Do Women Watch Porn? 2022 Data on Female Porn Viewing

We’re on a mission to untangle the confusion around women and porn, so let’s dive into these facts about do women watch porn, what they watch, and more.

do women watch porn

Pornography is often portrayed as a male-centric hobby. The industry revolves around the hottest female pornstars acting out the corniest scenarios created to indulge heterosexual male egos – or so it appears

In reality, women make up anywhere from one-quarter to half of all porn viewers, depending on where you live. Many users don’t provide gender data to porn sites, so these percentages could be higher. 

Sexual stimulation is a cross-gender, cross-sex, humanity-wide source of pleasure for nearly everyone on the planet. While society often tries to underplay female sexuality, this doesn’t stop women from taking their sexuality into their own hands (or their vibrators). 

We’ll dive into the data on how many women watch porn, how they feel about it, what they watch, and more. 

Here are some sensual data points engineered for her pleasure:

  • Watching porn is associated with higher self-competence, sexual function, and partner sexual satisfaction in women. 
  • 52% of Pornhub’s visitors from the Philippines are women. This is the highest percentage of female porn viewers by country in the world and the only country where more than half of its porn viewers are women.  
  • 76% of women surveyed by Marie Claire say that porn has not negatively impacted their lives. 
  • A Marie Claire survey found that 31% of women watch porn “every week or so.”
  • Lana Rhoades and Abella Danger are the top first and second most searched pornstars by women on Pornhub. 
  • A YouPorn survey found that 9% of its female respondents watch porn more than once a day. 

Women and Pornography

Society doesn’t tend to associate women with pornography unless they’re starring in it, and the lack of research is astounding. 

Here’s some context on women’s societal relationship with porn.

  • Outside of its relation to males, female pleasure has not been traditionally theorized in porn studies or the history of sexuality. (Sociology, 2020)1
  • There is little empirical research on women’s pleasure or porn use, possibly because porn is often considered beyond women’s reach and interest. (Sociology, 2020)1
    • Society often expects women to refrain from public displays of sexuality and pornographic depictions of sex. 
    • One study suggests that discussing porn preferences is taboo for women, who may view porn as an inevitable choice that the male partner makes. 
  • Higher and increasing frequencies of porn use in women are associated with higher sexual self-competence, improved sexual functioning, and better partner-reported sexual satisfaction. (Psychological Medicine, 2022)2

How Many Women Watch Porn?

Despite common perspectives, women watch porn by the millions. Most user data comes from the world’s most popular sites, such as YouPorn or Pornhub, but other research has begun popping up in recent years. 

Numbers vary from 20-50%, and no one seems to have a straight answer. Religious organizations that conduct surveys tend to report lower prevalency (surprise, surprise), while porn site data tends to be higher. 

Here’s a look at the numbers:

  • A 2005 study found that one-fifth of respondents who reported looking at porn online were women. (Pew Research Center, 2005)3
  • Recent numbers say women account for 25% of the porn audience. (Psychology Today, 2020)4
  • As early as 2004, sources on female porn use were conflicting. Nielsen/Net ratings had women at over 25% of the porn audience, while ComScore Media Metrix estimated women were 42% of all adult site visitors. (New York Times, 2004)5
  • One survey by American evangelical ministries found that 56% of women ages 13-24 proactively search for porn at least once a month, as opposed to 28% of women ages 25+. (Biblical Recorder, 2016)6
  • In 2021, female visitors were 38% of Pornhub’s site visitors from Spain and 32% of visitors from Poland. In other European countries, women comprised over a quarter of the views. (Statista, 2022)7
  • The Philippines has the highest percentage of female porn viewers in the world on Pornhub – 52% of Pornhub visitors from the Philippines are women. (Fight the New Drug, 2022)8

The Porn Gap / Porn in Relationships

The way women (and men) view porn tends to change when they’re in a relationship. BYU conducted a study of heterosexual couples (it’s BYU, so they haven’t quite moved past cis romance yet) and found the following data.

  • Women in heterosexual relationships are about twice as likely as men to say they never use pornography. (BYU Wheatley Institution, 2018)9
    • The percentages reporting “never” on personal pornography use were:
      • 57% of casually dating women vs. 25% casually dating men.
      • 60% of seriously dating women vs. 25% of seriously dating men.
      • 61% of engaged women vs. 38% of engaged men.
      • 65% of married women vs. 37% of married men.
  • Men who look at porn are about 3-4 times more likely than women to always view it alone, as opposed to with a partner. (BYU Wheatley Institution, 2018)8
    • The percent reporting that they view porn “always alone” were:
      • 45% of casually dating men vs. 13% of casually dating women.
      • 49% of seriously dating men vs. 15% of seriously dating women.
      • 47% of engaged men vs. 14% of engaged women.
      • 45% of married men vs. 11% of married women.
  • Only 46% of women reported that their partner was using porn as frequently as their partner reported they were. (BYU Wheatley Institution, 2018)8
    • 37% of men reported more pornography use than their female partner was aware of, and 17% reported watching less porn than their female partner believed they were watching.

How Often Do Women Watch Porn?

It’s clear that women watch porn, but surely they aren’t watching it as much as men are, right? 

It depends on who you ask. Religious surveys provide some data, but people are more inclined to shy away from sinful confessions in a ministry survey. 

On the other hand, sex-positive media outlets like Marie Claire have respondents more likely to be sexually open and active in their responses. 


They both provide useful data, but national or global trends probably sit somewhere in the middle.

  • One religious survey found that 43% of men and 9% of women reported watching pornography in the past week. (Relationships in America, n.d.)10
    • 34% of men and 72% of women claimed to have not viewed pornography in the last year or never viewed it at all.
    • 19% of women under 30 reported viewing porn in the week before the survey. 
    • Only 3% of women in their 50s reporting viewing porn in the past week. 
    • Women in their 20s are over 6 times more likely to have seen porn recently than the oldest women surveyed. 
  • The global female-centered media platform Marie Clarie surveyed women on their porn use with the following results: (Marie Claire, 2015)11
    • How often do you watch porn?
      • 31% – Every week or so
      • 30% – A few times a month
      • 21% – A few times a year
      • 10% – Daily
    • What forms of porn do you use?
      • 90% – internet porn
      • 40% – Erotic stories
      • 33% – Tumblrs/image searches
      • 11% – DVDs/videos
      • 6% – Audible porn
      • 5% – Not listed here
      • 3% – Magazines
    • What kind of porn do you gravitate toward?
      • 63% – Heterosexual
      • 44% – Lesbian
      • 31% – It’s a mixed bag
      • 28% – Hard-core
      • 26% – Soft-core/”arty”
      • 13% – Gay male
      • 13% – Not listed here
    • How do you find online porn?
      • 75% – Free sites
      • 56% – Searching by specific keywords/ interests
      • 19% – Searching for specific actors/stars
      • 2% – I/we belong to subscriber sites

How Do Women Feel About Porn?

Many men know the somber feeling of self-disgust after a porn session, while others experience a pleasant relaxation or surge of confidence. 

Do women feel the same way? Their responses are as varied as males’, but not quite in the same ways.

  • A survey by popular porn site “YouPorn” found that many women still feel uncomfortable with their porn use: (YouPornWorld, 2017)12
    • 51% would be embarrassed if their friends knew they watched porn.
    • 54% have not spoken to their friends about their porn viewing habits.
  • The same survey found that women who watch porn do so with the following frequencies: (YouPornWorld, 2017)12
    • 18% of women watch porn daily
    • 63% watch it weekly/a few times a month
    • 9% more than once a day
  • 51% of female survey respondents think it’s just as acceptable for women to watch porn as it is for men. (YouPornWorld, 2017)12
  • 89% of females prefer to watch porn by themselves instead of with a significant other. (YouPornWorld, 2017)12
  • A majority of respondents (68%) say that watching porn without their partner doesn’t feel like cheating, and they wouldn’t be embarrassed if their partner found out. (YouPornWorld, 2017)12
  • 46% of YouPorn’s female viewers say their porn habits have changed drastically in the past 5 years. (YouPornWorld, 2017)12
    • 25% say they have changed widely to include new kinds of content.
    • 56% have imagined themselves in a porn video.
  • Survey respondents reported that before watching porn: (YouPornWorld, 2017)12
    • 58% of the respondents don’t do anything; they just want to watch porn.
    • 28% get completely naked before starting.
  • Respondents said that after watching porn: (YouPornWorld, 2017)12
    • 20% say they are still horny
    • 37% are satisfied
    • 17% feel naughty
  • Most women come to YouPorn because… (YouPornWorld, 2017)12
    • They are excited about something in their life – 17%.
    • Simply because they enjoy it – 28%.
    • It’s a way to satisfy sexual fantasies – 19%.
    • While only a small percentage turn to porn when in dire stress – 8%.
    • To please their partner – 2%.
  • Respondents said that when selecting a porn video: (YouPornWorld, 2017)12
    • 34% of the respondents select a video based on whether or not it features participants they can relate to.
    • 28% prefer videos with a female character playing the dominant role.
    • 42% say when watching porn, they look for a few videos and find something they like in the categories they already know.
    • 23% prefer to explore all of their options.
    • 40% of the respondents prefer videos that feature actors and actresses in their group age.
    • 28% would rather see someone older or younger.
  • When asked about why they enjoy porn, respondents from a Marie Claire survey reported the following: (Marie Claire, 2015)11
    • If you watch porn and enjoy it—why?
      • 73% – It’s a quick road to orgasm.
      • 39% – It gives me/us ideas for my own/our sex life.
      • 36% – It allows me to feel in control of my sexuality.
      • 32% – It’s part of a healthy sex life.
      • 24% – NBD. It’s just part of our culture.
      • 23% – It turns my partner(s) and me on equally.
      • 17% – It helps me understand my partner’s likes/dislikes.
  • When asked if they feel conflicted about porn use, respondents said the following: (Marie Claire, 2015)11
    • 56% – It turns me on, but I’m concerned about how the industry treats women, and/or I feel it perpetuates negative stereotypes.
    • 41% – It’s something secretive I don’t want anyone to know about.
    • 35% – I like it, but men seem to conflate porn with real-life sex.
    • 20% – I’m embarrassed and feel ashamed afterward.
    • 19% – I don’t feel like I should “need” it.
    • 2% – I just watch to please my partner(s).
  • When asked if they feel negatively about porn, respondents said the following: (Marie Claire, 2015)11
    • 59% – I’m very concerned about how the industry treats women and/or I feel it perpetuates stereotypes.
    • 46% – I’m really bothered that men seem to conflate porn with real-life sex.
    • 44% – The options are too male-centric 26% Its falsity is off-putting.
    • 15% – I/we don’t “need” it. 
    • 4% – Seeing people have sex grosses me out.
  • When asked how porn has positively affected their lives, respondents said the following: (Marie Claire, 2015)11
    • 51% – I’ve learned more about different types of sex and sexuality.
    • 39% – It hasn’t.
    • 29% – I feel sexier when watching it.
    • 11% – I’ve gotten closer to my partner(s).
  • When asked how porn has negatively influenced their lives, respondents said the following: (Marie Claire, 2015)11
    • 76% – It hasn’t.
    • 16% – My partner(s) seem to expect me to look a certain way that I can attribute to porn.
    • 15% – My partner(s) seem to expect certain acts that I’m not into but can attribute to porn.
    • 6% – My partner(s) seem to spend more time with porn than with me.

What Porn Do Women Watch?

It’s a timeless question: what do women want?

Evidently, they want other women. The most popular categories involve female performers, but the most popular searches include some male pornstars as well. 

Here’s a look at the data. 

  • These are Pornhub’s most viewed categories by women in 2021: (Pornhub, 2021)13
    • Lesbian
    • Japanese
    • MILF
    • Threesome
    • Mature
    • Hentai
    • Anal
    • Ebony
    • Amateur
    • Popular with women
    • Big tits
    • Female orgasm
    • Big dick
    • Gangbang
    • Transgender
  • These percentages illustrate which porn categories were viewed more by women than men and to what degree:(Pornhub, 2021)13
    • Scissoring – +170%
    • Solo mate – +131%
    • Pussy licking – +118%
    • Fingering – +110%
    • Lesbian – +104%
    • Popular with women – +97%
    • Muscular men – +80%
    • Bisexual men – +74%
    • Gangbang – +71%
    • Double penetration – +63%
  • These are the pornstars most viewed by women on Pornhub in 2021: (Pornhub, 2021)13
    • Lana Rhoades
    • Abella Danger
    • Jordi El Nino Polla
    • Mia Khalifa
    • Eva Elfie
    • Riley Reid
    • Esperanza Gomez
    • Johnny Sins
    • Brandi Love
    • Angela White
    • Lena Paul
    • Mia Malkova
    • Alexis Texas
    • Sara Joy
  • These percentages show which pornstars were searched more by women than men and to what degree: (Pornhub, 2021)13
    • Manuel Ferrara – +98%
    • Alessa Shine – +87%
    • Lexi Lore – +71%
    • Bruce Venture – +66%
    • Johnny Sins – +46%
    • Esperanza Gomez – 41%
    • Cade Maddox – +34%
    • Xander Corvus – +31%
  • Worldwide, Pornhub reports that 35% of its visitors are female. (Pornhub, 2021)13
    • Female visitors to Pornhub grew by 5% in 2021. 
  • By country, here are the percentages of Pornhub visitors that are women: (Pornhub, 2021)13
    • Philippines – 52%
    • Colombia – 49%
    • Argentina – 47%
    • Mexico – 43%
    • Ukraine – 42%
    • Spain – 38%
    • Brazil – 37%
    • Chile – 36%
    • United States – 33%
    • Canada – 32%
    • Poland – 32%
    • United Kingdom – 31%
    • Russia – 29%
    • Australia – 29%
    • Japan – 29%
    • Italy – 29%
    • France – 28%
    • Netherlands – 28%
    • Sweden – 28%
    • Germany – 28%

What Are the Best Porn Sites for Women?

While data on porn use often comes from the world’s most popular porn sites, such as Pornhub or YouPorn, it’s important to note that these sites are male-dominated and don’t necessarily provide content that women want. 

These sites are tailored to women’s preferences, interests, and creative achievements. More women may use porn outside mainstream outlets since the mainstream doesn’t always cater to their desires.

One source compiled a list of feminist female-friendly porn sites frequented by women: (Glamour, 2022)14

Make Love Not Porn

  • Created by Cindy Gallop, this site shows real sex among real people, not actors giving unrealistic representations of sex.
  • Couples submit videos of themselves having sex that you can rent for $5.

The Crash Pad

  • This award-winning queer porn site provides “real dyke porn, lesbians, femme on femme, boi, stud, genderqueer and trans-masculine performers, transwomen, transmen, queer men and women engaging in authentic queer sexuality.”

Lust Cinema

  • Erika Lust, a filmmaker who gave a TED talk on why porn can be feminist, provides porn videos primarily made by female directors. These videos show all of the passion, “intimacy, love, and lust in sex,” where “the feminine viewpoint is vital, the aesthetic is a pleasure to all of the senses, and eroticism and innovation are celebrated.”

Lady Cheeky

  • This site features GIFs for quick, free consumption of “palpable desire, unbridled passion, and body-positive eroticism.” It also offers sex-toy reviews, an NSFW coloring book, and other resources from sex educator Elle Chase.

Dane Jones

  • A site geared toward genuine depictions of female pleasure that put other sites’ “female sections” to shame. 

Indie Porn Revolution

  • The female-led Indie Porn Revolution (formerly known as nofauxxx.com) involves a diverse array of actors, shows safe sex, and frequently rebrands typecast people in nonstereotypical roles.

Bright Desire

  • Ms. Naughty – the filmmaker behind this production company – calls it “a deliberate attempt to show all the good stuff that we love about sex—intimacy, laughter, connection, and real pleasure.”
  • This site showcases the silly, awkward side of sex as well as the hot and steamy side. The camera zooms in on men just as much as it does on women, and the scenes focus on the buildup of sexual tension couples experience before sex, so you can feel the heat rising.

Sounds Of Pleasure

  • Sounds of Pleasure provides free audio recordings of masturbation sessions. Some include dirty talk to please the listener, and others include entertaining attempts to count backward from 100 to 0.

Good Vibrations After Dark

  • The feminist sex-toy store Good Vibrations has an exceptional video collection.
  • You can search specifically for feminist porn, women-directed films, and even sex-ed guides.

Bellesa

  • At Bellesa, women can easily access sexual content that is true to how they see themselves—as subjects of pleasure, not objects of conquest.
  • They’re a platform aimed at helping women fulfill their desires, share intimate and erotic stories, and even engage in a community with like-minded women seeking to express their sexuality on the internet freely.

Conclusion

All in all, there isn’t perfect data on how many women – or even how many people – watch porn worldwide. However, it’s safe to say that at least a third of women use porn to satisfy themselves, just as men do sexually. 

Porn use among women is more stigmatized than it is for men, and society rarely acknowledges that women watch porn at all. As a result, women can feel embarrassed to admit their porn use in surveys or even to friends. 

The mainstream porn outlets do not always cater to women’s unique sexual preferences and often exploit women for male entertainment in ways that some women find distasteful or unsatisfying. These factors can also reduce a woman’s desire to partake in porn.

In mainstream outlets, women gravitate toward porn with other women and bisexual men; however, they do search for some male pornstars in large numbers. 

Several alternative outlets exist, and most focus on removing the insufferable corniness of a long-donged pizza delivery guy or a stepdaughter that simply can’t resist her stepdad. Instead, female-run outlets focus on providing a genuine, sensual, and realistic porn experience. 

While this doesn’t mean that women don’t have fantasies (they absolutely do), it does suggest that many women demand a higher standard of authenticity for sexual satisfaction. Additionally, as the sites providing this content continue to grow, we may realize that far more women are watching porn than we thought.

For more interesting sex studies and statistics, head over to our guide here.

Footnotes

  1. Sociology, 2020. A study of 27 women with both exclusive and non-exclusive sexualities using interviews to determine the role of pornography in female sexuality.
  2. Psychological Medicine, 2022. A study on porn use and sexual performance using data from over 100,000 participants and over 4,000 heterosexual couples.
  3. Pew Research Center, 2005. A study of online adult content using data from 1,336 adult internet users.
  4. Psychology Today, 2020. An article on the prevalence of porn, the size of the industry, and its usage among men and women.
  5. New York Times, 2004. An article on the growing role of women in shaping the porn and sex industry in the early 2000s.
  6. Biblical Recorder, 2016. An article on pornography use in the U.S. using data from a Josh McDowell Ministry/Barna Group study of 2,700 Americans.
  7. Statista, 2022. A statistical analysis of pornography usage in Europe broken down by gender.
  8. Fight the New Drug, 2022. An article on the increasing trend of women watching porn, who watches the most by region, and what they watch.
  9. BYU Wheatley Institution, 2018. An article on how pornography use affects relationships using data from a study of 21,555 participants in heterosexual relationships.
  10. Relationships in America, n.d. An article on the consumption rate of porn in the U.S. using data from a Relationships in America survey.
  11. Marie Claire, 2015. A survey on the pornography habits of over 3,000 women who are presumably Marie Claire readers and respondents.
  12. YouPornWorld, 2017. A survey by YouPorn of 24,000 women ages 18-34 on their pornographic habits.
  13. Pornhub, 2021. A year-in-review article by Pornhub detailing 2021’s most prevalent pornographic trends by demographic and region.
  14. Glamour, 2022. An article compiling the world’s best feminist porn sites that are popular with female porn users.
Aliyah Moore

Aliyah Moore

Aliyah Moore (she/her) is our resident sex expert at SexualAlpha. She’s a certified sex therapist with a Ph.D. in Gender & Sexuality Studies. Aliyah is a proud Black, bi-sexual femme passionate about empowering minority voices to embrace their sexuality and identity. She loves to write about everything sexual wellness and gives no-nonsense sex and relationship advice.

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