In Conversation With…Cindy Gallop: Make Love Not Porn

KK caught up with Cindy Gallop, entrepreneur and businesswoman out to change the world with her MakeLoveNotPorn project. 

What Is MakeLoveNot Porn? 

MakeLoveNotPorn is a 100% judgment-free forum. It’s the world’s first user-generated, human-curated social sex platform, where users can watch and upload home-made sexy videos. It’s a counterpoint to the aesthetics and messaging of professional porn, where almost everyone is young, hairless, able-bodied and overwhelmingly white. 

The MakeLoveNotPorn website says it best: “#RealWorldSex in all its glorious, silly, beautiful, messy, reassuring, humanness.” 

We spoke to the founder of the the MakeLoveNotPorn project, Cindy Gallop, to find out more.

Cindy, hello! Our first question would be – what made you want to create MakeLoveNotPorn? 

MakeLoveNotPorn was a complete accident that came out of a direct personal experience.

I commonly date younger men, predominantly twentysomethings. 

About nine or ten years ago – bear in mind this is long before the media ever picked up on this – I realised that I was encountering an issue that would never have occurred to me if I had not experienced it so intimately.

The men I was dating all had these specific ideas about what sex should be like, and I realised that these ideas were all coming from pornography. This is what happened when freedom of access to hardcore porn meets our societal reluctance to discuss sex. Porn becomes the default sex education – and not in a good way. Most porn, with all of it’s curation, idealisation, and  unrealistic standards (not to mention sexism, racism and fetishization of trans people) cannot and should not be considered educational material.

Tell us more about your understanding of how this is happening – how is it that younger and younger people are able to access porn?

The average age today at which a child first views hardcore porn video online is eight – a Bitdefender survey done four years ago indicates that age may actually be as low as six. Another article states that 1 in 10 children under the age of ten has seen porn. 

This isn’t because eight-year-olds and six-year-olds go looking for porn videos. It’s at least in part because there is so much of it available it’s hard to prevent people seeing porn accidentally. You can watch porn videos on Twitter and Reddit, with little to no checks in place regarding who is watching. 

It’s what they’re shown on someone’s mobile phone in the playground; what they see when they go round to a neighbor’s house, it can’t be avoided.

It doesn’t matter what parental controls you have in place at home. Your kids live their lives in other places.

And, because this is the most wired generation ever, and in many privileged households, very young children have access to phones, iPads, laptops. If, for instance, they happen to learn a new naughty word, they’re able to Google it when they get back home. Only one or two clicks away is something they never expected to find.

And that’s why, as I discovered for myself in my own dating life, young people who grow up today watching hardcore porn online for years before they ever have their own first romantic or sexual experience, assume that is what sex is and that is how you do it for real.

When I realised what I was encountering, I decided to do something about it. So nine years ago I put up on no money a tiny, clunky little website at MakeLoveNotPorn.com – ‘Porn World vs Real World’. I’ve kept this website as a constant reminder of where the project came from and how far it’s come. But, it’s also to show the world that our message has always been the same. 

I launched MakeLoveNotPorn at a TED Talk in 2009 and the response was extraordinary, in a way I’d never anticipated. 

It resonated with huge numbers of people globally – young and old, every gender, every sexuality, and from every country in the world.  

They wrote and poured their hearts out to me. They told me things about their sex lives and their porn-watching habits they had never told anyone else.  

Receiving those emails, day after day, made me feel I had a personal responsibility to take MakeLoveNotPorn forward, in a way that would make it more far-reaching, helpful, and effective.

Are MakeLoveNotPorn videos anti-porn?

Importantly, MakeLoveNotPorn is not anti-porn. Our tagline is ‘Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference.’

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The issue I’m tackling isn’t porn, but instead, the complete lack of healthy, open, and honest dialogue in our society about sex in the real world, which would then, amongst many other benefits, enable people to bring a real-world mindset to the viewing of porn as artificial entertainment. 

Our message is simply ‘Talk about sex’ – openly and publicly, and privately and intimately with your partner.

Great sex is born out of great communication – all around.

How did you get people talking about sex in such a resistant society?

I decided to pursue our mission of ‘Talk About It!’ by taking to social media. After all, it’s one of the biggest ways of sharing content across the globe.

The whole point was to socialize sex; to build a platform to act as sexual social currency. And our aim was always to get people talking. But, rather than comparing breast size or cum measurements, we wanted to get discussions rolling about real-life sex.

Because we all know ‘sex sells’. But, we wanted to recoin to: ‘sex shares’.

So I turned MLNP into MakeLoveNotPorn.tv – the world’s first social sex video sharing platform with a revenue-share business model, socializing sex to make it easier for everyone in the world to talk about.

Our mission to promote good sexual values and good sexual behaviour was all starting to come true.  And, to this day, I’m so blessed by the reaction it received.

We call ourselves the Social Sex Revolution – the revolutionary part isn’t the sex, but the social.

What drives your passion and keeps you motivated in such a male-dominated industry?

The thing that most motivates me is the dynamic I call, “I’m going to show you.” 

And I’m pretty sure that any person can relate to it. 

If you tell me it can’t be done, I’m going to fucking well show you that it can.

Put an obstacle in my path? I’m going to fucking well show you how I can get around it.

Every challenge a tech entrepreneur faces, you can triple when it come to a sex tech startup. I turn all of that into motivation.

It’s a mindset and behavioural shift that has poured into my business, and whenever a challenge crops up, I take this attitude. Suddenly, things that could easily stress me out are embraced. Because I’ve vowed to fucking well show them.

How do you think MakeLoveNotPorn can influence people’s perceptions of sex and relationships?

MLNP is here to show people there’s a difference between performative, produced porn, and the fabulously funny, messy, awkward, beautiful, ridiculous, wonderful, human sex we all have in the real world.

The key goal, when all’s said and done, is to make sex easier to talk about, both generally and with each other. 

The reason “amateur porn” is one of the most viewed category on pornsites has nothing to do with porn. It has everything to do with everybody wanting to know what everyone else is really doing in bed – and nobody does. Until now, with MLNP and social sex.

Make Love, Not Porn stems from my own philosophies; one of which is: everything in life starts with you and your values.

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I regularly ask people, What are your sexual values?” and no one can ever answer that question because we’re not brought up to think that way. 

If we’re fortunate, we are born into families and environments where our parents bring us up to have good manners, a work ethic, a sense of responsibility, accountability.

Nobody ever brings us up to behave well in bed. 

But they should! Because empathy, sensitivity, generosity, kindness, honesty are as important there as in every other area of our lives – and our work – where we are actively taught to exercise those values.

What’s your vision for when the world is ready to talk about sex? How will life be better?

Editor’s Note: TW for rape, sexual harassment and abuse. Please skip ahead to the next question if you want to avoid these topics.

When we make it easier for the world to talk openly and honestly about sex, here’s what will happen:

Parents will bring their children up openly to have good sexual values and good sexual behaviour, in the same way they bring them up openly to have good values and behaviour in every other area of life.

We will cease to bring up rapists because the only way we end rape culture is when we inculcate in society a universally understood, operated and (importantly) aspired to a gold standard of what constitutes good sexual values and good sexual behaviour. 

We also end sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual violence – where perpetrators currently rely on the fact that we don’t talk about sex to ensure their victims will never speak up, never go to the authorities, never tell anyone. 

In other words, everything you see around you now relating to the systemic culture of sexual harassment in every industry, in every area of life, is what I designed MakeLoveNotPorn to end. And it’s all by driving a cultural and social shift around talking about sex at a mass, mainstream level.

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What is your opinion on the majority of silicon valley VC’s, tech providers and payment gateways that have blanket “no porn” policies?

Honestly? Fuck. That. Shit.

We fight a battle to build MLNP every single day, because every piece of business infrastructure that any other tech startup can just take for granted, we can’t utilise. The small print always says ‘No adult content’.

My biggest obstacle getting funded has been the social dynamic of fear of what other people will think.

That’s why I realized that, to get my own startup funded, I was going to have to get the entire sex tech category funded. 

I decided to raise $200million to start the world’s first and only sex tech fund – because if nobody else is going to, then I will. 

AllTheSkyHoldings will invest in two things: 

 1) radically innovative sex tech ventures with a focus on female-founded.

2) the infrastructure of sex tech – what I’m calling the sex tech full-stack. 

Because the first payment processor that operates a new definition of ‘adult content’ to embrace legal, ethical, transparent sex tech ventures like mine, cleans up. 

The first hosting provider….the first e-commerce platform….the first bank.  

When AllTheSky funds the ecosystem of sex tech, not only do we create a self-sustaining portfolio, we create a huge revenue-generating opportunity through global sex tech support so desperately needed by so many sex tech entrepreneurs. And when we socialize and normalize sex tech in this way, we turn it into the next trillion dollar category in tech.

I very recently finally managed to raise the funding I need for MLNP, but I still plan to raise for AllTheSky. The good news is that now I have the funding to be able to build out MLNP as a showcase example of sex tech within AllTheSky’s portfolio.

Cindy, Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions!

All of us at Killing Kittens are in total awe of you and your mission to change the world, one sexy video at a time. 

Want to hear more from Cindy? We sent her some questions directly from KK members – check out that interview here!

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