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Meet Cindy Gallop: The Woman Who Thinks We Should Make Love, Not Porn

When discussing the effect of modern technology on our sex lives, we often focus on things such as the latest advances built into the toys we take into the bedroom, or how dating apps like Tinder and Grindr have impacted how we find partners, we often―at least when speaking about adults―forget to talk about pornography. And why would we? Explicit sexual material is by no means a modern invention; there are reliefs and carvings from ancient Egypt, Greece and India depicting all manner of sexual acts.

What’s different  now is our increased access to porn, as well as the sheer variety of it that is just 2 clicks away. What that has meant for modern sex―the good and the bad―has been talked about by sex and relationship researches and counselors when helping individuals and couples, but one woman, Cindy Gallop, has taken the direct action against the things she’s observed with the creation of the “un-porn” website, MakeLoveNotPorn.

Meet Cindy Gallop - The Woman Who Thinks We Should Make Love, Not Porn

Who Is Cindy Gallop?

Cindy Gallop began her career in advertising in the late 80s, and excelled in the industry, founding the US branch of her London firm and later earning the honor of Advertising Woman of the Year in 2003.

Just 6 years later, Gallop was giving a presentation at TEDTalk that has been called “one of the event’s most talked about.”  Her TEDTalk, which was also the launch of MakeLoveNotPorn, involved an unusually frank (for TEDTalk) discussion of how exactly she came to conceive of the project.

As Gallop explains, “[It] was an accident that came out of direct personal experience.

I date younger men, predominantly twenty-somethings. About 9 or 10 years ago – bear in mind this is long before the media ever picked up on this – I began realizing  that I was encountering an issue that would never have occurred to me if I had not experienced it so intimately: what happens when total freedom of access to hardcore porn online, meets our society’s equally total reluctance to talk openly and honestly about sex, and results in porn becoming by default the sex education of today, in not a good way.

The average age today at which a child first views hardcore porn online is eight – a Bitdefender survey done 3 years ago indicates that age may actually be as low as six.

This isn’t because eight year olds and six year olds go looking for porn. It’s a function of what in the digital world we live in today is inevitable and cannot be prevented, no matter how hard you try – they stumble across it. It’s what they’re shown on someone’s cellphone in the playground; what they see when they go round to a neighbor’s house – because it doesn’t matter what parental controls you have in place at home, your kids live their lives in other places; or, because this is the most wired generation ever, and in many privileged households very young children have access to phones, iPads, laptops, they do something cute and innocent – they learn a new naughty word, they google it – and 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 men and women 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.”

And that is when Gallop decided to do something about it.

What Is MakeLoveNotPorn?

In creating the small “clunky” (as she called it) website MakeLoveNotPorn, Gallop was creating a space wherein the myths of pornography were being exposed. What makes it unique is that rather than just focusing on the unethical practices that can be seen in the mainstream porn industry as many porn-negative projects choose to, Gallop is comparing what she calls  ‘Porn World’ versus ‘Real World’ –  “in a straightforward, non-judgmental, humorous way.”

Launched at a 2009 TEDTalk, Gallop was overwhelmed by the positive reaction her presentation garnered. Of it she says, “The response  was extraordinary, in a way I’d never anticipated. It resonated with huge numbers of people globally – young and old, male and female, straight and gay, 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 forwards, in a way that would make it more far-reaching, helpful and effective.”

Thus, a few years later, MakeLoveNotPorn evolved into MakeLoveNotPorn.tv, which is described as  MakeLoveNotPorn “come to life.” It serves as completely user-generated (and crowd-sourced) forum for people to share videos of their real-world sex.

How Is MakeLoveNotPorn Different From Pornography?

It may strike some as confusing, how someone vocally critical of modern pornography would create a website where videos of couples having sex are hosted, however as Gallop points out:

“MakeLoveNotPorn is not anti-porn. Our tagline is ‘Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference.’ The issue I’m tackling isn’t porn, but instead, the complete lack in our society of an open, healthy, honest dialogue around 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 round.”

And  in the spirit of communication―communication that is catered to our modern, most often digitally-based mediums―Gallop instead views MLNP not as an equivalent or even competitor to other porn sites, but something more akin to a social media platform.

“We’re not porn. We’re not ‘amateur’. We’re building a whole new category on the internet – social sex. Our competition isn’t porn – it’s Facebook and YouTube, or it would be, if Facebook and YouTube allowed sexual self-expression and self-identification, which they don’t.  #realworldsex videos on MLNP are not about performing for the camera. They’re simply about doing what you do on every other social platform, which is capturing what goes on in the real world, as it happens, in all its funny messy beautiful silly glorious wonderful humanness.”

How Can You Be Part Of MakeLoveNotPorn?

If you’re curious about becoming part of MakeLoveNotPorn, Gallop enthusiastically welcomes new participants―and it’s not just for those who already consider themselves exhibitionists.

“A few of our MLNPstars have filmed themselves for each other before; the majority had never videoed themselves masturbating or having sex before – they’re doing it for us because they believe in our social mission. They want to see more open, healthy attitudes, dialogue and behavior around sex.

We spent years working on the concept of MakeLoveNotPorn.tv in order to create a safe, trustworthy platform for people to do something they’ve never done before – share their #realworldsex socially.

So anyone considering becoming a MakeLoveNotPornstar should know that you can choose how little or how much exposure you want

You are free to be anonymous – wear masks, faces in shadow, out of frame – or to show your face.  Your videos are only viewable by our community, on our platform, by members who’ve paid to rent them.  We operate a rent and stream model, versus download and own, because our commitment is that the moment anything changes for you – your relationship, your life, your circumstances, even just your mind – all you have to do is tell us, we take your videos down and they’re gone forever.”

About Katy Thorn

Katy Thorn is a post-grad writer with a passion for - and a history of - writing about sex, sexuality and all that it entails. She spends her time running, reading, writing and socialising. Katy has a cat named Feargal, she loves coffee and hates writing bios.

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