Women Really Do Like Porn, So Let's Embrace Them

For a very long time now, pornography has been about naked women. Indeed, most adult webmasters take it as given that their surfers and customers are men, and that these men are secretly indulging in porn away from the disapproving frowns of women - wives, girlfriends and mothers. "Women don't like porn" is a maxim taken as absolute truth by many in this industry.

The trouble is, they're wrong. Increasingly large numbers of women are enjoying pornography, or are looking to indulge in some kind of sexually explicit entertainment. And these women represent a largely ignored market.

In July 2003 an Australian group of researchers revealed that women made up 20 percent of the respondents to their online survey. The federally funded project, still not complete, aims to look at who is buying porn, and why."The younger women who are coming up seem to be much more comfortable about it," said head researcher Alan McKee.

More and more women are buying adult videos, and some stores are adapting their layouts to accommodate them. Newly opened Penthouse Boutique says that over 50% of their customers are couples, with 20% of buyers being single women.

And the idea of women being sex-hating prudes is also being disproved. Women are actually very sexually adaptable. Two years of scientific testing at Northwestern University revealed that women were capable of being aroused by any porn - whether straight, gay or lesbian - while men were more focused on their own sexual orientation. And a new survey from Britain reveals that more than 50% of women own a sex toy and more than a quarter would like to have sex with another woman.

The growing acceptance of sexual topics and sex in general is also encouraging women to explore porn. In a recent article about women and porn, psychologist Harrison Voight declared: "Women are getting close to a male style of sexuality." Many women are introduced to porn by their boyfriends and, upon finding they like it, search it out for themselves.

So there ARE women out there surfing for porn; certainly not in the huge numbers that men are, but they're out there. And most of them are disappointed, if only because most of the online adult industry simply doesn't offer them what they want.

Think about what a woman sees if she goes trawling through mainstream men's sites. "Oral sex" sites are about blowjobs, not cunnilingus. Photos of couples often don't show the man's face. Reality sites triumph in fooling women into sex. Big dick sites gloat over "ripping pussies apart". Most photos and movies are created to cater to male desires and there is very little content that is female-focused.

Of course, there are numerous sites that cater to women, although often many of these seem more tailored to gay men than female surfers. The ongoing focus on naked men is something of a problem; a lot of women dismiss such photos as "too gay". As the increasing demand for adult videos shows, women are keen on hardcore too, but they want women's hardcore.

The proliferation of gay sites and specific niches like BBW prove that the adult industry is willing to adapt and cater to an existing market. Unfortunately, however, this has not really been the case with the "for women" market, for two main reasons.

Firstly, many webmasters have not taken the female surfer seriously. They've ignored hidden female traffic and focused entirely on the male surfer, which has left a lot of women "dangling". A huge step in making better use of female traffic is to simply put a "Ladies Click Here" link on free sites, or create a "for women" category, so that women can be better directed towards what they want (and thus feel inclined to spend their money).

The other stumbling block is content. The overwhelming majority of couples/hardcore content produced is created for male viewers. Some of it can be adapted to suit women's needs, but it's a hard slog to find just the right set or movie. Perhaps as the women's market grows, content producers will step in to fill the niche.

And rest assured, the market is growing. Young women are far more casual about the idea of porn, and more and more of them are turning 18 every day. It's time we welcomed them with open arms.

Originally published at YNOT News, October 2003