I think conversations about the variability of what people like in bed are fascinating. I don't say much about my own sexuality here (other than the obvious, that I'm married to a dude!), but one thing I will say is that I don't watch porn. I get why others do, but it just has never interested me. So, for an outsider's view, reading about what people are actually looking for and at is super interesting. And a study just came out talking about porn and search terms. I know this study is poorly researched and not at all valid ( which has been discussed in some of the science blogs I read, though i can't remember which ones, or I'd go read them now! And if I knew at the time it was about sexuality research, I would have paid more attention to those posts! But since it came in the midst of a sea of posts on climate, I just ignored, sadly, but at least i recognized the researchers names), but I think it's still worth thinking about, because of the basic assumptions of what porn is, and who views it, and the fact that even if they have their numbers wrong, the searches themselves do exist.
See, in general, it seems as if porn is angled as something men view to see women. Obviously there is porn made for women, and porn made for gay men, but the idea of porn directed at straight men that depicts women as sex objects to be used/consumed is the predominant one, both among anti-porn groups, and in casual discussions about porn online and off, even with people who use porn regularly. But i know plenty of ladies who enjoy porn, too, and some guys who don't. One of my best friends from college discovered porn when she was about 14, and proceeded to lock herself up every day after school and watch it for hour. A guy I knew in college said that he never watched porn because it was never as creative or specific as his imagination could be. Granted, I'm not saying either of them is representative of their genders, but just that the scope of how people interact with porn is likely broader than most of us initially picture.
I haven't read the full study, just the highlights on Jezebel (which, as I always mention, is a site that I strongly feel has gone downhill and which I would not call feminist, but which I still read because hell, it may be little more than a news aggregator these days, but it's an aggregator of things that interest me, at least). Two of the things they highlight are that there are a surprisingly large umber of searches for older women and fat/chubby women. Though this is likely in part due to the fact that a non specific porn search will turn up a lot of young, thing woman, it IS worth noting, because we as a society so often desexualize heavier and older women-- but there are plenty of people out there for whom that's right up their alley.
And yes, there are conversations to be had about whether being reduced to a sex object is actually progress, but I still think acknowledgement that different people like different things is important.
It emphasizes how much personal preferences play into who we find attractive-- something that really first hit me in college when I realized that my closest girl friends and i did not really have overlapping taste in men. And when I realized most people find Brad Pitt hot. Personally, I think he has a nice body, but looks like a monkey. But anyway-- variety abounds! And preferences for different parts of that variety abound too! So much of culture and, from what I understand, mainstream porn tells us that there is something that is universally desirable, and that all people would go for that if given the chance-- but the porn searches (and conversations in which people just can not figure out where their friends are coming from) show that that isn't really the case.