What Women Want (From Their Porn)

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women and porn
You'd be shocked to know how many women view porn ... and what turns them on about it.

Angie Rowntree, founder of the leading women's porn and erotica site Sssh.com (pronounced "shush"), hesitates to label different porn-seeking behaviors by gender. "There is no one way that women approach porn — we're much more multi-faceted than that," Rowntree says. "Some women find erotica minimally sexual, and others consider it a huge turn-on. It's different strokes for different folks, pun intended." The majority of Sssh visitors are women — specifically women in relationships who view porn with their partners. Nearly 80 percent have never belonged to another adult website.

Instead of being built around what women supposedly want, Sssh is a dynamic site that changes according to its users. Content on the homepage is organized by search popularity. Users can ask to see more or less on a particular topic in a particular format. Each user can also filter content by level of explicitness, which is rated by lips. (One lip is essentially Cosmo-like women's magazine content. Three lips is much more graphic.) "We're hoping users start at their comfort level, and see that it's okay to explore on their own terms," says Rowntree. "All of the content on Sssh is something other women have enjoyed and even requested."

 

Sssh users have debunked the notion that women aren't visual — videos and a 50 Shades of Grey-inspired virtual world are the most popular part of the site. Yes, they're beautifully filmed, have storylines and depict the pleasure of each person in a given encounter. In one video, a man surprises his wife in the kitchen ... and it's hotter than anything on the stove. But they're not all so vanilla. Many other videos depict kinkier encounters — like BDSM — with and without sex. Some videos are just plain fun, like the one about a sexual encounter with a ghost or naughty versions of classic fairytales. One unusual thing about the gamut of videos: They all feature actors who look like healthy, normal people, many of whom are in real-life relationships with their on-screen partners.

Because Sssh is the product of its members, seeing what content doesn't make the cut can also tell us something about how women approach porn. In a survey, nearly 87 percent of users asked not to see "facials" in the videos. The greatest divide among Sssh members: anal sex. It's on the site, because an equal number of people requested both more and less content about it.

Turns out, women's approach to porn isn't so easy to figure out, after all. If you want to know what a woman wants, it's probably best to ask her.