Pornhub Year in Review Reveals Most Searched For Terms

Much like Planet Fitness or a self-help forum, we like to think of ourselves as a judgement-free group. Whether you’re a fan of CrossFit, dabble in the dulcet tones of Coldplay or any other token embarrassing activity, we support your bravery to go against the grain. However, if you’re one of the many thousands of people who searched for Scooby-Doo porn this year, we might have to renege on that promise. Adult entertainment icon Pornhub has just unveiled its 2021 Year in Review, providing detailed insights into the searches, trends and categories that defined our extra-curricular activities this year. Suffice to say, the results are revealing and in some cases, downright disgusting. Can you believe there are actually sickos out there searching for ‘Romantic’ porn?

Pornhub year in review 2021

Image: Pornhub

Pornhub 2021 Year in Review

The Pornhub 2021 Year in Review marks the eighth annual release, which reveals the hottest trends, terms, searches and a recap of everything that happened on the adult website over the year. For another year in a row, pornstar Lana Rhoades was pretty much the global leader in terms of actors but as with every iteration we’ve seen, the statistics from the last 12 months have provided some interesting and somewhat unexpected results.


Image: Pornhub

Pornhub Top Search Terms 2021

As Pornhub rightly points out, top searches generally mirror pop culture, so what we see in the mainstream media is likely to play out online as well. For example, in 2018 the list included ‘Fortnite’ and ‘Bowsette’, while this year, the top defining term was ‘hentai’. Here are the top searches for 2021.

1. Hentai

Japanese culture went big in 2021, with Hentai, which generally refers to the pornographic form of anime, being a major hit. In Pornhub’s case, the site saw an influx in videos posted, including professional productions, homemade animations made by fans and 3D generated scenes. Remarkably, this wasn’t unique to some cultures, either – hentai was a top ten search in almost every country in 2021.

“Cartoons are more fantastical than regular porn. They may offer more visual stimulation in terms of movements, angles, colours, and facial expressions,” Dr Laurie Betito, clinical psychologist, sex therapist and director of the Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center said. “Because it’s not real, it can go further, with less constraints that reality offers. Hentai porn also tends to have more of a storyline and people seem to be more and more drawn to context.”

2. Romance

Next up was romance, which saw interest more than double alongside a 139% increase in ‘passionate’ searches. Among Pornhub’s gay male visitors, searches for ‘bromance’ grew 288% in the last year.

“Human connection has become far more important this past pandemic year,” Dr Laurie said. “Many people have experienced loneliness and isolation and may be craving love, intimacy and romance. So the next best thing to a partner it seems, are the fantasies of romance.”

3. Group Sex

Perhaps a byproduct of not being allowed to gather for two years, group sex saw a sharp increase this year. ‘Threesome’ grew by 40% worldwide and became the 6th most popular search in the United States and 4th among women. Searches for ‘group’, ‘ffm’, ‘mmf’ and ‘orgy’ all grew by more than 70%.

“Women and couples are finding more of an interest in group sex, such as threesomes, as ways to spice up their relationships. As Pornhub rightly points out, top searches generally mirror pop culture, so what we see in the mainstream media is likely to play out online as well.

4. Fitness

This year also saw a 56% rise in ‘fitness’ related searches, thanks to the growth in celebrities and social media influencers sharing at-home fitness routines. Porn involving activities like ‘yoga’, ‘running’, ‘exercise’ and ‘gym’ all saw search gains throughout the year.

5. Swapping

Similar to the group sex interest, Pornhub users were also pretty keen to mix things up, with ‘swapping’ up 170% on last year. The site also confirmed that ‘Swinger’ and ‘Swinging’ both trended in the spring and summer, while related terms like ‘Cuckold’ increased +168% in 2021, as well as 93% growth in ‘cheating’ searches.

6. Challenge

Not the TikTok kind, these challenges generally involved ‘no nut November’, ‘jerk off challenge’ and whatever ‘buss it’ was. A pretty broad search term, this one seemed to kick up a bit this year.

7. Transgender

In a nod to inclusivity, the term ‘Transgender’ saw a massive uptick in searches this year. In 2021, ‘trans’ searches grew by 141% with views of the category up by 23%. In fact, according to the site, it was the 10th most watch category by male visitors.

“Increasingly, marginalized sexuality (outside the vanilla world) is coming out of the shadows. We are talking about sex more, we are more free to explore our sexual fantasies with less judgment attached. Our sexual curiosity is coming out of the closet,” Dr Laurie said. “Bicuriousity is far more acceptable these days, and even “trendy” among the younger generations. When it comes to Trans individuals, we are now seeing more and more people who are portrayed in mainstream media, thus making trans porn more intriguing, more available and more accepted.”

8. Goth

The rise of the big tiddy goth girl is only just beginning. In 2021, the search term grew by 283% as the subculture continues to make a massive resurgence with Gen Y and Z.

9. Roommate

Another search term you could argue was spurred by the lockdown, it turns out more and more Pornhub users were looking in their own backyard for inspiration. The porn site noted a 136% increase in roommate related searches, including ‘lesbian roomate’, ‘gay roomate’, ‘straight roomate’ and ‘horny roomate’.

10. How To…

Oscar Wilde once quipped you can never be overdressed or over-educated, and it appears Pornhub users have taken that notion and run with it. This year, searches containing ‘how to’ increased by 244% and there are now more than 200,000 videos on Pornhub that are tagged or titled as ‘how to’ videos.

Sex coach and doctor of human sexuality, Dr. Stacy Friedman explained that the increase in searches of ‘how to’, shows that people are finally feeling more comfortable looking at how to improve their sex lives.

“Since the discussion of sex has been taboo for so long, relationships have suffered because there aren’t that many places to learn about sex. Since we have had the pandemic, I believe that couples are realizing they need more help in the bedroom so there is more research out there that they can find information from. People want to know how to enjoy their sexuality more.”


Image: Pornhub

Country by Country

Naturally, some countries fared worse in the lockdown stakes than others, which as we know, has a direct correlation to porn usage. Taking out top spot in terms of horniness was the United States once again, but us Aussies weren’t far behind. Bizarrely, what we learned about Australia is that we really love lesbians.


Image: Pornhub


Famous for goon bags and Angela White, it’s little wonder Australia scored highly in the porn stakes. This year, ‘Hentai’ and ‘lesbian’ remained the #1 searches in Australia, while ‘Asian’ moved up one spot to replace ‘MILF’ in 3rd. Trending searches in 2021 included:

  • Milf amateur (+434%)
  • Big tits big ass (+429%)
  • Squirting  (+410%)

Image: Pornhub

United States

In the United States, 2021 saw a raft of regional differences, serving up some quite interesting statistics. Looking at the data, Pornhub has revealed that people from Alaska were more likely to search for ‘morning sex’, while those in Virgina like a bit of ‘dirty talk’. Stranger still, those from North Dakota are more likely to search for a ‘quickie’, which may be why their state has one of the shortest visit durations. Arkansas has one of the highest divorce rates in the United States, and ‘divorce’ is their most common relative search.

Looking holistically, ‘Hentai’ was the #1 search in the United States, replacing the previous favourite ‘lesbian’. Pornhub also revealed that whenn compared to the rest of the world, Americans are +128% more likely to view the Scissoring category, +97% more into Ebony and +67% more into Interracial videos.


Image: Pornhub

The Pop Culture Effect

As previously established, porn and pop culture go hand in hand, but the trend is becoming big business. As more users look to embrace storylines and actually get into the on-screen chemistry, the porn industry is moving towards full-scale production territory in an effort to differentiate itself from the amateur self-filmed category.

Crafting porn that mirrors existing pop cultures blockbuster is one way to bank on the connections made without needing to create a backstory, and the data backs this up. In 2021, Harley Quinn was the most searched movie series or character, followed by Wonder Woman, Harry Potter, Star Wars and Black Widow.

The Verdict

When it comes to watching porn, there’s no hard and fast rule for getting it right. Like the old saying goes, it’s different horses for different courses, but if you look at the date from Pornhub’s 2021 Year in Review, you’re statistically more likely to hit with hentai than anything else. Turns out tentacles are the new lesbians. Who knew?

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Nick Hall

Nick Hall is the Editor-in-Chief of Man of Many and an accomplished journalist. He completed a Bachelor of Creative Industries at the Queensland University of Technology, with a double major in Journalism and Music. Prior to working at Man of Many, Nick spent two years as a journalist with Inside Franchise Business, focusing on small business, finance and legal reporting. In 2021, Nick was named B&T's Best of the Best Journalist of the Year. With an extensive background in the media industry, Nick specialises in feature writing, fashion, lifestyle and entertainment content. A qualified barber and men's stylist, Nick also holds a Cert III in Barbering from the Queensland Hairdressing Academy.