The future of the wonderful messy MakeLoveNotPorn is in your hands.
You’ve watched porn. Don’t deny it, most people have (or do).
We fully support consenting adults getting their rocks off while watching other consenting adults getting their rocks off.
But in a world where few people talk openly about sex, real sex – not glossy, hairless, performance sex – porn is fast becoming our best form of sex education.
If you’ve not heard of MakeLoveNotPorn.com (or MLNP, for short), you’re missing out.
Founded in 2009, the franchise was born out of direct personal experience, Gallop told The Memo.
“I date younger men, I’m very open about the fact I date them casually and recreationally, and I began realising 9 or 10 years ago that I was encountering an issue.”
The varied mix of sex she’d previously enjoyed slowly started to become a series of “sexual-behavioural memes” lifted from porn.
Gallop, the former chair of the US branch of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, decided to take action, creating – in her own words – a “tiny little clunky website” to shine light on what real sex is actually like.
Unveiled to the world at a TED Talk, this simply took the myths of hardcore porn and balanced them with reality: for example, where the ‘Porn World’ suggests that ‘every woman loves anal sex’, Gallop’s ‘Real World’ was there to remind readers this probably wasn’t the case.
Men may or may not like coming on faces, women may or may not enjoy this: Ask.
“I’m the only TED speaker to have uttered the words come on my face on the TED stage,” Gallop recalls.
But it was this straight talking attitude that saw MLNP go viral, and Gallop still receives emails from everyone from 15-year-old-boys to 50-year-old women asking for her thoughts.
“People feel able to tell me anything, they pour their hearts out to me on email, sharing things about their sex lives they’ve never told anybody before,” she said.
“The sheer cumulative impact of all of those emails made me feel that I had a personal responsibility to take this initiative forward.”
In 2013 Gallop decided to launch MLNP.TV, the first ever ‘real world sex site’ where people can share their own sexual encounters and pay to stream other peoples’.
“We’re not porn, we’re not amateur, we’re building a whole new category on the internet that doesn’t currently exist, social sex.”
It’s through social media that Gallop wants to normalise real sex, she explains:
“I want to make sex just as socially shareable as anything else we share on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram.”
The entirely user-generated, crowdsourced video sharing platform accepts videos from anyone over 18 – but they have to be ‘real world sex’.
That means no worn-out porn tropes.
“Real world sex videos are not about performing for the camera, they’re simply about capturing what goes on in the real world, as it happens, in all its funny, messy, glorious, silly, wonderful, beautiful, ridiculous, humanness,” says Gallop.
MLNP personally Skype the people involved in every submission, and the moment any MLNP star might want to remove their video – for any reason – it’s taken down immediately.
With over 100 stars, and over 1000 videos submitted, the MLNP.TV library continues to grow.
As a viewer you can rent any video you like for 3 weeks, and all MLNP stars have their own intro videos to draw you in, and help you pick.
Themed editions also come out each week to shine light on a new area of ‘real world sex’ (think everything from MakeAlfrescoLoveNotPorn to Make50-somethingLoveNotPorn, to today’s new edition, MakeMilllenialLoveNotPorn).
All videos cost $5, and the MakeLoveNotPorn Stars receive 50% of proceeds, with some taking home up to four-figures at each 90-day payout for their efforts.
“We would like our MLNP stars to be as famous and celebrated as YouTube stars, for the same reasons – authenticity, realness, individuality – and we would like them to make just as much money,” says Gallop.
Most people aren’t in it for the money though, she explains, with many MLNP stars saying they feel a greater sense of self-esteem, and of their own sexuality after submitting videos.
“One of the ridiculous prejudices we struggle with is people saying, ‘Oh Cindy, who on earth is ever going to share their real world sex socially, exhibitionist swingers?’ That’s not true,” explained Gallop.
“We’ve discovered the desire to do this lies a lot closer to the surface, in many more people that you would have ever thought – and given a reason, given our social values, people jump at the chance.”
Despite a bold and admirable vision, the fate of MakeLoveNotPorn is hanging in the balance.
Having already poured her personal savings into the business, Gallop needs money to support and scale – especially in the face of backwards ‘no adult content’ restrictions (everyone from Paypal to Amazon to MailChimp has shunned MLNP).
“Long and painful, and excruciating, and demoralising, and demotivating, though the battle is, every year we see the social and business acceptability move in the direction we want it to.”
Gallop is now calling out to “open-minded investors” to raise a round of $2m.
“We need cold hard cash, or MLNP will die,” she told The Memo. “The world of tech and business is trying to shut us down every single day and were still going.”
“We are doing things nobody thought we could do,” she added. “We’ve proved that people will watch real world sex as well as porn, we’ve proved that people will pay for real worlds sex in a world where they won’t pay for porn, we’ve proved that people will share their real world sex socially.”
“We are the answer to the global economy.”
Cindy Gallop will be speaking at Cannes Lion Innovation on Sunday 19 June at Sex: the Final Frontier (Foresight Meets Foreplay) and hosting her masterclass How to Change the World Through Advertising on Tuesday Tuesday 21 June.
Open-minded investors please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Kitty Knowles is a Senior Features Writer at The Memo. Kitty previously worked as an online journalist for GQ. She can be found tweeting @KittyGKnowles.