I’m a big fan of porn. But more often than not, porn is considered a dirty word. Hell, it’s even considered to be a dirty act by some. When we talk about porn, many of us tend to envision a young boy exploring his body while looking at his dad’s old FHM magazines, or staying up until past midnight to watch Emanuelle. Some of us may even see a creepy man hiding behind thick glasses while browsing through the likes of Redtube.com, with his trusty companions – a bottle of lotion and a box of tissues.

Which begs the question: Why does the thought of porn seem to invoke one or the other stereotypes? And where, pray tell, are all the women?

I, like many women, have indulged in everything from bondage to ebony to interracial and threesomes when it comes to porn; I find it fascinating to watch people enjoy and experience themselves, and each other, sexually. I speak about my love for it quite often, and my proclamation is usually met with surprise, disgust, and other times, plain old, ‘you’re probably a slut’ misogyny.

Why is it such a wonder that women are consuming porn? Why are we so set in the opinion that women are fragile things that can’t enjoy watching people have sex?

Porn is for everyone. And by that I mean that there is no prescription for which gender should watch it. It’s made for enjoyment – sans gender identity. There have been multiple articles on ‘porn for women’ but I find this sexist. There is no one type of porn that men enjoy that women loathe, based only on the fact that they’re different genders. Just as people of every gender are able to enjoy different types of sex, they’re also able to enjoy porn in all its glory.

There are, however, valid problems with porn, which may be the reason many women may avoid it. In many (most) ways, it’s misogynistic. There’s nothing wrong with sex, or filming sex, or watching sex films, but patriarchy seems to be ingrained in how porn is made and how we watch it. It is incredibly male-centred in that male-female porn is the standard, while anything that involves other genders is a sub-group. It’s filmed through the male gaze, with most scenes seeming to appeal more to men than they would to anyone else. I mean, we’ve seen the scenes where women seem to be used more as props rather than an equal partner in the act. It’s also incredibly unrealistic and objectifies women. The climax of all porn videos – excuse the pun – is when the man comes. Women’s pleasure is a secondary concern and a man’s orgasm indicates the end of the video.

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Watching this kind of one-sided porn begs many questions like: why is the guy’s face so far from her vagina during cunnilingus? Surely it can’t be pleasurable if we can still see her clitoris? Why are these women nails so long? Did they just really orgasm at the same time? When thinking of how unrealistic it all looks, one then understands why women may not want to watch porn or let others know that they do.

Pornhub released a study on ‘What Women Want’ this year, looking at how women interact with porn. The top categories that women searched on Pornhub include lesbian, threesomes, gay male, cunnilingus and squirt. It’s important to note that this study found that women favoured genres of porn where there is equal opportunity for orgasms. It isn’t that women aren’t into forms of porn that are rough and kinky, but it seems, rather, that the sex in it looks enjoyable and that the pleasure is real. I’ve had one of my friends even tell me, while we watched a scene together, that ‘she doesn’t look like she’s enjoying it’ – which is something that many people want in the porn they watch. Pleasure.

And this is something that creators of feminist porn clearly understand. Erika Lust of Lust Films says, ‘Feminist porn is women-related porn. It shows individuals, men and women, as independent equals with their own desires and pleasures, able to explore them freely, enjoying them and exploring their sexuality, all encased in a cinematically intelligent film.’

Rape culture is prevalent in a great deal of porn – think fantasies involving women acting as teens or women coerced into having sex. Feminist porn is tackling this by making available porn that can be watched and enjoyed without the viewer being implicit in its misogynistic message. What we have to look forward to is porn where the most important things are consent, equal opportunities for orgasm and genuine pleasure being shown. Go forth and explore.