Research published in the scientific journal Porn Studies has investigated the motivations behind women who watch male-on-male pornography. The findings suggest that some women enjoy gay content because it offers perspectives that mainstream heterosexual pornography lacks.
Lucy Neville, a senior lecturer in criminology at Middlesex University, became interested in the topic of women who enjoy watching gay male sex thanks in part to the Game of Thrones book series. Author George R.R. Martin revealed in 2014 that a number of female fans of the series had asked him to include gay sex scenes in his upcoming works. Gay fiction author James Lear also said that more women than men had showed interest in his first novel. And Neville is herself an author of erotica.
Neville used an online questionnaire as well as a series of focus groups and one-on-one interviews to investigate the reasons some women find gay content to be appealing. The qualitative study included 275 women who said they watched gay male content.
Ninety percent of the participants said they masturbated to male-on-male content, and 82 percent of the sample said male-on-male was their preferred type of pornography. Sixty-eight percent of the participants also watched heterosexual content, and 53 percent watched lesbian content.
Neville found that many women in the study expressed dissatisfaction with heterosexual adult content.
In particular, Neville explained: “the way they perceived women as being treated and/or exploited in heterosexual porn, the invisibility of female pleasure, the fact that identifying with the female actress made them less able to enjoy the eroticism of looking, and the fact that most heterosexual porn invited them to view the sex acts occurring from a ‘male’ perspective – noting the way that the camera tended to linger on female anatomy and that men in heterosexual porn were ‘ugly and out of focus at best, and just a disembodied cock at worst.'”
Several other key themes emerged in Neville’s analysis of the women’s responses. The most common reason women enjoyed male-on-male adult scenes was simply because they found the spectacle of two men having sex to be attractive. As one participant explained, “I am attracted to males so seeing two of ’em get it on together is like: BOOM, TWICE THE SEXY!”
Some women told Neville that gay content simply had better production values and more interesting plots. Women also said that male-on-male scenes felt more authentic and that the actors appeared to be genuinely fond of one another. Some women enjoyed that men were the main object of sexual attraction. In addition, not having to worry about the exploitation of female performers was an appealing factor for some women.
The different set of power dynamics in gay content was another theme to emerge. Unlike heterosexual porn, in gay porn “neither party can automatically be decreed to be submissive or dominant simply by virtue of penetration,” Neville explained.
And for some women, the lack of a female performer in male-on-male content meant they didn’t need to worry about feeling jealous about another woman’s body.
“If pornography is here to stay there is no reason to limit that pleasure to men. It would appear that gay male porn currently offers women a way to engage with pornography – to experience the pleasure of watching porn – in a way that much heterosexual pornography does not,” Neville concluded.