Cindy Gallop On The Future Of Porn, Post-Pandemic

“Create the porn you want to see in the world.”

Cindy Gallop is an advertising consultant and the founder and CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn, a social sex video-sharing platform that gives a glimpse into the lives of real-world people, having real-world sex. The platform aims to make talking about sex as shareable as anything else you’d post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Here, Gallop talks about leading a "social sex revolution," finding your sexual values, and the future of sex post-COVID.

I’m single, and I have no idea when I’ll ever have sex again, which is f*cking depressing. I know that before I have sex again, I will be having a conversation about whether our social and sexual values are in sync, in terms of how careful they have been during the pandemic. We’re both going to have to establish where we’re coming from before making any further connection. The pandemic has created a unique opportunity to explore your sexual values, because, on the other side of this, you’re going to have to apply them.

Somebody asked me a couple of weeks back what MakeLoveNotPorn was doing to adapt to the pandemic. I said absolutely nothing at all. The pandemic is proof of our concept. In lockdown, people are desperate for love and warmth and human connection, and people feed off it when it’s celebrated and served up without shame or guilt or embarrassment attached. The thing we’re desperate for on the other side of this is IRL. Human touch, connection, sexuality, sexual relationships — in the real f*cking world. Even without the funds to promote ourselves massively, we’ve seen an increase in traffic, revenue, and submissions.

The pandemic’s impact on mainstream porn, though, is mainly practical — it’s restricted the ability to shoot. But that’s also finally started porn’s #MeToo moment. Because the production pace has slowed, the bad performers don’t have as much power to keep people silent as they used to. People in porn are now speaking up and addressing issues of consent. I recently sat in on a webinar with the BIPOC Adult Industry Collective, where male and masculine-presenting porn performers and sex workers discussed consent in porn. All the panelists had personally experienced or witnessed violations of consent [on set], and they talked about the ways they protect women on set.

If porn is a Hollywood movie, MakeLoveNotPorn is a documentary. We believe in education through demonstration, which is why we call ourselves the social sex revolution. Social sex is enormously reassuring because it celebrates the accidents, the awkwardness, and the messiness of real-world sex. [MakeLoveNotPorn] celebrates real-world everything: bodies, hair, penis size, breast size. All of those ludicrous “aspirational body types” that Hollywood and advertising have socially conditioned women to think they need is built on the premise that it’s the only thing men find sexually attractive. You cannot dispel any of that social conditioning until you demonstrate that it’s not the only thing people find attractive.

You can talk about body positivity all you like. You can preach self-love until you’re blue in the face. The fact is that nothing makes people feel great about their own bodies like watching real people getting turned on by each other, desiring each other, having a bloody amazing time in bed. Our viewers always say, “Your love shines through this whole video," and "Your videos make it so easy to talk about our own sex life." That warmth and joy are not necessarily responses from [mainstream] porn.

Because society doesn’t talk about sex openly, we have no socially acceptable vocabulary with which to do so, and male-generated language of porn has rushed to fill this gap: banging, pounding, wrecking. That’s the ludicrousness of the male lens in this industry, and as long as it’s ubiquitous, it’ll be what women perform to and what men think they are entitled to.

At MakeLoveNotPorn, we’re building a new language for real-world sex. We tag our videos with terms like “juicy” and “succulent.” We want our members to take this language and use it beyond our platform to talk about sex in public without feeling embarrassed. It’s a language you can use to talk about what you want to do in bed in a celebratory and positive way — to make people rethink how they operate around sex.

Even before the pandemic began, I have been telling women that they can change the industry by publicly talking about the fact that they enjoy watching porn. Recommend the porn you love to all your girlfriends. Share the porn you love with your male partners. Create the porn you want to see in the world.

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