The world wanted a lot of Stormy Daniels and Fortnite porn in 2018

Highly searched.
Highly searched.
Image: Reuters/Mike Blake
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

A lot of people watch a lot of porn. To be more specific: There are over 125 million daily visits to the Pornhub network of sites, which includes RedTube and YouPorn, every day. And in 2018, “Stormy Daniels” and “Fortnite” were the top search trends on Pornhub (which has 100 million daily visits alone).

Pornhub’s research and analysis blog, Pornhub Insights, has published its 2018 Year in Review. While the names of conventional porn categories (e.g. “lesbian”) continue to be the most frequently searched terms, the report highlights searches that surged in 2018 and defined the year (much like how Google calculates its own review).

Fortnite, the video game that also has become a social space for young people, might seem an unlikely candidate for serving someone’s sexual appetite. “Searches like these serve as an indication that people use this site to not only satisfy sexual urges but also to get a different angle on something they are already interested in,” Laurie Betito, director of the Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center, said in a statement. People want “to see a famous character or hot topic in a sexual context,” she said.

In 2017, the year of #MeToo, the top standout search was “Porn for Women,” followed by “Rick and Morty” and “fidget spinners,” two other phenomena of that year. (Yes, fidget spinners, because humans can fetishize anything.) And when Avengers: Infinity War debuted in April, Avengers-related porn searches increased by 356%.

Here’s a look at some of the people and events that made an impact on the world’s sexual imaginations in 2018:

Stormy Daniels’s popularity surged because of Donald Trump

Searches on porn sites for this former porn star became the top defining search term of 2018 amid controversy connected to her alleged affair with the US president. Stephanie Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, entered the spotlight at the beginning this year after reports emerged that she was allegedly paid $130,000 to keep quiet about it. She has featured heavily people’s porn explorations ever since.

When the news first broke in January, Pornhub’s data analysis found that searches containing “Stormy Daniels” increased from a daily average of 2,500 to over 2 million within five days. During her 60 Minutes TV interview in March, searches increased 2,052%. And Pornhub users in Washington DC were more likely to search “Stormy Daniels” than elsewhere in the US.

People didn’t just want to play Fortnite

They also wanted to search for Fortnite-related porn. “Fortnite” took second place in the Pornhub search trends that defined 2018. The battle royale video game also had a huge year beyond porn: It’s expected to generate $2 billion in revenue and now has over 200 million registered users just a little over a year after launching. Fortnite has dominated the industry, and each time a new season of the game is released, there is a spike in people looking for Fortnite porn. When the game suffered a server outage in April, Fortnite searches on Pornhub increased 60%.

Enjoy some 4K at the end of the day?

“4K” rounded out the top three trending Pornhub searches of 2018. 4K, or Ultra HD, refers to the high-resolution video format that has enough pixels to fill four 1080p screens—which means four times the detail. (In 2017, “1080p” was the fourth most trending search term.) 4K’s popularity on Pornhub might be because the site offers premium content at this resolution. But it was also a buzzword in gamer news, largely thanks to Microsoft’s Xbox One X, launched at the end of 2017, which fully supports 4K visuals.

Video-game related searches remain a significant driver of traffic for Pornhub. Red Dead Redemption 2 searches surged 731% above average following the game’s launch.

Women and millennials fantasized about the Avengers

Avengers: Infinity War made the biggest debut in film history with a $630-million opening weekend, during which Pornhub searches for “Avengers” also increased 356%. In 2018, the most-searched Avengers characters were Black Widow and Spider-Man respectively. Pornhub’s data shows that women were 28% more likely to search for Avengers characters compared to men, and millennials aged 18 to 24 searched for the Avengers more than any other age group. On Google, Avengers: Infinity War, other Marvel characters, and the late Stan Lee, the creative force behind many of the world’s most iconic superheroes, also dominated global search trends in 2018.

Bigfoot erotica is really a thing

During a Virginia congressional race in July, Democratic candidate Leslie Cockburn accused her Republican opponent, Denver Riggleman, of being a “devotee of Bigfoot erotica.” (Riggleman denied the claim, and is currently the congressman-elect.) Porn users were paying attention to the elections: Searches containing “Bigfoot” shot up more than 8,000% on July 31. Virginia residents were also 38% more likely to search for “Bigfoot,” compared to the rest of the US.