Why do straight women prefer lesbian porn?

Article by Caroline Zielinski /
The Daily Telegraph /
August 28, 2015 /
Click here to view original /

Suddenly, the door is thrust open, and a young girl — aged between 18 and 20 — enters the room, her long, brown hair flowing down her back, her young lips pouting seductively. She’s naked, or just about, her skimpy lingerie barely covering her body.

Given this is porn then as to what happens next, well, you can no doubt figure out for yourself. But chances are, if you’re a woman, you won’t find the image arousing at all.

Lesbian porn, however, is another story. According to PornHub’s and RedTube’s latest report on consumers and their porn search terms, women are searching for girl-on-girl content when browsing the web for pornography. Their second preferred category is male gay porn.

“The ‘Lesbian’ and ‘Gay’ categories remain the top two with the most views, which is consistent to what we found in our prior coverage,” the report says of what female consumers are searching for.

“[Categories] ‘For Women’, ‘Lesbian’ and ‘Solo Male’ all remain at the top of the list, though the actual percentage points indicating how much more popular these categories are among women have increased slightly.”

Straight porn? Not so much.

And with scenes invariably unfolding such as the one described above in conventional heterosexual porn, who can blame them? As the explosive Netflix documentary, Hot Girls Wanted, revealed, scenarios featuring girls who could pass for underage are more common than not.

The documentary, released recently, explores the heartbreaking underbelly of the porn industry, a world where young girls, barely legal, are lured by the promise of a quick buck and potential fame to have sex with men on camera.

For the most part, this includes straight sex, which, astonishingly, often features verbal and physical abuse of these young girls. They are choked, forced to lick up their own vomit and told that they’re sluts.

Figures show 40 per cent of porn consumers search for abuse porn, a statistic that provides some insight as to why straight women reject sex which they engage in and, presumably, find arousing in real life.

“Heterosexual porn is often about glorifying the man — it’s all about him being told he’s amazing,” says counsellor Susie Tuckwell, who specialises in sex therapy. “It’s all about the man’s power, his pulling power and his penis power.”

It’s no secret that mainstream pornography is routinely disparaged for being produced exclusively for men. The male subject is often portrayed as faceless and emotionless, and, as Tuckwell describes it, “is just shown poking into a woman”.

“That’s not actually that great of a look,” she says. Gender and pop culture expert, Dr Lauren Rosewarne, agrees.

“Mainstream porn is often very phallocentric. Heterosexual women might very well appreciate the functionality of the penis in practice, but not necessarily find its deployment in action titillating — particularly since penises are very rarely named as the sexiest part of a man,” she says.

So it should come as little surprise that heterosexual sex — made with straight men in mind — does not reflect the ideal sexual situation for most women.

Lesbian sex, on the other hand, does.

“It is actually about women having the power to be sexual, and about women being able to enjoy sexuality without being poked and intruded,” Ms Tuckwell explains. “Straight sex can be quite intrusive.”

But what about male gay porn? Why would that appeal to heterosexual women?

“Because it makes women take on the female sexual gaze,” says Dr Amy Shields Dobson, a gender studies lecturer at the University of Queensland.

All of us — both men and women — are used to looking at female bodies, she says.

“Even heterosexual women would find lesbian images visually stimulating, because we’re accustomed to viewing women bodies as pleasant.”

However, despite popular misconceptions, women do enjoy looking at beautiful men — as evidenced by the “Magic Mike” phenomenon.

“Gay porn does what heterosexual porn doesn’t: it sexualises the male body. Straight porn just doesn’t treat the male body is the same sexualised way it treats the female body”.

What is also missing from straight porn is equality. Because, for women, there is nothing more sexy than seeing two equal partners enjoy consensual sex.

While heterosexual porn is often the imagined fantasy of straight men (I say “imagined” because often, the porn made with straight men in mind is misguided, failing to take into account that men enjoy looking at “real” women. This is why MILF and Mature categories are often situated at the top of men’s preferences) it does little to persuade a female audience, and even does damage to men, normalising sexual practices often hated by real women.

But does this mean that all women are secretly lesbians?

“While same-sex sex is something many women are curious about, their curiosity won’t extent to actually trying it and thus they will use porn to vicariously experience ‘naughty’ sex,” Dr Rosewarne says.

“Audience relationship to porn is complicated: while for some people the experience is about voyeurism, for others it is about imagining yourself in the narrative.”