Making Love for $17 Million Dollars, A Conversation with Cindy Gallop - Securing Sexuality Podcast Episode 36
Securing Sexuality is the podcast and conference promoting sex positive, science based, and secure interpersonal relationships. We give people tips for safer sex in a digital age. We help sextech innovators and toy designers produce safer products. And we educate mental health and medical professionals on these topics so they can better advise their clients. Securing Sexuality provides sex therapists with continuing education (CEUs) for AASECT, SSTAR, and SASH around cyber sexuality and social media, and more.
Links from this week’s episode:
Make Love, Not Porn: Reinventing Aspirational Culture around Sex
Sex is a natural and essential part of human life. Despite this fact, many people still feel uncomfortable talking about it. As a result, sex education has often been limited to basic biology classes, and discussions about sexual wellness have been relegated to the shadows. However, a new movement led by Cindy Gallop seeks to change all of that.
What is Make Love, Not Porn?
Make Love, Not Porn is a platform that was created by Cindy Gallop, an advertising consultant who wanted to challenge the way that society thinks about sex. The platform aims to change the conversation around sex by promoting a positive and healthy approach to sexuality. Make Love, Not Porn is a platform that is changing the landscape of sex education and wellness, and it's doing it in a positive and empowering way.
Make Love, Not Porn encourages people to share their experiences with others in a way that is respectful, honest, and open. The platform is centered around a video-sharing platform that allows users to upload videos of themselves having sex. However, unlike traditional pornography, the videos on Make Love, Not Porn are not staged or scripted. Instead, they are real-life experiences that are shared to promote healthy and positive sexual relationships.
How Make Love, Not Porn is Changing Sex Education
One of the main goals of Make Love, Not Porn is to change how people think about sex. By encouraging open and honest conversations about sexuality, the platform is helping to break down the stigma surrounding sex education. This is important because traditional sex education is often limited to basic biology classes, which don't give students the tools they need to have a healthy and fulfilling sex life. Encouraging open and honest conversations about sex, Make Love, Not Porn, is helping to fill this gap and helping to promote a positive and healthy approach to sexuality.
Traditional pornography often portrays sex in an unrealistic and unhealthy way, which can lead to unrealistic expectations and a distorted view of sexuality. By promoting real-life experiences, Make Love, Not Porn is helping to break down these stereotypes and promote a more positive and empowering view of sexuality.
How Make Love, Not Porn is Promoting Sexual Wellness
Another essential aspect of Make Love, Not Porn is its focus on sexual wellness. Traditional pornography often portrays sex in a way focused solely on pleasure, without any consideration for the physical and emotional well-being of the participants. On the other hand, Make Love, Not Porn promotes a more holistic approach to sexuality. By encouraging open and honest conversations about sex, the platform is helping people to understand the importance of sexual wellness. Make Love, Not Porn also promotes a more positive and empowering view of sexuality, which can have a significant impact on people's mental health.
By promoting healthy and positive sexual relationships, the platform is helping to reduce the stigma surrounding sex and promote a more positive and empowering view of sexuality.
Make Love, Not Porn is changing the landscape of sex education and wellness by promoting a positive and healthy approach to sexuality. By encouraging open and honest conversations about sex, the platform is helping to break down the stigma surrounding sex education and promote a more positive and empowering view of sexuality. The platform is also facilitating a more holistic approach to sexuality, which can significantly impact people's physical and mental well-being. Overall, Make Love, Not Porn is a platform that is making a real difference in the world of sex education and wellness.
Stefani Goerlich: Hello and welcome to Securing Sexuality. The podcast where we discuss the intersection of intimacy -
Wolf Goerlich: - and information security. I'm Wolf Goerlich.
SG: He's a hacker. And I'm Stefani Goerlich.
WG: She is a sex therapist. And together we're going to discuss what safe sex looks like in a digital age.
SG: Today we are joined by Cindy Gallop, who is an absolute legend. She is the founder of Make Love, Not Porn. She is a brand innovator, a consultant, a coach, a Ted speaker and my favorite thing about her. She calls herself the “Michael Bay of Business”. Thank you so much for joining us, Cindy. I am so excited to have you here.
Cindy Gallop: I'm thrilled to be here.
SG: So I just said a whole bunch of things. Uh, innovator, Consultant, um, blower, upper of things. Tell us a little bit about your work. Tell us about your projects. In my world, people know and love Make Love, Not Porn. I definitely want to talk about that, but you do a lot, tell us about your world and your work.
CG: Um, actually, what's funny, Stefani, is that people think I do a lot. Um, but I don't in the sense that my single-minded focus is on my business, Make Love, Not Porn. But it's precisely because I and my tiny team have fought an enormous battle every single day for the past 14 years to build and keep this business operational. That, you know, people get the impression I do other things because first of all, I have to support myself alongside it as a bootstrapping entrepreneur. And so I do that by doing paid consultancy, personal coaching, and public speaking. So people will see me posting about the things I do in that area only because I have to. I'm currently working to raise a serious round of funding to Make Love, Not Porn. And I yearn for the day when my business supports me in totality and I don't have to hustle alongside it. Um, and also, I'm just essentially living and working my values. And so there are many things that I feel very strongly about, that I've both designed into my business, but that I also champion and advocate alongside it. But fundamentally, my focus is one thing and one thing only, and that is Make Love, Not Porn.
SG: You know, as a social worker. When I graduated with my bachelor's, my favorite professor gathered some of us together. And he, he whispered. Now, when they give you your diploma, look very carefully, because by your degree you'll see a little asterisk. And if you look hidden in the file around it, you'll find tiny fine print that says, not valid for legal tender. And so what you say about the work you do in order to sustain the work you love resonates with me. I do a lot of media work. I do a lot of things that you know in the sex therapy world. People look at me and go, Wow, that's so amazing. That's so impressive. And and I feel like you, it's I mean, it's the stuff you do to be able to do the stuff you want to do.
CG: What I'm raising funding for, to build out as extensions of Make Love, Not Porn is designed to enable all of us who work in this area to make an absolute god damn fucking shit ton of money because what we do is unbelievably valuable. And yet society's hypocrisy, prudishness, and narrow-mindedness are what it is preventing all of us from making enormous amounts of money out of the single biggest market of them all. And when I say that, you know what I say to people is Make Love, Not Porn operates in the single biggest market of them all. Not sex, not porn. The market of human happiness.
WG: I feel like we just had the mic drop moment on this podcast and we're only a couple of minutes and, you know, it's I'm so glad you hit on that because one of the things that has really been a struggle for me to wrap my head around is watching Stefani work so hard talking with folks like you and others in this industry and then looking at the tech sector, which is incredibly overvalued, right? I mean, you can spend an hour in the tech sector and end up making what many therapists make in a week, and it's really, uh that is an exaggeration, by the way. But it is not much of an exaggeration. It really is an area that's just rife for disruption.
CG: And the infuriating thing. And I'm sure you know both Stefani and a lot of the listeners to this don't have to be told, but I find I have to spell this out for other people. You know, I've fought a battle every single day for the past 14 years because every piece of business infrastructure any other tech startup gets to take for granted. At Make Love, Not Porn, we can't because the small print always says no adult content. And that is all pervasive across every single area of the business, in ways that people outside this sphere absolutely don't realize. You know, for 14 years, you know, I couldn't get funded. I couldn't get banked. It took me four years to find one bank in America that would allow me to open a business bank account for Make Love, Not Porn. Try doing business for four years without a business bank account. Not gonna tell you how I did it, I did it in ways I shouldn't have makes life extraordinary, and difficult. And by the way, sadly, the bank that welcomed us with open arms eight years ago was Signature Bank. And for for anybody you know who's been monitoring the events with Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank over the past few days, as they will know, Signature Bank was shut down on Sunday. The New York regulators have reopened it as a bridge bank. So, fortunately for the moment, you know we are able to continue doing business. But I now have to find another bank. And, you know, in the past couple of days, I've already been rejected by two. I'm right back to where I was eight years ago. But it's not just that, you know, one of my two biggest business growth inhibitors are payments. PayPal won't work with us. Stripe can't mainstream credit card processes won't I have to work with adult-friendly payment processors who charge extortionate rates because anybody adult has nowhere else to go. I pay out 12% of my revenue every month in payment processing fees versus mainstream rates, which are 3% or less. Um, you know, every text service I want to use, the terms of service always say no adult content in every single case. I have to go to the people at the top of the company, explain what I'm doing, beg to be allowed to use their service. Sometimes they let me. Sometimes I don't It's a very labor-intensive process. I never get to work with best in class of anything. We had to build our tech platform from scratch as proprietary technology because existing streaming services or off-the-shelf components will not stream adult content, even something as simple as sending out membership emails. Mailchimp won't work with adult [content]. Clavier won't. You know, everything is an enormous battle and you know, that's why I'm a great believer in building solutions to my own problems. And I'm determined to do that because also, the person who builds the infrastructure that enables all of us to break through also makes an absolute goddamn fucking shit ton as well.
SG: You know what you're saying ties directly into a conversation that we were having last night with our conference board because I was building social media images and graphics and all the fun stuff that you make to advertise something, and one of the other people on our board of directors is another clinician, and she very quietly said, you know, nobody will share that. Nobody will post it because we are called Securing Sexuality, and we can't risk our practices being shadow banned, we can't risk – she goes, everybody will want to come and nobody will want to talk about it. And so I very powderly started using the E’s with 3’s, and then I'm like, but what about the website? And as a writer, I was told that I would not get an agent because I did not have a social media following in the tens of thousands and I got an agent in a week. And then I was told no publisher would want me because I didn't have an audience in the hundreds of thousands. And I found my publisher in six months, and my publisher really understood that if my entire message as a clinician is destigmatizing and normalizing and supporting putting an asterisk in sex is anathema to me, and I simply won't do it, and they were really supportive of that. But even with Securing Sexuality, Instagram has banned us permanently from advertising. We can't talk about our conference, we can't talk about our podcast and we just last night were having the conversation about how do we find a solution that lets us spread awareness without capitulating the censorship.
CG: Um, so, Stefani, I'm raising funding to build two solutions, each of which will absolutely enable you to do that and to make an absolute goddamn fucking shit ton of money.
WG: So tell us about the solutions.
CG: Um, for the benefit of our listeners, I will just explain what my core business is, because, you know, Make Love, Not Porn came about by accident. Um, I date younger men. They tend to be in their twenties and 15-16 years ago now, I began realizing through dating younger men that when we don't talk openly and honestly about sex in the real world, porn becomes sex education by default in not a good way and bear in mind, you know, 15-16 years ago, nobody was talking about this. No one was writing about this. This is me in isolation going. Gosh, if I'm encountering this, other people must be as well and as a naturally action-oriented person going. I'm gonna do something about this. So 14 years ago, I put up on no money, a tiny, clunky website at MakeLoveNotPorn.com that in its original iteration was just copy. The construct was Porn World versus Real World. Here's what happens in the porn world. Here's what really happens in the real world, launched at Ted in 2009, became the only Ted speaker to say the words “cum on my face” on the Ted stage six times in succession. The talk went viral as a result, and it drove this extraordinary response to my tiny website that I had never anticipated. Thousands of people wrote to me from every single country in the world, young and old, male and female, straight and gay, pouring their hearts out, telling me things about their sex lives and their porn-watching habits they'd never told anyone before, and I realized I'd uncovered a huge global social issue. And so I then felt that I had a personal responsibility. I had to take Make Love, Not Porn forwards in a way that would make it much more far-reaching, helpful, and effective. And so I turned it into a business designed to do good and make money simultaneously. So today we are the world's first and only user-generated, 100% human-curated social sex video-sharing platform. We are pro-sex, pro-porn, and pro-knowing the difference. We are creating a whole new category that has never existed on the Internet before social sex. So a kind of what Facebook would be if it allowed you to socially, and sexually self-express, which it clearly doesn't. The way to think about us is if porn is the Hollywood blockbuster movie Make Love, Not Porn is the badly needed documentary. We are a unique window onto the funny, messy, loving, wonderful, comical, awkward sex we all have in the real world. We are socializing and normalizing sex, bringing it out of the shadows into the sunlight to make it easier for everyone to talk about, to promote consent, communication, good sexual values and good sexual behavior. We are literally sex education through Real World demonstration, and I foresaw the crater economy 14 years ago. I designed Make Love, Not Porn, around a revenue-sharing business model to democratize access to income so our members pay to subscribe, rent, and stream social sex videos. Half the income goes to our contributors, who we call out Make Love, Not Porn stars, and as a unique venture, we have an utterly unique capability, we have the power to change people's sexual attitudes and behavior for the better in a way that nothing else can. And we have 10 years of proof-of-concept because ultimately, our mission to Make Love, Not Porn, is to end rape culture. We help end rape culture by doing something incredibly simple that nevertheless nobody else anywhere is doing. We end rape culture by showing you how wonderful, great, consensual, and communicative sex is in the real world. Our social sex videos, rolemodel, good sexual values, and good sexual behavior. And here's the important part. We make all of that aspirational versus what you see in porn and popular culture. And, you know, I said earlier that make life is an accident. What is no accident is that my background is 38 years working in advertising. I've spent 38 years working in the business of communication. I know therefore that everything great in life and business is born out of great communication. Sex is no different. Great sex is born out of great communication, but also as a champion advocate for my own industry advertising. I've spent decades urging my industry to reinvent aspirational culture because we invented aspiration, but we invented it around material things. We invented aspiration for the right car, the right house, the right watch, the right brands, the right products. We have the opportunity to reinvent aspiration around things that will make people's lives imme better and with Make Love, Not Porn. I'm reinventing aspirational culture around sex. So that's what the core business is. And I've kept Make Love, Not Porn, operational for the past 10 years on just $3 million of funding from one investor, which is an extraordinary feat and gives you some idea of the traction that we have. So I am now working to raise a serious round of funding, because it's about fucking time. So I'm working to raise $17 million and by the way, to your point, Wolf in the great scheme of things versus the White Bro founders who have hundreds of millions of dollars lavished on them for utterly trivial food delivery apps and games. OK, $17 million is not a huge sum in Silicon Valley, so I'm raising $17 million to a) scale the core business, because what you see on our platform currently is only not even 50% of my vision built out. You know, I've never been able to afford my own CTO and my own development team. I've had to outsource to development agencies. I've been going through shitty tech groundhog day for many years because I have been, you know, pay peanuts, get monkeys. I've been fucked over by White Tech Bros. As many female founders are, by the way, or all too often. So there's a huge opportunity to build out, MakeLoveNotPorn.tv to optimize, um, in a way that will massively accelerate, um, user and revenue growth. But then I'm raising this funding to build out three product expansions to Make Love, Not Porn. Um, two of which, by the way, I have had in the pipeline for years. I've talked about them publicly for years, and by the way, all of them are things that people have been asking me for for years. None of this is finger-in-the-wind stuff, OK, you know, um, we are the start up. The world is crying out for, um and, um and so these product expansions are designed to be very compelling. Standalone businesses but also, um, to act as growth engines for the core business. So, um, the first one is really obvious because parents and teachers began writing to me from about Make Love, Not Porn from day one. I want to build out the 0 to 18 and beyond version of Make Love, Not Porn. MakeLoveNotPorn.academy. I bought the URL many years ago. If you go there, you'll see a very old holding page there. But this is what I characterize as the Khan Academy of Sex Education. Because Khan Academy, the online tutoring platform, tutors on every other topic under the sun. Except for this one. Educational technology, edtech, exploding, not in this area. And so this is where when I raise the funding, we build out the academy platform on the same principles as MakeLoveNotPorn.tv user-generated crowdsourced curated revenue share because I'm not about reinventing the wheel. This is an aggregation play for your amazing work, Stefani, as well as the amazing work of everybody else working in this area. I want to build the goto global hub for the world sex education, sexual health and wellness, sex therapy content. So the way it works is we build academy. And by the way, this is very efficient build. All we're doing is we are repurposing our existing content publishing human creation infrastructure, and we then invite sex educators, sex therapists, you know, sex tech founders all around the world to share with us their own content, their own coursework, materials, videos, books, comic strips, apps, whatever it may be. We will curate because at the heart of everything we do at Make Love, Not Porn lies human Curation, We only ever publish what is Make Love, Not Porn endorsed. So, for example, if you are an American sex educator and you submitted what is, as you know, depressingly popular over here abstinence-only sex education. We're not publishing that shit. We don't endorse the so-called education that goes, Don't do it. It doesn't work. We will then publish segmented by age appropriateness. So if you're a parent freaking out going Oh, my God. My six-year-old was asked about this. What do I do? You know, here's where you would go for entirely age, appropriate tools and content to be able to have that conversation with a six-year-old If you're a teacher class of 14-year-olds, here are your age. Appropriate teaching materials? If you're an adult, access all areas because, as we know, adults are desperate for help and information around all of this. Um, and the important thing here is the academy will be where Children, young people can access sex education without parental teacher gatekeeping. And here's why that's important. I have a friend who's a mother and as you have to these days, she monitors her kids' browsing history, and this happened a few years ago. Her son was eight years old, and she saw that on the family computer, he had Googled sex for children, so she freaked out but did the right thing, you know, stayed calm. Sat him down. Darling, you know, I see you've done this, Talk me through it. And this anecdote is adorable and horrifying and equal measure because her son wants to learn about sex. He was a child. He knew he was a child. He wants to learn about sex in a child-appropriate way. So sweetly and innocently. He googled sex for Children. You can imagine what came back. He was utterly traumatized. So the academy will be when an eight-year-old boy can enter his age and we will only serve him age-appropriate sex education content. Now, some of this will be free to access for that example. But we will also charge to download, subscribe, bulk buy If you're a school institution that there are many different revenues, different use cases and by the way, we're talking a bloody huge revenue generator, and we will then split the income 50/50 with its creators, the educators, the therapists in the same way we currently do with our Make Love, Not Porn stars, because, as you guys know, but as I have to tell other people all the time. Right now, no one goes into sex education to make money. You know, I have friends like you sting all around the world doing brilliant work. Um, as you've said, their content gets blocked everywhere. You know, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok. They can't advertise either. They can't make a living doing this, And I want to change that because what you are doing is enormously valuable work. So that's product number one.
SG: I love that so much, and it is so necessary. I was doing a guest lecture in a university class last night. Um, on Kink 101 for future therapists. And one of the questions that came up is Well, what do we do with our younger clients that are expressing curiosity? Or they are mentioning behaviors in their private play that might lend itself towards like, we can't teach kids about Kink? And I'm like, No, nor should you be. But we can have a framework for supporting the idea that things can feel good for you, and that's OK. And it was just a very broad age appropriate that, you know, you can do things in private that make you happy. And there are ways to have those conversations and to frame things up in a way that are general, universal, positive, science-based. And so many parents don't have that. I keep a list on my phone of age-appropriate books, starting from toddlers and going through high school because so many of my clients ask for it. It's easier to access it.
CG: And I get all those questions as well. Yeah, but here's the important thing, because, as I said, I'm building solutions to my own problems. So beyond what is obviously the massive utility of the academy, I have three other agendas with it. First of all, um, it's a fantastic recruitment engine for Make Love, Not Porn, because when you're over 18, you can graduate to MakeLoveNotPorn.tv and sex education for real world demonstration. But we can also send all the parents, teachers, adults to the core business. Secondly, when I build out the educational component, I bring social legitimacy to Make Love, Not Porn as a whole. You know that that that instantly gives us a different framework, but thirdly, and and and this is really important. I've spent 14 years working to prove concept, and what I mean by that is from the very first day of those 14 years, from my Ted talk, people have been saying to me, Oh, Cindy, you should go to schools. You should get me up corn on the curriculum and I've said no, I shouldn't because, as you know, anyone trying to bring sex education into schools runs up against the PTA, moral panic, you know, Um, but here's the thing. The people currently blocking sex education from schools don't know what it'd be like if they allowed it in. They just know be really bad in their heads they have this abstract concept of Sodom and Gomorrah will ensue when you can show them, as I would with academy, a platform that is aggregated the best of the world's sex education, sexual health and wellness content and assistance. And when they can then see at a glance tangibly concretely in the real world how brilliant, informational, educational, healthy un-objectional it is. That is what then gets that content in schools and what I'd love to do, guys, is I'd love to just tell you about one of the other products I'm raising funding for, which will also solve not only my own problems but yours. So as you highlighted Stefani at Make Love, Not Porn, we like you are banned from advertising anywhere. We cannot advertise on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Reddit. I ask you, by the way, um Snapchat, TikTok, Google, YouTube and by the way, it's especially frustrating that Google refuses to allow us to do paid search because right now, all around the world, every single day people search, Make Love, Not Porn without knowing that we exist. And what I mean by that is the top organic search terms that drive people to us are Make Love, Not Porn. Real sex, not porn video. Sexo Nano Make Love, Not Porn. Where people don't know there's a company called that one young man told me he found us when he googled porn that is not porn. He was so fed up with everything out there. What is something different? No idea what to search for when you search porn. That is not porn. You find Make Love, Not Porn. That is how much the world wants us and knows it needs us. Um, as you know, porn hub at the end of every year does a year in review using their massive trove of data porn Hub's Year in Review for 2022 identified that the number one trend across the entire gigantic platform is what they call reality. People looking for real. And I shared the shit of that and social when it came out and said what all these people are looking for, although they don't realize it, is Make Love, Not Porn. OK, so, um, I have By the way, there's really gendered lens on the on the advertising ban. It's not just us. Any female lens sexual health and wellness venture also can't advertise menstruation, menopause, fertility ventures. In the meantime, male sexual health and wellness; not a problem. Erectile dysfunction solutions. Welcome everywhere. So, um, I want to, uh, you know, bear in mind. My background is 38 years working in advertising. So I want to build my own adtech and my own ad tech is gonna be the opposite of the white bro adtec model, which is reach eyeballs, click bait fraud. I want to build adtech that serves ads that people actively want to watch. So much so this adtech will be destination viewing in itself. So I'm calling it here for the ads. I bought the URL herefortheads.com for marketing purposes. And there are three. There are three reasons why people will want to watch the ads that I serve. Reason number one is when I get the funding, I'm gonna build this ad tech and open it up to everybody like us who is currently ban for advertising. You know you, Stefani, sex educators, sexual health and wellness ventures. You know, menstruation, menopause, fertility. And by the way, it's not just the small businesses. Procter and Gamble Unilever Reet Beer. They can't advertise sand protection. Condoms leave the way they want to either. So we're talking a huge revenue generator. But reason number one people want to watch these ads is because these ads are for products and services that help us in these most intimate areas of lives. We're all desperate for help with, but they can't see these ads else because they're all banned. So reason number one as much informational educational as you know, the brands themselves. But reason number two people wanna watch these ads is because on my adtech you can advertise any bloody way you like. No censorship, no holds barred, and I use the word bloody advisedly because Saro adds, Forget the blue ink on the pad. Bring on the blood. Have fun with it. We are talking every brand and advertising agency dream creative brief. Be funny, engaging, and entertaining in all of these areas with no censorship, which is why my adtech will have a share button because these are ads people are gonna want to forward to everyone they know. This is the only ad tech where going viral is a built-in feature. Not that it happens by chance. And then the third reason people want to watch these ads is because again, at the heart of everything we do now is human Curation, This is adtech you apply to our curators will decide whether we endorse your brand product or service. Ie you’ve gotta be legit. And whether you're advertised of sufficient quality of entertainment engagement to run on a channel. That's all about ads that people actively want to watch. And again, I'm out to prove concept, because when I can show the world an ad channel where the sky does not fall, you know these are all legitimate brands, the ads are fantastic and engaging, and we're making an absolute goddam fucking shit ton of revenue. That's when I can turn this into an ad exchange of plugs and everything else. And the barriers fall across the Internet for all of us. So I have to ask the technology questions.
WG: Obviously one of the things as we think about getting this content into schools as we think about getting this content into adults, hands the people who need it. You know, early days, one of the warnings and cautions people used to give us is don't look up porn because that's where all the malware is. That's where all the malicious software is. And I was really, um, amused. Maybe about a decade ago where they analyzed, you know, porn sites versus religious sites and actually found religious sites were more riddled with malware. But one of the reasons why that advice existed was because of exactly what you're saying. We didn't have a good technology platform for these providers, so people were cobbling it together, and that oftentimes left opportunities for criminals to poke at it for curious people to do things they shouldn't. As you're building this platform, what are some of the intentionality and thoughts behind protecting the people who are using it and protecting the people who are engaging with Make Love, Not Porn?
CG: Sure. So, Wolf. I've been doing that work for 14 years, and I want to, um, basically ground what I'm doing in the landscape of the broader tech industry as a whole because, quite frankly, the rest of the Internet should be learning from Make Love, Not Porn. Um, so let me frame this the young, white male founders of the giant tech platforms that dominate our lives today, they are not the primary targets online or offline of harassment, abuse, sexual assault, violence, rape, racism, revenge porn. Therefore, they did not, and they do not proactively design for the prevention of any of those things on their platforms. And we see the results around us every single day. Those of us who are most at risk every single day. Women, black people, people of color, LGBTQ. The disabled. We design safe spaces and safe experiences. I and my tiny team spent literally years concepting and designing Make Love, Not Porn before we ever built it, because we knew that if we were going to invite people to something they've never done before socially share their real-world sex, we had to think through every possible ramification of that to create a completely safe and trustworthy space. As a result, not only does Make Love, Not Porn operate unlike any other adult platform on the Internet, we operate unlike any other platform on the Internet, period. And that's because I designed Make Love, Not Porn, through the female lens to be the safest place on the Internet. I designed it around what everybody else should have. Nobody else did. Human curation. There is no self-publishing of anything on Make Love, Not Porn. Our curators watch every frame of every video submitted from beginning to end before we approve or reject and we publish. No one else does that. We review every single post on every member profile photos, text illustration and, by the way on Make Love, Not Porn. Those posts can be a safe work and not safe work as you like, but we review them. We approve or reject. We publish them. No one else does that. We review every single comment on every single video. Before we approve or reject, we publish it. No one else does that we can vouch for every single piece of content on our platform in a way that nobody else can. That is why we are the safest place on the Internet and bear in mind. Wolf. We are tiny, we're bootstrapping. We have no money and we've been doing this for 10 years. Imagine what Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube with their billions could do if they wanted to. And instantly human curation is scalable. This is built into my business plan my fundraise Because our human curation workforce is simply our equivalent of any enterprise software, unicorns, human sales force, same deal.
WG: And there we have it. Yeah, having skilled sales teams and worked on, you know, tangentially to that side. I completely agree. Uh, you know, the other thing I want to surface is one of the things I think about. When I hear you know, we've got, uh we're creating a safe space or we're doing this sort of stuff is what we saw with the curb effect, right where originally curbs were high disabled people struggled with that. We solve for that. And now the entire world, at least in North America, has the ability to use curbs that they can take baby strollers on or they can take suitcases down. I think about design for extreme users, which is if you look at design thinking If you look at the solve for the extreme, suddenly we all have benefits. The textbook example, that is the potato peeler that fits in all our hands was originally designed for people with arthritis. So as you're saying that, yeah, that doesn't sound like it's designed for me, however, what I absolutely recognize is everyone benefits from that, right? We all get raised up.
CG: No, no, exactly. And let me tell how it's designed for you. Um, Wolf, because what I've just laid out for you and our listeners is what the future of the Internet could be like, designed and built through the female lens and therefore the future of humanity. Except the reason we've never seen the impact of what that would be is because last year only 1.7% of all venture capital went to female founders. White Bro VCs are funding white bro founders, our biggest problem of lack of access to capital. But here's the reason why I say, um, what I design is absolutely for you. So I designed Make Love, Not Porn, to be fully diverse and inclusive, and we are our members and our Make Love, Not Porn stars are male female trans non-binary straight LGBTQ. All races and ethnicities. But in the 10 years that we've operated as a business, we have observed that Make Love, Not Porn is especially a revelation to men. More men send us grateful emails, leave appreciative comments more than anybody else. And that is because we are something that men will find nowhere else on the Internet, which is a safe space where men can be and watch other men being open, emotional, and vulnerable around sex. You would not believe the number of men who write to Make Love, Not Porn and say, I just watched my first Make Love, Not Porn video. And afterwards I cried. I've been saying for years. I wish society understood the opposite of what it thinks is true. Women enjoy sex just as much as men and men are just as romantic as women. Yet neither gender is allowed to openly celebrate either fact, and we'd all be a whole lot better off if they were. I picked up a wonderful exchange on Twitter last year between two men. The first man had tweeted as a joke: Hey, guys, I've got this really weird fetish. I've got this kink where I want to watch porn, where people are honest, loving, loyal, decent and really like each other, hit me up the hottest things, please. And another man replied to him, And he said, There's this website called Make Love, Not Porn, where you can watch real couples fucking and making love, he said, I watched a video where the woman said to her Man, I love you while they're making love. He said, Sincerely, I cried when I heard that we are transformative for men because we are one of the solutions to toxic masculinity. Many men leave comments in their videos that say things like one man, one man wrote. You make me want to be a better man in the bedroom and in life. So that is why what I've built through the female lens is absolutely for men just as much as White Bro VCs or White Bro Founders go, we're gonna build for ourselves, and we expect women to come along for the ride. What I'm building shows you how much better the future of the Internet and humanity would be when women get funded at the same level as white men do to build the future of the Internet.
SG: And what you are describing the impact that Make Love, Not Porn has, is exactly why I said that you are an icon, that in my world in the world of sexual health and sex therapy, we prescribe Make Love, Not Porn – prescribe sounds odd. We don't have our little prescription pads, but a huge part of our process is giving clients tools and psycho-education and resources that they can use and probably the number. One question that pops up mm, probably at least once a month in my world is Hey, what are the best ethical sites? What are the best ethical porn sites? Where can I send my clients? My clients want to be sure that they're not watching content that was uploaded without consent. My clients want to be sure that everybody that they're watching is 18 for sure. My clients want to watch content that's going to show them the challenges that they're working through, Whether that's differences in libido, whether that's is oh, you know, we were having a lovely moment, and then all of a sudden I lost my erection, and now I'm feeling shame, and I never see that in porn, right? That's – clearly I have failed as a man. All these different things our clients can see and can watch. And there it's happening with people that look like them, who have lives like them, who talk like them. And it is not only profoundly educational, it is profoundly healing. And I love that so much.
CG: Oh, my God. Stefani. Absolutely. And by the way, when you publish this podcast, OK, I'm I'm taking that whole chunk out to promote, you know, But, um but But you're absolutely right, because Wolf here, here's our potato peeler analogy, OK, for what you were saying earlier, because every day our community write to us and tell us how we change their lives. And I am therefore blown away every day by how well Make Love, Not Porn does what I design it to do. But how also, it does things that I never consciously intentionally design it to do so on the design to do front, you know, um per Steffan examples we hear all the time from couples who say you saved our relationship. You know, you saved our marriage. You know, you brought our sex life back after cancer. After surgery, you know, et cetera, et cetera. But one of the things I never decided to do, what has blown me away is we hear regularly from survivors of rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse. And we hear from female survivors, male survivors, trans survivors, non-binary survivors who tell us that Make Love, Not Porn help them reclaim their bodies. We help them feel able to be sexual again in a scenario where porn is obviously way too triggering. And it's not just our members. It's also our Make Love, Not Porn stars. We have a number of Make Love, Not Porn stars, who tell us that being able to share themselves sexually in a completely safe and trustworthy space helps them to process and heal from sexual trauma. That is a use case that I never, ever remotely thought of when I came up with the idea for this platform. And I am so moved and humbled and blown away by that and by the way, what also frustrates me is you know, over the years, um, I've been approached by so many people with all of these different extensions of how we can change people's lives, that because we're tiny bootstrapping and have no money I've never been able to pursue, um, because I haven't had the resource and the bandwidth to do it. You know, I am dying to be able to make inroads into the sex therapy world that I'm not able to because I don't have the people and, you know, um, you know, I I, um I heard years ago from a doctor in, um, an institution for, um, disabled people. And he said to me, um, you know, and this is with mental issues as well as physical issues. He said, You know, our patients are never going to be able to have intimate relationships, but they deserve pleasure. I want to be able able to pleasure themselves, you know? And I can't in all good conscience show them porn. But what I can do is I can show them, Make Love, Not Porn. And I thought, That's a phenomenal use case again, that, you know, if I had the resources and the funding, we could do outreach to all of those institutions. A man wrote to me from a juvenile offenders institution. He said, I want to thank you for your work. Because I see every day with the young people we work with, how porn is exacerbating what they are dealing with and how they're operating. And again, you know, I was blown away by that. What a phenomenal opportunity for an outreach program. That again, I am. You know, I have four employees, you know, after 10 years, you know, we're not able to pursue all of these with funding. That is how much impact we could have in so many areas. Um, that are all about, um, transformative sex education and modelling for what? A wonderful, happy healthy, you know, non-rape culture, informed sex life and sexuality could be like.
SG: So, Cindy, that leads me to a question. I heard you in the beginning of our conversation. Say, when you were describing Make Love, Not Porn, that you are not anti-porn. This is just not porn. And I'm curious, um, in my own work, when I'm presenting when I'm talking, I tend to say erotic content because not everything that's erotic is explicit, and not everything that's explicit is sexual. But I'm curious for you. Um, setting, you know, outside of Make Love, Not Porn. What does ethical porn look like for you? How could, um, my clients or our listeners, if they want to have a diverse range of content, how can they know that what they're looking at or where they're they're going is safe and is ethical, right?
CG: So for the past 14 years, inevitably, because of the work I do, I have become a champion and advocate for the porn industry. I get very frustrated when people use the word porn like it's all one big homogenous mass, because that's like using the word literature to say it's all the same thing. The landscape of porn is as rich and infinitely varied as the landscape literature. It's as full of genres, subgenres, you know, different types of different approaches. And, you know, I find it very interesting, for example, that when the media shrieks and squawks about porn – Oh my God, you know. They only ever shriek and squawk about one genre of porn, which is what you will find most often on the home pages of the tube sites, which is that jar of straight porn where men are dominating submissive women. Funny enough, the media never shrieks and squawks about the colossal jar of porn that is for men who adore being dominated by and submitting to women. And the reason they don't do that is because that does not accord with our societal construct of masculinity. But because of that out there in the world are millions of men who would adore to be dominated in bed out. There are millions of women who had a daughter to dominate men in bed, and they never will, because it does not accord with traditional gender roles. So, um, here's the issue with the porn industry, which, unfortunately again, a lot of people don't realize. The porn industry is dominated by one massive monopoly, which would never be allowed to exist in any other industry. Antitrust legislation would have broken it up many, many years before now. It's dominated by one company called Mind Geek that owns everything. Mind Geek owns porn hub, you porn, red tube sex.com brazzers, et cetera, et cetera. And as with any industry, what that monopoly means is that my gig has a stranglehold on the industry and the future of the industry is the future with any other industry. The future belongs to individual creative vision and mind. Geek is keeping that from flourishing. I have many brilliant friends who are female queer pornographers making innovative, disruptive, creative and ethical porn who do not get the traffic, the numbers and the revenue they deserve because no one can find them. And that's something I very much want to change as well. And you know when we do what we're doing at Make Love, Not Porn, you know, destigmatize, socialize, sex that helps everybody else. Because when you force an entire industry into the shadows and underground, you make it very easy for bad things to happen, and you make it very difficult for good things to happen. I've been saying for years that the answer to that worries people about porn, and sex generally, is not to shut down, censor, clamp down block repress it is instead to open up. Open up the dialogue around all of this in the way that we are doing right now. Open up to welcoming, supporting and funding entrepreneurs like myself and my friends who want to start all of this for the better and open up to allowing us to do business the same way everybody else does. Because when you do that, you completely disrupt the landscape of what is deemed adult. I'd like to repurpose in this context Wayne LaPierre of the NRA’s infamous gun control quote. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a business is a good guy with a better business. That's what I'm doing. And that's what I want to help everybody else do.
WG: The thing that I like about this conversation, Cindy is – and the things we've seen for you over Uh, at least since I was aware of that that TEDtalk over the decades, right, is that a lot of what you're doing seems very core to who you are core to who you believe, Uh, as a security person that resonates with me. A lot of what I do is I want to make the world a safer place. I want to make online spaces a safer place. I want to encourage everyone to have privacy and have protection, and I want to turn it to you and ask you this question right? Based on everything you've done based on everything you're about to do. What do you want to see from the world? What are you bringing to us all?
CG: You've asked that question in two parts Wolf. So, what do I want to see from the world? Cold, hard cash. OK, so so everyone listening to this podcast. OK, first of all, please, everybody go to MakeLoveNotPorn.tv Sign up. Subscribe. Our subscriptions start at $10 a month, so it's really affordable, you know, consider becoming a Make Love, Not Porn star. By the way, um, anybody out there who is an open-minded investor or knows an open-minded investor, you know, Please, um in Cindy at MakeLoveNotPorn.tv. Um so So that's what I want from the world. Cold, hard cash. Um what do I want to bring to the world? Here's my vision for a world in which I get Make Love, Not Porn funded at scale to be the Facebook of social sex, which which is how big I want us to be in that world because of what we're doing, parents will bring their Children up openly to have good sexual values and good sexual behavior in exactly the same way that parents currently bring kids up openly to have good values and good behavior in every other area of life. We will therefore cease to bring up rapists because the only way that you end rape culture, and this really is the only way, is by embedding in society and openly talk about, promoted, understood and operated gold standard of what constitutes good sexual values and good sexual behavior. When we do that, we also end me too. We end sexual harassment, abuse, violence, all areas where the perpetrators currently rely on. The fact that we do not talk about sex to ensure victims never speak up, never go to authorities never tell anybody when we end that we massively empower women and girls worldwide. When we do that, we create a far happier world for everybody, including men. And when we do that, we are one step closer to world peace. Make Love, Not Porn is my attempt to bring about world peace. And I'm not joking
SG: A small, small vision for, you know, just everyday life. I love this Cindy. It connects with me. Uh, you don't know this, but I spent the 1st 15 years of my career working in domestic violence, sexual assault, first response to advocacy. So I have been in dozens, if not hundreds of those rooms, and I have borne witness to the fallout of those moments. And the vision for a world where nobody has to have that experience is one I can absolutely and wholeheartedly endorse. And please let me be your point of entry to the sexual therapy and sexology world. Um, I adore you, and we will do whatever we can to boost your signal. And with that, I just want to thank you so much for having been with us today and for bringing your time and your passion and your brilliance and your business acumen to, um, our little podcast. Thank you so much.
CG: It's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you both so much.
WG: It really has. And thank you, listener, for tuning in to Securing Sexuality. Your source of information needed to protect yourself and your relationships.
SG: Securing Sexuality is brought to you by the Bound Together Foundation a 501c3 nonprofit From the bedroom to the cloud We're here to help you navigate safe sex in a digital age.
WG: Be sure to check out our website, securingsexuality.com For all the links to all the items we talked about here today, as well as information about our live conference, our live conference coming in Detroit.
SG: And join us again for more conversations about the intersection of sexuality and technology. Have a great week.
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