The best alternatives to Pornhub and XVideos

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Most of us are watching porn, whether or not we admit it. But aren't you tired of (or maybe even troubled by) just doing the same old thing to get off online over and over again?

If you're wondering why you've become so bored by the widely accessible mainstream porn that just seems to keep doing more of the same, Pornhub and its parent company Aylo (formerly MindGeek — the company changed its name in 2023) deserves part of the blame. As does XVideos, one of the most-viewed porn sites, which is owned by WGCZ. But don't worry, there are porn and erotica alternatives that can upgrade your self-love sessions.

Pornhub's many controversies

For years, Aylo has been accused of monopolistic dominance in the porn industry. In addition to Pornhub, it owns RedTube, YouPorn, Xtube, Brazzers, Reality Kings, and many more. The conglomerate disputed that characterization to Mashable back in 2020, with representative Michael Willis pointing to viewership data that shows its sites aren't alone among the most popular porn sites. Still, Aylo has a vast amount of power and influence over porn industry actors and producers. Its biggest competitor, WGCZ, keeps a low-profile and camouflages its network of brands (contact information for WGCZ wasn't immediately available).

"We don't dispute that MindGeek properties drive considerable traffic, but to say it drives a disproportionate volume of traffic is not accurate," Willis said over email in 2020.

Take that as you will. In 2022, for a Mashable story on Pornhub's 15th anniversary, Ph.D. candidate Maggie MacDonald called the adult industry an oligopoly: a market with limited players. Pornhub and its parent company not only dominate porn, but they set the standard of what viewers want to see.

Accusations of monopoly aside, MindGeek, Pornhub, and XVideos are, to varying degrees, linked to other extremely troubling allegations.

In January 2020, a judge awarded $13 million to 22 women who accused porn producer Girls Do Porn — one of Pornhub's former official content partners used to sell users on purchasing a subscription — of tricking and coercing them into performing. Despite the lawsuit's allegations being filed back in 2016, Pornhub only took down Girls Do Porn's channel in October 2019, waiting until after federal prosecutors charged Girls Do Porn owners and employees with sex trafficking. It led many to question whether Pornhub cared at all about the fact that it profited from abusive and criminal videos. In late 2023, Aylo agreed to pay $1.8 million to settle a criminal probe related to Girls Do Porn.

As of 2024, searching for Girls Do Porn on Pornhub and XVideos turns up no results.

Separately, in 2018, adult performer Nikki Benz sued MindGeek for sexual battery. (Los Angeles prosecutors declined to press criminal charges.) Pornhub's parent company wouldn't comment on the lawsuit when Mashable reached out in 2020.

In December 2020, a New York Times op-ed added more accusations of these websites hosting unethical videos linked to child sex abuse material (CSAM), non-consensual sexually explicit material ("revenge porn"), rape, and other forms of abuse. The op-ed led Mastercard and Visa to stop processing payments on Pornhub, and the company also purged videos from unverified accounts. While a monumental, long-overdue step forward in addressing these longstanding issues, it's important to consider the implications for sex workers as well. The Times piece has also been criticized for promoting an anti-porn religious group that seeks to outlaw sex work, rather than advocating for the protection of such a vulnerable population.

In a statement provided to the Times, Pornhub responded to the allegations by stating that it, "is unequivocally committed to combating child sexual abuse material, and has instituted a comprehensive, industry-leading trust and safety policy to identify and eradicate illegal material from our community," and that assertions of Pornhub allowing CSAM on the site "is irresponsible and flagrantly untrue."

Since the op-ed, only verified accounts may upload videos on Pornhub; verification requires proof of age. As of 2024, Pornhub requires uploads of proof of consent from all performers in videos as well. Previously, performers were only required to keep records of this.

In addition to these accusations, free porn sites (aka "tube" sites) have relied on profiting off of widespread piracy, making it difficult for performers to earn a living. According to a 2019 TechCrunch article, MindGeek spent nearly $2 million to combat piracy, "though that would amount to less than half a percent of the company's 2015 revenue." Now, however, Pornhub only allows verified accounts to upload content — but some performers told Mashable back in 2022 that they make better money on OnlyFans.

What is ethical porn?

Ethical porn, which focuses on performers' rights, consent, safety, and compensation has become an increasingly discussed issue in the industry. Unfortunately, there's really no guaranteed ethical free porn in the way that tube sites provide it.

Aside from most perpetuating the same problems described above, there's also little industry transparency, accountability, or credible information available. It's basically industry whistleblowers feeling as though they sacrifice their careers to speak up or journalists shedding light on abuses like those alleged against Girls Do Porn.

Yet the reality is free porn isn't going anywhere (for now), and some tube sites can be more ethical than others. New business models are emerging that provide free clips with the explicit permission of performers and creators.

Trying out alternatives to Pornhub and XVideos is about so much more than just ethics, though. There are whole worlds of unique X-rated content just waiting to be explored, perfect for both aficionados and newcomers. There are sites with artsy high productions, the down and dirty kinky, genuine amateurs, personalized experiences with stars, and an underrated category of erotica that isn't just video porn.

Links below are NSFW and 18+ only, obviously.

Free porn

Illustration on a red backdrop of a man and woman kissing.
Ethical free porn is hotter than unethical free porn. Credit: Vicky Leta / Mashable

  • The gist: Categorizing itself as "porn for women," Bellesa provides ethical porn through a partnership program with curated and relatively lengthy (typically at least 10 minutes long) free clips directly from the creators. There's a paid option called Bellesa Plus (from $10/month) that includes ad-free videos from various studios. And there's also user-submitted erotica, articles on sexual health, and a built-in sex toy shop.

  • Best for: Beginners or those with more softcore, women-friendly, sex-positive tastes that are on a budget and don't like to waste too much time searching getting off.

  • Ethics: While initially criticized for perpetuating the pirated porn issues, its partnership program introduced a viable model for ethical free porn to the industry.


  • The gist: An unexpected haven of ethical and free communal horniness, the "front page of the internet" has an abundance of thriving porn subreddits. Amateur lovers rejoice, because there's something for absolutely everyone in r/realgirls, r/girlsinlove, r/gifsgonewild, r/gonewild, and r/gonewildtrans. These aren't places of exploitation, but communities that celebrate exploration, both from the uploader and receiver's perspective. If the loss of Tumblr porn has left you feeling without a welcoming horny internet community to call home, then you're in luck.

  • Best for: The kind of grounded, home video, guilt-free stuff that somehow leaves you feeling like maybe this whole porn thing can actually be a net positive for society. It's also perfect for voyeurs and those with an exhibitionist kink.

  • Ethics: If you know Reddit, you know the best moderators tend to take their rules seriously. In each of these subreddits, the identity and age of every submission is thoroughly vetted and then protected to ensure the content isn't being uploaded maliciously. Reddit's rules strictly forbid involuntary pornography and sexually suggestive content involving a minor. Piracy is pretty much a non-issue since professionals are forbidden from posting. Realness is valued above all else, so you get much less of the manicured misogynistic bullshit of regular porn. On top of all that, encouraging comments are the norm, while mean-spiritedness and hate speech is either strongly discouraged or flat out banned.


  • The gist: This performer-oriented platform mostly has pay-per-view clips, but also has some free ones on offer, too.

  • Best for: Ethically-minded budgeters who put favorite performers above preferences for a specific category or type of content.

  • Ethics: Similar to OnlyFans, ManyVids creators upload their own content. Again, most of it is paid, but there's a few free videos here and there.


  • The gist: Calling itself an "independent tube site," xHamster is a hugely popular and big library (over 10,000 pages and counting) focused on authentic amateur content uploaded by users from within its community.

  • Best for: Those who absolutely cannot do without the tube site experience, but are looking for a lesser of two evils.

  • Ethics and inclusivity: This one was on the line for us; xHamster was also caught up in the Girls Do Porn controversy. It disabled its Girls Do Porn channel and began actively taking down the company's videos following the lawsuit as well as built an algorithm to spot common search terms related to the videos. As of 2024, xHamster requires verification to upload content, and has a reporting procedure for copyright violations.

Paid porn

A woman laying in bed with a laptop and sex toy.
Your sex life deserves an investment into paid porn. Credit: Bob Al-Greene / Mashable


  • The gist: Taking the online horniness industry by storm, OnlyFans has basically created a whole new category of adult entertainment. Essentially combining social media influencers and models with the appeal of camming, it's a platform that gives fans direct access to a much racier version of their Instagram favs' feeds (if they pay a monthly fee, of course). They can even direct message them with personal requests. Content ranges from just a bit more explicit than IG, to full blown NC-17 sex.

  • Cost: Depends.

  • Best for: Instagram lovers who seek a a bit of personal connection to their spank bank material.

  • Ethics: OnlyFans puts the power back in the hands of the X-rated performers who don’t need to rely on monopolistic platforms or unethical production companies to get paid. Back in 2020, though, there was a huge safety breach leaking terabytes of content, which undermines what’s valuable about the platform. Be wary of participating in that piracy.

  • The gist: BDSM is one of the most misunderstood and maligned genres of porn, often used as evidence for why it's inherently misogynistic and bad for society. But proves quite the contrary, consistently regarded as one of the most ethical names in porn while providing a seemingly endless library for every type of perversion.

  • Cost: $15-$39.99 a month depending on subscription plan

  • Best for: Lovers of hardcore BDSM porn who want to ensure their performers are being treated ethically.

  • Ethics: First of all, consent is absolutely key to any healthy BDSM experience, and embedded that into its mission. While sadly the in-house studio shut down back in 2017, it continues to ensure the safety and well-being of every performer by requiring all studios follow their strict Kink Consent Protocols. Performers fill out a comprehensive checklist of what they consent to, which is enforced throughout shooting with check-ins and aftercare. The company even created a more generalized version of this checklist, to encourage others to make this standard industry practice.

XConfessions or LustCinema

  • The gist: If you're looking for an auteur of porn, look no further than Erika Lust. The feminist indie adult filmmaker creates beautiful works of erotic cinema through her two main projects. LustCinema publishes feature-length films by female directors regularly, which cover many categories but share an emphasis on the sensual, passionate, and emotional. Meanwhile with XConfessions, Lust takes submissions from subscribers and turns their greatest fantasies into a reality on screen. From the content itself to the creators behind it, there's an emphasis on inclusivity and diversity.

  • Cost: $9.95-$34.95 a month depending on subscription package

  • Best for: Cinephiles who like a little bit of plot and a whole lot of sex.

  • Ethics: Lust has practically written the book on ethics in porn, while also being a vocal and powerful advocate for sex ed. She thinks deeply about the effects mainstream tube sites are having on our sexual culture, and aims to correct what she sees as harmful through her work — which truly makes consent look sexy as hell.

Truly alt (and awesome) porn and erotica

A woman in dark silhouette with a phone nearby.
Think outside the box for online porn. Credit: Bob Al-Greene / mashable


  • The gist: Audio is one of the most underrated outlets for horniness. Don't believe me? Just try some free stuff on for size. When you're ready to upgrade, give Dipsea a spin. This predominantly app-based platform (which recently launched a web version) provides a constantly expanding library of high production audio erotica for all orientations, experience levels, and proclivities. There are even guided sessions, like partnered exercises for dirty talk or mindful sex exercises.

  • Cost: $12.99 a month or $69.99 annually on iOS or Android

  • Best for: Anyone who feels intimidated, unrepresented, or even triggered by video or visual porn, particularly women and queer folks.

  • Ethics: Because the sex is all imaginary, and the platform is subscription-based (meaning contributors are paid), there really isn't a stronger ethical guarantee.


  • The gist: A longstanding bastion of written erotica online, Literotica engages your mind as much as your nether regions. Whether you're a writer or reader, it's a community that pushes you to consider new perspectives and ways of getting off, even providing some ideas you can bring to the bedroom with you.

  • Cost: Free

  • Best for: The literary-minded hornball who knows their strong imagination can get off without visuals.

  • Ethics: Authors submit their own work for consideration and continue to own the copyright after publishing. Also, we're talking about imaginary sex so you know you're getting your rocks off ethically.


  • The gist: We put MakeLoveNotPorn (MLNP) in this category because its creator, Cindy Gallop, insists it's not porn, nor is it even "amateur." Instead, it's positioned as the antithesis to Pornhub and all tube site porn, as a “social sex” where you can upload yourself or watch others have “real world sex.” It isn't only mushy gushy stuff, though. There's something for everyone's taste, and even more importantly, inclusive of all different bodies, orientations, and races. MLNP even rethought the tagging system, introducing categories that are not only less crude, but also help you see this kind of content in new ways.

  • Cost: Go here for some free peeks. Otherwise it's $5 to rent a video for 3 weeks, or $10-$50 per month depending on subscription.

  • Best for: Seekers of a revolutionary and unique way to get off to watching people have sex online, with a personal vibe that's unlike any other.

  • Ethics: Gallop is another leader and innovator in not only ethical sex entertainment, but also in how it can become a source for good, citing feedback like this one to demonstrate MLNP's impact. Enthusiastic consent is the lifeblood of every video, whether it's softcore or powerplay. Half of all proceeds from user purchases go toward the MakeLoveNotPornstar they paid to watch.

This article was originally published in 2020 and updated in 2024.

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