I'm A Lesbian & I Watch Straight Porn

Photographed by Michael Beckert.
I have a secret to confess: I'm a lesbian, but nine times out of ten, I prefer watching straight porn. It might seem like a really weird thing to do. After all, why would any lesbian, who truly has no sexual interest in men, want to watch a man and a woman have sex?
But I'm not an anomaly. “I exclusively watch straight porn, and I don’t know any lesbians who watch lesbian porn,” says one lesbian woman in a video for Mashable. Other lesbians take to question boards at Yahoo, Quora, and Reddit to find out if they're the only ones who prefer straight porn. They're not.
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While there are many reasons that a lesbian might choose to watch straight porn instead of lesbian porn (we're all complex people, after all), there seems to be one overarching problem with lesbian porn that turns many of us off: It's just not realistic. Most free, easy-to-access "lesbian" porn is actually made with straight men in mind, as a 2013 YouTube video that quickly went viral on the lesbian internet perfectly illustrates.
In the video, several lesbians sit in front of a computer screen and watch what sounds like a particularly terrible lesbian porn video. They're not doing it to get aroused, but instead to critique it. Throughout the two minute video, the women balk at the length of the porn performers nails, their anti-feminist dirty talk, their excessive fingering, and finally, their choice to use a high heel as a makeshift dildo (what?!). Now, I can't speak for all queer women and neither do the women in this video — some queer women do enjoy a lot of fingers (and sometimes whole fists) during penetration, and some don't have a problem with long nails — but generally speaking, we don't spit in each other's vaginas, we don't scissor nearly as often as porn would like you to believe, and we don't fuck each other with stilettos.
Of course, not all lesbian porn is quite that bad, but a lot of the lesbian porn that's free doesn't feel genuine. As one of the women in the video points out, people who have vaginas tend to need constant, rhythmic motion on the clit and/or in the vagina to build an orgasm. You won't find that in most lesbian porn. Instead, the performers constantly change up their tongue and finger motions. As someone who has actually had sex with women, it's hard to quiet the voice in my head that says, "There's no way she's enjoying this." And, "There's no way her orgasm was real."
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I could almost imagine his penis as a dildo that just happened to be made of flesh.

Those aren't exactly sexy thoughts. So is it really that much of a stretch that "lesbian" porn doesn't often turn me on? Don't get me wrong, there is some really amazing, high-quality queer porn out there. But real queer porn doesn't come for free. So, in my broke college days and then my broke intern days, I explored the depths of Pornhub and came out on the straight side of things. My gateway? A threesome involving two women and one man.
I don't quite remember what made me click on that video. Up until then, I'd scroll past anything that looked like it would confront me with a penis, because I sure as hell didn't want to see that (I stand firm in my belief that penises are gross). But I watched that threesome anyway. I fast-forwarded past the blow job scene that every porn involving a penis inevitably includes and got to the good stuff. I watched, entranced and incredibly turned on, as one woman rode the man's face and the other rode his penis. In that moment, I realized that the men in porn could be nothing more than a prop for me. I could almost imagine his penis as a dildo that just happened to be made of flesh.
It was a turning point in my porn experience. This is what moans of real pleasure sound like, I thought. These women really are enjoying themselves.
Whether it's actually genuine or not, straight porn just feels more real to me. But maybe that's because I have no experience with straight sex. It seems that many straight women choose to watch "lesbian" porn for the same reason. "Women in particular are looking for authenticity," says Megan Fleming, PhD, a sex and relationship therapist in New York City. "I do think that for many, what turns them on is what's realistic, or at least what looks like it will feel good."
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So straight women might be turned on by the same lesbian porn that turns me off, because it focuses more on foreplay and clitoral stimulation. But for me, what's often missing in lesbian porn is penetration. Free girl-on-girl porn rarely involves strap-ons, dildos, or even fingers, but straight porn is all about penetration. So what if I have to imagine a penis as a flesh-colored dildo? Watching cisgender men fuck cisgender women in no way makes me less of a lesbian. Just like watching two (or more) women have sex doesn't make straight women gay.
Ultimately, someone's taste in porn doesn't have to line up with their real-life sexual orientations. For many people, porn represents a fantasy, and not necessarily a fantasy that they would act on or even want to act on in real life.
"So what if you're a lesbian who likes straight porn? So what if you're a straight woman who likes to watch gay men get it on? So what if you are a straight man who enjoys porn which features trans folks across the gender spectrum," says sexologist Domina Franco. As long as the porn turns you on (and isn't exploitive or nonconsensual), then let go of what you're "supposed to" like and enjoy yourself.
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