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Why Straight Women Watch Lesbian Porn

Way to go, men.

Lisa Power

Photo via Flickr user Christian Hans

As sure as the sun rising, straight men love lesbian porn.

And yet, for the past two years, our masterbatory mothership Pornhub.com has published data on what female users looked for most, and "lesbian" and lesbian-related items have consistently topped searches.

Pornhub insights noted that, specifically in North America, "women in Canada and the United States are 186 percent more likely to search for lesbian videos compared to men, and they're 63 percent more likely to search than women elsewhere in the world."

With such stark numbers, it can be assumed that these figures also include many straight-identifying women.

Dr. Meredith Chivers of Queen's University is a leading researcher on female sexuality. In 2015, she published a study entitled Straight but Not Narrow; Within-Gender Variation in the Gender-Specificity of Women's Sexual Response. Chivers' study showed that when women are shown sexually explicit imagery depicting lesbian erotica, there is an increased physiological response that suggests arousal, regardless of their self-identified sexual preference.

"It's important to keep in mind that the motivations to search for lesbian porn are multiple," she told VICE.

I wanted to find out what these motivations were, so I created a survey that women could fill out anonymously. Some of the responses proved interesting:

"I find it less intimidating as hetero porn can seem quite harsh," one respondent commented. "I don't find the 'typical' portrayals of masculinity hot, I find it a bit scary and often very cringe-worthy. Also boobs and lady-bits look great and I can identify with the actors... making it more enjoyable!"

"Straight porn is often focused on the man's pleasure," said another. "It's common to see handjobs and blowjobs but not as common to see fingering or cunnilingus. As a woman, I prefer to see female pleasure because I can imagine myself in that situation. Lesbian porn ticks that box."

"It's hot," one added.

The results of my (very informal) survey had more than half of straight-identifying, female respondents admitting to watching lesbian porn. Many echoed similar sentiments for why, citing reasons like that it focused more on the woman's pleasure and that they liked to imagine themselves as the woman being pleasured. Some noted the fantasy element of being with someone of the same sex, while others said that overall, it just felt less degrading.

Vancouver-based sexologist Dr. Renee Lanctot agreed with Chrivers. "Everybody is going to search for porn to satisfy an itch that they have."

"[Porn] paints [the] woman as a sex object," said Lanctot. "[They're] always asked to take bigger-sized penises, more penises around them and longer sessions of being pounded. Nothing about being gentle."

She explained that often times, the slow, sensual build up is what attracts women to lesbian porn. The foreplay aspect is what women find sensuous and pleasurable, since "women get turned on more from their heads, so you have to stimulate their brains in order for their body to start reacting."

Lanctot noted that because most heterosexual men learn about sex and how to please a woman by watching pornography, so the cycle of women's needs being underrepresented in porn and subsequently during real life sexual encounters is self-perpetuating.

Indeed, one respondent observed that: "Porn with men in it tends to focus on the male-POV, [a lot] of emphasis on dick sucking and, as a woman, you can tell when a woman is not enjoying the sexual experience and is faking. A lot of straight porn features a lot of women screaming repetitively and it is annoying as shit. Lesbian porn a lot of times focuses on pleasure and you see a lot more authentic orgasms."


One of the difficulties women face is a hesitancy to be upfront with their male sexual partners and about what pleases them. "If the woman continues to fake orgasm or if men get the sense that she's enjoying it when she's not," Lanctot said, "you're basically telling your partner that what he's doing is right, but you're not teaching him what needs to be done in order for you to really have an orgasm."

"If the women doesn't tell the guy: 'No this is really not how I want to be touched', or 'please try it this way', it goes nowhere and... those guys never learn... about how to please a woman throughout life."

To the men reading this, consider it a public service announcement: women enjoy head as much as anyone, and like to watch other women getting it, too.

Follow Lisa Power on Twitter.