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Cindy Gallop: Talk about sex, don’t filter it

The David Cameron porn filters have been a bit of a hot topic here at Kitguru for the past few weeks and you’ve told us loud and clear, you’re not happy with the idea of them. Fortunately, we’re not alone in this regard, but not necessarily for the same reasons. Cindy Gallop, a TED Talk alumna, has been speaking out about her own efforts to combat the problems with pornography, not by blocking it, but by simply being more open about sex.

A fan of hardcore pornography herself and a self described dater of younger Men, Gallop claimed in her 2009 TED talk, about how she felt porn had become the de facto instruction manual for young men and women on how to have sex. This was she said, a combination of both the increased ease in which porn was available, but also because of a continuing lack of educational information and open dialogue coming from both parents and schools. She argued that the best thing we can do is talk about sex, be open about our preferences and personal tastes and not allow a fantasy world – pornography – to dictate how we live our highly subjective, real-world sex lives.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder she’s spoken out in a new Wired column about why she thinks David Cameron’s porn filters are a horrible idea.

It’s not that there isn’t an issue, she was keen to point out. There is one, but it’s not the one he thinks: “The issue isn’t porn, but the complete lack in our society of an open, healthy, honest, truthful dialogue around sex in the real world,” she said.

Separating the real from the fictional is important, she claimed, suggesting that in the same way we can enjoy and then discard the faux universes of summer blockbuster movies, we should do the same with porn. “As per our Make Love Not Porn tagline”, she said, “Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference.”

“The social solution is “talk about it”. Instigate a seismic sociocultural shift away from “No sex please, we’re British”, and open up the conversation — in schools, with sex education that acknowledges the reality of porn, and across the UK, with tools, forums and media that help parents talk openly to children and all of us talk openly to each other.”

The Make Love Not Porn campaign wants to highlight the differences between porn and reality and a healthier approach to the adult entertainment industry

However, it doesn’t stop there. Gallop also wants to see the business sector play its part in renovating and reinvigorating the porn industry. The porn industry is scared, she said. It’s crumbling and the business model is not working and everyone is just doing what everyone else is doing to try and stay afloat. The answer, according to Gallop, is to disrupt the industry by bringing in more female business leaders, help foster sex related startups and encourage a more balanced, radical thinking business model.

Gallop also targets Cameron’s fascination with violent pornography in her piece, suggesting that it’s got nothing to do with real violence, but more with fear about stagnation. “The growth of extreme violent porn is not the result of evil, twisted, malignant forces at work within the porn industry. Nor is it the result of an ever more corrupted and depraved user base. It’s the result, prosaically, of a bunch of business people terrified they’re no longer making money.”

And it’s no wonder new models of business haven’t come along. As she points out with her relatively healthy – by pornography standards – approach to sex, with its honest, reality based style of films and information with Make Love Not Porn, Gallop highlights how there are many traditional business solutions left untapped, because nobody wants to be seen to support “adult entertainment.”

“My team and I battle every day to build MakeLoveNotPorn.tv,” she said. “Because every piece of business infrastructure every other venture can take for granted — including Paypal, banks, mainstream video servers and email partners — we can’t use: the small print always says, “No adult content.'”

Cindy Gallop doesn’t want to stamp out porn, or make its users and participants feel like some sort of scummy, lower class perusers of filth, she wants to see Mr Cameron take a stand on acceptance and protectionism, doing so through innovation, instead of hiding it away like Britain’s dirty secret.

KitGuru Says: I’ve done as best a hatchet job on the piece as I can to highlight what I feel was the most important bits, but I’d encourage anyone who’s interested in this issue to give the full thing a read. It’s a great piece and really highlights the way a lot of the world’s problems should be approached: with openness and compassion. 

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