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Advertising Maven, Cindy Gallop, blew open the doors to the sex-tech industry in 2009 when she presented her 4-minute TEDTalk 'Make Love Not Porn.'  One of the most viral TEDTalks to date, Cindy exposed the differences between porn sex and real sex and how online pornography has become the default sex education of today.  After receiving thousands of emails from viewers sharing their sex struggles, Cindy is on a mission to provide positive and emowering sex-tech through MakeLoveNotPorn.com and her beta site MakeLoveNotPorn.TV.  Find out how porn sex might be influencing your relationships, how to communicate what you want in bed, and how to be equipped and empowered through sex-tech.

Please Note: This interview is intended for an adult audience and contains graphic sexual language. 

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Make Love, Not Porn posts the myths of porn and balances them with reality.

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Sex-Tech

How has the porn industry influenced the ways men and woman make love? 

My start-up, Make Love, Not Porn, is a total accident.  I date younger men who tend to be in their 20s.  It was through dating younger men that I began encountering an issue that might not have ever crossed my mind if I hadn't encountered it very intimately and personally, which is what happens when two things converge - today's total freedom of access to online hardcore porn and our society's total reluctance to talk openly and honestly about sex - and this results in porn becoming the default sex education and not in a good way.

I found myself encountering a number of sexual memes and thought, 'Whoa! I know where that behavior is coming from!'  I thought if I was experiencing this, other people must be as well, and being a very action oriented person I decided to do something about it.

Six years ago, I put up (with no money) a clunky little website at MakeLoveNotPorn.com that posts the myths of hardcore porn and balances them with reality.  The construct is porn world versus real world.  I had the opportunity to launch it at the TED conference and I made a decision to be very explicit in my TEDTalk because I knew the audience wouldn't understand this issue unless I was straightforward about it.  The talk went viral as a result and drove an extraordinary response to MakeLoveNotPorn.com that I never could have anticipated.  

The most extraordinary thing was not just the huge amounts of traffic to the site, but every single day for the last six years, I've received thousands of emails to my Make Love, Not Porn email inbox.  They come from young and old, male and female, straight and gay, and from every country in the world.  They pour their hearts out to me in email, they tell me things about their sex life and porn watching habits they've never told anyone before, and they write for advice.  It was the sheer cumulative impact of those emails arriving day after day that made me feel like I had a personal responsibility to take this initiative forward in a way that would make it far more reaching, helpful, and effective.  

Watch Cindy explain why she created Make Love, Not Porn

When access to online porn meets our reluctance to talk honestly about sex, porn becomes our sex education.

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What is the mission of Make Love, Not Porn and how it can empower our sex lives?

I want to emphasize that Make Love, Not Porn, is not anti-porn.  The issue isn't porn.  The issue is the total absence of an open, healthy, honest conversation around sex in the real world.  Our tag line is 'pro-sex, pro-porn, pro-knowing the difference' and our mission is simply to help make it easier for people to talk about it.  You want to please your partner and make them happy.  But, if the only sexual queues you've ever seen are from porn - then those are the ones you'll take in bed and to not very good effect.  

Two years ago, my team - Oonie Chase, Corey Innis, Sarah Beall - and I launched in beta MakeLoveNotPorn.TV, which is a user-generated, crowd-sourced, video-sharing platform that celebrates real world sex.  Anybody from anywhere in the world can submit videos of themselves having real world sex.  To be clear, we are not porn, we are not amateur, this is not performative.  It's about capturing what goes on in the real world in all its funny, messy, glorious, silly, wonderful beautiful humanness.  We curate it to make sure it's real (we don't publish it unless it is) and we have a revenue sharing business model.  You pay to rent and stream real world sex videos and 50% of that income goes to you our contributor or as we like to call our 'Make Love Not Porn Star.'  

What are the biggest differences between porn sex and making love?

Go to MakeLoveNotPorn.com because every one of those porn world versus real world scenarios happened to me.  In the absence of open, healthy, and honest conversations about sex people rush to porn.  Porn is incredibly easy to access anywhere online and it's easy to access accidentally.  The average age a child is first exposed to hardcore porn online is eight.  

There are some very fundamental differences between porn and real world sex that are unfortunately being adopted in the real world more than people realize.  For example, because the vast majority of mainstream porn is made by men and for men, the be-all and end-all for every scene is to get the man off.  As a result, we now have an entire generation of young men and women believing that the be-all and end-all of sex is to get the man off.  

I'm 55, and I'm old enough to remember back in the day when it was enormously important to the men I slept with that I came, that I came first, and that I came at least once if not several times.  If I did not come, the entire sex session was a failure and nobody was going anywhere until I came.  Porn does men a huge disservice because it tells them that sex is dick-centric (how big it is, how hard it is, how long you can keep it up) and great sex is about everything.  Most importantly, great sex is about great communication.

Everything great in life (and business) is born out of great communication and sex is no different.   The danger is that people look at porn and think being good in bed involves a formula.  One set of moves doesn't work on everybody and boy oh boy do they ever not work for women.

At its heart, porn sex is not meant to be real sex.  What's missing is the normalized, open sharing of sex that goes on in the real world in the way we share everything else.  What we need is simply an opportunity to share the sex we all have in the real world, which by the way is more inventive, more amazing, more surprising, more creative, more arousing, than porn will ever be.

Watch Cindy share why porn sex is different

When you have a world-changing start-up, you have to change the world to fit it, not the other way around.

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How can we positively influence socially acceptable sex-tech?

One thing I say to every entrepreneur is: When you have a truly world-changing start-up, you have to change the world to fit it, not the other way around.  I have a whole tranche of work I do around Make Love, Not Porn that is aimed at demonstrating to the tech and business world how enormously investable, fundable, disruptable, and startupable this whole area is.  Silicon Valley welcomes innovation and disruption in every other area of our lives except this one - the one that needs it most.  The three disruption opportunities at the moment are sex, cannabis, and bit coin.  Ironically, investors are flocking to the other two more than they are to sex-tech.  

I would urge anyone watching this to seriously consider what you want to change about sex and starting a sex-tech venture to do it.  The most interesting things happening in the sex-tech space right now are coming from women who, as in every other area, bring a whole different perspective and are now building ventures designed to translate that perspective into real world action.  Socially acceptable sex is a huge market; more interestingly, it’s a huge new market.

That's the huge financial future and trillion dollar market we're going after.  The highest grossing author in the world right now is E.L. James, the author of Fifty Shades of Grey, who is massively out earning Dan Brown, Jim Patterson, and every other Blockbuster writer you can name.  That is the power of socially acceptable and socially shareable sex.  Fifty Shades of Grey is the first socially acceptable, socially shared erotica who's income sales were powered by social media and by the way also powered by what I'm very fond of saying 'the huge amount of money to be made by taking women seriously.' 

Watch Cindy share how you can influence sex-tech

There is a huge amount of money to be made by taking women seriously.

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Make Love, Not Porn

How (and when) can we communicate our sexual preferences and desires? 

I wrote a piece for Elle magazine on precisely this point and Elle used a rather catchy headline - The 3 most important things you can do with your mouth in bed - and they all have to do with communication.  The first point is: Talk in bed.  We all get very vulnerable when we get naked, but talking is the easiest way to find out what people like or don't like.  At a baseline level talking in bed is about consent, but talking can also be fun.

The second point is: Invent your own language.  Because we don't talk about sex in the real world, we don’t have a socially acceptable vocabulary and the language of porn has rushed in to fill that gap.  That isn’t good for many reasons, but the least of which is because the language of porn is predominantly male generated.  The person who coined the term 'finger-blasting' didn't have a vagina.  The person who coined the term 'getting her ass railed' never got his ass railed.  The same is true for words like 'pounding,’ ‘banging,’ or ‘slamming.'

Watch Cindy explain how to communicate in bed

At a baseline level talking in bed is about consent, but talking can also be fun.

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At Make Love, Not Porn we’re building a new language for real world sex.  We tag our videos with terms like 'juicy' or 'succulent.'  Our term for oral is ‘downtown.’  We're doing that because we want you to talk about sex without feeling embarrassed.  It's language you can use to talk about what you want to do in bed in a celebratory, positive, and gender equal way.  

If you don't feel comfortable with the language people usually use in bed - invent your own.  All that matters is you use language you feel comfortable with.  Talking dirty doesn't have to be literally using dirty words.  You can talk dirty in a very clean and equally sexy and arousing way.

The third thing is to say what you really think (which is true of life generally).  We often think, ‘He's going to spot my flab!’ ‘She's going to think I'm revolting!’  Trust me, by the time you're naked the person you're with is so grateful you're naked they think you're the most wonderful thing they've ever seen - no exceptions.  I make a point of telling the men I sleep with how beautiful they are.  We don't tell men they're beautiful and we don't tell men how much their body parts (not just their dick) are beautiful.  Say what you really think and if you couldn't be happier to be with this person - say that!

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Use language to talk about what you want to do in bed in a celebratory, positive, and gender equal way.

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What is the best relationship advice you’ve received?

It's odd for me to answer this question because I'm not really a 'relationship-person’ in the romantic sense.  I've never wanted to be married.  I've never wanted children.  I'm not even focused on being in a particular relationship, which is why I date younger men.  I'm very public about all of that because society doesn't offer enough role models for women and men which demonstrates you can live your life in a completely different way than society expects you to and still be extremely happy. 

Everything I've talked about is about being yourself, having a good sense of who you are, and what your values are because when you have that, it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.  I believe that everyone should design the relationship model that works for them which may be different at different stages in your life.  My advice is simply to be yourself, know yourself, think about what makes you happy, and then operate your relationship accordingly even if what makes you happy would appear to be really unconventional where other people are concerned. 

Watch Cindy share her relationship advice

Fear of what people will think is the single most paralyzing dynamic in business and in life.

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How can we be smart and feel empowered when we’re having sex?  

The single thing I would say to my twenty-year old self (and the single thing I can most usefully say to all of you) is to simply not give a damn about what anybody thinks.  Fear of what other people will think is the single most paralyzing dynamic in business and in life.  You will never own the future if you care what other people think and you will never be truly happy if you care what other people think.  The best thing I can say is to be who you are, live your life the way you want to, design your career to do the work you want, and don't give a damn what anybody else thinks.  

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Be who you are and don't give a damn what anybody else thinks.

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Spotlight on Cindy Gallop

Neighborhood: Chelsea

Occupation: Entrepreneur

Women I Admire: Every woman who's ever decided to live the life she wants to live and not give a damn what anyone else thinks.

Dream Mentor: I don't believe in mentors. I believe in champions: people who will go out on a limb for you and make things happen for you.

Look of the Season: Whatever makes you feel when you put it on that you can go out and conquer the world.

Go-to Outfit: Tom Ford for Gucci head-to-toe black leather.

Signature Scent: Yves St Lauren 'Nu'

Beauty Essential: Orange-red lipstick

Cocktail of Choice: Grey Goose martini, straight up with a twist.

Travel Destination: Toss-up between Bali, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Best Advice: 'Get more sleep.'

Favorite Quote: 'In order to predict the future, you have to invent it.' - Alan Kay

College / University: Somerville College, Oxford University

 

 Cindy Gallop was photographed in her apartment in Manhattan, New York City.

 

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