2021 Porn Trends

We all know porn is big business. According to a 2015 report, 40 million adults in the US regularly visit Internet porn sites (though how often the study quantifies “regular viewing” is anyone’s guess), every second 28,258 users are watching porn and yet porn is estimated to only make up 4% of the Internet.

Earlier this month, Pornhub released its Year in Review report; analysing the hottest trends of 2021. Who was searching and what porn were they searching for?

Who watches porn?

  • As predicted, most of Pornhub’s viewers came from the US, followed by the UK, France then Italy.
  • The average age of Pornhub visitors was 37 years old, with a quarter of viewers being aged 18 to 24, approximately 25% of viewers aged 25 to 34 and just over 20% were aged 35 to 44 years old.
    • The report doesn’t show how many underage viewers tuned in last year. A study reported earlier this year in The Guardian found nearly half of teenagers aged 16 and 17 years old said they’d seen pornography. (Note this is self-reported; the true figure is likely to be much higher.) And what about younger teens; how many 13- and 14-year olds have seen porn online? Of course, it’s quite possible younger teens are typing the likes of “porn”, “lesbian”, “MILF porn” into search engines and stumbling upon other porn sites but Pornhub is one of the most popular pornography sites with a domain authority of 92 (out of 100) and over a million ranking keywords. Typing in “lesbian porn” into Google, the top result is Pornhub. Type in “porn”, Pornhub is second, “MILF porn” also brings Pornhub up in second place. Accidentally searching for “milk porn”? Pornhub is first. (I won’t continue or my junk email folder will be even more chockablock of sex-related content. Oh, my job…)

Anyway, I digress.

Women enjoyed “Lesbian” porn the most and were more likely than men to watch porn categorised as “Scissoring”, “Pussy Licking” and “Fingering” – this is likely due to women’s desire to watch porn focused on female pleasure.  In comparison, men preferred to watch “Japanese” porn and the most viewed category on Pornhub Gay was “Straight Guys”.

When do people watch porn?

Unsurprisingly, the Year in Review states the most popular day to watch porn in 2021 was Sunday.  The least popular day was Friday (hello, social life) and popular times people watched porn were between 9pm and 2am with a second peak in the afternoon from 1pm to 6pm (WFH, getting through the working day and siestas, probably).

Are there cultural differences in porn preference?

Pornhub has created a handy map to show the most viewed porn categories by country.  In 2021, UK porn-viewers enjoyed “Lesbian”, as did Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, Spain and others.  Russians and Brazilians were keen on “Hentai”, many African countries liked “Ebony” porn and Germany, Poland and Ukraine liked watching “MILF” porn.

What kind of porn are people watching?

In their report, the team at Pornhub notes worldwide media influences search terms (2020’s top search was “quarantine” and 2018’s top search list included “Fortnite”) so it’s likely the events of 2021 played a part in this year’s defining search results.

So what type of porn have people been searching for in 2021?  This year, the top search term was “hentai” (which, in Japanese culture refers to any sort of sexual fetish but the global understanding of “hentai” is pornified anime).

What is Hentai?

In the early 1900s, “hentai” was beginning to gain traction as meaning “sexually perverse”, after WWII, Japan’s interest in public sexuality grew until the 1950s when “hentai” became a genre in itself, encompassing fetish and homosexuality.  Yet, within ten years, the genre shifted to focus on sadomasochism and lesbianism over homosexuality; a focus that endures to this day.

Other popular porn searches:

The second most popular search term was “romance”.  Last year, “the popularity of ‘romance’ and ‘romantic’ searches more than doubled” and there was an increase of 139% for the word “passionate”.  Perhaps covid is to blame: did social distancing, lovers separated by the pandemic and lockdown bringing relationships to boiling point mean people sought romantic connections in their porn?  Romantic porn also “aims to break the fictional standards of porn,” says sex educator and writer Dainis Graveris in the report.  Porn is typically depicted as rough and male-orgasm centric and a larger female audience could account for last year’s romantic lens on porn.

Group sex” was the third most popular search term, including words such as “threesome” [the fourth most popular search term amongst women], “group”, “ffm”, “mmf” and “orgy” – all these words grew in popularity by more than 70%.

Lockdown weight and fitness evidently had an impact on the kind of sex people wanted to view with searches for “fitness” increasing by 65% and similar searches of “yoga”, “running”, “exercise” and “gym” also becoming more popular this year.

Roommate” was another popular term (commonly spelt “roomate”, though).  How many of us were fantasising about fucking locked-in housemates?

The tenth most popular search on Pornhub was “how to…”, showing there’s always an opportunity to learn, no matter the activity. But doesn’t this also highlight that people are increasingly turning to porn for sex education? (To read more about porn vs sex ed, check out this post.)

Why is knowing porn preferences useful?

Not everyone watches porn and the public’s porn interests only offer a glimmer into adult sexual preferences but porn trends give us an indication of the zeitgeist.  As Pornhub express early in their yearly review, current affairs infiltrate sexual fantasies (for better or for worse) and knowing what people are interested in guides content creation, marketing, public spending and a host of other sectors. 

At the very least, it helps sex bloggers curate content their readers want to read…

(Fantastically, image by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash)

8 Comments Add yours

  1. missy says:

    Very interesting. I don’t watch porn myself as it’s really not my thing but it is always good to know about it from a work perspective. I can definitely say there are plenty young people accessing porn hub, based on what they tell me. Food for thought. Missy x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Helen says:

    A very interesting read, thank you Holly. As an avid porn viewer, I may have to backlink and uncover some of my own habits at some point!

    Like

    1. Hi Helen,
      Great! Yes, absolutely link back – can’t wait to read what you come up with. x

      Like

  3. naughty nora says:

    I feel that I definitely contributed to these statistics! Though my search for porn almost always includes “spanking” or “threesome with anal”. LOL…must delete my browser history! XOXO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha. New Year’s Resolution? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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