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Let’s talk about sex, baby!

Lots of people have misconceptions about porn, which makes total sense because sex education in the United States is pretty abysmal. Even if you learned everything there is to know about the birds and the bees, you probably didn’t get the 411 on the pleasure side of things.

Finding high quality porn requires a bit more know-how than just googling “porn.”

As an example, many free vid sites contain a lot of shady sh*t. Recently, a group of women sued porn giant Pornhub for allegedly hosting content without consent, including videos of human trafficking and abuse victims.

But thankfully, there’s a lot of excellent erotic content out there involving consenting performers. We spoke with sex experts to get the deets on the best porn sites, including options for beginners and more experienced peeps wanting to switch things up.

We connected with sex coach and relationship expert Carmel Jones and sexologist Dr. Jordin Wiggins to ask them about their top tips for choosing high quality erotica.

When creating this list, we wanted to make sure to focus on ethical porn. Wiggins says, “I wish there was some sort of standard or stamp like organic food.” Unfortunately, there isn’t. Ugh.

But there are some things to look out for:

  • Good vibes. “If you don’t feel comfortable watching a performer, trust your intuition,” cautions Wiggins.
  • $$$. Generally, Wiggins says, paid porn sites treat their performers and filmmakers better. If performers are getting paid, then there’s also a good chance that what’s going on in the videos is consensual. But it’s not a hard and fast rule.
  • User-created content. Again, it’s not a guarantee. But on sites with user generated content (like OnlyFans), content creators can control what they put out.
  • Female directors. If you’re new to porn and have a vagina, Jones suggests looking for porn directed by females. Often, this type of porn is a lot more female-friendly.
  • Pleasure-centric. Aggressive sex can still fall into the realm of ethical porn, says Jones, but one thing to look for is that all parties are getting pleasure.
  • Non-video content. Jones points out that in audio and literary erotica, the performers aren’t real people but characters. “It’s a safe way to engage in more aggressive fantasies while knowing that no performers were hurt in the process,” she says.

Oh! And most importantly: When putting together this list, we included a variety of porn sites and apps that will appeal to different sexual desires, orientations, and interests. Whatever you’re into, we think you’ll find something enjoyable below.

Best curated porn site

Make Love Not Porn

  • Price: subscription starting at $10 per month; video rentals for $5 each
  • Type: video
  • Pros: approachable videos depicting real-world sex, performers get 50 percent of video rentals
  • Cons: amateur feel in many vids, which may not be for everyone

Cindy Gallop’s porn site aims to deliver content showing real sex. That means no cheesy storylines, stiff acting, or unrealistic stereotypes. Sure, Hollywood-style porn can be fun, but Gallop’s porn site hosts user-generated content that depicts real-life sex — the attainable, consensual kind. 🙌 And half the money generated from subscribers goes to the people creating the content.

“[Gallop] is a rock star in business. Her setup is amazing because she’s promoting real-world sex,” says Wiggins. “It’s real people having sex. It’s ethical. It’s pro-female. I cannot say enough about her work.”

Best audio erotica

Dipsea

  • Price: $59.99 per year
  • Type: audio
  • Pros: broad range of options, story-driven, focused on female pleasure
  • Cons: some reports of app glitches

Dipsea is an audio-based app that was created and designed for female pleasure. If you don’t love typical video porn with predictable storylines, you’ll be thrilled that storytelling is at the core of all of Dipsea’s audio stories. Because who doesn’t love a steamy buildup to the big finish? 🥵

Audio erotica is also ideal for people who feel porn is too taboo or are worried about ethical porn, says Wiggins. She also says audio erotica in general is an excellent option for people who find video content too offensive or have a history of sexual trauma.

Plus, because the audio stories are short, Dipsea is perfect for busy people who don’t have time to flip through an entire romance novel, she adds.

Best literary erotica

Literotica

  • Price: free
  • Type: erotic literature
  • Pros: free and filled with pretty much anything your heart desires in written form
  • Cons: outdated look and not the easiest navigation

Let your imagination run wild by reading your smut instead of watching it. Literotica’s site design is a little outdated, but the recently released mobile-friendly beta version is a lot easier on the eyes. You can also find erotic audio, poetry, and artwork on the site.

Categories include Celebrities & Fan Fiction, Group Sex, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, and Erotic Horror. Spooky, sexy vampires? Yes, please!

Forget trashy, poorly written crap from the hidden bookstore nook. Literotica has high standards and features content that’s both smutty and engaging.

Best porn created by women

Bellesa

  • Price: free, with premium content starting at $1 per month
  • Type: video and erotica stories
  • Pros: freemium model, ethically sourced
  • Cons: some downsides to freemium model (e.g., you don’t know how partners pay their performers)

Bellesa is a women-owned and -curated porn site that uses a freemium model. That means you can find a variety of free hard- and softcore porn clips and erotica stories created by Bellesa’s content partners — but you can also pay a monthly subscription fee for Bellesa Plus, which features videos made by Bellesa Films. If you go for the premium version, you get to choose what you pay — starting as low as $1 per month.

Whether you decide to stick to the free stuff or venture over to Bellesa Plus, the site focuses on delivering porn that puts women’s pleasure in the spotlight. This is your main-character moment, ladies! ✨

If you decide to pay for Bellesa Plus, the company says the biggest difference is that videos made by Bellesa Films are all fantasized, written, and produced by women. Performers get to choose their co-star and don’t have to stick to a script, which, according to Bellesa, means “you’re watching the sex that these performers want to have, not the sex they’re told to have.”

Best user-created porn

OnlyFans

  • Price: $4.99 to $49.99 per month
  • Type: user-created video content
  • Pros: personal vibe, ability to directly support a content creator
  • Cons: content not curated like on other sites

Browsing for erotic content on OnlyFans is a bit of a minefield, and it might take time to find exactly what you want. But the bonus is that if you have a favorite performer, signing up for OnlyFans is a way to directly support their content creation.

Obvi, there’s always a chance that someone isn’t creating content of their own free will. For a little more peace of mind, Wiggins suggests searching for those people on social media to get a sense about them, find out whether they’re of age, and see if they openly talk about what they do.

Best porn site for newbies

Else Cinema

  • Price: $11.99 for 1 month, $29.99 for 3 months, $107.90 for 1 year
  • Type: softcore video porn
  • Pros: a good option for beginners, ethical production process, some free content
  • Cons: separate subscription fee to access hardcore options

This softcore porn website is the brainchild of film director Erika Lust. The movies contain erotic, non-explicit content that leaves a lot to the imagination. The company says it aims to explore what sex feels like rather than what it looks like. If you’re a regular erotica reader and want to dip your toe in the vast ocean of video porn, Else Cinema is a good place to start.

The site releases new films every week in categories like Artsy, Bisexual, Fantasy, and Couple Goals. And if you ever want something more hardcore, check out Lust’s other sites, LustCinema and XConfessions (though you’ll need to pay a separate subscription fee if you want to access the premium content on those sites).

Best queer porn

Crash Pad Series

  • Price: $25 for 1 month, $69.99 for 3 months, $119.88 for 1 year
  • Type: video
  • Pros: features niche porn often not widely available
  • Cons: one of the more expensive options

This award-winning porn site hosts content based on the queer sex cult classic The Crash Pad. In addition to porn videos, Crash Pad features behind-the-scenes footage with performers.

Although the site is popular with lesbians, it also casts trans, genderqueer, and other gender-diverse people. You’ll also find performers of color, disabled performers, and a slew of body types in the videos. Because sex is for every body.

Crash Pad also says it encourages routine STI testing at least 2 weeks before shoots and the use of barrier methods such as condoms. The company pays performers a flat rate of $500 per half-day shoot. Plus, there’s an affiliate program that allows performers to earn a monthly commission of 40 percent.

Best artsy porn

A Four Chambered Heart

  • Price: $9 per month
  • Type: film, stills, and stories
  • Pros: beautifully shot, transparent about practices
  • Cons: organic, artsy vibe might not be everyone’s cup of tea

If you’re looking for something a little more highbrow, check out A Four Chambered Heart. This porn site features content that’s a blend of art and porn. The independent op prides itself on paying performers a fair rate of $1,100 per shoot, increasing rates as the project grows. Performers also get a portion of the profits from signups.

We love that they’re transparent AF about the whole shebang. According to the website, “Everything is up for negotiation.” That includes performers getting the option to veto certain shots or clips before release.

Best indie porn

PinkLabel

  • Price: $25.00 for 1 month, $69.99 for 3 months, $119.88 for 1 year, or $1.95 to $14.99 for a la carte films
  • Type: video
  • Pros: wide variety of performers, supports independent pornographers
  • Cons: none to note

This ultra-inclusive porn platform hosts a variety of LGBTQ+ performers and content from emerging indie filmmakers. The site also features performers with different body types — a refreshing change from traditional porn. Thicc babes for everyone 🍑 🍑 🍑 .

Categories include BIPOC Porn, Eco-Sexual and Outdoor Sex, The Feminist Porn Gaze, and Trans and Non-Binary Porn. TL;DR: Hot sex, but make it inclusive, baby!

Plus, PinkLabel says sales go directly to supporting the filmmakers so they can keep doing what they do — and you can keep doing what you do 😏 .

Best alternative porn

Kink

  • Price: $15 to $39 per month, depending on the selected plan
  • Type: video
  • Pros: diverse, niche content, huge library
  • Cons: probably not for people new to porn

If your sexual tastes are a bit outside the box, this subscription-based site is a good option. In addition to straight-couple sex, you can find gay, lesbian, and group sex videos. The library isn’t just diverse, it’s also massive — like some other things on the website *ahem* 🍆 .

The content here is anything but vanilla. Video categories include BDSM, Domination, Corporal Punishment, and Humiliation.

On its company values page, Kink says it strives to “uphold a safe, sane and consensual environment,” so you can watch people get freaky without worrying about the safety of the performers.

Best virtual reality porn

VRLove

  • Price: $5 to $50, depending on the subscription plan you choose, plus the cost of the headset
  • Type: virtual reality
  • Pros: highly customizable experience
  • Cons: pricey initial investment

Virtual reality porn is still relatively new, but because lots of erotic VR content and games feature computer-generated characters, there’s no need to worry about whether performers are being treated fairly.

To use VRLove, you’ll need an Oculus Rift or HTC VR headset along with a standard computer monitor. The game lets you customize characters and simulate sex in a virtual environment. The wildest part? The app is also compatible with Lovense Bluetooth sex toys, taking the immersive experience to a whole. new. level. Wowza!

Here are some tips for picking the right erotic content for you.

Price

Wiggins recommends paying for porn. That’s because, with paid sites, there’s a better chance that performers and filmmakers are getting their due.

We understand that costs still matter, though. If a subscription model is outside your budget, consider opting for a site that lets you view content on a rental basis.

Medium

Medium is a personal preference, but consider exploring outside the traditional world of video-based porn. You might discover that reading or listening to erotic content gets you even more turned on than watching it.

Category

What turns you on?

If you’re new to porn, you might not even know yet. If that’s the case, consider a porn site with a variety of content categories for you to explore and experiment with.

Also consider whether you’re comfy viewing hardcore content. If the thought of explicit videos makes you uneasy, try sites that host softcore porn — or stick with written or audio material.

If you’re looking for specific things — like content that features a diverse range of sexual identities or body types — look into the different models or performers the site typically works with.

Solo or partner

You can view, read, or listen to erotic content solo or with a partner.

If you’re opting for a couple experience, Wiggins stresses the importance of communication. Find something you both feel comfortable watching.

She adds that it’s important to establish guidelines around expectations for what happens after watching porn. “One partner might think, ‘Oh, we’re gonna watch this and then have really passionate sex.’ The other partner might think ‘I’m a little uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone,’” she says.

Bottom line: Having a conversation and being up front about what to expect during the experience is KEY.

Besides satisfying your horniness, are there any other benefits to using porn?

Dr. Wiggins says yes. They include:

  • self-exploration and finding out what feels good for you
  • discovering what you like in bed
  • normalizing different bodies
  • showing your partner what you like
  • spicing things up

For some people, it can be tough to communicate sexual desires, says Wiggins. “We can say, ‘Oh, can you pick this up on the way home?’, but we can’t ask for what we want in bed.”

Yay porn!

But hold up. This magical, pleasurable thing does have its downsides.

“Porn widens the orgasm gap,” says Wiggins. In hetero couples, men are a lot more likely to reach the Big O than women. And men often think their partners orgasm when that’s not necessarily the case.

Yikes.

Traditional porn is built around the male gaze, prioritizing male pleasure. According to Wiggins, a lot of the positions you see in porn don’t help stimulate the clitoris — which is how most women reach the finish line.

There’s also the risk of porn addiction, she explains.

Plus, hiding that you’re watching porn or otherwise not communicating well with your partner can create relationship strain. “If your partner’s choosing to watch porn over being intimate, or you’re continually having your boundaries crossed,” says Wiggins, it’s time to have a serious convo.

I’ve never watched porn before — what should I expect?

That depends on the type of porn you’re gonna watch/read/listen to.

Video porn can either be soft- or hardcore. Expect soft and sensual vibes from softcore porn and explicit visuals from hardcore porn.

Audio and written stories obvi don’t have any explicit visuals, so you can probably count on more of a softcore porn vibe. But hey, just because it’s softcore doesn’t mean it won’t get the job done.

Is watching porn considered cheating?

If there’s dishonesty going on, then yeah, it might be considered cheating.

“Watching porn in and of itself is not inherently cheating unless there’s some dishonest component,” says Wiggins. An example would be hiding it from your partner when you told them you wouldn’t watch it.

Will watching porn affect my sex drive?

Probably not, but the research is mixed on this. If porn starts to mess with your relationships and daily life, it’s time to talk to a professional.

How do I know what kind of porn I’ll like?

The only way to find out is the experiment! Go forth and watch ALL the porn!!!

Is porn illegal?

Porn that features consenting adults is totally legal. Score!

Thinking about exploring the wide world of smutty content? Go for it!

There’s an amazing variety of porn out there that takes performer rights seriously. And you can even find non-video content that’ll satisfy your sexual desires, including audio and literary material.

If you’re checking out erotica for the first time with a partner, just make sure to get on the same page before you click Play.

Take a break from being horny on main and go check out some high quality porn.