Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference.

The Entrepreneur Who Wants You to Make Love, Not Porn / Priceonomics

Written by  Alex Mayyasi for Priceonomics.  Originally published on December 15th, 2015.


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Cindy Gallop never intended to get into sextech.

Today she is the CEO of a small startup, a video platform called Make Love Not Porn, whose members pay $5 to stream videos submitted by content creators. Its premise is unorthodox, even for the contrarian atmosphere of Silicon Valley. 

In a world of abundant, free porn, Gallop is asking people to pay to watch videos of ordinary people having sex. And in a world in which having a nude picture online is most people’s worst nightmare, she is asking people to publicly share videos of themselves having sex. 

But it all started with an observation from her sex life. 

“Make Love Not Porn is a total, complete, and utter accident,” Cindy Gallop tells us, as we talk over Skype. “This issue would never have crossed my mind if I had not experienced it so intimately and personally.”

The issue Gallop is referring to is the fact that porn has, by default, become sex-ed for young people. And as Gallop explained in a 4-minute, tour de force TED Talk in 2009, she realized this because she dates younger men. 

When Gallop dated men who modeled their behavior in bed on porn, she communicated her preferences. But she worried about “the young girl whose boyfriend wants to come on her face… and hardcore porn has taught her that all men love coming on women’s faces, all women love having their faces come on, therefore she must let him come on her face and pretend to like it.” 

So Gallop, a former advertising executive, decided to do something about “the creeping ubiquity of hardcore pornography.” She created a “clunky, little website,”makelovenotporn.com, which compared the practices of hardcore porn with the messy reality of real world sex, and she launched it at TED. 

…She decided to start a business, MakeLoveNotPorn.tv, because, as she explains, “I knew, if I wanted to find a way to counter the default of porn as sex-ed globally, I had to come up with something that had the potential to one day be just as all-pervasive in our society as porn currently is.”

She faced a daunting challenge. While it is a maxim of startup world that many great business ideas originally sound like bad ideas, Make Love Not Porn (MLNP) sounded particularly farfetched: MLNP would be a video platform for real world sex. Anyone could submit videos of himself or herself masturbating or having real, unstaged sex. Members would pay $5 to stream videos, and MLNP would split the profits 50-50 with its “Make Love Not Porn stars.” 

MLNP exemplifies Gallop’s belief, which she very much wants to tell you about, that the business model of the future is: shared values + shared action = shared profits (financial and social). She and her team describe the mission of MLNP as improving our sex lives for the better.

Today, MLNP has neither failed nor achieved remarkable success. Two years after its launch, it is in public beta and, according to Gallop, earns revenues in the low five-figures each month. 

A market does exist for real world sex videos. Around 100 Make Love Not Porn stars are sharing sex tapes with impressive enthusiasm, and a small but enthusiastic community pays to watch them.

Instead the biggest obstacles have been what is usually the easy part of starting a business: opening a bank account, sending emails to a list of members, and accepting Visa. Because as Gallop says, “My team and I fight a battle every day to build makelovenotporn.tv—an honest, transparent, ethical business with a social mission—because we are barred from using the business infrastructure that other tech start-ups take for granted.” 

“The small print always says ‘No adult content’.”


Head over the the original piece to learn more about Make Love Not Porn!

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