OK, We Need To Talk About Porn For Women In Japan

No Plumbers Or Pizza Delivery Men Here

The adult entertainment world isn’t just made for a male gaze.

People all over the world have physical needs, and sometimes the easiest means of taking care of those needs is helped by watching adult entertainment. Japan is no exception to that, although when it comes to entertainment for Japanese women, things are a little different.

Brace yourselves: we are about to dive into the culture of porn for women in Japan.

What does JAV stand for?

AV simply stands for adult videos (JAV—Japanese adult videos) and is part of the wider pornography industry in Japan, which includes online content, books, magazines, and clubs of varying types. As of the time of writing, there are nearly 50,000 hits for ‘Japanese’ alone on Pornhub, and there are scores of subtypes to that category.

there’s been a growing trend towards movies for women in recent years

One of the most well-known aspects of AV in Japan is the use of a mosaic filter to cover private parts. Until the mid-nineties, it was illegal to show pubic hair in lawfully produced porn of any type. After that, the law was reinterpreted to require blurring of all private parts during sexual contact—including oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse.

The vast majority of AV produced in Japan are for male consumption, but there’s been a growing trend towards movies for women in recent years.

As well they should. According to past surveys in anan, 94% of Japanese women aged 18-40 “take time for themselves” from two to three times a week, and “sometimes more if their partner isn’t doing the job” (M, Japanese woman). 

Ok, We Need To Talk About Porn For Women In Japan

Mosaics are often associated with the AV world: “Mosaic Japan”, 2014, available on Netflix

What options do women have?

Sex sells—though how it’s used varies widely in Japan. On the one hand, men can easily walk into any convenience store or bookstore and find magazines with scantily clad real and anime women gazing back at them, when finding the same materials for women can take some work.

Male celebs will sometimes strip down to very little for photo books or calendars

The main impetus behind the women’s AV industry stemmed from anan magazine, which releases an annual sexual health guide. These guides are packed with survey results on sex, love, and romance, guides to improving techniques for male and female partners, and a free DVD of clips of recent, popular videos for women.

Of course, these editions fly off the shelves for another reason: their covers feature one of the currently trending Japanese talents in rather risque poses. Often these photoshoots include a female partner, and last year was another first—that edition featured a Western female partner.

Ok, We Need To Talk About Porn For Women In Japan

anan issue 2164, annual sex health guide featuring Tanaka Kei on the cover

Other than anan, there are of course anime and manga that heavily feature romance, and some with more racy scenes, though these are of course subject to the same censorship laws as videos. Male celebs will sometimes strip down to very little for photo books or calendars, but these are often sold first as fan club items then in bookstores, and aren’t nearly as popular as they once were, according to a friend that works in a major book chain.

So, is there female-friendly porn in Japan?

When it comes to watchable media, other than what is commonly available on sites such as Pornhub, there are also plenty of companies that produce female-friendly AV videos. The most well-known, and arguably the matriarch of this genre is Silk Labo (NSFW), a website produced by Soft on Demand, an adult video group that is also one of largest STD awareness promoters in Japan.

 

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The project staff for all videos on Silk Labo—except for the male lead(s)—are female, according to their website, and their main focus is on sex from and for a woman’s perspective. They have several channels to choose from: Silk, their original series which are like “slice of life” stories; Cocoon, which are softer/less sexual stories; Undress, which are more passionate/intense stories; Body Talk, which include more instructional aspects in their stories; and Girl’s CH, which is an external site tie-up to the rest of the Soft on Demand brand, and features more so-called mainstream style pornography.

Another studio that has gained some recognition thanks to its inclusion in the Slutever Docuseries by Vice is La Coviluna (again, NSFW). La Coviluna is a company of all women—save for their leading men as well. They tend to focus on how-to videos rather than story-centric videos and use stand-ins for body parts in order to explain how to perform certain techniques.

their main focus is on sex from and for a woman’s perspective

Unfortunately, their website doesn’t appear to have been updated in some time, so any content that they are releasing seems to come directly from their Youtube channel (somewhat NSFW).

Women that prefer their content illustrated, should check out LC Style, (NSFW) which features free erotic comics, videos, and sexual health guides by and for women. Although you do need a fair amount of Japanese talent and patience to navigate their site.

How do people feel about women-centric JAV?

Asking people directly what they think about porn is naturally going to lead to very vague answers—but I did it anyway. I talked to ten Japanese men and women (five of each), and five non-Japanese men and women, to get their takes on JAV made for women.

Generally, the Japanese men were either initially shocked that women watch porn, especially ones made specifically for women, or they were aware that the genre existed, but had no idea what the content was like. Most were equally uncomfortable talking about their own viewing habits.

Japanese people perspective on porn for women in Japan

After both types looked into it, they both responded with surprise that the content was (at times) as graphic as JAV for men. “It reminded me of love stories where things fade to black—but they didn’t fade to black. It seemed more real” (S, Japanese man). 

Others were surprised at how instructional some series were: “I didn’t know I was doing that wrong. It looks so easy in the movies I’m used to watching, but I guess I need to improve my skills” (K, Japanese man).

the Japanese men were either initially shocked that women watch porn, especially ones made specifically for women, or they were aware that the genre existed, but had no idea what the content was like

Japanese women, on the other hand, were far more open about discussing their viewing habits in somewhat more detail. All five women were aware of the aforementioned websites and admitted to checking them out, however, they also admitted that reading love stories/erotica written by and for women was more appealing to them. “I don’t really like the pretty boy type, so the men in movies aren’t doing it for me” (M, Japanese woman).

Some were uncomfortable with the concepts, or found the plots “ridiculously over the top and just as harmful as porn for men. Unhealthy expectations of romance—like any guy is going to keep that up for years in a relationship!” (T, Japanese woman).

 

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And from the outside?

Foreign perspectives on JAV for women were similarly mixed. For men (those that did not identify as having an Asian fetish), they found these movies “a little boring, but also kind of cute? Like you’re seeing what an idealized, actual couple is doing together” (J, American man).

They also found the instructional nature of other videos informative but “they don’t really cover what to do if that’s not working for your girlfriend – like if you watch this and try it, and it doesn’t work, there’s no real plan B given. You just have to wing it and hope for the best?” (M, Canadian man).


Western women agreed with Japanese women that the concepts were more romantic and seemed more cerebral than those for a male audience, but also pointed out two negatives for the genre. “The melodramatic acting… I’m not expecting much from porn but come on” (A, English woman). 

The other issue was with the stereotypical reactions of the characters. “If they’re supposed to be a couple that lives together, why are they still being so shy about sex? Shouldn’t they want to tear each other’s clothes off sometimes?” (S, American woman).

Overall, however, all 15 people I spoke with regarding female-oriented JAV thought it was a positive step forward in terms of equality and sexuality in Japan, and one further added: “Hopefully this means that in the Japan of the future, men, women, and people who identify as other will be able to express their sexuality freely online and off” (T, Japanese man).

If you happen to find yourself looking for something to watch, given recent events, you might consider female-oriented JAV an option—even if it’s from a purely curious point of view. And if you are looking for more insight into Japan’s bedroom habits, check out our guides on love hotels and Japanese condom brands.