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Do Women Actually Watch Porn?

Although the majority of the porn industry's consumers are men, one popular porn site reported that 35% of its visitors were women in 2021.

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How many times have you wondered if porn is really that unhealthy to watch?

It can be something that can lead to a compulsion in intense cases, which in the long run can harm the consumer, hurt relationships, and too often lead to or fuel the issue of sexual exploitation.

Related: Does The Porn Industry Really Care About Empowering Women?

But, porn is something that guys deal with, right?

If you think about it, the vast majority of porn contains images of men demeaning and abusing women, not the other way around. And you never see the media depicting girls hiding their porn magazines under their mattresses or locking their doors as they power up their laptops. So it’s got to be just guys who look at porn. Right?

Not exactly.

Although the porn industry knows its main consumers are men and caters their content to them, there are countless women all over the world who also watch porn, many of whom have unwanted habits.

Studies show that most young people are exposed to porn by age 13,British Board of Film Classification. (2020). Young people, pornography & age-verification. BBFC. Retrieved from https://www.bbfc.co.uk/about-classification/researchCopy  and according to a nationally representative survey of U.S. teens, 84.4% of 14 to 18-year-old males and 57% of 14 to 18-year-old females have viewed pornography.Wright, P. J., Paul, B., & Herbenick, D. (2021). Preliminary insights from a U.S. probability sample on adolescents’ pornography exposure, media psychology, and sexual aggression. J.Health Commun., 1-8. doi:10.1080/10810730.2021.1887980Copy 

In 2021, about 35% of Pornhub’s visitors were reported to be women.

Related: Think Women Who Watch Porn Enjoy Sex More? This New Study Shows The Opposite

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Real stories

We’ve received countless emails from girls and women all across the world who have struggled or currently are struggling with compulsively watching porn.

They have expressed that they feel ashamed and isolated with their struggle because women watching porn aren’t always talked about. But we know that isn’t reality. Here is a message from one of them:

“I have been trying to stop this for over four years and nothing has worked for me. I am currently in a serious relationship going on two years. This guy I am dating means so much to me. I want to stop this struggle for myself but mostly so I can give myself fully to my future spouse without any thoughts in my head or heart. I am starting to have a hard time differentiating real life from my sexual fantasies and it is so depressing and confusing. I want to not have this controlling me and feeling like I am cheating on myself and everyone else in my life.” – K.

RelatedWhy You Can’t Consistently Fight Sexual Abuse Without Also Fighting Porn

And another:

“I lived with this in secrecy for 16 years before seeking help. In our culture, it is acceptable for men to view pornography. It’s even expected. We see it in almost every TV show or sitcom. It is so ‘normal’ in our culture. But rarely do people mention women. I don’t understand why people would assume that women don’t have any sexual drive or desires or why they wouldn’t be sexual beings just as men are. We all have eyes to see porn. We all have brains. We are wired to desire sex at some point. I think women can be just as visual as men.” – T.

These true stories provide only a glimpse into the reality of how women and girls can struggle with compulsive habits to porn.

Related:  What Kind Of Porn Do Women Watch?

For many years, men have been believed to be more “visual” beings than women, and more turned on by sexual content, therefore accounting for the gap in porn consumption between men and women.

Unsurprisingly, many recovery programs and resources have been aimed mainly at men struggling with pornography. But, now many recovery resources like our affiliates at Fortify are equipped to support recovering individuals of any gender.

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Porn’s effect on women

The old ideas that women just want to see PG-13 rated romantic comedies and read novels like “Fifty Shades of Grey” is outdated and stereotypical. With today’s saturated porn culture, women are increasingly seeking out more extreme depictions of sex along with their male peers, and being negatively affected as well.

Related: This Study Suggests Women Are Visually Stimulated By Porn

The numbers are in. We as a society can no longer assume this porn issue isn’t relevant to women and girls. Regardless of age, gender, or sexual preference, porn is harmful and is affecting real people. And regardless of who someone is and how long they’ve struggled, they deserve love, and porn does not make them a “bad” person.

Pornography can be harmful to individuals, create negative perceptions and unrealistic expectations in relationships, and the industry is connected to sex trafficking. We need to support women and girls and make sure we don’t make the mistake of assuming they can’t be impacted by porn or drawn into its unrealistic depictions of sex and relationships.

Porn can be difficult to quit, regardless of who is viewing it.

Society’s idea that girls don’t watch porn and can’t struggle with it is outdated. Porn isn’t just a guy problem, it’s a human problem.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your unwanted porn habit, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

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Fight the New Drug may receive financial support from purchases made using affiliate links.