#Issues

“Real-world Sex is Not like Porn”, says Cindy Gallop, Founder MakeLoveNotPorn

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“Everyone wants to be good in bed but nobody knows what that exactly means.”

Across cultures, the conversation around sex is hushed, in brief, staid tones – the sense of embarrassment almost palpable in the voices of our parents and teachers, if at all they choose to educate us about sex. Porn is one of the most obvious resources one then grows up with in trying to understand their own bodies and also about sexual etiquette. Often, young boys fester this sense of entitlement and power – that the pleasure is theirs to command. The girls, on the other hand, are expected to be submissive and whilst harbouring an unhealthy body image they feel that they have no business speaking about what they want in bed.

“But real-world sex is not like porn – which is essentially manufactured entertainment. Sometimes, it is even easier to talk about sex in the public domain, but privately, it is an area of huge insecurity. People are vulnerable and almost terrified of even talking to their partner thinking they’ll hurt them, so they derail the encounter,” explains Cindy Gallop, the founder of MakeLoveNotPorn.tv, a user-generated, crowd-sourced platform, where anybody can submit their videos (which are then carefully reviewed and curated) of having sex in all its funny, messy humanness. It is like a paid YouTube for unperformed sex.

Till date, the website has had about 400,000 members, 200 MakeLoveNotPornstars (who get 50 percent of the revenue every time their video is rented and streamed) and 2000 videos of people having sex in the real world.

This project is a direct manifestation of Cindy’s personal experiences of dating younger men, in their 20s, and coming face to face with the ramifications of hardcore pornography in our culture. The British Advertising consultant and public speaker realized that there is an entire generation growing up believing that is also the way you have sex in real life. Till date, the website has had about 400,000 members, 200 MakeLoveNotPornstars (who get 50 percent of the revenue every time their video is rented and streamed) and 2000 videos of people having sex in the real world.

But logistically, floating an idea with adult content is an enormous battle that needs to be fought every day. From several banks not wanting to process payment to finding an email partner that fit the bill, it has been quite the labour intensive process.

The video streaming website had to be literally built from scratch because no existing technology could be used to support their content. And Cindy has been trying to raise funding for the last three years.

“Outside the business, it is easier to make people talk about sex. But on the inside, the social dynamic is such that even if someone loves the idea and thinks of it as profoundly beneficial, they’ll still not support it with the fear of ‘what people will think’.

Otherwise, people are dying to talk about it – because how often do we see an embodiment of straightforward, utterly unjudgemental content that talks about sex with a sense of humour? When we do, the floodgates open,” she says.

Many of the people who have send in their videos (participants can always choose to blur their faces) to MakeLoveNotPorn.tv hadn’t filmed anything sexual before. In many instances, it was the woman who took charge and convinced her partner to film themselves. The discussion led to places the couples have never gone before and it enabled them to love themselves and have an open and honest conversation about sex.

The incessant sexual harassment of women at their workplace is a testament to how many have power and responsibility confused with their ability to flash in front of their female colleagues and get away with it.

India is one of the places where the website gets a lot of traffic from. Cindy had letters coming in from 17-year-olds asking, “What is sex, I want to know” to “I love what you do. Please do the needful and launch in India”. A 27-year-old woman was also full of praise, “My generation is ready for this. Let’s change the world through sex.”

Cindy points out that while we are raised with good values, nobody talks about the need to behave well in bed or subscribes to a notion of good and healthy sexual behaviour and etiquette. The incessant sexual harassment of women at their workplace is a testament to how many have power and responsibility confused with their ability to flash in front of their female colleagues and get away with it.

 founder of MakeLoveNotPorn.tv

“The lack of women in positions of power encourages this sort of implicit bro endorsement – that it is okay to behave like this. Women need to be hired and seen as operating professional equals and not just in two roles – girlfriends and secretaries.”

“Everybody talks about keeping sex out of work… I say, bring sex into it and name and shame these people. Also, companies need to make their workforce gender equal. Bulk buys, hire a group instead of just one token woman.”

Even in Advertising, 97 percent of the Creative Directors of agencies are male, the lack of women in positions of power encourages this sort of implicit bro endorsement – that it is okay to behave like this. Women need to be hired and seen as operating professional equals and not just in two roles – girlfriends and secretaries.”

The entrepreneur, who wants to grow MakeLoveNotPorn into a social hub of free sexual expression (encompassing areas of education technology and also inviting erotic work from artists, writers, filmmakers) says that when you are trying to achieve something groundbreaking, you don’t wait for the world to change for it, you change the world to fit your idea.

She adds, “I believe in Steve Jobs’s theory of reality distortion. In coining the term sex tech, I pioneered and defined my own category, disrupting stereotypical sex norms to help nurture innovation for a much bigger impact… I have literally spent years conceptualizing and designing a trustworthy space, keeping every possible ramification in mind. Change often happens from the bottom up, and not the other way around.”

Also Read: Excerpt on “Work-Life Balance” from Lalita Iyer’s “The Whole Shebang”