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Pornhub Insights 2023: Rise of the sex machines (and visitors)

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It’s that time of year again. Chestnuts are roasting on the fire. Santa’s elves are calling their union reps. And arguably the year’s most eagerly-anticipated hardcore pornography data dump has landed.

Pornhub Insights, Pornhub’s extensive data analysis of its users habits, preferences and behavior, has landed in our sack. And this year the data suggests that sex machines have been high on many porn users’ lists. This year, however, we’ve also plotted the site’s traffic against the major challenges it faced in 2023.

Rise of the machine (porn searches)

Searches on Pornhub including the word “android”, such as “android cosplay” and “android roleplay”, grew by a staggering 1,689 percent in 2023.

Searches related to the word “robot”, including the phrases “sex robot” and “3D robot”, grew by 304 percent. Searches related to the word “machine”, including the phrase “sex machine”, were up by 88 percent.

A search for “machine” on Pornhub now shows that porn videos featuring female models interacting with all manner of articulated, dildo-wielding sex machines, as well as good ol’ vibrators, are available. There’s also a video of a woman having sex with the top half of her body inside the drum of a washing machine, which doesn’t seem particularly on trend, but hey.

Search for “sex robot” on the site, meanwhile, and you’ll get plenty of porn videos featuring actual sex robots, plus many videos of female porn actresses pretending to be sex robots.

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Montreal-based Dr. Laurie Betito, who has been hired since 2017 as director of Pornhub’s “Sexual Wellness Center”, suggested that the rise in searches for these kinds of subjects was the result of increased public awareness of sex robots. She said: “Search trends over the years always coincide with what’s trending in technology. Right now, we are seeing a lot about the development of sex robots, so who wouldn’t be curious about that?”

It’s fair to say that there’s been a decent amount of coverage of sex robots in 2023, but it’s hardly been a breakthrough year for them. There have been few significant developments in sex robot technology over the past 12 months, although media coverage does seem to have nudged beyond the usual tabloid stories about how sex robots are going to take over the world and ruin human relationships.

At this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, for example, comedian Courtney Paurosu performed a show in which she plays a sex robot, earning an interview in The Guardian

Despite this, we reckon these search term stats are interesting statistical quirks rather than indicators of a huge cultural shift towards sex robot fascination.

Hentai porn: still massive

For the third year in a row “hentai”, Japanese-style anime and manga porn, was the most searched-for term on Pornhub globally. Pornhub data crunchers said that the popularity in 2023 of games like Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom may have helped keep that style of animation in the public eye.

The other search terms completing the top five for 2023 globally were “milf”, “lesbian”, “japanese” and “pinay” (a woman of Filipino origin).

Hentai doesn’t quite rule the roost in the US. The top Pornhub search term in the US for 2023 was “lesbian”, followed by “milf”, with “hentai” in third. The terms “latina” and “ebony” completed the US top five.

What was the impact of Pornhub’s legal troubles: Got a graph for that?No? We made one for you

It should be noted when considering Pornhub’s US stats that Pornhub is not “officially” available in some US states. In 2023 the site blocked itself in the states of Virginia, Mississippi, Utah and Louisiana, saying that new age verification rules made it impossible to be confident it could operate legally in them.

Following the blocks it was, however, still easy to access Pornhub from within the states by using a virtual proxy network (VPN).

The age verification issues were just one element of the struggle Pornhub has faced in the last few years, having come under fire for allegedly hosting illegal content including child porn.

Pornhub Insights could create a particularly insightful analysis into the amount of times the site’s owner Aylo has been sued. In October, a new wave of women claiming to have been victims of the defunct illegal porn company GirlsDoPorn sued Aylo, which they claim was responsible for allegedly hosting content from the company on sites such as Pornhub.

The lawsuit came not long after Aylo changed its name from MindGeek, after being acquired by a Canadian investment firm called Ethical Capital Partners (ECP). The move was an attempt for the company to make a fresh, “ethics-first” start after years of legal and societal pressure, at least in terms of its public messaging.

Pornhub has made moves like partnering with anti-revenge porn platforms as it attempts to rehabilitate its image under Aylo, but with lawsuits still lingerie it remains to be seen how successful this will be in the long-term.

Editor’s Note: I thought it would be useful for everyone if we pulled together the traffic stats in correlation with Pornhub’s challenges over the past year. As you can see from the data I gathered, it didn’t seem to harm the site all that much. – BW.
Pornhub’s legal troubles didn’t lead to a sustained drop in traffic
A graph displaying the number of searches for "sex machines" on Pornhub Insights.

Despite all of this, according to publicly-available SimilarWeb stats, Pornhub visits increased between January 2023, and the end of November 2023. Generally speaking, each of the negative headlines was followed by a small dip in traffic, before rebounding to a higher point than it was previously. There was a significant drop around the GirlsDoPorn legal issues, but nothing that seems to have been permanent.

A graph displaying organic traffic and search insights on a website.
A graph showing the organic traffic rise on a website in 2023.
A graph displaying the traffic on Pornhub Insights and the searches for sex machines.
A graph showcasing the website traffic of Pornhub Insights in 2023.
A graph displaying the rising number of searches on a website, specifically related to Pornhub Insights.
A graph showing the organic traffic on a website, including searches for sex machines and data from 2023.
A graph providing insights into the organic traffic on a website, excluding (searches for) explicit content like sex machines and Pornhub.
A graph from Pornhub Insights showing the number of searches for sex machines on the website.
A graph displaying the insights of website clicks.

A strong marketing hit

Despite the site’s legal, ethical and PR issues, Pornhub Insights remains a powerful marketing tool. The 2023 version does include plenty of interesting data nuggets, albeit few revelations beyond the aforementioned rise in interest in machine and robot-related porn.

The new data dump also revealed that the average time users spend on Pornhub is 10 minutes and nine seconds: 15 seconds longer than the average visit time for 2022.

A Pornhub Insights graph displaying the duration of visits.

The percentage of global users that were female was 36 percent: a figure up one percent from 2022. The Philippines was the country with the highest percentage of female users, with 58 percent. The lowest percentages were in Egypt and Germany, with 26 percent.

The global average age of a Pornhub user is 37: a figure that has remained steady for a few years.

The data on how people access Pornhub is more insightful, with 91.3 percent of the site’s users using a phone to access it: a figure up by eight percent year on year. In 2023 only 7.2 percent of Pornhub’s traffic came from desktop devices.

Interesting tidbits, for sure. If you want to check out the full Pornhub Insights data dump, right down to stats on which smartphone browser was used most to access the site, it’s up on a safe-for-work page on the site.

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