Women Tell Us Why They Prefer Porn with No Women

“I used to YouTube ‘emo boys kissing’ which was a gateway, I think.”

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07 February 2019, 9:45am

Image courtesy MenAtPlay

This article originally appeared on VICE CA.

Each year Pornhub puts out user data we’re reminded that women make up a substantial 37 percent chunk of the company’s gay male porn viewers. According to 2016 findings, gay male porn is the second most viewed category by women on the site—“lesbian" is the first but only by a small margin. It is also revealed in this study that 18 to 24-year-old women are 24 percent more likely to watch gay male porn than other age groups.

But perhaps it’s not surprising that more and more women are ditching heterosexual porn for something a little gayer? Heterosexual porn is predominately made for and by men, meaning it rarely caters to what women want to see. Without meaning to yuck anyone else’s yum, for most women, watching another lady get spermed on doesn't quite cut it. But it’s not just the content that women are finding unsatisfactory, it is the context also. Much of the heterosexual porn out there can be exploitative, dehumanizing, degrading and display troubling gender dynamics, and even if it doesn’t most are still inextricable from an industry that is built on monetizing all those things. So for a lot of women that makes for uncomfortable viewing.

Women consuming male-on-male erotica is far from a new phenomenon. The traditions go far back in Japanese and Chinese culture in a genre known as “boys love.” This genre of fiction can take the form of manga comics, film, literature, internet forums and TV series and generally depicts androgynous boys being gay together. It has a huge following and is primarily written by and marketed towards young women. The same can be seen in modern fan fiction where male-on-male slash pairings are by far the most common, and again predominantly written and read by young women.

So not only are women watching guys bang, they’re also reading about it too. I was curious to find out what exactly women are looking for and finding in gay guy sex, so I reached out to some women, straight and queer, who might be able to shine a light on this guy-on-guy phenomena.

Lou, 26

VICE: Hey Lou, so what made you move away from heterosexual or lesbian porn in favour of guy-on-guy action?
Lou: A lot of things to be honest. I first found myself moving away from lesbian porn because it felt very male-gazey. It largely didn’t feel created for women. My main reason though was an ethical choice. Though the industry does often feature empowered women who have chosen to be there, more often than not there is some kind of coercion. As I have gotten older, this knowledge has become inextricable from the porn-watching experience.

And what is it that you like about guy on guy porn?
I am very queer and feel like queer male sex is some of the queerest porn available because there are more genuinely queer male performers than female in the industry. Seeing immaculately manicured women performing queer sex, visibly not enjoying it, just isn’t as hot as seeing something really gay to me. I’m also fascinated by situations that I could never really be in and as a cis femme, there is nothing about seeing two men fucking that I can connect with so it’s totally escapist.

What about escapism is important to you?
I find it hard to derive joy from anything that could invoke guilt so keeping it fantastical and escapist allows me to enjoy something without confronting some of the emotional challenges that come with actual sex.

So you feel more comfortable watching two guys?
Yes. Although this sounds counter-feminist in some ways, I don't feel the same obligation or protectiveness over men, who typically have more agency in these sexual circumstances than women. Viewing men being dominated in porn doesn’t feel like a painful reflection of society, in a way that it does for women for me. So I can enjoy watching the dom/sub dynamic, without feeling the worry about what is happening to the woman outside of the film to lead her to this position and if she is really choosing this.

Now you only watch dudes, what don’t you miss about other forms of porn?
Young women or women of very slight build being physically dominated by a man, anything that involves women being extremely degraded or physically hurt by men, and anything that features long fingernails going anywhere near vaginas.

Yikes, I’m with you there.

Clare, 29

VICE: Hey Clare, so tell me what’s wrong with hetero porn?
Clare: A lot of hetero porn doesn’t do it for me because it’s just focused on the man’s pleasure and to me isn’t realistic. It’s so formulaic; get a blowjob, fuck the woman then do anal usually. I find some really unrealistic stuff uncomfortable, like the women touching themselves while they have giant fake nails on.

So you moved onto the gay male variety?
Yes, I like bear porn, I think I’m into the whole subversion of traditional gender roles. I mainly like fantasy porn that’s like one ‘straight’ guy, or straight guys ‘experimenting,’ and I like dick so I’ll watch gay porn to look at penises!

All about the cock?
Oh yes, I also like seeing how men give head to see if I can pick up any tips!

Sensible! And how did you get into it?
I’ve always had mmf threesome fantasies. I think I got into it when I was in a phase of threesome porn and I got into bisexual mmf threesome porn and realized I enjoyed watching the men doing sexual things to each other more than when they included the woman!

Alexandra, 20

VICE: So Alexandra, you’re into guy-on-guy fanfiction, when did you start reading it?
Alexandra: I probably started reading slash at around 13 or 14.

What was more appealing to you about m/m fanfic?
I used to read f/m a lot, but I think I enjoyed the ways in which m/m, and to a smaller extent f/f was presented. I'd seen a lot of romcoms with straight couples and I hadn't seen any with queer couples. It was refreshing to read about normalized queer couples.

What problems does m/m fic overcome that you might find uncomfortable in other pairings?
I think in certain contexts, I find m/m safer than straight pairings. I’m not comfortable worrying about unwanted pregnancy or the second class status of women in fic. With male pairings I knew both characters could have agency without it being historically inaccurate. There's also a point about women not wanting to put female bodies in a dangerous situation, even fictionally

Why do you think it’s predominantly women who read and write m/m fic?
I definitely think that it has a lot to do with historical context. Queer female relationships were never explicitly illegal in this country or America, likely because we have always been heavily sexualized and not seen as as valid, or as revolutionary as male queer relationships. It's still hard to discuss queer women without sexualizing them. So as teenagers and young adults, I think a lot of slash writers don't want to delve into that difficulty. Especially when the much easier and more dramatic queer male narrative is right there.

So you find reading about two guys hot, do you think this is different from a man finding girl-on-girl action hot?
Well in essence I don't think it is, but the latter comes from a long tradition of using female sexuality and appropriating it for men. Not just in consumption but very much in production and public perception. There definitely are issues with teenage girls using male homosexuality for themselves, but that's very different than adult men building industries around it.

And do you worry it might be appropriating gay male culture at all?
There's the potential for that element, but if you continue too far down that path writers wouldn't be able to write about anything they haven't experienced! I think it all comes down to respect and research.

Charlotte, 26

VICE: Hi Charlotte, so why does guy on guy porn stand out to you?
Charlotte: Sometimes I find lesbian porn uncomfortable because it seems really fake to me, whereas gay porn, because I’m not a gay man, I probably can’t tell if it’s fake.

What is it about gay male porn that you prefer over other kinds of porn?
I like the power dynamic. I almost feel like the people in it are more safe, or it’s more consensual. Even though there’s no logical basis for this.

When you’re watching, do you imagine yourself as part of the scene or as separate to it?
Definitely separate to it, and it’s this separation that I like. It makes it more taboo and exciting to watch because it’s so separate from anything I’ve ever experienced.

Do you think the way you watch guy-on-guy porn is at all similar to how a straight guy might consume girl-on-girl porn?
No I don't think so. I'm not straight so I’m not just watching two guys fucking because I want to see two guys together untainted by a girl being there, which I think is sometimes how straight guys watching girl-on-girl view it. I guess a lot of men watch lesbian porn and imagine themselves as part of it, which I definitely don’t do with guy on guy stuff.

How did you realize it was something you enjoyed?
I tried it just to see what it was like and ended up liking it a lot. But way before that I used to YouTube ‘emo boys kissing’ which was a gateway I think.

Cute! Why did you do that?
Again it was something exciting and voyeuristic.

Rosie, 33

VICE: Hello Rosie, so what is it about gay male porn that you prefer over other kinds of porn?
Rosie: It doesn't make me feel uncomfortable in the same way heterosexual porn does. I find there’s something more sensual about watching two men. It’s just uncomplicated fucking.

What is uncomplicated about it?
I think there are problematic power dynamics at play in heterosexual porn that I can find uncomfortable. With two guys it seems far more equal.

What specifically about watching two guys fuck gets you going?
I think there's something liberating watching it, and imagining myself as a guy. It’s also liberating to distance my sexual fantasies from my own body. Any insecurities or discomfort or personal preference to do with my own body has no relevance and that’s nice for me.

So you don’t enjoy watching women in porn scenes at all?
Not really, I feel protective of the women in scenes, and feel almost guilty watching her. With gay guys I don't have that, because it’s so far removed from a straight male gaze, like it’s the only porn out there that isn’t for them, so I don't have to worry about being complicit.

Do you feel heterosexual porn is too designed for straight men?
Of course! I like watching gay male porn because it focuses on the male body. I'm a straight woman, I love the naked body of a man. I love watching guys cum, even better if I get to watch two guys cum at once. I think any porn that focuses on men as the sex objects over women is more favourable for me, and it doesn't make me feel bad or uncomfortable.

Will you ever go back to watching heterosexual porn?
I don’t see that happening. The more cocks the better!

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