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This top porn destination isn’t afraid to get political.
XHamster isn’t the most popular porn website in the world. It doesn’t have nearly as many daily users as Pornhub, and if you’re searching for porn, the xHamster URL or brand name isn’t necessarily going to be the first one to pop into your head.
But according to xHamster’s estimates, more than 30 million people visit the site every day, making it one of the most-trafficked adult sites in the world. As it becomes more mainstream, there are plenty of interesting stories behind xHamster and how the site is pushing itself to be culturally relevant. Here are just a few facts about one of the premier places to watch free porn on the internet.
16 surprisingly salacious facts about xHamster
1) xHamster was initially designed to be more like MySpace and Facebook
In 2007, a group of friends, noting the rising popularity of social media, thought that creating a community of those who like to watch porn online was a good idea. The names of the site’s creators are unknown, but their original goal reportedly was to allow users to share photos and videos with each other with the ability to search for specific topics they wanted. Like social media, xHamster connections have even led to nuptials.
“One of the things I am proudest about, during all my time with xHamster, [is] the number of people who have met each other, gotten married, and become life partners after meeting each other originally via our website,” a spokesperson told the Next Web. “The fact that xHamster was created organically by the users themselves to fit their own desires, rather than artificially through some kind of top-down commercial structure is one of the key reasons that the site became so popular originally and remains so popular today.”
2) It’s headquartered in Cyprus, and that helps with a very specific reason
xHamster’s main office is in Limassol, Cyprus—an island off the coast of Turkey in the Mediterranean Sea—and there are a few advantages to being headquartered there. It has low tax rates, and it’s tough for a lawsuit filed in the U.S. to have an impact on a company that’s headquartered in another country. For instance, the company’s remote location was helpful when an Iowa-based adult film producer, Fraserside Holdings, Ltd., sued xHamster for copyright infringement in 2011.
The presiding judge, however, ruled that the U.S. court system had no jurisdiction over xHamster, writing, “xHamster is a Cyprus-based company. xHamster has no offices in Iowa, no employees in Iowa, no telephone number in Iowa, and no agent for service of process in xHamster does not advertise in Iowa. No xHamster officer or director has ever visited Iowa. xHamster does not maintain any of its servers within Iowa. XHamster’s total absence of contacts with the State of Iowa is the antithesis of the type of continuous and systematic contacts necessary for exercising general personal jurisdiction over xHamster.”
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3) xHamster’s logo has evolved throughout the years
In 2016, the website redesigned its logo because, as one xHamster product manager wrote, the audience wanted to see it evolve. “We never want to become too comfortable with something we did well long ago,” he wrote in a Medium post. According to the Drum, 190 new logo entries were submitted from a variety of designers and artists.
The original logo, which (arguably) more closely resembled a real hamster:
The new, monochromatic logo:
4) xHamster offered to produce a popular Netflix series after its cancellation
After Netflix canceled Sense8, xHamster sent an open letter to the series creators and offered a home for a third season of the show, writing, “We know that a series about polymorphous perversity is a hard sell for a mainstream network like Netflix. We have no such limitations, and also understand implicitly the interconnectedness of sexualities across boundaries. In short, we are a we.” According to the Wrap, the series creators reached out to xHamster and that the discussions went well. “It turned out that Lana loved our letter and thought it made a certain amount of sense—as crazy as it is,” xHamster Vice President Alex Hawkins told the Wrap. As of this writing, though, nothing more has been announced.
5) A Netflix series wouldn’t be the first time xHamster helped create original content
In 2016, xHamster began airing The Sex Factor, a 10-episode reality series that featured 16 potential porn stars vying for “instant porn superstardom” and a share of a $1 million prize. As the Independent wrote, some of the challenges on the show were competitive blowjobs and fake orgasms.
6) xHamster does not mind getting political
As one could expect, xHamster leans progressive on the political spectrum. The website has no problem scoring publicity points by punishing the conservative viewpoints it considers to be tasteless. For example, when Utah’s state legislature in February rejected a bill that would have given parents the choice to have their kids participate in sex education, xHamster directed incoming traffic from Utah to a PG-13 sex education video.
— xHamster™ (@xhamstercom) April 11, 2016
Basically, if your politicians violate the site’s values, xHamster might not let you watch—which might be another reason to call your senators.
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7) If you’re a politician—or somebody who looks like a politician—you might get a job offer
After 21-year-old Searcy Hayes appeared on Maury Povich’s TV show, xHamster came calling. That’s because Hayes bears an uncanny resemblance to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). After offering her $10,000 to star in an amateur porn film called “PenatraTED,” she accepted. To make matters worse for Cruz, Hayes said she had no idea who the Texas senator was.
xHamster also has offered former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz $50,000 to star in a video after she left her DNC role. Former Press Secretary Sean Spicer was offered $180,000 per year—the same as his salary in the White House—for a recurring role.
8) People love watching porn featuring political figures
On the first night of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the numbers for porn searches involving Hilary Clinton and Michelle Obama skyrocketed, and xHamster got record-high viewership in the city of Cleveland during the Republican National Convention. During the DNC, searches for “Michelle Obama” increased by 1,428 percent, while the searches for Hillary Clinton rose 437 percent.
9) xHamster has a Brock Turner rule
Named after the former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, who served just three months of a six-month jail sentence for rape, xHamster declared in 2016 that it would ban rape scenes from being uploaded to the website. If a viewer searches for rape, they’ll see this:
Originally, the website also sent this message to users who violated the Brock Turner rule: “If you are searching for this category, probably it’s time you consulted with a professional psychologist.”
10) If you’re thirsty—literally thirsty—xHamster has a solution
Consisting of five malt varieties, two hop varieties, and organic honey, xHamster has a beer that, according to the website, is “very full-bodied, slightly sweet and yet spicy and has a] unique and rich taste giving an aromatic satisfaction after the first sip.” The two reviewers on this Urban Drinks website gave it five stars, but it doesn’t appear to be available currently in the U.S.
11) xHamster bought Alexis Arquette’s sex tape—and then destroyed it
When Alexis Arquette died at the age of 47 in 2016, xHamster bought an alleged sex tape of the actress and trans activist. And promptly destroyed it so nobody could watch. Arquette’s former lover sold the tape to xHamster for $25,000, according to the Daily Mail. xHamster purchased it for one sole purpose. “Ms. Arquette was an icon and activist in the trans community and we could not see someone smear her memory the way the selling party was trying to do,” xHamster spokesman Alex Hawkins told the paper. “We acquired the tape and subsequently destroyed all copies of it.”
12) xHamster suffered an embarrassing hack (maybe)
In November 2016, hackers exposed the usernames and email addresses of nearly 380,000 xHamster users. A xHamster spokesperson told Motherboard that nobody’s passwords had been obtained. A day later, xHamster walked back its findings, according to Motherboard.
“The only way to respond to this news is to coin a new term: ‘Fhack.’ A fhack is best defined as a fake hack. There was a failed attempt to hack our database which occurred 4 years ago. The integrity of our user data is secure. Passwords are encrypted and impossible to hack. In short, this was a successful fhack; and a failed hack.”
13) A few months later, xHamster made its site more secure
In October 2016, Wired published a story about the dangers of porn sites not using the “https” encrypted website connection, especially in the wake of the Ashley Madison hack. In January 2017, xHamster announced it was the first major free porn tube site to make the switch from “http” to “https.” As Hawkins wrote in January 2017 for the Huffington Post, “We operate in a lot of countries where porn is illegal. Where being gay is illegal. Where women learning about sex is illegal. Where women uploading naked photos can be punished by death. We realized that by operating a non-secure site, especially one that focuses in user uploaded ‘amateur’ content, that we were endangering users across the globe.”
Despite the fear from Hawkins and, probably, others that switching to “https” would hurt their Google rankings and/or cost too much money, Pornhub, YouPorn, and RedTube quickly followed suit.
14) xHamster is also concerned about physical intruders
The website help launched a crowdfunding campaign for a product with a built-in motion sensor that would alert you if somebody is nearby while you were looking at porn. Called Minimeyes, the device monitors for people who get within about 16 feet of your private space and then hides all open computer windows while muting the sound. If you have an Android device, the app you’re using will close, and if you’re on iOS, it’ll send you a sound alert. As of this writing, only 1 percent of the $96,000 goal on Indiegogo had been reached. It’s also unclear how the Minimeyes would help if somebody walks in the room while your pants are around your ankles.
15) xHamster invented another way to not disturb your neighbor
In July 2017, xHamster introduced a Night Mode feature that changes the background of the site from bright white to a low-light black. That means you can watch porn in the dark without displaying a bright light that could disturb anybody around you. “We know most of our users visit the site late at night, and too many porn sites light up the room when you log on,” Hawkins said in a statement. “We believe that if you’re watching a cuckold stepmom gangbang at 2am, it’s nobody’s business but your own!”
Plus, since we know looking at your phone late at night disturbs your sleep patterns, xHamster is just trying to help you get to bed. “Studies show that porn is good for you, but watching a bright screen at night is not!” Hawkins said. “We’re excited to be able to offer xHamster fans a way to watch their favorite Irish granny threesome or muscular babysitter pegging videos without lighting up the entire room.”
16) xHamster has penetrated the world of sports
Like Pornhub and its desire to sponsor low-level European soccer and basketball teams, xHamster also sees the value of sports, sponsoring an Italian cycling team for the 2016 season. The team, called Promosport Racing, has an Italian mountain biking championship and a regional cross country title, and it added xHamster because it wanted a “viable brand for a viable team.” Meanwhile, xHamster told the Drum that the site’s association with the team would bring adult entertainment into the mainstream and “eliminate the hypocritical label given by our society upon porn-related content.”
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Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.