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More Women Into Porn

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Oct 31, 2003 12:00 AM PST    Text size: 
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Increasing numbers of women are accessing porn online, studies state, and while those numbers are still far from eclipsing the amount of men that traffic porn sites, women are steadily becoming regular, paying consumers of Internet pornography.

According to Internet and digital media research firm Neilsen/NetRatings, in September of this year, 32.2 million unique visitors accessed adult content sites. Of that traffic, 70 percent were male and 30 percent were female.

That means that in one single month, 9.6 million women in the United States accessed adult websites.

Neilsen/NetRatings based those numbers on the 135.5 million users that access the Internet from home or work on a monthly basis.

"Porn is still heavily trafficked by men," a Neilsen/NetRatings spokesperson told XBiz. "But there are indications that those numbers are shifting."

According to analysts, the female porn consumer is only just beginning to emerge on the adult webmaster's radar, and while there is an increasing push to target websites and products at female porn surfers, the market is still largely untapped.

While many women access porn as a clandestine activity, others are using online porn as a way to stimulate their own sex lives.

"As women have more choices in life and purchasing power, they are choosing what they want to see and how they want their porn," Holly Moss, chairman and founder of Women In Adult, told XBiz. "Porn for women doesn't always have to be about looking at the opposite sex, it can be the same sex too, in terms of eroticism."

Neilsen gathers its information from 40,000 panelists who have consented to have their Internet activity tracked by the research firm. And while Neilsen does not directly track statistics on the pornography industry and rarely includes porn site activity in their broad offering of industry reports, adult entertainment is still a significant part of the Internet industry as a whole.

"The myth began long ago, perhaps because women were rarely seen walking into seedy adult bookstores," stated Mark O'Keefe of Newhouse News Service. "But in recent years, the accessibility, affordability, and anonymity of the Internet have made pornography undeniably attractive to millions of women. While some women simply find it exciting, others have battled addictions and other problems."

Historically, women are the leading consumers of anything to do with love, romance, and sex. Women account for the 50-80 percent of purchases made from sex toy and novelty websites and catalogues, and women are known among Internet research firms to be more apt to make online purchases and share credit card information than men.

Earlier this month, SpiceCash launched Ssssh.com, a new paysite targeted at the growing percentile of women who visit adult entertainment websites.

"Because attracting the female audience is so labor intensive, I think that in the past men have not tackled it and I'm not entirely sure that they know what women want," Angie of SpiceCash told XBiz. "There are erotic story sites out there and gay sites, but in my research for the launch, the women I talked to felt that a lot of that content felt like it was for men, not women."

Presented as an erotic magazine "designed for women, by women," Sssh.com applies a lighter touch in its design and selection of hardcore adult content including Tarot readings, eroscopes, an online dating service, photo spreads of men, movies, males strip club feeds, articles, recipes, and chat and message boards.

A study out of the United Kingdom states that of the 3.8 British surfers accessing pornography websites in any given month, a quarter of them are women. Additionally, more than a quarter of the entire U.K. Internet population visited porn sites in one single month.

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