Why are MILFs so popular? We asked an expert

Why are MILFs so popular? We asked an expert

It’s fair to say that Pornhub’s year-in-review figures for 2017 made for some interesting reading, revealing that, not only are women watching more porn than ever before, but they're also branching out when what it comes to what they’re looking at, changing the porn landscape entirely. But what about men’s screen time? Well, lesbian porn is still on top; but in a surprise twist, transgender porn has gone up and anal has gone down the rankings. However, there’s one category that remains steady (and has done for some years now) and is even rising rapidly in some countries: MILF porn.

This year, MILF - an acronym for "Mom I’d Like to F***" for those of you not in the know - clinched the second spot in the "most viewed categories" chart globally and third spot in the USA. In Spain, the category jumped an enormous 11 places up the chart. But it's not just in porn: from Stacy's Mom to Mrs Robinson, the idea of the sexy, older woman seducing and dominating is a fantasy that’s been around for decades and has made its way into movies, songs, magazines and books. But why is this particular pipedream so enduringly popular? We decided to ask an expert.

Before we delve into things, it's probably good to clarify what constitutes a MILF. Are we talking strictly mid-50s here, or is Kylie Jenner now counted as a MILF too? Well in porn terms, having a child isn’t all that important. Instead, it’s more of a catch-all term, generally used to describe a woman from her late 30s onwards, who exudes confidence and worldly experience. And while you may think of porn as being full of 20-year-olds with super lithe bodies and perky boobs, a whole host of older porn stars, such as Francesca Le, are seeing their careers last longer than ever, thanks to the demand for their sexual wisdom.

According to Dr Laurie Betito, psychologist and director of the Pornhub’s Sexual Wellness Center, this age distinction is an important factor in the MILF’s popularity: “One possibility is that older men (middle aged) are seeking out women of their own age because it’s closer to reality than most porn out there”, she told Four Nine. The stats certainly seem to support this suggestion, showing that the "MILF" category gets steadily more popular with age and is the most popular search term for users over the age of 45.

But MILFs still do pretty well with the younger generation too, ranking fourth in the 18 to 34 age group, and second in the 35 to 44. So what’s driving these groups to search for older women? Reassuringly, psychologists believe that it has nothing to do with Freud’s Oedipus complex, which proposed that men secretly harboured a repressed sexual desire for their mothers, has been more or less disproven. Instead, Betito told us that this is all to do with power and control: “Another possibility is younger men have always had the fantasy of the older, more experienced woman. I think for this group, it’s about an older woman knowing more, being in control and doing the seducing that is a turn-on.” Indeed, a study published in the Journal of Sex Research showed that women in videos in the MILF category, when compared to the "teen" category, are 2.5 times more likely to initiate the sex and nine times more likely to be in charge of how it plays out.

Still from American Pie with Stifler's Mom talking to Finch Credit: Youtube

While the popularity of heavily stylised porn such as hentai (Japanese cartoon porn) may be rising, Betito also believes that an increasing demand for “real life” porn may be helping to sustain the allure of the MILF: “Pornhub’s analytics of past years definitely show a trend toward more amateur porn being sought after, which is more about real life people. And MILFs, seeing as they are older, do not have the perfect bodies.” That’s not to say, however, that we should be too hasty to write the older body off altogether: “Mature women are in way better shape than a generation ago thanks to gyms and societal changes. The mature woman is very sexy again.”

So there we have it: the MILF thing has nothing to do with their own moms (thankfully) or even yours (hopefully), and everything to do with power, control and even reality - something not exactly synonymous with the word "porn". But will the trend continue and will its male equivalent, the DILF - I'm sure you can work that out - make it into the mainstream? Tune in next year to find out.