Recently India has been making quite a buzz in the news with its new Internet and social media policies. The Madras High Court, a legal governing body of India, has banned the social media app TikTok based on the perception of it being a porn carrier. The fact that’s it’s native to China might have something to do with it, of course. But even before TikTok, India had already ordered a ban on over 800 porn websites.

In the face of a deeply religious Indian nation cracking down on porn viewing, one has to wonder, what is a healthy Indian with a normal libido to do? Well, as of March 2019, many Indian porn hosts pushed back against the government’s ruling simply by purchasing a slightly altered domain name. India traditionally ranks third worldwide in the category of porn-watching nations. Laws in India haven’t criminalized private parties watching porn; instead, the production, publication, or distribution is made illegal.

For browsing habits of India, we turn to our usual hero, PornHub, with ready statistics on porn-viewing in India. Some quick facts:

  • It’s a 50/50 split between desktops and mobile viewers.
  • The most popular porn star in India is Sunny Leone.
  • Second and third place go to Lisa Ann and Priya Rai.
  • One-fourth of India’s porn viewers are female.
  • Indian women’s most popular categories are lesbian and gay.

The top search terms from India are: “Sunny Leone,” “Indian,” “Lisa Ann,” “Indian wife,” and “Indian bhabhi.” The word “bhabhi” is a Hindi word meaning, loosely, “somebody else’s wife,” and is a term common to Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladesh. As for searching for lesbian and gay porn, there was a lot less of that before 2014, when India’s Supreme Court reinstated a ban on gay sex.

Indians prefer viewing porn online over print and other hard media. Along with their standard viewing habits, there is a burgeoning interest in erotic comics online as well, possibly because it’s harder to trace and ban. The most popular fetishes among Indian men are for feet, armpits, and the aforementioned “somebody else’s wife.” BDSM and related sado-masochism themes are also popular in India, especially for male domination and female submission.

It is interesting seeing this scenario play out. People are people, no matter the country, and they’re going to want a peek at a boobie or two no matter how many laws are against it. Nations which pass strict laws censoring media freedom of any kind just see an inevitable backlash by their citizens. It’s been this way for decades. What motivates Indian politicians to continue this losing battle, and where will it play out?