rest know exactly where they want to go. Once there, 42 percent said they choose videos from a familiar category, while 23 percent check out new possibilities. It seems some common assumptions about what women want from porn don’t really play out — only 34 percent choose videos based on there being a female performer they can relate to, and 28 percent look for a clip with “a female lead or dominant character.” And, contrary to there being any one kind of porn that women like, 46 percent of YouPorn’s respondents said that their viewing habits have changed widely in the last five years.

 

So the bottom line is: Women are watching porn, figuring out what they like, discovering new things, and feeling largely comfortable about that — just don’t tell their friends about it.

This story originally appeared on Vocativ and has been republished with permission.
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