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Straight Men Watch Gay Porn, Too

Plus other porn stats backed by research.
PHOTO: Chris Clinton
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A common belief about gender and porn is that while women of all sexual identities can get turned on by people of all genders, men only like to watch stuff that aligns with their stated orientation. Gay men watch men having sex with men, and straight men just want to see naked women, right? A study on gay, straight, and bi men’s porn preferences published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior is newly challenging this notion, as well as helping to answer the question of how men really feel about seeing condom use in their adult entertainment.

When researchers led by Martin J. Downing, PhD surveyed 821 men about their porn-viewing habits, they found that 55% of gay men reported watching opposite-gender-oriented porn in the previous six months, while 21% of straight men reported watching same-sex porn in that time frame. Bi men, meanwhile, reported watching gay porn at a rate of 96% (nearly as much as the 98.3% of gay men who reported watching gay porn) and straight porn at a rate of 88.3% (a little lower than the 98.5% of straight men who reported watching straight porn).


While the rate of straight men watching gay porn may seem unexpected to those outside of the research world, Downing says that his team wasn’t surprised. "Sexual attractions and behaviors are more than just identity," he tells Cosmopolitan.com. "Research has shown that some gay men are attracted to or find heterosexual and masculine men more attractive," a preference Downing believes gay men to enjoy watching porn performers in straight sex scenes. (The pressure many gay men feel to perform "masculinity" to attract a partner is real.) As for the straight men into gay porn, Downing notes that substantial research reveals that it’s not uncommon for men who identify as heterosexual to be attracted to or even hook up with other men (a reminder that "never ever in a million years feeling an ounce of attraction for the same sex" is not a prerequisite for being, and identifying as, straight).

And when it comes to safe sex in porn, while the majority of guys do prefer their porn condom-free, a sizable minority don’t care one way or the other. Of straight guys viewing vaginal sex, 65% liked it condomless, 31.7% didn’t care, and 3.3% safety-loving guys actually preferred condoms, with similar numbers for anal sex. Of gay men viewing anal sex, 64.4% preferred it condomless, 29.2% didn’t care, and 6.4% preferred condoms; of gay men viewing vaginal sex, those numbers were 50.5%, 45.1%, and 4.3%. Looks like barrier methods aren’t as big a barrier to dudes’ porn enjoyment as we thought.

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.