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More women are watching porn—and it’s changing their sex lives

Back in the day before personal computers, streaming TV, and smartphones, people had far fewer options for viewing erotic material. Short of stealing your old man’s Playboys, people who wanted to view pornography had to actually make a transaction, face-to-face, with another human being.

That lack of anonymity undoubtedly kept many people—most notably, women—on the pornography sidelines out of fear and/or embarrassment of being discovered.

Nowadays, though, one can pretty much view any type of sexual experience imaginable without ever having to leave the safe and private confines of home. Imagine the relief for those who liked to engage in what was long considered “outside the norm”.

With the porn middleman now cut out of the equation, a growing number of women became more at ease exploring the erotic material of their choice—and it’s starting to show, according to new university research that supports the (relative) privacy benefits of today’s digital technology. Women who watch Internet porn are using technology to explore their sexuality and connect with others to discuss their sexual interests, according to recent research from the University of Waterloo.

“We know from existing research that women are one of the fastest-growing groups of people consuming online pornography, and this study helps us understand some of the reasons they are doing so,” said Diana Parry, a professor of recreation and leisure studies at Waterloo. “It also seems clear that technology has enabled women to explore pornography on their own terms and to explore aspects of their sexuality that are new to them.”

And while men may still watch a greater percentage of online explicit adult content, the female share of the pornography audience will undoubtedly grow as digital technology continues to make viewing more accessible, convenient, and discreet.

“It’s important to understand that society still has a very traditional idea of women’s sexuality, with views that are typically more accepting of men’s needs and desires,” said Parry. “Digital technology appears to have the ability to highlight women’s sexuality in a way that we haven’t seen before.”

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