Surprise: Lesbian Porn Tops the Pornhub Charts, and Women Are the Ones Watching

Surprise: Lesbian Porn Tops the Pornhub Charts, and Women Are the Ones Watching

Just one week after Tumblr announced its new ban on adult content in a move that caused widespread queer despair, and a Facebook sex ban appeared to block everything from posting about being LGBTQ to discussing body parts like breasts and butts — here comes Pornhub, swooping in to remind us all that free (and subscription-based) online porn is alive and stronger than ever.

Pornhub’s 2018 Year in Review shows that adult content isn’t going anywhere, and that interest in queer sex is growing.

For the fourth year in a row, ‘lesbian’ was the most searched-for term on the world’s most popular porn tube site. Pornhub saw a staggering 33.5 billion visits to its website over the course of the year, and 92 million visits a day — which it points out is the equivalent to the populations of Canada, Australia, and Poland all combined.

Pornhub even created a handy map to show which parts of the world like to watch lesbian porn the most. The map also doubles as an illustrated fantasy world for those who want to pretend queer women have taken over most of the earth’s most powerful nations (it’s bound to happen).

Pornhub 2018 Year in Review map. Image via Pornhub Insights. maps-pornhub-insights-2018-year-review-most-viewed-categories
Pornhub 2018 Year in Review map. Image via Pornhub Insights. maps-pornhub-insights-2018-year-review-most-viewed-categories

Dr. Laurie Betito, sex therapist and director of the Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center, explained in the post why ‘lesbian’ continues to reign as the most searched-for porn term — turns out, women are the ones driving its success.

“Women continue to favour lesbian porn. They get to see acts they enjoy on themselves – that’s why ‘pussy licking’ is popular,” Betito told Pornhub. “They also seem to enjoy simple eye candy (‘solo male’) performing just for her, perhaps in her ‘fantasy.’”

That might surprise a lot of queer women, many of whom find mainstream ‘lesbian’ porn neither realistic nor appealing. The tropes of lesbian porn created to entertain straight men strike many lesbians as too unrealistic to get off from; while some queer women do enjoy scissoring, it’s just rare enough to make its prominence in straight-helmed ‘lesbian’ porn feel a little bizarre. And while mainstream lesbian porn has improved to feature women who often genuinely seem to be into each other, the classic trope of two high-femme blond Barbies stabbing at each others’ vaginas with pointy acrylic nails is a little scary; while lots of queer femmes manage to have sex with acrylics, there’s usually a latex glove filled with cotton balls or something similar to lessen the chance of injury.

Queer women turn to alternative porn run by queer creators for a reason; sites like The Crash Pad Series, Queer Porn TV, and Pink Label were all founded by queer women committed to diversity of gender, race, bodies, abilities, and sexual kinks. Statistics on the kinds of porn preferred by queer women aren’t easy to come by, but the 2015 Ultimate Lesbian Sex Survey of over 8,500 queer women conducted by Autostraddle found that while only 30 percent of queer women watched straight ‘lesbian’ porn, 65 percent said they watched queer porn created by and for queer people.

But this year’s stats show that mainstream lesbian porn is indeed attracting more women viewers. ‘Lesbian’ was the top-searched term among female viewers, but only the sixth for male viewers, who preferred things like ‘Japanese’ and ‘milf.’ Searches went way up for ‘lesbian strap-on’ at an increase of nearly 400 percent, suggesting that either more queer women are turning to Pornhub, or more queer-curious women are using it to learn how to have sex with another woman.

Searches on Pornhub also went up for lesbian-adjacent categories like ‘tattooed women’ and ‘outdoors.’ Now we just need ‘flannel,’ ‘vegan,’ and ‘breakup sex after processing’ and the lesbian takeover of porn will be complete.

Lesbians weren’t the only winners on Pornhub this year. Searches for ‘trans’ went up in 2018 by 167 percent, Pornhub reports, with an even higher increase among people of all genders over the age of 45. Trans porn was also the fifth most-searched category among users aged 45-64. Which begs the question: What on earth was Victoria’s Secret CEO Ed Razek talking about when he suggested this fall that trans women aren’t “fantasy” material and thus aren’t included as models for the brand?

This year’s overview includes helpful stats on what gay users are searching for in the company’s Pornhub Gay portals, too. In 2018, the most searched terms on Pornhub Gay were ‘Korean’ and ‘Japanese,’ followed closely by ‘black,’ ‘daddy,’ and ‘straight.’ Some of the more specific search terms in the gay porn section were pretty amusing; the game ‘Fortnite’ reigned supreme, with phrases like ‘dick robber’ and ‘remote control’ not too far behind. In terms of overall categories, ‘straight guys’ was the section users flocked to the most.

Queer pornstars did well on Pornhub Gay, too, but with a twist: it was women visiting Pornhub to search for Chris Crocker, Diego Sans, and William Seed, even more than male users.

Hopefully, the FOSTA legislation that killed off Tumblr porn and entire websites like Backpage won’t touch Pornhub, which appears to be the last major bastion of sex positivity online. For now, the company’s year-end stats present a glimmer of hope in an increasingly anti-sex internet landscape.


Mary Emily O'Hara

Mary Emily O'Hara is Associate Editor of INTO.