FoxSexpert: Porn Isn't Just for Men Anymore

Published November 09, 2009

| FoxNews.com

If you think porn is just for men, think again. Plenty of women enjoy it just as much as the guys, and their reasons for reveling in the eye-candy are as varied as the statistics on just how many of them are becoming porn connoisseurs.

A woman might download or rent erotica to enhance self-pleasuring, sex up foreplay, or to amp her sexual excitement. The question I get from a number of guys who are planning a surprise porn purchase is: What kind of porn do women want?

With the proliferation of porn, it feels like everybody is going out of his -- or her -- way to watch something sexually suggestive. And recent headlines have made it sound like porn is all the rage for women these days.

But it cannot be said with confidence how many women are into it.

First, when you look at the poorly conducted data on porn consumption, you’ll notice that findings are all over the board. During the first third of 2007, the Nielsen/Net Ratings reported that about one in three visitors to adult entertainment Web sites were female, with almost 13 million American women checking out porn online at least monthly.

This sounds like a lot, until you compare it to other findings. A Marie Claire/Esquire sex survey reported that only 17 percent of women go online for porn. The Australian government, too, reported that 17 percent of Australian women are porn consumers. (This is up 10 percent from more than one decade earlier).

Then there’s the matter of a testament on porn’s popularity often coming down to who stands to profit — or promote a personal agenda — in hyping up headlines. Hustler claims 56 percent of business at its video stores comes from women. At a recent sexuality conference, I questioned one female-oriented porn site presenter’s claim that the vast majority of women these days are into porn.

Where is the good study to support that? While the presenter’s site claimed 10,000 porn downloads per month, she had no way of knowing who was making the purchase, male or female. Regardless of the presenter’s irresponsibility in claiming to know more than she did, that sales number isn’t a lot when you consider that this is a multibillion-dollar industry.

Finally, there’s the issue of how porn is being defined in survey efforts. People tend to have distinct definitions for what constitutes porn versus erotica, which can influence data. I’ve also seen porn consumption defined beyond downloads or rentals, including activities like purchasing sex toys and phone sex.

Thus, exact numbers on who dabbles in explicit visual imagery become blurred.

So for those who are into it, or have the potential to be, what do these women want?

What Women Like

As with any other sexual activity, the answer boils down to personal preferences that are best learned by simply asking a lover "What do you like?" or "What are you curious about exploring?" These questions help to diffuse any pressure some women might feel in needing to fit in with supposed sex trends.

For those planning on guiding porn pleasure pursuits, there are general gender differences when it comes to people’s X-rated movie preferences. For women, it’s the context (sex in everyday places like motel rooms), sophisticated plotlines, clever use of words, and steamy relationship that get her sexually aroused.

She wants sex that’s less graphic and that features more realistic actors, in looks, physical arousal, and the way they engage one another. It simply makes her feel better about herself, her sexuality and her sexual response.

Research at the University of Amsterdam revealed that even though women’s bodies respond similarly to porn as men's, such as increased blood flow to the genitals, she feels differently while viewing his sensory delights. Women have reported feeling disgusted, annoyed, repulsed, and generally not turned on by porn made for him.

Women watching porn have reported feelings of amusement, excitement and arousal. In general, women want more than just their physical senses stimulated. They want sexual imagery that has them feeling good about themselves and sex.

Films that turn them on tend to portray genuine female pleasure, and, not surprisingly, they are generally directed or produced by women. This area of the porn industry is constantly at work in meeting her needs with gentler, "softer" sex.

Whether shopping for yourself or selecting a title for your lover, you’ve got an entire genre — female-friendly erotica — to explore, full of classy cinematography, intricate plots and thoughtful characters.

At its helm is producer Candida Royalle, a former erotic film star herself, who has strived to quell any concerns over feeling dirty by presenting a woman’s erotic voice. She sells about 10,000 movies monthly. Her sensuously explicit films are known for using more ‘natural’ looking women, fewer genital close-ups and even real-life couples at times.

Other females producing "for women by women" porn (of a wide variety) include Veronica Hart, Nina Hartley, Tristan Taormino and Jamye Waxman. According to Royalle’s "How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do," male directors holding some appeal for female audiences include Andrew Blake, Gerard Damiano, Cameron Grant, Henri Pachard and Anthony Spinelli.

At the end of the day, the success of your quest may not be your movie of choice, but getting her to explore different forms of pleasuring in general. Letting her know what you like and how that can positively affect your sex life is sure to perk up her ears.

This includes adding variety and novelty, boosting sexual excitement, and framing your efforts as ways to entice each other using sexually suggestive materials. And don’t forget to point out that porn aimed at couples is one of fastest growing markets in the industry.

Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."

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