Every year PornHub releases its list of the most searched-for porn terms, providing a titillating way to take the temperature of the country’s erotic interests. This week we decided to investigate some of the most-searched-for topics by speaking with Tina Horn, host of the sex and sexuality podcast “Why Are People Into That?!” Her insights into the list—as well as the porn industry in general—are as fascinating as they are NSFW.
“There’s an element of voyeurism,” says Horn of porn. “What people are curious about in porn…versus what they actually like to do or want to do” don’t always match up. You could go on your partner’s laptop and discover a bunch of videos of spanking, for example, but that doesn’t mean your partner necessarily wants to try that IRL. “They might just want to know what’s that about,” says Horn, adding that the same could be said for pretty much any fetish.
Horn compared porn to other forms of entertainment: “Watching porn is like watching professional athletes; you can watch the Super Bowl and you might be very excited, but when you’re playing pickup football”…well, you’re not going to expect it to be exactly the same. Athletes train; so do porn stars. “It might take five years of training,” she speculates, before a star could reliably get “a fist in their ass.” (Told you this was NSFW!)
Now let’s talk about that PornHub list. Stepmom was the number-one term for 2016, though it hadn’t even cracked the top 10 the year before. Horn calls it a work-around to an incest fetish. “Incest, but it’s technically not incest. She’s not your biological mom. As if that matters in a fantasy,” she says—a way to play with the idea without the attendant guilt. It’s also related to the “MILF” fetish.
The second-most-searched term in 2016 was lesbian (Horn is quick to note, “You could have lesbian stepmoms”), but as you probably all know, porn isn’t like regular sex, and the sex in “lesbian” porn doesn’t usually depict how lesbians actually have sex. “In porn, lesbian is a term that means women having sex with each other. Often it’s a depiction of a fantasy [for men],” explains Horn. “It’s like a fantasy of what that would be like.” The most common trope of the genre is “scissoring,” and it makes a certain amount of sense. If a person likes to see one vagina, that person might also like to see two (or three or four), and scissoring is the (quasi) sex act that allows the camera to get the best look at said vaginas. After all, it’s not for real. It’s for porn!