The Vagenda

Make Love, Not Porn

 
Recently, I read an article in Libertine Magazine about business impresario Cindy Gallop and her website makelovenotporn.tv. Greeting visitors with the phrase ‘Hello Sweetie’ (River Song anyone?) Gallop’s website, which was at TED in 2009 with this fantastic speech, aims to create a big friendly sex co-operative and educate people about the realities of sexual pleasure.
Designed with both men and women in mind (she’s aiming for a 50/50 split in online traffic) the website invites couples, or adventurous individuals, to upload their own sex tapes, in the knowledge that they’ll get 50% of the profit each time their video is streamed.
You don’t have to upload your own sweaty rendezvous (Oh Craig David) to be part of the action though. All you have to do is sign up and pay $5 a video (that’s £4.67 according to my bank statement) and the film will be available for your masturbatory pleasure for the next three weeks. But with so much free porn available these days, is it really worth laying down your heard earned cash in the name of sexual democracy and real-life female orgasms? Well reader, wanting to be a proper investigatory journalist, I have of course been sampling the wares.
The website itself is clean, friendly, and noticeably free of the usual trappings of hardcore websites – i.e, there are no pop ups of anal penetration. Instead, you have to get behind the sign-in wall before you see any of the videos, and even then you’re not confronted with anything properly explicit until you’ve laid down your dollars.
I should mention, that this is the first time I’ve actually paid for porn, though my life hasn’t exactly been porn free. To be honest, I can’t remember which came first; Channel 5’s soft porn films, or finding my brother’s wank mags. Either way, around the age of 11 or 12 I started masturbating and that was my source material. The Channel 5 films (you know the sort, big breasts and a dodgy jazz-funk soundtrack) I watched on a Sega Game Gear with a TV Tuner and earphones in case my mum heard (OLD SCHOOL!), while the wank mags I found one day while snooping around my brothers room, and happily pillaged until he left home.
Porn didn’t really feature in my early sexual relationships, although its cultural saturation did make me believe I HAD to shave off all my pubes. In my early twenties it made a bit of a comeback though. I watched it as a precursor to sex, while having sex, and sometimes on my own, but gradually I got more and more disheartened. Those soft porn films had spoilt me, I wanted story and plot and I wanted to see people actually enjoying themselves. The debate about the effect of hardcore porn on those who watch it (especially men) would need a whole other article devoted to it, but the reason I stopped watching it was because no one is really having fun. Yes, the men involved do actually achieve orgasm, but these all seem rather functional, especially after the women involved have spent half of the video trying to help them keep it up. The depictions of female orgasms on the other hand are so ridiculous that you’d laugh if you weren’t already hysterically weeping.
So this was what I was hoping for when I turned to Gallop’s website – people enjoying sex, and both sexes having genuine messy and sweaty orgasms. Something I could wank along to without feeling depressed afterwards. Not too much to ask surely?
Being a greedy woman, for my first love-making experience, I picked the longest video on the website. Big Mistake. The couple behind the video had looked friendly in the sneak-peak I’d watched, and not wanting to feel like a creepy voyeur I’d decided this was a good quality to look for. The problem though, is that they weren’t very professional about it. For the first 15 minutes all they do is mess around and talk absolute crap (they obviously haven’t heard of editing software) and by the time they do get down on it, it becomes clear that the guy (he’s in charge of the camera) is just trying to recreate his favourite porn moves. Sigh. He angles the camera, so we can watch his girlfriend being pumped (a gross but apt word) and for the most part she looks bored by the whole experience. The real female orgasms I was hoping for are also debatable. After being roughly finger pumped for about 20 seconds, she apparently comes. Now, far be it for me to deny another woman’s orgasms, but I just ain’t buying it. Plus, throughout the video her boyfriend keeps having to ask her if she’s come, and in my experience if you have to ask mate, it hasn’t happened. I quickly give up on them.
Disheartened and far from satisfied, I move on to something shorter (length isn’t everything after all). I’m drawn to my next choice by the most middle class blurb I’ve ever read in connection with a sex tape, ‘after returning from the farmers market…’ LOVE IT.
This video has a much more professional feel to it. There’s a musical intro, soft focus, and some flowers. Lovely. The couples faces are obscured by the soft focus, but what they’ve managed to do despite this slight prudishness is pretty impressive, dare I say revelatory. This is sex, quite literally, from a female perspective, as a woman lying on her back films her partner as he goes down on her. He asks her how she wants it, it takes a while, and this time I believe it when she comes – and I feel properly satisfied when I come too. In the name of democracy, the guy also comes as she films him and it ends with the woman covered in sperm and happily giggling. This is more like it.
So, what’s the conclusion? Despite a shaky start I did see a woman have a real orgasm, even if only from the waist down, and it was a refreshing thing to see. The website though, clearly has a way to go (the BETA version only launched this year) and as it is for the people, and of the people, it really depends on whether the people deliver the goods. What I’ve realised though, is that I want something somewhere between porn and ‘real life’ sex. I want people to be enjoying themselves and coming all over the place, but I don’t want to have to listen to people’s inane chit chat and witness their crap production values. I want well produced, real sex. Here’s hoping that as Make Love Not Porn grows, people’s vanity will make them invest in better recording equipment.
- ND

 

4 thoughts on “Make Love, Not Porn

  1. Thanks so much for checking out makelovenotporn.tv and for taking the time to write about your first impression! I’m thrilled to know that you enjoyed one of Violet+Rye’s videos! They have plenty more where that come from ;)

    makelovenotporn.tv/users/violet-rye

    You might also be interested in checking out their blog: uncommonappetites.blogspot.ca/ It’s quite a good, sexy read that gives even more context to their great #realworldsex videos.

    I’m sorry to hear you weren’t especially tickled by JamesandJill’s video and I wanted to take the opportunity to explain to you a little about our curation process and why it was published :)

    The main thing I look for when curating is that the sex in the video is the #realworldsex the person or persons would have when there’s no camera around. This doesn’t mean I expect them to completely ignore the camera – certainly it’s more realistic to acknowledge it and play with it when it’s a new thing being integrated into one’s #realworldsexlife. However, I make a point of looking to make sure that people are not performing for the camera – using angles and positions that are most popular in porn without context.

    From my interactions with JamesandJill (I often Skype and have long email exchanges with our MLNPstars) I felt that her orgasms in the video were real and while I think I know what angles you felt made the video look more like a porn video, my perception was that James was just genuinely turned on and indeed wanted to show off his beautiful girlfriend a little bit. I don’t know if you caught him saying “This is what a mother should look like!” He obviously though Jill’s post-baby body was amazing and I like how they didn’t shy away from showing her stomach even though it wasn’t perfectly flat and taut :)

    As for the chatting at the beginning, one of the things we emphasize in our submission requirements is that our #realworldsex videos be contextualized in a way that shows moments that would never be including in your tightly edited porn video. What I liked about the talking at the beginning of the video was that it didn’t focus on what would be enticing for the viewer but more on how they would normally transition into sex. There’s cuddling, there’s cigarette’s, there’s playful ribbing – things so rarely showcased online.

    That being said, if JamesandJill are not your thing, that’s totally cool :) Being part of MLNP.tv is a journey for our MLNPstars and as many of these people have never filmed themselves having sex before it may take a bit of time for them to figure out what style of filming they like and how to capture their #realworldsex in a way that is holistic. Also, as you discovered, length doesn’t always tell you whether a video will be to your taste :)

    You might be interested in this post I wrote, “What is #realworldsex and How do we capture it?” I share it with anybody interested in submitting: talkabout.makelovenotporn.tv/2013/04/24/what-is-realworldsex-and-how-do-we-capture-it-musings-from-madam-curator/

    Since what we’re showcasing are #realworldpeople having #realworldsex the video quality (not the realworldsex quality) can vary from MLNPstar to MLNPstar. Based on your feedback, it sounds like this video by bzandgloria (makelovenotporn.tv/works/75) or this video by LilyandDanny (makelovenotporn.tv/works/3) might be more what you’re looking for.

    Finally, I think you’ll be pleased to know that our MLNPstars are indeed using their #realworldsex earnings to buy better cameras! BiLikesSciFi recently shared two new videos shot with their HD camera and wrote a guest blog post about what they did with their earnings: talkabout.makelovenotporn.tv/2013/05/22/how-we-spent-our-realworldsex-earnings-a-guest-post-from-mlnpstars-bilikesscifi/

    Again thanks so much for taking the time to check out MLNP.tv and to write about it! I hope you will come back soon!

    All the best

    Sarah aka. Madam Curator

  2. I agree with this review, with a couple of exceptions.

    1) I don’t think the web site is particularly useable. Scrolling through the contributions of individuals or couples is really awkward, and it’s not easy to look at all of a couple’s/individual’s contributions in a “thumbnail/overview” way.

    2) The categorization of videos is doubly unhelpful. Tags provided by contributors are almost universally inside jokes or just cutesy, rather than communicative. And the web sites “categories” are similarly obscure.

    3) The pricing model is wrong. For every video, the price is $5 for three weeks’ access. On the one hand, the idea that revenue gets shared transparently with contributors is great. But on the other, this will, in a best-case scenario, severely limit what people see, and in a worst-case scenario, drive viewers away. Viewers (and contributors) surely would love to have the option a) to subscribe to individual contributors, whose stuff consistently is compelling, and b) to see that of other folks in a more “dipping their toes” kind of way. Oh, and? 3 weeks? What’s that about. Either get rid of DRM and allow downloads, or use micropayments to charge us for each viewing.

    I’ve written more, and been less temperate, on my own review, here. (http://mydissolutelife.com/2013/06/make-love-not-porn/)

  3. Thank you for your straightforward and honest feedback. I have replied to your ‘less temperate’ feedback on your own blog :)

    For everyone else reading this, you may be interested in more detail around what we are doing, why we’re doing it, why our business model and why we want everyone else to join us in changing the world through sex, here in my SXSW talk on ‘The Future Of Porn’:

    http://talkabout.makelovenotporn.tv/2013/05/31/cindy-gallop-the-future-of-porn-sxsw-interactive-2013/

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