Photo by Jamie Lee Curtis Taete. Earlier this month PornHub released its stats for , and for a second year running "lesbian porn" came out on top as the site's most searched-for term, just behind "step-mom". This is likely because lesbian porn is popular with both guys and girls — women in North America were 86 percent more likely to search for "lesbian" than North American men, for instance — while "step-mom" porn is presumably a pretty male interest.
What is it about the idea of four pert breasts rubbing up against each other that turns people on so much? Maybe the answer is obvious. But it seemed to make sense to ask actual, real life lesbians if they had any insight, and more to the point, how they feel about it.
Is it gross or flattering to think about men whacking one out to the very special and private act of two women making love? Or does lesbian porn bear so little resemblance to actual lesbian sex that it's neither here nor there? Well, firstly, I think "step-mom" seems a lot more exciting than "lesbian". It's a bit more divergent.
Socially, lesbianism has become a bit more "normal", so it's not really got that aura of, "What do you girls do? I'm mildly disappointed that it topped the list. It does reflect objectification; it's reinforcing the idea that it's "different". When I think of just how many people are watching lesbian porn I think, 'You can't have your cake and eat it: you can't say lesbian sex is not OK or that it's subnormal and then utilise our sex to whack one out.
Now it's happening when we have sex with each other. As for whether it's helping educate men about what lesbian sex involves, and the idea that sex goes on without them, the question there is: is porn real lesbian sex?
I think a lesbian might be a bit more discerning in the lesbian porn they would watch because they're looking for more authenticity, so they might go for something more amateur but realistic. Ultimately, lesbian porn can't show men what lesbian sex is really like, because lesbian sex isn't for men, and the minute it is — i.
Sorry guys! Of course "lesbian" porn is the most popular! Men like lesbian porn because they can get a boner without feeling compromised by the visuals of another man's boner. Not only does it make them feel like their heterosexuality is compromised, but look at slut-shaming: what makes a woman impure? It's all these dirty willies going inside her. Guys love their own willies but they see others' willies as disgusting; they'd rather not see one.
And when that's not the case, narratives of lesbian porn just uphold heteronormativity in that the women paw at each other and moan and fuss about, and then the man comes along right at the end and fixes everything with his penis.
Personally, I don't watch porn because I want to know that no women have been hurt in the making of porn and it's so hard to verify that. Secondly, I don't want to get off to the same things gross men I'd never talk to or engage with are watching.
Thirdly, lesbian porn online is never for lesbians, is it? I've not met an actual lesbian who enjoys it. The girls have long fingernails! I think the most attractive thing about lesbians, all lesbians, is that to come out, to go against the grain — and it still is really against the grain — and fancy a woman is to take an active control of your sexuality.
And that doesn't translate when two women — who are doing gay-for-pay — get it on to-camera. I look forward to a world where lesbians are as respected as they are fetishised — and porn actresses are required to remove fingernails before insertion. I'm definitely one of those women who have been searching "lesbian porn", and I wouldn't say it's any better to watch lesbian porn myself just because I have sex with women.
I guess my intentions are the same: I just want to wank, right? But I do like to think I watch lesbian women having sex in an authentic way. A lot of porn out there is what men imagine lesbian sex to be like, and I don't find that arousing, so it's a very specific genre I look for. The difference is to do with the male gaze. In some lesbian porn it's for men, either implicitly or explicitly; implicitly, a man holding the camera might talk to the two women and is part of the story or dialogue; more explicitly, two women might be making out, then a man enters and joins.
In mainstream lesbian porn the way the girls have sex is different: head looks kind of the same, but quite often the girls have no clue what they're doing and orgasms seem fake. Whereas the kind of things I watch might be performing or acting, but it's usually made by women, the girls seem more into it, they stereotypically look more lesbian and there's not a man lingering in the background waiting to jump in and fuck them both.
I think men could benefit from watching this kind of porn — they might respect lesbian sex more, it might stop them thinking their girlfriends are abnormal for having real bodies and it might just generally be informative rather than oppressive. I'm not surprised about the popularity of "lesbian" porn, to be honest. People are perpetually fascinated by that which they perceive as defying "normative" conventions. They love to subsume what they perceive as "other" by getting really really close to it and cracking one out to it twice a day.
For some, I imagine watching it fulfils a need to substitute what is perceived of as a "lack"; it's the desire to intervene, to meddle and project your desires into a scene where you are not necessarily needed nor wanted. Two women having sex refuses men a place.
And what's more thrilling than trying to muscle your way into the conversation? For heterosexual women searching it — and I reckon there are a lot — I think there's an element of intrigue. The narrative goes that it is naive young men who are desperate to understand what it is that lesbians get up to. However, I think we forget that this forecloses the fact that this is a question many people have, not just young, perplexed straight men.
While it's a frustrating question, I think it comes down to the sex education that many receive, and the heteronormative model this is founded on, which often precludes a substantive, well-rounded knowledge of other sexual practices. Fewer people would watch lesbian sex if we were all better educated about it. I guess I don't think of it as objectifying, because it's not me, or any of my sexual partners, who are being watched.
And I think we have the right to watch that which is made consensually and ethically. When we start policing and censuring what strangers watch in their own homes, there are both pros and cons — some things are obviously not OK, like porn featuring people who are underage. However, with the imminence of the [ Digital Economy Bill ], which is set to target "non-conventional sex acts", I think it's crucial to understand how quickly this policing can flip on its own head, legislating the bodies and acts of those it deems as "non-normative" — and that's usually involving women's pleasure.
In all honesty I don't really frequent "mainstream" porn websites, because most of them just make me very uncomfortable — consent lines are pretty dodgy, there's no way of knowing about the actual safety of the actors and actresses when it's just a massive cluster of videos from a million places with names like "teen student gets pounded".
But it does surprise me that "lesbian porn" is number one. I do know there are a lot of straight-identifying girls who watch lesbian porn purely for the fact it seems more focused on women and their pleasure than mainstream straight porn — but that's not saying much because the bar is set so low.
I'm willing to wager that the rise of the popularity of this term is partly to do with the fact that more women might be watching porn or frequenting porn websites as female sexuality becomes more openly discussed and encouraged, and these women might be drawn to that search word — because of the reason I mentioned before, or because of curiosity about their own pleasure, or because our generation is the most sexually fluid.
Their views probably add to the men who want to watch it to fetishise queer relationships featuring women. Of all my queer women friends, I know very few who watch "lesbian porn" as it's marketed on these websites. Most of them just find it funny because of how wrong it is. Another reason is that a lot of porn that includes queer relationships doesn't feature clear consent and has a lot of dubious power dynamics going on — "tricking people into doing gay stuff", etc, and that's really not what it should be about.
I don't think a lot of queer women looking for porn would be satisfied or extremely comfortable with the amount of non-consensual undertones and overtones. We need more healthy portrayals of sexual relationships in porn. Again, that comes from the producers, and it really, really isn't that difficult. Finally, I think lesbian sex, as it has been sold in porn, has probably contributed to the male imagination of it being OK to stop two girls in the street and say, "Whoah I'd love to watch," or badgering girls who are together in a bar for a threesome.
Or, as has happened to me a million times, taking photos of them if they kiss because "it's hot". It adds to that entitlement because it makes men believe that queer women are for them and for their consumption, rather than individuals. For it to be revolutionary that "lesbian porn" is the most searched term, we'd need actual LGBTQ women making and participating in these films and putting their gaze in the story, rather than leaving it to a horny, entitled straight dude who wants to see straight girls who fit his ideals of beauty half-heartedly touching one another's boobs.
By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content. Sign In Create Account. Yet again, "lesbian porn" is the world's most searched-for porn. January 16, , pm. Photo by Jamie Lee Curtis Taete Earlier this month PornHub released its stats for , and for a second year running "lesbian porn" came out on top as the site's most searched-for term, just behind "step-mom".