True blue picks: A snapshot of Australia's favourite porn
(This article contains explicit terms which some readers and workplaces may find offensive.)
Pornhub, one of the world's largest online porn sites, provides us with a department store-sized window into our online viewing habits of "mainstream porn."
In 2017 Pornhub had 28.5 billion visits, up from 23 billion (24 percent) in 2016. According to internet analytics firm, Alexa, Pornhub is the 27th most popular website in the world. It ranked 18th within Australia (and 14th in the US, 15th in Canada, and 16th in the UK.)
Australians made the eighth highest number of visits to the website—the same position it held in 2016. Given the comparatively small population of Australia, its inclusion in the "top 10" suggests that Australians are, at the very least, curious about porn.
Here's a snapshot of the geographies of online pornography down under.
Whereas two-thirds (67.3 percent) of Australia's population in 2017 lived within the various state and territory capital city regions, these same areas accounted for about 90 percent of the unique pageviews to the multitude of porn category pages on Pornhub's website. Melbourne and Sydney, which account for 40.6 percent of the population, made more than half of all visits to the site.
The significant over-representation of porn consumption from metropolitan Australia may also be explained, in large part, by better telecommunications infrastructure and faster internet download speeds compared to regional and rural Australia.
Australia's top 10
Eight categories of porn were found in the top 10 most viewed categories across all Australia's capital cities. There were: anal, big tits, hentai (a Japanese-influenced form of porn), lesbian, mature ("older women," often 40-60+ years old), MILF ("glamourous older women," often 30-50 years old), teen (18+), and threesome.
Lesbian was the most popular category of porn among Australians, ranking first across all state capitals. MILF ranked second for all metropolitan regions except Canberra, where hentai came in second place, pushing MILF into third spot. Teen(18+) porn proved to be more popular in Adelaide (equal second) and Brisbane (equal third) whereas threesome porn ranked third in Melbourne and Sydney. Anal took out third place in Perth.
Japanese-categorised porn made the top 10 in just three cities—Canberra (equal sixth); Melbourne (ninth) and Sydney (seventh). This was also true for Asian porn.
Transgender porn, made it into the top 10 in only two cities—Adelaide (ninth) and Brisbane (tenth) (and 11th in Perth).
Given the increased prominence of transgender porn at the 2018 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, high-profile Australian performer Angela White recently shooting her first transgender scene with Chanel Santini, plus wider media and public debates on trans issues, more people, including heterosexual male porn viewers, will likely be watching transgender porn in the next year or two.
What about gay porn?
Pornhub also has a separate site for gay porn. While this type of porn may be popular with gay men, it is also watched by women.
Pornhub offers about 40 different categories of gay porn on its website. In 2017, the top 10 categories across all Australian cities were: straight guys (in which gay men have sex with "straight" men); bareback (sex without using condoms); daddy (the gay equivalent of "MILF" porn); twink (the equivalent of the category "Teen 18+"); big dick; rough sex; group; public; creampie; and Asian.
Canberra is the only city to feature muscle, hunk, and fetish porn in their gay porn top 10. Similarly, black porn only makes the top 10 in Adelaide (seventh) and Brisbane (tenth). Brisbane and Perth are the only cities to feature public porn (ninth).
From computers to phones
It should come as no real surprise that desktop computers are no longer the primary means of accessing porn on the net. Smart phones account for the majority of unique traffic to Pornhub from Australia. Brisbane leads the way with 62.4 percent of porn traffic coming from phones.
Nevertheless, people are still watching on computers, particularly in Canberra—the epicentre of federal politics and bureaucracy—where 38.4 percent of Pornhub traffic came from desktops. Tablets account for a small share of traffic, highest in Hobart and Darwin (both at 14.6 percent).
With the 5G mobile phone system just over the horizon, and increasingly cost-effective and larger data packages offered by mobile phone companies, smart phones will undoubtedly increase their dominance in how we access online pornography into the future.
In overall terms, our mainstream and gay porn category preferences are fairly stable, although there are some notable inter-city variations.
As porn scholar Shira Tarrant notes in her book, The Pornography Industry, "pornography has been around for as long as visual images and the written word have existed." Given the fact that the past is arguably the best predictor of the future, our curiosity in and consumption of pornography is unlikely to disappear any time soon.