Written by LBB Editorial at Little Black Book. Originally published in February, 2016.
“No they are not coming to me. I am going after them and they’re not responding.” Cindy Gallop is frustrated. In the seven years she’s spent developing MakeLoveNotPorn.com, a platform all about real world sex, she’s gleaned more insights into what people actually get up to between the sheets (or in the back of a car, the downstairs cupboard, the kitchen floor…) than the entire cohort of research execs in WPP, Publicis and Omnicom put together. So you’d think the ad industry would be fairly keen to pick her brains about one of the most fundamental of human behaviours, right?
But they’re not.
It’s frustrating, though not entirely surprising for Cindy, who has battled the straight jacketed attitudes about sex in business every day over MakeLoveNotPorn’s existence. The site, with the tagline ‘Pro Sex. Pro Porn. Pro Knowing the Difference’ was launched to celebrate real sex, reassure people about sex and break down taboos. Since giving her Ted Talk in 2009, she’s received thousands of emails from people of all ages, genders and orientations asking advice and sharing their stories. That’s led to the creation of MakeLoveNotPorn.TV, a user generated site that shows real people having sex – including the messy bits, the funny bits, the intimate bits, the wobbly bits and the emotional bits. And if that sounds pretty reasonable, the business world doesn’t agree.
‘No adult content’ small print has thrown up obstacles like finding a bank that would allow her to open a business account, an email server that would allow her to send communication to her mailing list. The team’s even had to build its own video hosting and streaming platform as off-the-shelf options were out of reach. And the advertising industry, it seems, is just as squeamish about real, authentic sex as the rest of the business world.
As Cindy sees it, it’s a damning reflection of an industry that bangs on about creativity. She had at first hoped that the advertising industry might help fund MakeLoveNotPorn, Cindy is, after all, ‘one of its own’. And, given the intimate and far-reaching insight she’s accumulated about sex, you might have expected them to consult her, find out what she’s learned and apply it to advertising.
It’s not that people have much of an argument with her unified theory of sex, porn, society, and female creative representation in advertising and other media, says Cindy (call her, seriously. It’s pretty magnificent). Instead it’s a stubborn embarrassment about what families, friends, total strangers might think. “Fear of what other people think is the most paralysing dynamic in business and in life. You would not believe how much an industry that prides themselves on bravery and creativity is too scared shitless to fund me.”
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