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Make Love Not Porn: Cindy Gallop’s Sexual Revolution

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Someone's gotta do it. And according to Cindy Gallop, she might as well be the one. The 57-year-old advertising veteran, celebrated TED speaker and spirited entrepreneur is as unabashed by four-letter-words as she is starting businesses in industries that most would steer clear from.


Inspired by her tenacious desire to change the world, Gallop has launched a progressive digital platform that is meant to change the way we view and talk about sex. Gallop speaks to SWAAY about how she plans to shift the sexual narrative through her Make Love Not Porn initiative. Gallop believes that by making it socially acceptable to talk openly about human sexuality and the ethics surrounding sexual behavior, we can decrease incidents of sexual abuse and harassment.

Courtesy of Microsoft

“Our mission is one thing only: to help make it easier for the world to talk about sex in the public domain," says Gallop. “And to also talk about sex honestly and openly in relationships. We don't talk about sex because it's an area of rampant insecurity. We all get vulnerable when we get naked. Sexual ego is very fragile. Everybody wants to be good in bed, but nobody knows exactly what that means and you seize your cues from anywhere you can. So if porn is the only place you see it, those are the cues you are going to take, which does not produce very good results."

Gallop, who worked at the advertising agency BBH for almost two decades, says that after turning 45 in 2005, and she had her “own personal midlife crisis" and thought “oh my God I've been working for the same agency for 16 years and I think it's time to do something different." She had no idea, however, what that "different" entailed. Ultimately, Gallop said she found herself drawn to topics that were far from mainstream, including sex, women's advocacy and philanthropy. She went on to found two startups: IfWeRanTheWorld, a co-action software that enables brands to implement the model of philanthropic business, and MakeLoveNotPorn.tv, a user-generated video-sharing platform that celebrates real-world sex.

“[Leaving my job] was the best bloody thing I ever did in my life. As a result, I am now evangelical about working for yourself. I tell everybody that, especially women," says Gallop. “Too many people make the mistake of thinking that a job is the safe option. And it's totally not. In a job, you're at the complete mercy of market downturns, management changes and industry dynamics, and I say to people, whose hands would you rather place your future in?"

Gallop's newest project, MakeLoveNotPorn.tv, features everyday men and women and their partners having sex, and is designed to help open up the dialogue surrounding intimacy, and offer an option for sexual discussion that is not porn. “The internet has divided itself into two categories, non-sexual content and porn," says Gallop, who is adamant that her site is not porn, but a type of sex technology. “Sexual content is not porn," she declares.

In 2009, Gallop took to the TED stage, delivering a talk on the difference between porn and social sex. The speech went viral due to its revolutionary approach to the subject matter of sex. The fact that Gallop said “come on my face" six times also didn't hurt the speech's popularity.

“I realized I had uncovered a huge global social issue and felt a personal responsibility to take this initiative forward to make it more far-reaching," says Gallop. “ I knew that if I wanted to counter the global phenomenon of porn as the default sex-ed, I was going to have to come up with something that had the potential to be just as influential, just as mainstream, and just as all-pervasive in our society as porn currently is."

Today, Gallop's platform has 400,000 members; and features 200 Make-Love Porn stars who have uploaded more than 1,500 videos, Gallop says the platform began bringing in revenue on day one, with a revenue of half a million to date.

Courtesy of AdWeek

“Anyone from anywhere in the world can submit to us," says Gallop. “We're building a whole new category on the internet that hasn't existed before – social sex. So our competition isn't porn, it's Facebook and YouTube. On MakeLoveNotPorn, it's: we're madly in love, and here's the great sex we had in our hotel room in Paris."

Although she is up against a number of hurdles, including the difficulty of getting funding for the sex-focused business, Gallop is intent on creating a sexual revolution for the modern world.

Cindy on the porn industry

The porn industry is tanking and that's why they are grateful I'm helping redesign the business model. Porn has become so big it's become conventional. It has fallen prey to the business syndrome I call “collaborative competition," which happens when everybody in the sector competes with everyone else in the same sector by doing exactly what each other is doing. It's a bad idea. Porn is [failing] because its old-world-order business model has been destroyed by the flood of free content online.

"The explosive growth of violent porn is not driven by evil, twisted, malignant, vicious forces. It's driven by, very boringly and prosaically, a bunch of guys scared shitless because they aren't making any money."

On porn guilt

I am of the opinion that there is no such thing as porn addiction. One journalist asked me, "why do you think it is that we like watching people having sex?" And I just started laughing hysterically. I burst out, "We are sexual beings! Of course we like watching people having sex." However, there is absolutely the fact that watching a lot of porn also makes a lot of people unhappy. Half the problem is the shame, guilt and embarrassment. The issue isn't porn. The issue is we don't talk about sex in the real world. Nobody ever brings it up, but they should. Because in sex, empathy, sensitivity, generosity, kindness, and honesty are just as important as they are in every other area of our lives, where we are actively taught to exercise those values.

On millennial porn stars

Millennials in porn are like millennials anywhere else: entrepreneurial, ambitious, questioning and challenging the old world order and wanting to be part of the new. Make Love Not Porn is the only place on the Internet where porn stars reveal the sex they have in the real world. My gay, straight, lesbian, and trans friends share on Make Love Not Porn videos of the sex they have with their real-world partners and they talk about how different it is.

On the difference between porn and social sex

The reason amateur sex has the most explosive growth has nothing to do with porn. It has everything to do with the fact that everybody else wants to know what people are really doing bed. When you learn about sex from porn it teaches you that sex is a performance – that nothing must go wrong. We, on the other hand, celebrate the accidents, the awkwardness, and the ridiculousness. Real world sex and social sex are enormously reassuring because we celebrate real-world everything: real-world bodies, real-world hair, real-world penis size, and real-world breast size. It is glorious to see people who look just like you and me having a fucking amazing time in bed. We celebrate real-world emotions: love, intimacy, and feelings. You are being invited into somebody else's real-world life, and that's a privilege and an honor. When you watch two human beings love each other in the same way you do with your loved one, that completely changes your perspective.

On the language of porn

The language of porn is predominantly male-generated, since porn is a male-dominated industry. I've designed the MakeLoveNotPorn business model to be the exact opposite of the porn industry. Because society doesn't talk openly about sex, we have no socially-acceptable vocabulary with which to do so, and the language of porn has rushed in to fill that gap. The person who coined the term “finger-blasting" didn't have a vagina. At MakeLoveNotPorn, we're building a new vocabulary for real-world sex. It's language designed to make all of you feel better about having sex. We are changing the way the world has sex for the better. We don't have enough role models in society who demonstrate you can live your life very differently from how society expects you to, and still be extraordinarily happy.

On sexual harassment

I talk about sexual harassment at every single business speech I do, regardless of the company. I always have two points to make, one for the men, one for the women.

I say to the men, “stop sexual harassment, stop doing it and stop other men from doing it. All it takes for sexual harassment to flourish is for good men to see nothing. I say to the audience, "In every industry, there are good men who are seeing nothing." Then I give actions men can take to stop sexual harassment. They include: Check the body language of the women around them. If she's hunching in on herself there's something going on; step in. And then I say, "women, call it out because if nobody speaks out, nothing changes." Sexual harassment forces women out of industries. It derails careers, destroys ambitions, and defeats dreams. The world is significantly worse off due to the colossal amount of female talent, skills and creativity every single industry has lost because of sexual harassment.

On why sexual harassment in the workplace remains a problem

I have been campaigning for all of this [diversity and an end to sexual harassment in the workplace] for years and nothing is changing. Why? It's very simple. At the top of every industry is a closed loop of white guys talking to white guys about other white guys. Those white guys are sitting very pretty. They've got their enormous salaries, their gigantic bonuses, their huge pools of stock options, their lavish expense accounts. Why on earth would they ever want to rock the boat? They have to talk about diversity because it's the buzzword of the moment. They have to have a “chief diversity officer" and a “diversity mission" in place. They have to say "diversity" a lot in the media. But secretly deep down inside they don't want to change a thing because the system is working just fine for them as it currently is.

On how to stop sexual harassment

Change the ratio and change the numbers as quickly as possible. You need to change the numbers to get to a 50/50 gender-equal work environment. You have to “bulk-buy" by hiring groups, not individuals, and that is important because the moment you have a gender-equal working environment you instantly manage out a bunch of negative dynamics that you don't then even have to address directly. You instantly manage out sexual harassment. It doesn't happen when you don't have a male-dominated workplace with the implicit growth endorsement that it's OK to behave like this.

On diversity vs. inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are two very different things. You can have one and be spectacularly failing at the other. One woman on a management team is useless because the alien organism has to adapt to the culture around it. She has to become like men, and we all know women who have done that. If we know there is only room for one token women on the leadership team, they are forced to compete with other women for that position. Two women are still not enough to make a difference. The optimum number is three or more women. What that means is when there are three or more of you, you feel surrounded and supported by your own kind. You therefore have the confidence to say what you really think. You have the confidence to debate with those white guys and boards with three or more women on them. Both the male and female directors report a better quality of discussion, better decision making and better business outcomes.

On funding for Make Love Not Porn

What I didn't realize when I embarked on this venture was that my team and I would encounter an enormous battle every single day to build it. Every piece of business infrastructure any other tech startup takes for granted, we can't use because the small print always says "no adult content." It's challenging getting funded. It took me four years to find a bank that would allow me to open a business account, and Paypal won't work with our content. We had to build our entire video streaming platform from scratch ourselves as a proprietary technology because existing streaming services will not stream adult content. OOur biggest obstacle raising funding is the social dynamic that I call “fear of what will other people think." It's not what investors will think, it's what they think others will think, and this operates around sex more than in any other area. It's the most paralyzing dynamic in business and in life. You will never own the future if you care what other people think. So I realized I was going to have to pave my own way, and would have to break down the business barriers in my own path if I want to make Make Love Not Porn into the billion-dollar venture I know it could be.

On creating the world's first sex tech fund

When you have a truly world-changing startup, you have to change the world to fit it, and not the other way around. I like to say that I'm the Steve Jobs of reality distortion because if reality tells me that I can't grow Make Love Not Porn the way I want to, I'm going to change that reality. Two and a half years ago I began defining, pioneering and championing my own category of sex tech to create a climate of receptivity in order to get my startup funded. I have found that businesses are interested but they are all waiting for that lead investor and I haven't yet found that person. So I realized I had to take this to the next level and that in order to get my own startup funded I had to get the whole category funded. I'm now doing two things simultaneously: working to raise $2 million for Make Love Not Porn, but also raising $50 million to start the world's first and only sex-tech fund, because if no one else is going to do it then I will. I haven't the faintest idea how you start a fund, but I'm going to do it. If I can do all that, I also want to start an incubator and accelerator for radically innovative porn startups. I want to be the Y Combinator of porn. There is nobody in that world to mentor, coach, advise, and finance, the vision I have for the future of sex tech. I want to invest in the infrastructure of sex-tech so that we can build our own ecosystem that will make the industry explode.

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Health

Patriarchy Stress Disorder is A Real Thing and this Psychologist Is Helping Women Overcome It

For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.


As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.


Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.

What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein

This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.

Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.

While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.

"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.

Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.

In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.

"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."

https://www.drvalerie.com/