Women Who Want to Watch Porn: What to Expect

If you’re a girl who has never really seen pornography, admitting to yourself that you want to watch porn or explicit sexual imagery may take some — or a lot of — forethought. And if you think that all porn is nothing more than pool boys and women with poor payment negotiation skills and eternal bad hair days (or worse: women being coerced into doing something they don’t want to), then the realities of today’s porn will come as quite a surprise.

One of the major obstacles that we women face is the widely held notion that women don’t respond to sexual imagery as men do — a notion that is absolutely untrue. We are told we won’t like it. But on our own, with a wide selection of the many different kinds of porn, and especially porn made by women, for women — we find out that we do. Recommendations for high quality pornography made by women, expressly for women are at the end of this article.

In her 1994 study, Dr. Ellen Laan of the University of Amsterdam proved that women respond physiologically to sexual images, even when the women said that the porn they watched was boring or unarousing. When seeing the sex onscreen (whether from male or female directors), their genitals congested quite robustly, thank you very much.

According to many studies, lots of women watch porn, and like it, too. We can find out how the performers feel about their work by reading their blogs and doing our homework on the pornography we’re considering. This is the first time in history that female porn performers have the freedom to talk about their work unfiltered. Now that the Internet has given female porn viewers the privacy to explore our reactions to explicit sexual imagery on our own terms, we’re finally allowed to decide for ourselves how we feel about, and react to porn.

Many women are finding that pornography is a sex toy that is as reliable and their favorite vibrator, and is as versatile — it can be easily shared with their lovers. Lots of women watch porn, and are none the worse for it. Read why in my CNN article Are more women OK with watching porn? (cnn.com).

Women like to watch, and — guess what — it’s not exactly “breaking” news. In late 2007, Nielsen Netratings revealed that 1 in 3 users of porn were women, and over 9 million American women accessed adult sites in September 2007 alone. The same year (2007), a sociology researcher at conservative Brigham Young University found that half of young women surveyed believe that viewing porn is an acceptable way of expressing sexuality. And in women-friendly boutiques such as Babeland, women make up 80% of the porn rental and purchase market.

Going back in time, in a 1987 Redbook survey of over 26,000 female respondents nearly half stated that they regularly used porn. And it’s not just the “wild ones”, either: a 2003 poll by taken by Today’s Christian Woman readers found that even good church-going women were peeking at the odd bit of porn: over 34 percent of female respondents to their online survey self-disclosed that they had deliberately gone looking for porn. Articles from sources such as The New York Times and MSNBC have asked “What Women Want” and answer themselves with the resounding response, “Women are hungry for porn.” In 2004, the New York Times told us in no uncertain terms that Women Are Tailoring Porn to their Eyes. In the 1996 book Defending Pornography by ACLU president Nadine Strossen, “Women, either singly or as part of a couple, constitute more than 40 percent of the adult videotape rental audience. . .” In 1989, Good Vibrations added adult videos to their catalog, at the demand of female staff and customers. And as consumers, women are changing a market once considered a boys’ club — female directors like Candida Royalle are selling hardcore erotic videos made by women, for women at the rate of approximately 10,000 titles a month.

What Can A Girl Expect? A New Woman’s Guide To Porn

Once you feel okay with using porn as a sex toy, there are a few things you need to know before you get started. First, keep your expectations in check — you’re not going to see anything like the mega-budget Hollywood blockbusters (but with sex included) that you’re used to. Why not? Because outside of Hollywood studios, no one has that kind of money, or those resources to throw around, especially in a film genre that’s controversial.

A great place to start is this free chapter from my book on Oprah The Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn: Chapter 3 – I was a Porn Virgin (oprah.com). You can also click to listen to the introduction and hear my personal journey looking for good porn for women.

The quality you’re going to see is like daytime soap operas; with simple sets, standard lighting, digital cameras, and barely there acting. Unless you go with a film from a bigger studio — because the world of porn has a studio system just like in Hollywood. The big studios have bigger budgets, better sets, actors who might have gone to acting school, writers who have writing experience, and directors who are more likely to take their craft seriously.

If you go to amateur free sites like xTube or YouPorn, you’ll see a range of quality, all the way to down to exhibitionists with phonecams. And yes, the websites make sure it’s all legal. They have to: they are being monitored closely by the government and pornographers who want to make sure everything is legal and not stolen.

Just like with any other sex toy, it helps if you’re aroused before you begin watching porn. When you’re ready to click play, be sure to have the following items ready: lube, a dildo, vibrator, and/or towel, and the remote control or mouse. Having a sex toy ready if you need it is handy because if the video turns you on (and you subsequently want to get off), then you won’t have to interrupt the moment to search around for your toys.

But why the remote control and/or your mouse? Controls are the only really required item for porn viewing: you’ll need to fast forward through anything you don’t like, or whatever distracts you from your arousal — be it lame dialogue, a sex act you don’t prefer, or an unsightly boob job. For some people this seems like a hassle at first — why can’t they just make the “perfect” porno?

Porn comes in so many flavors and viewers bring so many different appetites to the table that the makers of porn try to appeal to as many tastes as possible in a relatively short amount of time. Porn has to get to the point pretty quickly in order to retain horny viewers who usually want instant gratification, and so like Hollywood, they’ve boiled down what they think viewers want into formulas. In mainstream porn that means typical-male type formulas — that is, typical males of about twenty years ago. With online porn makers, indie studios, European and global directors, and women directors, you’ll find a much wider range of porn because they perceive their viewers as more diverse.

The formulas always include six to seven sex scenes, a standard set of positions and couplings, actors and actresses with mostly-shaved genitals, men with larger than normal penises, and women with larger than normal breasts — with a few notable exceptions. An oft-voiced complaint is that the men are acceptable when unlovely in fitness and form, while the women’s bodies must conform to a standard: underweight, blonde hair, big lips, and big boobs (the Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Association is always well represented). Without fail, the men always pull out before orgasm and ejaculate on the women’s breasts, face, ass, or vulva, so the viewer can see it. To say the least, little emphasis is placed on female orgasm and ejaculation, but that’s changing as you read this right now.

Think about what expectations you’re bringing to your first porn watching experience and you can make a selection that won’t leave you high and dry, or in the worst-case scenario, angry at the genre, or feeling bad about yourself. What ideas turn you on — small breasts, big butts, women in charge, realistic plots, blowjobs, two gals and a guy, male anal penetration, group sex? This may not be your list, but you get the idea.

Get clear on what you want to avoid by making another list of things you don’t want to see — do you get turned off by fake breasts, hairy men, rimming, toe-sucking, facial ejaculation, two women together, or watching anal sex? These are just examples to get you brainstorming about what you’ll want to look for, and what you’ll want to fast forward through. You may find more to add to either list as you view tapes — sometimes we find things that turn us on or off that we didn’t even know about.

Sometimes it’s great, and sometimes it might make us feel uncomfortable. Don’t blame yourself or feel bad if you get turned on by a fantasy that you would otherwise find offensive in your day to day life. Porn is constructed as a fantasy, and if you knew the work behind the scenes that went into making these videos convincing, I’m guessing you’d be more turned off by how fake porn really is.

Knowing what you like and dislike can help enormously when selecting a tape. You can single out many of your preferences before you rent or buy, and then skip the parts you don’t care for. The reviews on the Babeland and Hot Movies for Her websites are very helpful in these matters — I know, I’ve been writing these reviews for years. The reviews and ratings can also help you select videos that address finding things you don’t usually see on the blue screen, such as an all-natural cast (enhancement-free), internal ejaculation, attention to cinematography and lighting, great acting and excellent plot.

As a general rule, the websites I screen and recommend never carry a film that is demeaning or abusive toward women, or include any racist or discriminatory content — of any kind. I make sure the porn that I endorse — and companies like Babeland and Hot Movies for Her — portray healthy sexuality, meaning that they depict positive attitudes about sex (no sexual shame allowed!), and women getting off as much as the men — there’s always attention to female pleasure involved. The websites I promote who sell porn are all women-run. The porn I and my affiliates recommend typically won’t model unsafe sex practices, such as penetration that goes from anus to vagina (which causes infection), or inserting toys anally that can get “lost” in the rectum. Whenever something that’s borderline or potentially button-pressing comes up, but the video has an overwhelming redeeming quality (such as a stand-out sex scene or contains something underrepresented in porn), we all make sure that the descriptions you see warn you about it.

There are certain things in porn that are going to be hard to avoid if you don’t like them. Facial ejaculation (men ejaculating on women’s faces) is pretty much a standard. So are surgically enhanced bodies. I hear a lot of complaints about both of these things. I can’t offer much by the way of explanation when people find these things icky or strange, except to say that some people, somewhere, like these things. Well, I hope they do, because they have an awful lot of porn to watch.

Top women-run, sex-positive, porn websites I recommend include:

* Babeland
* Hot Movies for Her
* Girls Out West
* For the Girls
* Cinema Erotique
* Erika Lust
* Anna Span’s Diary
* Candida Royalle / Femme Productions
* Tristan Taormino / Pucker Up

Photo by Aya Rosen.

About violet

Violet Blue (tinynibbles.com) is a Forbes "Web Celeb," a high-profile tech personality and one of Wired's "Faces of Innovation." She is regarded as the foremost expert in the field of sex and technology, a sex-positive pundit in mainstream media (MacLife, The Oprah Winfrey Show, others) and is regularly interviewed, quoted and featured prominently by major media outlets. Violet has many award-winning, best selling books; her book The Smart Girl's Guide to Porn is featured on Oprah's website. She was the notorious sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. She headlines at conferences ranging from ETech, LeWeb and SXSW: Interactive, to Google Tech Talks at Google, Inc. The London Times named Blue one of the 40 bloggers who really count (2010). Violet Blue is in no way associated with the unauthorized use of her name (or likeness) and registered trademark in pornographic films.
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7 Responses to Women Who Want to Watch Porn: What to Expect

  1. Elana Paige says:

    Hi! I enjoyed your article; I found you through Dan Savage’s current Savage Love column. I am a writer of online erotic/romantic Choose Your Own Path Romance novels and reader-influenced hypertext fiction, PassionsPath.com.
    Lots of women who might not feel comfortable watching porn or who might be more turned on by the written word rather than images might enjoy exploring my heady, explosively romantic fiction. I hope you and your readers visit my website and enjoy!

  2. Deas Plant says:

    Hi, Violet Blue.
    Thank you for a very informative article. I have long suspected that many women do enjoy a little (or a LOT of) porn, either on the side or as part of the ‘main course’ of whatever relationship they may – or may not – be in.

    It sometimes surprises me just how far a woman will go with a man whom she may have only known for a few minutes (specifically, me) in a conversation that may have anything from sexual innuendos to quite blunt sexual statements. This may make me sound like a ‘dinosaur’ but that sort of behaviour was NOWHERE near as common when I was a ‘young feller’. I have not exactly made a study of the correlation between what sexual topics a woman will discuss and what she level of porn she will watch but the open-mindedness and directness of many women today has lead me to the ‘suspicion’ mentioned in my opening paragraph.

    I would also like to add that I find the increasing prevalence of female open-mindedness and directness very refreshing.

    It is my understanding that many women who do watch porn prefer that there be some sort of a story line with possibly a bit ‘chemistry’ thrown in for good measure whereas many men just want to watch ‘action’. Do you, or any of your readers, have any views on this.

    Thanks again.

    You all have a wonderful day. Best wishes. Deas Plant.

  3. Chrystal says:

    I hope Facebook’s had it’s 15 minutes of fame now. SquareSpace sounds very promising, Violet.

    Now to the porn and the women who love it. I have personally facilitated over 1,000 home parties in the last 7 years all over the Bay Area. I also owned a sex toy store / adult movie store in Sunnyvale for 2.5 years right after the dot com bomb.

    I can tell you all from REAL FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE that women of all ages, ethnicities, shapes and sizes buy porn. And, they do not all want STORY line porn. When I first created my pleasure party company, I never thought to bring porn even though I have always loved porn – since about the time I was 20.

    It wasn’t until I owned my adult store that I realized that women want a safe “well lit” place (to refernece VB above) to buy porn. I always had a little inner chuckle when women would be shopping in my store and looking through our porn selection trying to decide what to buy – then a guy walks in and the put their porn down and wait it out for the guy to leave.

    But, it was at the store that it ocurred to me that women BUY PORN. Hard core porn. Gay porn. Bi porn. Anal porn. BDSM porn. And sometimes story line porn. So, we started adding like a selction of about 10 DVD’s of what they call GONZO porn to our pleasure parties. At a pleasure party, women shop alone in a private room with one of our consultants. They would SNAP up all of the porn we brought with us. I would give them a bag and tell them “just tell me how many you grabbed” so they wouldn’t even have to share with me which titles they bought.

    All of the anonymity and privacy really appeals to women. But, they BUY porn. All kinds of porn. I am bummed Facebook is being so ridiculous about the fan page. Thankfully we still have this site and big upps to VB for fighting the good fight for all of and creating a place for us to continue this dialogue.

    Ok, off to watch some porn.

    Blissfully, Chrystal
    Better Sex Radio host, http://www.Bliss-Radio.com

  4. Pingback: Feminists say women who watch porn get raped | Our Porn, Ourselves

  5. Kenwyn says:

    I clicked through to the hot movies for her website and was disappointed to find the welcoming image on the “try us free” page is of a women with her backside out. Why? Why have an image like this. It’s not an advert, I’m already on the site so there’s no need to lure me in. In fact I am now reluctant to venture any further. What’s the mentality of the people behind the site if that’s the image they want to define them…

  6. Stephen Bradley says:

    As a boy baby, growing up in a seriously dysfunctional culture, I was taught that women only had sex to create a family and otherwise resented sexual demands made upon them by their male mates. Sadly, I believed this for the best part of my adult life which caused me great angst “knowing” that my lover’s greatest wish was that I would leave her alone sexually. I wish that I had understood that women have sexual desires and that some of them actually relish and enjoy it. What a different life that would have meant for me and what a disservice for both men and women alike. Traveling out of the United States, one quickly learns that most other modern cultures consider us to be some of the most prudish people on earth. How sad!

  7. Missy says:

    I am very glad to see more porn for women sites! Us ladies like porn too, we are in some cases much more slective about what we watch.

    Check out http://www.bubblesandwine.com for Porn for Women.

    Also see http://www.wetkissme.com :)

    Enjoy!

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