The XX Factor

28 Non-Pornographic Things That Have Been Described as “Porn for Women”

Women board a bus to watch porn, for them.

Photo by Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Sarah Gidick is on a mission to make some porn. But this porn will be porn “for women.” So, not porn. “At the end of the day, women and men are not turned on the same way—it’s just the reality of the situation,” the 31-year-old writer told the Daily Beast. “I’ve always had great girlfriends in my life. And they sound really happy nine times out of 10 when a guy is handsome and treats them well. The perfect package is what makes their head spin. I don’t get that kind of call when they’ve just had intercourse with a guy.”

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To fill the perceived need for pictures of “nice, handsome, talented” men who are not necessarily having sex with you, Gidick began curating the “porn for women” Instagram, featuring photographs of (clothed) historical hot men, from Josh Charles in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead to Boyz II Men in cardigans and baseball hats. This month, she launched The PFW, a website featuring modern, everyday hot men (also clothed), from a guitarist who owns a small-batch roasted coffee business to a gentlemanly celebrity tattoo artist.

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Photographs of pretty people are nice, but they are not porn. In fact, actual pornographers make actually pornographic “porn for women.” And women are also free to watch porn that is not explicitly created for them (and many do). Gidick’s website is the latest in a long line of attempts to erase women’s interest in sex and claim that we really get our thrills from just about anything else—food, novels, clean homes, Shonda Rhimes dramas. Here are 28 non-pornographic things that have been described as “porn for women” over the past two decades:

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The Bridges of Madison County (Los Angeles Times Book Review, 1993)

A man who is “absolutely sure of himself and in control of his own destiny.” (The Observer, 1994)

Miniature figurines of the bridges of Madison County (The Montreal Gazette, 1995)

“Sumptuous cookbooks” (The Herald Scotland, 1998)

Cosmopolitan magazine (Calgary Herald, 2000)

Purses. Also, shoes. (Toronto Star, 2003)

Brokeback Mountain (The Guardian, 2006)

Grey’s Anatomy (Glamour, 2008)

The Russell Crowe vehicle A Good Year (The Daily Mail, 2006)

Dirty Dancing (The Sunday Times, 2006)

Pictures of men performing household chores (Porn for Women, 2007)

Celebrity chef David Rocco (The Courier Mail, 2007)

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Weddings (The play “All Aboard the Marriage Hearse,” 2008)

Twilight (University Wire, 2009)

Barack Obama (The Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker, 2010)

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The scene in Just Wright where “Common, playing a suave NBA star, spoon-feeds a sniffling Queen Latifah chicken soup, inquiring whether she’d like tea and tenderly covering her with a blanket.” (USA Today, 2010)

Sex and the City 2 (Crushable, 2010)

The World Cup (The Louisville Courier-Journal, 2010)

The Meryl Streep vehicle It’s Complicated (The Guelph Mercury, 2010)

Eat Pray Love (World Hum, 2008)

A guy listening to a woman talk” (30 Rock, 2009)

The Daily Shoe, South Africa’s “top shoe blog” (Sunday Times, 2011)

“Looking at real estate on the internet” (Sophia Coppola, 2011)

Cupcakes (The Gloss, 2012)

Pinterest (The Christian Century, 2012)

Soap operas (Global Times, 2014)

Don Draper (Stylite, 2014)

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