What Pornhub Search Trends Say About Us in 2021

Before we completely file 2021 into a “let’s never talk about this again” file and slam the box shut, why not look back a year in online porn? After all, every year porn video sharing network Pornhub publishes a detailed traffic report for that year, providing a glimpse into the secret desires of the world. What this says about us as human beings may make a lot of sense.

And it turns out last year, according to Pornhub’s 2021 Review of the Year , we mostly wanted hentai.

Hello Hentai!

According to Dictionary.com, hentai is “a genre of Japanese manga and anime characterized by overtly sexualized characters and explicitly sexual images and plots.” According to Pornhub, this was the best “search that defined 2021”. The company states that “hentai” was “the number one search on Pornhub, surpassing both “Japanese” globally and “lesbian” in the US.”

According to Dr. Laurie Betito, clinical psychologist, sex therapist and director of the Pornhub Sexual Health Center (?): “Cartoons are more fantastical than regular porn…Because they are not real, they can go further, with less of the limitations that reality offers. Hentai porn also tends to have more of a storyline and people seem to be turning to context more and more.”

Given the state of reality in the last year, it’s no wonder we wanted porn to be far away. Or some of us: Hentai was most popular among Generation Y. In 2021, it was 76 percent more popular among 18-24 year olds compared to other age groups. (Boomers seem to prefer manual work. These terms were 59 percent more popular among the over-55 group than among other groups.)

After hentai I want romance

Amazingly, the #2 search term that defined 2021 on Pornhub in 2021 was “romance.” Pornhub reports that searches for “romance” and “romance” have more than doubled in popularity in 2021, with “bromance” up 288% among gay Pornhub users.

“Many people have experienced loneliness and isolation and may crave love, intimacy and romance. So the next best thing for a partner is romantic fantasies,” suggests Dr. Betito of Pornhub.

Big year for transgender porn

Searches for “trans” and “transgender” increased by 141% on Pornhub in 2021, and the transgender category saw a 23% increase in views, making it the 10th most popular category among male visitors.

What does “trend” mean in the Pornhub report?

At the risk of nitpicking the statistics provided by the pornography provider, I wonder why “romance” is placed on the same list as “hentai”. Pornhub doesn’t go into too much detail explaining what is meant by “trends that defined 2021” but it’s a bit like “what we want people to think is popular in 2021”. According to the company, in 2021, hentai has made it into the top 10 search terms in almost every country, and its top searches list confirms this. But they say searches for “romance” have “more than doubled in 2021.” Since we don’t know what it doubled up for, it’s hard to really gauge how popular it is compared to “hentai” despite being on the same list. Mostly apples and oranges.

2021: year of the big ass

When it comes to pornhub categories (as opposed to search terms), “Big Ass” posted phenomenal annual growth, up 314% from the previous year. Other winners include “bisexual man” with a 288% increase and “transgender” with a 23% increase. “Popular with women” grew by 41%, no doubt driven by female pornhub users. Speaking of…

Porn and women

According to pornhub, about 1/3 of its US users are women, and women mostly like porn about women. The most popular words searched by women include “lesbian” and “popular with women”, and “scissors” was searched 170% more often by women than by men.

“Male solo”, “pussy licking”, and “fingering” were more popular with women than with men, leading sex trainer Caitlin Clare to suggest that “women dream of some good ‘intercourse’.” So guys, remember that!” I will keep it in mind.

Interestingly, in the Philippines, women make up the majority of pornhub viewers (52 percent). Germany ranks lowest (28%) but only a couple of points lower than the UK and other European countries. Countries in South and Central America seem to have a larger percentage of female pornhub viewers.

How does Pornhub even know if I’m male or female?

If you have ever used Pornhub (and you know you have), you can say, “I never told Pornhub my gender or age. How could they know? This is a good question, and there is no definitive answer to it. But if I had to guess, I’d say they track your usage on other sites and infer your demographic information based on that. (This is stated in their TOS . Visitthe Pornhub privacy page for more information.)

You might argue that all pornhub data is suspicious based on this, but gender and age prediction algorithms are frighteningly accurate, even if they don’t look at your cookies .

We watch porn for shorter periods of time

You might think that another year of moderate lockdown would result in pornhub viewers watching porn for a longer period of time, but that doesn’t seem to be the case . The average visit duration in the US was 9 minutes 44 seconds, down 23 seconds from 2020. Perhaps pornhub search has gotten better. Maybe we’re all a little tired of pornography. In any case, people in Wyoming watch porn for the longest time on average — 11 minutes, 3 seconds — while Connecticut residents obviously have a lot to see. Their browsing sessions average a full minute shorter than Wyoming’s, at 10 minutes 2 seconds.

Analysis of pornography viewing habits by state

The highlight of the 2021 pornhub analysis for me is the Top Relative Searches in the US map, which shows which terms are more popular in which states compared to other states. He asks so many evocative questions like:

  • Why are people in South Dakota most often looking for a “sex doll”?
  • Why do people in Colorado like “huge boobs” while people in neighboring Kansas like “pantyhose”?
  • Why is furry so popular in Mississippi?
  • Is the shape of the donga in Florida the reason for the popularity of the term “BBC”? Or are they really looking for the British Broadcasting Company?
  • Do longer days in the north explain the increased search for “morning sex” in Alaska?
  • Why is it so funny to me that people in Louisiana most often search on Pornhub for “naked women”?

What ‘s missing from Pornhub’s review of the year?

In 2021, pornhub doesn’t mention the term “teen” anywhere in its roundup of the year, even though the category seems to be pretty popular on the site. Also missing: step – whatever.

If we take a look at the “most viewed categories” of pornhub, chart, “big dick”, “bbw” and “cartoons” will be shown as popular categories. “Teen” didn’t make it into the top 20 categories at all. But this seems to be a list of the categories that had the highest growth in 2021, not the most viewed. Or maybe it’s a combination of the most popular and the highest paid? Hard to say. But in any case, the “teenager” also did not make it to the list of the “highest category” of any country.

Far be it from me to question the honesty of pornhub, but either the teen category is very unpopular or pornhub is trying to massage its data to make us all look less creepy. (“Data massage” also didn’t make the list, by the way, but it’s the sexiest of them all.)


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