The UK’s deep interest in adult material has been highlighted by a new Ofcom report, which showed that half of all UK internet users look at online porn.

The Online Nation 2021 report by the UK media regulatory body, published on 9 June, found that 49 percent of UK internet users visited an adult content website or used an adult content app in September 2020.

15 million UK internet users – 33 percent of the total – visited Pornhub in September 2020. The figure confirmed MindGeek’s behemoth site, founded in Canada, as the most popular porn site in the UK.

The UK is Pornhub’s third biggest market, with its success in the country largely driven by male phone users. 77 percent of Pornhub’s UK traffic in 2020 came from mobile devices, with users spending an average of ten minutes and 20 seconds on it per visit. The average total amount of minutes spent on Pornhub in September 2020 by UK internet users was 37 minutes.

Despite increasing interest in porn from female users across the industry, Ofcom’s breakdown of UK Pornhub users showed that males are still mainly driving the numbers. The report showed that half of all UK adult males visited Pornhub in September 2020, compared to 16 percent of females.

Among younger demographics there were higher levels of female Pornhub visitors. 33 percent of all UK females in the 18-24 age group visited the site that month, compared to 75 percent of UK males in that age category.

Ofcom’s research was conducted before Pornhub began a crackdown on illegal content on its site, partly in reaction to media reports about minors featuring in its content. Mastercard and Visa blocked customers from using their services on Pornhub, and the site removed hundreds of thousands of videos from its platform. Mindgeek is overhauling the site’s content uploading and verification processes.

The report found that XVideos was the second most-visited adult content site in the UK, with 9.7 million visitors – 21 percent of UK internet users. Third in the run-down was cam site [very NSFW] Bongacams, with 8.7 million (19 percent of UK internet users) visitors in September 2020. The average amount of total time spent by UK internet users on Bongacams for the month was just three minutes.

Ofcom did not have older statistics to compare its figures to, as it was the first time it had honed in on porn so deeply in its reports. However, with the overall amount of UK porn users being so high, the results have led to suggestions that Covid pandemic lockdowns as well as rising acceptance of porn among younger generations have driven up user amounts.

The report also noted soaring user figures for OnlyFans, attributed to creators trying to make money from the site at home during lockdowns. In May 2020 OnlyFans reported a 75 increase in new content creators. In November 2020 revenue for the site had reportedly increased by 553 percent, year on year.

“It has been reported that economic factors caused by the lockdowns may have led people to turn to sites such as OnlyFans to generate an income, in the context of rising unemployment or furlough, and financial uncertainty for many in the UK,” Ofcom noted in the report.

Ofcom’s Online Nation 2021 report is available to read in full at Ofcom.org.uk.

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