Sex

Pornhub reveal 2021’s most searched category

2021 is almost ready to finish, and according to Pornhub, the category of the year was (drum roll)… hentai.

Ahh, 2021. There were ups and downs – and I’m not just talking about COVID-19 case numbers. In the world of Pornhub, it was a year where people’s NSFW tastes continued to develop as the world around them did the same.

Now the adult website has released their 2021 Year in Review, revealing, among other things, their absolute most popular porn category of the year. It was hentai.

pornhub top search terms 2021
Image: Pornhub Insights

Hentai spends 2021 on top

Hentai is not necessarily a category in the same way many other variants of porn can be. Rather it uses the medium of animation to cater to a wide range of fetishes, forgoing the need for actual people to act out plots and positions that can stretch into the fantastical and taboo.

Often this means if there’s a certain itch you can’t scratch, chances are there’s a version of that fantasy built into a hentai video somewhere. If the great Rule 34 is to be believed (if it exists, somebody has made porn out of it), hentai is also arguably the biggest porn category in terms of created content as well as popularity.

And Pornhub is by no means the only place hentai has flourished in recent years. As animation continues to become more and more advanced, so too does animated porn. What was once considered too far into the uncanny valley, or simply too unrealistic to some users, has likely become more palatable as the technology and skill ceiling behind hentai animation develops.

Pornhub claim that hentai has now become the most popular search term on the entire website, after becoming the USA’s heaviest search term earlier in the year. Meaning in 2021 it finally beat out ‘Japanese’, ‘MILF’, ‘lesbian’, and many more of porn’s biggest hitters.

pornhub top countries by traffic
Image: Pornhub Insights

The rest

Elsewhere in the Year in Review, Lana Rhodes and Abella Danger remained Pornhub’s most popular porn stars, in position one and two respectively. Eva Elfie, Riley Reid, and Mia Malkova closed out the top five.

The US remained Pornhub’s biggest source of traffic, but curiously despite a country-wide ban on porn, the UK managed to edge out Japan for the number two spot. Australia came in 12th, three positions down from our valiant 2020 effort.

Overall, users spent almost a minute less on the site than average, which perhaps meant they were slipping one in while working from home. According to a recent survey by Happy Mag, about a quarter of you did exactly that during lockdowns.

Other insights included a growing number of mobile visitors, a higher average age of Pornhub users, an overall increase in gay porn search terms as well as porn made for women, and more.

A reminder…

While this is all certainly a good laugh, it’s important to remember that Pornhub isn’t the greatest, most ethical website out there. The reason you’ll now only see videos from verified users is that in December 2020, the website deleted over 10 million videos from unverified users.

This was in response to mounting pressure from media, legal firms, and individual voices who all claimed that Pornhub hosted a large amount of problematic content including revenge porn, videos of underage children, and videos uploaded without participants’ consent.

Even worse was that many accusers claimed when they contacted Pornhub to complain, the website refused to take down said content.

Due to its size, Pornhub can be emblematic for the browsing habits of users around the world – the rising popularity of hentai being a good example. Reddit’s hentai community grew from 1.3 million subscribers at the start of 2021 to 2.25 million as of today, showcasing a similar explosive pattern in another large-scale site dedicated to the genre.

But if you’re actually out there looking for porn to consume yourself, you can do a lot better than Pornhub. Check out Happy Mag’s list of the seven best ethical porn sites on the internet if you’d like to find out more.

Trust us, there’s other places to watch hentai. Or whatever it is you’re into.