Entrepreneur Cindy Gallop is hellbent on bringing “sextech” out of the fringes.
For her, that means getting people comfortable talking about sex … by sharing videos of themselves having it. Gallop, a former advertising executive based in New York City, calls that social sex.
She has been working since 2009 to normalize conversations about sex, first launching a site to simply debunk sex myths that come from porn (for example, no, not all women like being cursed out in bed).
In 2013, she expanded it with MakeLoveNotPorn.tv, a social platform where people can share videos of consensual sex with their partner.
Gallop wants to combat the fact that sex is taboo. When people do talk about it, their words are often infused with shame. “Walk of shame” and “slut shaming” are just a couple widely used terms that attach judgment to sexual activity.
Given recent events, it’s arguably more important than ever to get people talking about consent, sex and porn. After all, Donald Trump tried to pass off his “grab them by the p***y” comment as “locker room talk.” And Stanford student Brock Turner was given a mere six-month jail sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. Turner’s father defended his behavior, suggesting that “20 minutes of action” didn’t merit prison.
Some blame the availability of aggressive porn for fostering a culture that projects male dominance as normal — even appropriate. After Turner was sentenced, porn site xHamster took a stand against violent porn. It enacted a “Brock Turner rule.” When users search for rape-like images or videos on the site, it directs them to seek mental health services.
“We have to bring this discussion out into the open and people are increasingly understanding why,” Gallop, 57, told CNNMoney. “When grabbing women by the pussy is presidentially endorsed, we can no longer go on operating around sex and porn the way we always have.”
Gallop wants Make Love Not Porn to be a counterpoint to porn, but she’s struggled to find backers to fund her vision.
She said she’s raised just over $1 million since 2011 (a combination of her own money and funds from angel investors). For the past two years, she’s been trying, unsuccessfully, to raise an additional $2 million.
She says investors are leery of publicly funding a sex tech company, which is still considered “taboo.”
Instead of taking her lack of funding as a sign to quit, Gallop is going bigger. In November, she announced that she’s looking to raise $10 million for a new fund, All the Sky Holdings, to invest in and incubate other sex tech companies.