New research into the popularity of gay porn among women reveals an appreciation for the versatility involved and its comparative lack of troubling power dynamics.

Lucy Neville, a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Leicester, summarised the finding of her new book – Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys – in a piece for The Conversation.

 “That’s…just weird,” is how Neville says people often respond when they learn about the topic of her research.

Pornhub, which consistently reveals new and fascinating porn statistics, has said that male-on-male is the second-most popular category of porn viewed by women – right after ‘lesbian’, of course.

The site also revealed that women make up 37 per cent of viewers of gay porn, with women 69 per cent (nice) more likely to view gay porn than men.

“Men are so pretty,” one woman said. “We deserve more eye candy of that kind.”

Neville interviewed more than 500 women, who indicated that part of the enjoyment of gay porn was not having to worry about women performers and whether they are getting enjoyment, actually achieving orgasm, or whether they are being exploited.

The women said that gay porn involved more obvious cues of the participants’ enjoyment, including erections (though these are often chemically aided regardless of the type of porn) and ejaculation (porn stars say the big money shots are often faked).

Women who enjoy kink and BDSM elements in porn say they get to watch it without sometimes unsettling power dynamics coming into play, while rape and abuse survivors find it is a kind of porn they can enjoy without it bringing up past trauma.

Perhaps the most interesting finding is that 55 per cent of women imagine themselves as men while masturbating to gay porn, suggesting an ability to experience porn beyond the rigidity of gendered experiences.

Neville found that some saw women watching and producing gay porn as “exploitative, fetishising and creepy”, but she also interviewed nearly 200 men who sleep with men who said the opposite.

“If it’s helping people explore romance and sexuality, and possibly breaking down over-representation of heterosexuality in the media, then it’s probably a good thing,” said one.

Though gay porn can be riddled with problems, including racism and sexual assault, Nevill writes that porn can also “forge alliances, change attitudes and overcome some of the divisions presented by identity politics.”

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