A Woman's Guide To Watching Porn With Your Partner

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Women watch porn. We might not watch it as much as men do – according to Pornhub, women make up around 25% of all visitors on the site – but it’s not quite the "guy thing" people make out either. But what sort of porn do we like to watch?

Female taste in porn is as individual as we are. Luckily, there’s so much out there, I defy anyone not to find something they like. But what if porn bothers you ethically? Or you hate jackhammering and ugly filming?

Try porn that has been directed with less misogyny and more ethics, with sexier stars and far more stylish filming. Something that’s far less in your face. Literally.

Here’s my guide to what’s worth checking out in erotica and porn (and what to do while you’re watching it with a partner, to avoid that awkward "Um, what now?" moment).

Mainstream erotica

If you’re quite conservative and not a huge porn fan, start with a "mainstream" film that has sex in it. Basic Instinct for brilliant bondage, Henry and June for girl-on-girl, The Secretary for spanking and S&M, Eyes Wide Shut for voyeurism, the Fifty Shades series if you’re into power games.

If that (or you) go down well and you want to keep it on this level (subtle sexy rather than graphic), you could heat things up a degree by renting Emmanuelle, The Story of O, Betty Blue, Wild Orchid and Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

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Erotic apps

If you like erotic fiction, try Erotic Review for some top-notch turn-on or, for something totally partner friendly, try Indie adult filmmaker Erika Lust’s free XConfessions App.

Made to play in pairs, each partner downloads the app and individually swipes through hundreds of fantasies, swiping right to those they like and left to those they don’t. If you both swipe yes, it’s a match and the card appears in your ‘bank’, ready for you to use as inspiration for role play or ‘sex challenges’.

Ready for more?

Online porn

Search ‘free porn’ and prepare to be utterly overwhelmed by the astonishing selection on offer online.

Start with I Feel Myself for some super female-friendly, nicely filmed female masturbation videos. (Interesting to watch how other women arouse themselves, even if it does nothing to arouse you.)

Make Love Not Porn is very PC, with the founder, Cindy Gallop, saying she’s “pro-porn, pro-sex and pro-knowing the difference”.

She does. It features real couples rather than actors, which is a plus for many reasons.

Pornhub and Youporn are both massive, mainstream porn sites but lots of women love the lesbian and gay porn categories (the men are generally better looking in gay porn and the sex seems more real).

Erika Lust also does Lust Cinema, professional looking porn minus the misogyny; Kink.com goes what it says on the box and explores BDSM, fetishes and other kinks.

Frolicme is another great site for women and couples and well worth checking out also.

Finally, there’s Joy Bear.

It’s billed as ‘Very British. Very naughty’ and it’s Very Good. Everyone’s really attractive (watch on high self-esteem days), it’s super modern and the filming and styling are second to none. Joy Bear has won a heap of awards – and deservedly so!

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What to do while watching

  • Don’t be surprised if you both end up in hysterics rather than in bed.
  • A lot of porn is sooooo bad, it’s funny.
  • But even if that atrociously acted scenario is about as likely to happen in real life as you have winning the lottery without a ticket, it is sexy watching other people have sex.

In between the laughter try any or all of the following:

  • Use it to arouse yourself before you start having sex with your partner.
  • Act out what’s happening on the screen – do whatever it is they’re doing.
  • Start watching it to get in the mood and then just leave it playing in the background as you get down to business. Glance up now and again to keep things nicely revved up.
  • Take turns to watch – you give them oral while they enjoy the film, then they return the favour.
  • Use it to test out or learn how to do something you’d both like to try in real life.
  • Use it to get ideas for sex positions and copy each one.
  • Get into positions where you can both watch. Reverse cowgirl (her on top but facing away from him) or him-from-behind as you spoon, facing the telly. Doggie style also works well.
  • Use your hands on each other while your eyes are trained on the screen.
  • Tie your partner up then put the film on. Masturbate in front of them but don’t touch them.
  • Blindfold them so they can hear but not see, as you describe what’s happening on screen and do to them, what they’re doing on screen.

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Good reasons to watch porn

It’s fun. It gets us off quickly. It’s great to masturbate to. Your partner makes you feel so attractive you’d never be threatened by what’s on screen. It’s naughty. It’s something different to do. You’re voyeurs. You’re both confident sexually and physically. It stops you feeling left out if he watches it without you. It can make it easier to talk about sex. It provides a sneak preview of stuff you might like to try. Explicit visual stimulation is a powerful arousal trigger.

Good reasons to abstain

If you morally object to it (any and all). If you’ve got a bad body image. If you have concerns about your genital appearance or size. If you’re insecure in your relationship. If you just don’t feel sexy right now. If your partner doesn’t make you feel attractive. If he’s a premature ejaculator. If he’s having erection problems. If you're struggling with orgasm issues. If you have low sexual self-esteem. If there’s a history of sexual abuse.


Tracey Cox is one of the world’s foremost writers on sex and relationships. She has written several bestsellers, including Hot Sex: How to Do It and supersex, and has her own product range in partnership with Lovehoney.


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