Calculate your rising sign

Browse all

What the Pornhub report on 2021 says

All the NSFW searches of the year

What the Pornhub report on 2021 says All the NSFW searches of the year

This one on 2021 is the eighth report published by Pornhub. In fact, every year, the largest porn distribution company presents trends, terms and searches from the last 365 days. If it is true that, as Leanne says in Orange Is The New Black (Netflix, episode 7 of the fifth season), "the world don't work like pornos", it is just as real that pornography narrates in its own way - or at least reflects - the reality in which it was produced, and by which it is intrinsically influenced by defining aesthetics and preferences.

Between infographics and comments, let's try to retrace the major insights of Pornhub's Year in Review, finding those small or big things that we have intercepted even outside the pornographic sites, such as the a bit weepy story told by VICE about that math teacher that in Taiwan had uploaded his lessons to Pornhub. After going viral, in fact, it raised the word “teacher” by 14 positions among the searches. Today Shun-Wei Chang has 8K subscribers and 2.1M views.

But for those who have little time and prefer videos (here too), here is the summary of the report made by Aria Nathaniel, the historical social media manager of Pornhub.


The 10 searches that defined 2021

In addition to the most searched single terms and the most clicked categories, Pornhub also presents a list of the trends of the year, those that connect to the contemporary cultural landscape and that capture the Zeitgeist in which we are immersed.



In the first place we find hentai, also top defining term (while the second most searched word is japanese). In Japanese culture, hentai can refer to any kind of sexual fetish or perversion, however, in the rest of the world it is used to describe the pornographic version of anime and manga, at other times it also generally refers to porn in the form of cartoons.The graphic character makes this type of video particularly creative and imaginative, and it shows figures, practices and sexual acts that in the real world would be impossible (a particular trend is the tentacle erotica, if you have no idea what it is you can google one of the earliest examples of the genus found in Hokusai's “Young Pines” shunga, The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife).



The romantic genre grows by + 139% (and bromance, among the gay categories, is +288%). Maybe the distancing is bringing a new need for "human connections", intimacy and love, but perhaps, more likely, this growth is due to the fact that the videos described as "romantic" or "passionate" actually only seem more authentic. These are in fact slightly more real contents and stories that try to break with the imaginary standards of other films.



We had already talked about how the pandemic has changed porn and, just like the long-Covid exists, the effects seem to last here too. As Dr. Stacy Friedman states in the report, lockdowns have led couples to spend much more time together, and as a result, individuals have been looking for new things to spice up their relationships, at least online.



The ongoing quarantines have also led celebrities and influencers to share their fitness routines, many people have started following personal trainers on YouTube to do exercises at home and, in particular, to undertake hyper-sexualized yoga.



On the wave of point three, we also find a notable growth in all those terms related to the field of swapping, open relationships and ethical non-monogamy: swap, swinger, swinging, cuckold, cheating. In general, we can say that the research on "cheating" has seen an increase of 93%.


There are in the real world, in the virtual world and also in the pornographic world, so the challenges grow by +255%. If we think of No Nut November (the challenge of not having orgasms for the whole month of November) it is not strange that video compilations such as the Jerk Off Challenge or the classic Try Not to Cum are regularly back in vogue. This year a new entry was the Buss it Challenge, which comes directly from TikTok, where people used the first part of the audio to enter a room, or generally move around dressed normally, and the second part to bend over and twerk to the rhythm of the song by Erica Banks, an American rapper. So we can say that it already had a sexual connotation in itself, but the turning point came when the sex worker Slimothy James (here the NSFW profile) posted on Twitter an explicit version of the challenge, in which in the second part was naked and ended astride an equally naked guy, in the classic cowgirl position. From here it took a moment for everything to evolve on Pornhub as well.



Let's take this point with a grain of salt. Searches for "trans" and "transgender" themed content have increased, perhaps a little because of the general wokeness of the younger generations and a little more because of that search for the taboo of the older generations. The fact is that "transgender" is the tenth category most viewed by male visitors. Plus, Pornhub is keen to point out that some of the most popular Verified Models are transgender, but it's not exactly a big LGBTQ+ flag waving on the platform, meaning that it is not strange that some communities of the Italian slacktivism take sides in opposition to mainstream pornography when the "transgender" category is populated with videos with titles that include terms like "tranny" and "shemale", among the transphobic insults most used online.



Goth is both an aesthetic and a subculture that today, between e-boy and total black, is back in pop culture with a straight leg. The same popularity was also found on Pornhub, where it recorded more than 5 million searches per month.



Here too, thanks to the lockdowns, many people found themselves spending more time than expected with their roommates, so all this somehow influenced their fantasies, leading them to search for "lesbian/gay/straight roommate", "fucking roommate", "horny roommate".


#10 HOW TO

Last but not least the how to trend. With a + 245%, people have looked for how to do certain things in the least suitable but most accessible and direct place in the world. They searched for information on: how to squirt, how to lick a vulva, how to perform fellatio, how to wear a condom, how to last longer, how to finger themselves, how to shave the testicles, how to make a dildo, how to find the g-spot, how to make her cum. All this interest proves, for the umpteenth time, how necessary an education in sex and sexuality is and, not surprisingly, it is from 2020 that Pornhub has introduced a series of Sex Ed themed videos which, despite being a bit basic (and binary I would say), however they try to do their part for the target they refer to.

Pornstars, video games and most searched words in 2021

The most sought-after pornstars are Lana Rhoades and Abella Danger, among both women and men. Another one who had a great growth has been Eva Elfie, a Russian model and pornstar who started from Model Hub in 2018, as soon as she turned eighteen. She specializes in teen content, often soft-fetish and with a very Kawaii wave. The first male pornstar on the list is Jordi El Niño Polla, pseudonym of Ángel Muñoz, born in 1994, who has always played the archetype of the student, the "son of", the boy turned (literally) by women - we can also say MILF - much older than him (not only in age but also physically). In 2019 El Niño won a Pornhub Award as “Most Popular Male Performer”: women who enjoy pornography like this narrative, men like to recognize themselves in him. In seventh place we still find Mia Khalifa, who hasn't performed for 7 years, and who in the meantime got married again, became particularly famous on TikTok and got re-divorced. Among the stars most appreciated by gay men, however, there are Cade Maddox, Joey Mills and Reno Gold.

When we talk about favorite people and characters, in addition to famous pornstars, there is also the whole vein of parody, which is a rather popular genre on porn distribution sites. It's common to look for your favorite movies readjusted into sexual scenarios, and in the top of the list provided by the Pornhub report there’s the character of Harley Quinn, followed by Wonder Woman and Harry Potter. As for cartoons and TV series, however, the Simpsons are in first place, and this year Squid Game has also entered the list, earning the thirteenth position. In the world of gaming Fortnite continues to be the most sought-after video game and Lara Croft the heroine of everyone's XXX dreams.

Among the most searched words you may not know pinay which refers to a Filipino woman, or the acronyms bbc, big black cock, and joi, which stands for jerk-off instructions, that are videos in which a person gives verbal and / or visual indications to masturbate, sometimes even encouraging some interruption in a domination dynamic.


The most popular categories in the world and in Italy

If in 2007, at the opening of the site, there were about thirty categories on Pornhub, now there are more than 100, which are the same all over the world but which at the same time change constantly following market demands. For example, the Celebs category was created during the exploit of the spread of Kim Kardashian's sex tape. That the category in question over the years has generated a series of problems for deep fake is another matter. As we were saying, the most viewed category on Pornhub is Japanese followed by Lesbian, Ebony and Hentai, which once again confirms the interest in the oriental world. The category that is viewed the longest is Mature, also because it is the most popular with older visitors, who tend to spend more time on the site. Pornhub also specifically analyzed the gay pages and sections and noted that the category most viewed by gay visitors has been Straight Guy. In terms of trends we find the aforementioned Bromance, in second place "China" and in third place "Twink", a term that indicates a young boy (between 18 and 24 years old) who demonstrates an adolescent age, hairless and with a slender body, so it's no coincidence that Joey Mills is the second most sought after. Among the lesser-known gay queries at the mainstream level there’s Yaoi, which would be the homosexual equivalent of hentai content.

Italy remains on the patriotic trend of recent years and the most viewed category is reconfirmed, in fact, Italian. The Italian spectators follow only Italian talents: Malena la Pugliese, Martina Smeraldi, Valentina Nappi, Danika Mori and Rocco Siffredi, and they go in search of Italian dialogues and Italian amateur contents. Among the other most views categories compared to the rest of the world, there is particular attention to Solo Female, Bisexual Male, Transgender and Role Play.


How much time do we spend on average on Pornhub

In Italy most people (93%) connect to Pornhub via mobile - more from Android (54%) than from Apple (45%) - and, on average, spend 9 minutes and 43 seconds on the site (the average global is 9 minutes and 55 seconds). We are the fifth country for traffic on Pornhub, which by the way is one of the most visited sites in the world (in the same list there are two other adult sites, XVideos and its mirror site, XNXX, which do not belong to Mindgeek). Sunday is the day when porn is watched the most, especially between 10 pm and 1 am; while the least popular day is Friday. According to Jessie Ford, a Columbia University professor and sex sociologist, these data on days and times show that porn is "very much connected to other aspects and other rhythms in our social life". And this is why traffic drops during anniversaries and holidays, such as Christmas evening or the Eurovision final, and rises significantly when social networks suffer an interruption of the service.


Gender differences

On Pornhub, women represent 35% of the audience; there was a 5% increase compared to 2020, confirming the growing trend of female interest. This is happening because the stigma is reducing, on social networks there is more and more talk of sexuality and people are more inclined to explore it. In particular, it is curious to note that in the Philippines women represent the majority of spectators with 52%.

So let's make a comparison of the most viewed categories between men and women:


Compared to men, women watch more content such as pussy licking, scissoring and fingering and, even if there is no real porn for women, this happens because they are types of videos that focus on female pleasure, i.e. theirs. Furthermore, as you can imagine, they are videos that mainly involve external stimulation of the vulva and even here it is not a coincidence, since most women cannot reach orgasm exclusively through penetration, but require the involvement of the clitoris. Therefore it is normal for you to watch a video that reflects the pleasure you prefer. Another curiosity provided by Pornhub about female viewing habits concerns the fact that 37% of gay male porn is watched by women.


Age differences 

The average age of visitors is 37 years old. The most conspicuous demographic slice goes from 24 to 35 years. But we are quite cautious with these data, both for how the generations are divided and because the first search on pornographic sites takes place at about 13 years (obviously declaring the age of majority at the first proposed banner). In any case, Pornhub has made an analysis on the preferences of each demographic class, Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers.

Gen Z focuses on lesbian, hentai, cosplay, and foot videos. Millennials are also more likely to watch Asian categories, POV videos, and Creampie category. Gen X (35-54), on the other hand, is interested in cartoon porn, interracial content, and threesomes. Finally, the Boomers (over 55) look at handjobs, the aforementioned Mature and in general Vintage content.

Between diversified research for imaginary linked to clear aesthetics and everyday situations, curiosity of exploration for new practices of pleasure and an unexpected patriotism in the choice of top artists, The report gives an insight into the second year of the global pandemic in which the essence of the contemporary cultural landscape emerges.