From an advertising maven to an innovative pioneer in real-world sex content, Cindy Gallop is the personification of living bold. 

Since its inception in 2009, Cindy has led MakeLoveNotPorn, the world’s first user-generated and human-curated social sex platform. Going beyond mere pleasure, their mission aims to promote positive sexual values and combat rape culture by showcasing respectful real-world sex. What sets MakeLoveNotPorn apart is their rigorous vetting process, ensuring that every piece of content creates a safe and inclusive space for individuals to explore without judgment.

Join us as we explore Cindy’s professional journey, the road to creating MakeLoveNotPorn, and Cindy’s vision for a safer and more sex-positive future. 

From Theater to Advertising

Cindy Gallop has always been an innovator ready to shake things up. As an industry maverick known for her groundbreaking work in marketing, advertising, and branding, Cindy boasts an impressive career spanning renowned companies like Levi’s, HP, and Virgin. Her motto of “blowing shit up” has helped to transform businesses and brands. This TED Talk presenter and two-time Woman Advertiser of the Year humbly shares her journey, revealing that her path was more accidental than planned. Initially drawn to theater, her knack for designing posters led her into marketing for theaters in the UK. However, the demanding nature of the industry led her to pivot into advertising after a transformative encounter where someone remarked on her salesmanship. At 25, she made the leap into advertising, setting the stage for her remarkable career.

The Michael Bay of Business

Christina and Cindy dive into the heart of Cindy’s “blow shit up” philosophy, a mantra that resonates with her approach to consultancy. Cindy explains how this tagline emerged in a meeting with potential clients while describing her consulting style—emphasizing radical, transformative innovation rather than sticking to the status quo.

She humorously likened herself to “the Michael Bay of business,” drawing laughter and, more importantly, a clear understanding of her modus operandi. Cindy intentionally uses this tagline to act as a filter, attracting clients who align with her unconventional, game-changing strategies while repelling those seeking a more conventional approach. Christina shares her own experience of using a bold tagline (“get shit done”) and how it attracts the right clientele despite initial concerns about potential offense.

Their discussion highlights the power of deliberate branding in attracting the right partners and clients—those who appreciate and seek out their unique, action-oriented styles. 

Shaking Up Traditional Industries

Cindy, the entrepreneurial force behind MakeLoveNotPorn, opens up about her multifaceted career, clarifying that while consulting isn’t her main focus, she deeply enjoys it alongside her primary venture. 

She recalls a remarkable client from a sector typically viewed skeptically. Initially hesitant, she crafted a high-priced proposal, thinking it might deter them. To her surprise, they embraced it. This client tasked her with reimagining luxury retail, an industry stuck in traditional methods. Cindy dived into extensive research and developed an innovative retail concept never attempted before.

During the presentation, she braced herself for the usual client scrutiny but was pleasantly surprised. Impressed by her concept, the senior client simply said, “Great, let’s do it.” They swiftly moved to the execution phase, but unfortunately, the 2008 financial crash halted the project. Nonetheless, Cindy cherishes this client for their unwavering trust in her vision, admiring their hands-off approach that valued her expertise without overshadowing it.

Her admiration stems from their belief in her capabilities and the freedom they granted her to lead without micromanaging. It’s a testament to the power of trust in professional relationships, leaving Cindy deeply impressed and hopeful for future collaborations.

Empowerment through Entrepreneurship

Christina shares her podcast’s mission to amplify the voices of women over 55, highlighting the purpose-driven endeavors common among women in this phase of life. She expresses concerns about advertisers not recognizing or marketing effectively to this demographic and asks Cindy for her perspective on this issue.

Cindy, at 63, celebrates and encourages embracing one’s age as a representation of their experiences and value to society. She passionately addresses the ageism prevalent in advertising and many industries, pointing out that older women are often excluded from these fields. She stresses the need for change, urging women to not only challenge but to create their own industries.

Her advice resonates beyond advertising, emphasizing the power of starting one’s business—an opportunity to shape a workplace culture, establish work-life balance, and define a business model aligned with personal values. Cindy believes this initiative is key to building the industries where women want to work and thrive. Christina shares her own experience, acknowledging the hurdles she faced due to age and gender, ultimately opting to forge her own path.

This idea of empowerment through entrepreneurship can be so fulfilling. It is important to create spaces where women, particularly those over 55, can flourish on their own terms.

Younger Generations are Watching

Addressing ageism and representation, Cindy and Christina discuss AARP and its approach to engaging with the over-50 demographic. Cindy mentions her past involvement with AARP as an influencer, and Christina brings up her observations about AARP’s use of younger writers and hosts, despite targeting an older audience.

This discrepancy motivated Christina to create her platform, resonating with many women eager to see authentic representation and discussions about their interests and experiences. Cindy adds an intriguing perspective, highlighting that it’s not just older individuals who want to hear stories and content about their age group; younger generations also find it aspirational.

There is untapped potential in understanding that younger people often look up to the confidence and unique style of older individuals. Older demographics have a valuable and inspiring perspective to offer, a viewpoint that could be a source of aspiration for younger generations. Cindy and Christina agree that Industries are missing out on a significant opportunity by neglecting to reinvent aspirational culture around older individuals.

The Collective Power of Women Supporting Women

Career paths can be unpredictable and are rarely linear. Christina shares and example from her own journey from majoring in political science and German studies to becoming a lifestyle and podcast host and a PR strategist. Degrees don’t confine one’s options.

Regarding careers, Cindy adds a crucial point about advising her nieces never to let a relationship determine their life’s direction. She cites instances where women may have their careers derailed by prioritizing relationships too early. There are many societal pressures placed on women, from conforming to traditional family expectations to facing criticism for personal choices, like choosing not to have children.

Without realizing it, some women unintentionally reinforce patriarchal standards, undermining the unity and support that could empower women. Christina and Cindy advocate for change, fostering a culture of women lifting each other up rather than competing or tearing each other down. They believe in the collective power of women supporting one another.

Make Love, Not Porn

During this podcast episode, Cindy discusses her groundbreaking venture, MakeLoveNotPorn. Cindy contextualizes her unconventional lifestyle choices, emphasizing her happiness derived from being single and dating younger men. She highlights the scarcity of diverse role models demonstrating alternative lifestyles that can lead to contentment and fulfillment.

Cindy shares the origin story of MakeLoveNotPorn, tracing it back to her realization about the impact of easily accessible hardcore online porn and society’s discomfort discussing sex openly. She established the website initially as a small, text-based platform showcasing the disparity between porn and real-world sexual experiences. Her TED Talk in 2009, where she boldly addressed these issues, went viral, sparking a massive global response.

Recognizing the magnitude of the social issue, Cindy transformed MakeLoveNotPorn into a business aimed at positively reshaping attitudes towards sex. She explains that the platform serves as a space for users to share real-world, consensual, and diverse sexual experiences—an antidote to the unrealistic portrayals seen in mainstream porn. MakeLoveNotPorn aims to destigmatize and socialize discussions about sex while promoting healthy sexual values, communication, and consent.

Cindy passionately emphasizes that MakeLoveNotPorn stands as an unconventional, vital sex education platform, offering a genuine portrayal of human sexuality often lacking in mainstream media.

The Safest Place on the Internet

Cindy and her then curator, Sarah, spent a year asking people they knew and strangers if they would be willing to film themselves having sex. They discovered that a large population of people jumped at the chance. 

They proactively designed their site for the prevention of harassment, abuse, sexual assault, racism, violence, rape, etc. in porn. They have created a safe space and safe experiences for individuals who are marginalized and are most at risk. 

So what makes them so safe? The MakeLoveNotPorn team carefully reviews every frame of every submission and every post on every profile to ensure this continues to be a safe space for all. “We review every comment on every video before we approve or reject and publish it,” Cindy shares. “No one else does that. We can vouch for every single piece of content on our platform in a way that nobody else can. And that is why we are the safest place on the internet.” 

Sexual Education

Cindy envisions creating an educational technology platform to be the premier hub of sexual education. She’s currently raising funding to do this important work. 

Speaking of sex ed, Cindy and Christina talk about the importance of being open, honest, and non-judgmental when discussing sex with children when they’re ready. Cultivating a safe environment free of shame helps these children grow into adults who are comfortable saying yes to what is right for them and embracing their sexual values. “Sexual values like empathy, sensitivity, generosity, kindness, honesty, trust, respect, are as important as those values are in every other area of our lives where we’re actively taught to exercise them,” Cindy Gallop shares. 

An Important Mission

Leaving listeners with a profound appreciation for her audacity, determination, and unwavering belief in the power of real-world sex, Cindy proudly shares that “ultimately our mission is to end rape culture. We end rape culture by doing something very simple that nevertheless nobody else anywhere is doing. We end rape culture by showing you how wonderful, great, consensual communicated sex is in the real world.” 

Through MakeLoveNotPorn, Cindy has redefined the landscape of adult entertainment and sparked a global conversation about healthy, consensual sexual experiences. Her legacy will undoubtedly continue to inspire future generations.