Talking Porn With Cindy Gallop

“We are all very vulnerable when we get naked”

For those who don’t know her, Cindy Gallop is a sextech entrepreneur, activist, and founder of Make Love Not Porn: a myth-busting, real-life, giggly, joyful alternative to mainstream online pornography. Ahead of Sexual Health Week 2017, Fumble co-founder Emily Burt sat down with Cindy to talk pornography, sex, and the importance of knowing the difference.

 

How did you come up with the idea for Make Love Not Porn?

The creation of Make Love Not Porn was a total accident. I date younger men, usually men who are in their twenties. Through dating (and having sex with) younger men, I encountered an issue I would never have realised, had I not been exposed to it in such an intimate way. I discovered what happens when total access to hardcore porn online meets the total reluctance in our society to talk openly and honestly about sex. The combination of these factors has resulted in porn becoming, by default, the sex education of today – and not in a good way.

After I started encountering sexual behaviours stemming from this issue, I decided to do something about it. I launched a tiny website that balanced the myths of the pornography world with the realities of real world sex, and launched it at the 2009 TedX conference. I made a deliberate decision to be very explicit in that talk – as a result I am the only Ted speaker to have ever uttered the words ‘come on my face’ six times in succession.

 

 

So you think porn is damaging the way we’re having sex?

Porn is not the issue here. The issue is this total absence of open, healthy, and honest conversation around sex in the real world. The MLNP tagline is ‘pro sex, pro porn, pro knowing the difference.’

Everybody wants to be good in bed, but no one knows exactly what that means. We all get very vulnerable when we get naked, and people find it bizarrely difficult to talk about sex with the people they are having sex with. They’re terrified that if they comment on the action in any way, they’ll hurt the other person’s feelings, put them off, derail the encounter, or even the entire relationship.

Because of this, people seize sexual cues from wherever they can. And if the only cues you’ve ever been given come from porn – because your parents never talked to you about sex, your teachers never talked about sex, your friends never talked about sex – those are the cues you’ll take, to not very good effect.

 

In that case, how do we get better at talking more openly about sex?

Conversation and education around sex begins at home. It cannot begin too early – from the moment kids begin asking about it, start that conversation. The most important thing is not what you say, it’s how you say it. Never get embarrassed. Never get angry. Never slap a child down, never shut them up. Instead, respond straightforwardly, openly and honestly, and open up a channel of communication that will always be there for your child as they grow older.

Our mission is purely and simply to make it easier for people to talk about sex openly and honestly in the public domain, and to talk about sex openly and honestly in their private relationships. So we’re taking every dynamic that exists in social media, and applying them to the one area that no other social media platform will go; in order to make real world sex, and discussion around it, socially acceptable, and therefore just as socially shareable, as anything else we currently see on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

 

If you visit Make Love Not Porn, what will you find there?

You’ll find sexual content that is not porn. It’s not about performing for the camera, it’s about doing what you do in all other types of social media – capturing the real world in all it’s funny, messy, silly, glorious, and beautiful human-ness. My team and I curate the site and watch every video submitted to us to make sure it fulfils that remit – there’s nothing else like it online.

 

How do you envision the future of pornography?

The day we have a porn industry that is 50/50 gender split, led, driven, informed and managed from the top by women as much as men, is the day we have a porn industry that looks completely different.

It will be more innovative, more creative, more disruptive, and a better industry overall. The same is true of every other industry. The day we have a television industry that is driven and led at the top by women just as much as men, the day we have a Hollywood industry – the day we have any industry that is dominated just as much by women as it is by men – you will see completely different things in popular culture.

I am a rampant feminist, I’m championing gender equality at the top of every industry including my own advertising, film, television, and porn. The day that happens, everything changes for the better. And gender equality, across different industries, is the answer to everything you are talking about. It’s really very simple.

 

Discover more about Cindy Gallop via her website

 

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