“IM GLAD THAT WHILE YOU COULD BE DOING AL GORE, YOU DECIDED TO DO ME”. - Cindy Gallop
FRONT ROW AT ‘THE FUTURE OF PORN’
I thought I would be fine getting to Al Gore an hour early. Wrong. The line spanned the entire length of the convention centre so I quickly re-evaluated my options. The Future of Porn? It’s certainly an intriguing topic and I thought it would surely be interesting. And it certainly falls under the bucket of Art & Inspiration, right? I had zero expectations.
What actually unfolded in front of me (in the front row nonetheless, because you know, as fate has it I couldn’t get a seat to Al Gore but I got front row to the porn one) was the most refreshing argument and point of view that I have heard in a very long time.
It wasn’t as the name might suggest, a bunch of porn videos. It was a bold entrepreneur named Cindy Gallop, the founder of makelovenotporn.com - a website that publishes real world porn videos submitted by users. The site has just come out of beta but the initial success of it has led to makelovenotporn.tv - a porn channel.
The conception of the site was an interesting story. Cindy opened by saying she loves having sex with younger men. But what she was baffled by was their complete false perception of what women want and what sex should be like. In getting to the root of this, she learnt of the amount of porn young men watch. She learnt of how much it deludes their sense of reality because, lets face it, porn is not real life. It’s a false environment where women’s bodies are one shape, men’s Crown Jewels are a certain size and women orgasm in three minutes.
When I started thinking about it and the more Cindy talked, the more it became apparent that the falsity of porn has a lot to answer for. Condoms are non-existent, women are degraded and violent behavior is promoted. The average age of someone who first views hardcore porn is 8 years old. This is their first experience of sex. And this is where our generation are learning sexual etiquette from?!
PROBLEM: PORN IS OUR GENERATION’S SEXUAL EDUCATION.
Cindy’s vision for makelovenotporn.com was to solve this problem. It is to be part entertainment, part education. Its model is social by design - content is crowd sourced, moderated for any inappropriate content, and posted. Viewers rent a video for $5, of which the ‘real life stars’ get 50% of the cut. Viewers can rate videos, curate their own playlist…you get the picture. But the power of the site is redefining the misconception sex. It is being used as sexual education in schools and by parents who don’t know how to approach the topic with children. It’s showing people that hey, condoms don’t need to be awkward and this is how women should be treated. And of course, a few people are finding some pleasure from it too.
I loved this talk for its brutal honesty, for its fresh perspective and for someone opening up the conversation about something that is so taboo but yet, is one of the most important parts of our lives! Its something businesses and people have shun away from for so long and avoided talking about. As Cindy brilliantly remarked, ‘It’s not that porn degrades women, it’s business that degrades porn’.
What I took away from this talk isn’t really about porn at all. It’s that changing behavior that is deeply embedded requires a new perspective. It means understanding the absolute core of a problem (to Cindy it wasn’t that young men had bad sexual habits, it was that their only form of education was porn), and addressing that. And as much as technology has created these misconceptions, it’s also the most potent tool is changing them.
For anyone who wants to view Cindy’s highly regarded TEDTalk, you can view it here (WARNING! EXPLICIT LANGUAGE!):