Study: Women's Hardcore Habits

Lila Gray

BOSTON — In a recent study, neuroscientists and co-authors of “A Billion Wicked Thoughts” Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam teamed up to conduct research on visual pornography in relation to female sexual desire.

What they found is another mystifying chapter in the quest to demystify female lust — that most women don’t watch porn, but those that do generally watch the same mainstream, hardcore stuff geared towards the Y chromosome.

“There is a real interesting phenomenon in women’s sexuality — not seen in men’s — and that is this divide between what erotica should be and what actually turns women on,” Ogas told AlterNet.

“Studies show that what turns women on is different to what they wish turned them on or how they politically feel about it. There is a paradox in the brain that women have to wrestle with," he continued. "Men like what they like sexually. But with women, we see political manifestos embedded in their sexuality, with just as much emphasis on whether or not we’re discriminating on any particular gender or race. Whereas, for a man that just doesn’t occur.”  

While it’s perhaps not so surprising that some women actually enjoy male-dominated depictions of sex, Ogas does seem to reach in his analysis that, “It is reasonable to imagine then that for a minority of women, their sexual brain develops in a masculine way” because he found “women who like hardcore porn tend to be more aggressive, more socially assertive and more comfortable taking risks. They are comfortable playing both roles sexually, they like being dominated and being submissive. They possess a constellation of personality traits that you would normally associate with men.”

After all, it’s possible (or probable) that a small subset of men actually prefer female-made porn. Would these men's sexual brains then have developed in a female way, or would it just support the notion that there are types of erotica determined to be male or female, and while they may a attract a majority of one sex, aren’t really inherently gendered? It seems there are many possible avenues of interpretation... 

Angie Rowntree, founder of offered a simple alternate explanation for Ogas’ findings. She posits that, if very few women are watching porn, and the ones that are are watching male-made porn, it may just mean there is a dearth of female-made porn — and an underserved majority of women that may be interested in it.   

“If the vast majority of porn on the market is made by and for men — and it is—is it any wonder that a relatively small portion of women wants to watch it?” Rowntree told Alternet. “To me, that number just speaks to the opportunity on the market for porn made with a female viewership in mind. It’s just a function of the numbers and what has been available on the market, historically speaking,”