watchingpornwithnodicks

The Men Who Watch Lesbian Porn for Homophobic Reasons

'If I go to a porn site the first thing I try to find is the lesbian shit. I don't want to see any dicks what so ever'

Years ago, the standup comedian Ron White performed a bit mocking a friend who wouldn’t quit spouting homophobic nonsense. White tells him that everybody’s at least a little bit gay, then “proves” it in Socratic fashion, asking the guy whether he watches straight porn. He does. “Well, do you like the guy to have a small, half-flaccid penis?” White asks. The man gets halfway through his protest: “No! I like big, hard, throbbing…”

Then the light bulb comes on.

White’s reasoning here is of course a bit broad, even if his message — that sexuality is fluid and counterintuitive — hits home. But it holds out the possibility of an ideology twisted enough to violate itself: Could men be so afraid of dicks that they’ll seek out only lesbian porn? So insecure that they can’t watch the kind of intimacy they prefer?

The answer may not surprise you.

The streaming sites YouPorn and Pornhub this month released data showing that “lesbian” is their shared top search term of 2018, continuing years of dominance for the genre. No single factor accounts for the lasting popularity of lesbian imagery, though women’s preference for these videos — which center on female pleasure as opposed to male power and release — is key. “They get to see acts they enjoy on themselves,” noted Dr. Laurie Betito, Director of the Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center.

As for the men clicking on this stuff, the numbers can be harder to parse. In the first place, “lesbian porn” is often made by and for straight men — you only have to witness lesbians’ baffled reactions to those scenes to understand their true demographic. “Very few men visit websites containing erotica featuring actual lesbians that is targeted at actual lesbians,” neuroscientist Ogi Ogas, co-author of a book on sexual attraction, has told the Atlantic. (Yes, there are other reaction videos that speak to this phenomenon.)

The lesbian porn that heterosexual men consume may play upon his voyeuristic interests, offer a “more is more” approach to his favorite visual stimuli, or tap into his idea of women as perpetually horny, omnisexual beings. But, as sexual researcher Timaree Schmit explained to NBC News, one contingent is simply avoiding “any male performers’ bodies” in porn, stricken with “anxieties about comparing their penis size and body composition or even their own homophobic reactions.”

This has been a sticking point in male-dominated internet communities. The forums at Bodybuilding.com, for example, have hosted a long-running argument over whether it’s gayer to masturbate to lesbian or straight porn — and while a few threads begin with a guy interrogating the appeal of dickless material, it surely has its loyal zealots.

Over at Reddit’s r/nofap, a support group for people trying to abstain from autoerotic activity, the conundrum is more dire still. In one post, a man worried that his sustained interest in conventional straight porn had led to HOCD, or homosexual obsessive-compulsive disorder, a widely misunderstood form of OCD. “How does looking at other men’s penis[es] in porn videos pounding girls not have a psychological impact?” he wondered. “Think about it, our ancestors and the way our brains evolved were not meant to see other men’s penises having sex with women or being sucke[d] by another female.” He argued that although attracted to women all his life, hetero porn had rewired him to be focused on male genitalia by age 19. “Now I have HOCD and am bombarded every day with thoughts of me being penetrated,” he wrote. “I’m starting to believe I’m turning gay even though I’ve had sex with 15 girls, been in a relationship of 2 years, have only ever been aroused and kissed women [and] watched straight porn.”

His self-diagnosis is typical of the dangerous and pseudoscientific understanding of HOCD in social networks colored by fragile masculinity, which is sure to cause additional anxiety for men who suffer from unwanted thoughts of latent homosexuality. “The long-term effect of constant porn usage for us has made us associate penises with pleasure,” declared a r/nofap member, with no apparent evidence. “We see a girl in porn having sex with a ‘big penis’ and we associate that with pleasure.” Yet another No Fapper was distressed that he had begun paying attention to men’s butts in whatever he was watching:

I watched a movie that showed a man’s butt. I wouldn’t call it arousal, but for the first time I became too “aware” of it. In the past if I ever saw that, it wouldn’t bother me since I was confident I liked girls. I started thinking about this more and more and started getting nervous about being gay. Being around other gay people and some men in general started giving me some anxiety. I then watched an episode of a TV show where men are showering and their butts are the focus of attention, and suddenly my fear grew worse. **NOTE: The butt has generally been my favorite part of a woman for some time**

For the guys who fight to regain their sense of straightness amid this lustful confusion — but don’t want to stop masturbating entirely — the natural and obvious cure could well be a return to lesbian porn. That’s what a young man on the small but active r/HOCD subreddit attempted after a period of exploring bisexual content. Nevertheless, his inner conflict endured. Later, he switched to trans porn.

Meanwhile, however, people in r/nofap routinely float the idea that lesbian porn is some kind of loophole, “less harmful,” not as “kinky” and, indeed, perhaps not porn at all.

The lesbian porn purist with homophobic dread is a victim of his categorizations. Because everything is either “straight” or “gay,” with no accounting for the non-absolutes between, he is forever analyzing the source of any given erection, right down to a specific body part. He is never free to like what he likes, since it may indicate urges that contradict a settled sexual identity he believes is permanent and single-sided.

Moreover, he assumes that as the women in lesbian porn are not “real” lesbians and could theoretically desire him, any “straight” man could turn gay under certain conditions. Masculine homosexuality, to his mind, is but one of the many perversions and fetishes he stands to develop by pursuing novel excitement in his porn diet. Hence his clinging to the softcore, faux-lesbian fluff that boys often start out on, and the paradox that separates this vanilla same-sex fantasy (good!) from the prospect of its male equivalent (bad!).

In order to evade the intrinsic queerness of jacking off to a man jacking off on a woman, he consumes what is definitionally queer: women enacting a kind of tryst he will never experience. In all likelihood, he’s only resisting self-awareness.

You can take the cock out of porn, but you can’t take the gay out of watching it.