Women Are Way More Into Porn Than Many Think, Suggests Survey

11/18/2013 05:20 pm ET
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How do women really feel about porn?

A recent Pew research center survey made waves when it reported that only 8 percent of women watch online porn -- a number that struck many as extremely low. It seems plausible that part of the reason for that low number could be that women are still ashamed to talk about their porn-viewing habits.

British sex toy and lingerie retailer Ann Summers decided to conduct their own poll to find out more about the ways women are using -- or not using -- pornography. The company shared their survey link over Facebook and Twitter, and 300 women chose to take part. The results probably aren't nationally representative, given the self-selecting group of women who would have encountered the survey link and chosen to participate, but it's certainly a fascinating look at how some women view love, sex and pornography.

Here are five things we learned:

1. Porn can benefit your relationship -- and your sex life. Couples who watch porn together at least once a week reported being more committed and sexually satisfied than those who watched porn together less frequently or not at all. Fifty-eight percent of women who watched porn with a partner said that it had a positive effect on their sex life -- over half said that it gave them the confidence to ask for what they wanted in bed. We wonder if men feel the same way?

2. The vast majority of women don't consider watching porn to be cheating. A full 93 percent of participants reported that they wouldn't consider their partner unfaithful for watching porn. As it should be.

3. Porn helps women escape and de-stress. Over 85 percent of women reported watching porn as a "fantasy escape." A further 23 percent said it helped them relieve stress -- and there's a scientific precedent for that. A study from Carnegie Mellon reports that men who looked at sexy pictures were much less stressed than those who viewed non-sexual images. Subjects who looked at the sexy images also performed 50 percent better on a math test.

4. Women are making their own amateur porn. Forty percent of respondents had made a sex tape with their current partner or an ex. (Of course, given the disturbing rise of revenge porn, it's worth remembering that intimate photographs and videos should be made and shared with caution.)

5. Millennials watch the most porn. Fifty-seven percent of respondents who reported enjoying porn solo were aged 18-24.

What's your relationship with porn? Do you think the results above are accurate? Weigh in by commenting below, or tweet @HuffPostWomen.

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