Scientists analyzed orgasms in the 50 most-viewed videos on PornHub. Here’s what they found.

By Seriously Science | June 29, 2017 9:43 am
Photo: flickr/Colby Stopa

Photo: flickr/Colby Stopa

It’s probably no surprise to anyone that watching pornography can give unrealistic expectations of what sex is really like. But how skewed is this representation? These heroic scientists took it upon themselves to find out. To do so, they watched the top 50 most-viewed videos on PornHub, and recorded “the frequency of male and female orgasm, orgasm-inducing sex acts (and whether activity inducing female orgasms included some form of clitoral stimulation), and auditory (verbal, vocal) and visual (bodily) indicators of orgasm.” They found that 78% of men but only 18.3% of women were shown reaching orgasm in popular porn videos, and thus concluded that “representations of male and female orgasm in mainstream pornography may serve to perpetuate unrealistic beliefs and expectations in relation to female orgasm and male sexual performance.” Ya think?

Consuming Ecstasy: Representations of Male and Female Orgasm in Mainstream Pornography.

“Social representations, which appear in a variety of media, can influence the way sexual experiences are perceived and understood. While pornography is not the only medium in which orgasm is portrayed, it is the most explicit, and it is widespread and easily accessible. As such, pornography is an ideal medium for examining representations of male and female orgasm. PornHub’s 50 most viewed videos of all time were viewed and coded for the frequency of male and female orgasm, orgasm-inducing sex acts (and whether activity inducing female orgasms included some form of clitoral stimulation), and auditory (verbal, vocal) and visual (bodily) indicators of orgasm. Content analysis was used to code and analyze the data. Results were analyzed in light of sexual script theory and previous orgasm research. Only 18.3% of women, compared to 78.0% of men, were shown reaching orgasm. Sex differences in depictions of orgasm, beyond the appearance of semen, were documented. Results support the male performance script as evident in pornographic depictions of orgasm, as well as coital and orgasm imperatives. As a result, representations of male and female orgasm in mainstream pornography may serve to perpetuate unrealistic beliefs and expectations in relation to female orgasm and male sexual performance.”

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  • http://chrisroditis.com/ Christopher Roditis

    Yeah because women are the primary target audience of these videos… it’s a product, and it has an audience, and that audience defines the specifics of the product.

    • Ina Kaa

      Are women..?? New to me. Anyway just disgusting, who needs Gordon Ramsay to get hungry enough

      • http://chrisroditis.com/ Christopher Roditis

        Sorry, I did not make the irony immediately obvious, I thought its generally accepted that men watch Gordon Ramsey more than women.

        • Ina Kaa

          I see.. 😀 My mistake. 😉 … helps!

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    pornography can give unrealistic expectations of what sex is really like” Take notes, practice; shop Amazon. Like, love, lust, laundry.

    “Saran wrap and schmaltz do not a good time portend,” Yoda.

  • Not_that_anyone_cares, but…

    Porn is for men, mostly, right?

    Even lesbian porn features ridiculously oversized male phallic shaped dildos.

  • http://stephan-zielinski.com/ Stephan Zielinski

    “Only 18.3% of women, compared to 78.0% of men, were shown reaching orgasm. . . . As a result, representations of male and female orgasm in mainstream pornography may serve to perpetuate unrealistic beliefs and expectations in relation to female orgasm and male sexual performance.”

    Hang on. Are the authors suggesting those numbers perpetrate unrealistically high expectations, or unrealistically low ones? (Or a mix?)

  • OWilson

    Call me old fashioned, but when I was growing up women were considered generally virtuous, even saintly, Mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters strove for high ideals, and were all treated with a special respect, and deference.

    To see women of all ages, shapes, sizes, tattooed, pierced, in giant orgies, writhing under heaps of sweating bodies, clutching at the nearest organ or orifice to satisfy their lust, being debased, somehow devalues women as human beings. Just rutting animals.

    Sweden was once the leader in sexual freedom, now it is second only to some African third world country in rapes!

    But that’s just me. I guess I haven’t “progressed” far enough!

    • Diana Baggy Martínez

      Don’t you think you should have the same “image” for men too? It’s all about genre and it’s roles.

      • OWilson

        We never considered males to be as saintly as our women. It was ingrained in our culture. Criminals were always men. Sexually “men are all the same” they warned young women.

        I still rememember this, from school:

        What are little girls made of?
        Sugar and spice and all things nice.
        That’s what little girls are made of!

        What are little boys made of ?
        Snips and snails and puppy dog’s tails
        THAT’s what little boys are made of!

        As I said, I come from a different culture.

        The progressives told us that free and open pornography and explicit sex education for grade school kids would reduce rape and sexual molestation.

        How did THAT work out, again? :)

    • Derek Prospero

      So let me get this straight, you seek out videos that confirm your old-fashioned and sexist bias, watch the videos (presumably for erotic enjoyment), get your fix, and then switch gears back to hating women who don’t conform to your ancient standards?

      • OWilson

        I just observe, then comment.

        Analyze it as you will :)

        But if you think I hate women, you get the dodo prize! :)

      • Sir Sev

        I don’t agree with him either but you get the god damn strawman of the year award.

  • Sol G

    What “mediums” other that pornography characteristically include “representations of male and female orgasm?” And why would the “explicitness” of pornography make a set of videos thrown together by a bunch of talentless hacks in some San Fernando Valley warehouse (or some squalid Moscow basement) “ideal” for anything other than making a few dirty bucks?

    This “study” isn’t research; it’s another form of pornography.

  • Rob Austin

    Why do women always wear high heels. Never barefooted.

  • mitzilani

    Really? They publish an article which is just a reprint of the abstract? What kind of journalism is that?

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