Transcript – #3 – Sex Analytics Censored? With Cindy Gallop

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  0:11

Hi everyone, 

I’m Yudan Lin and you are listening to Unexpected Data. Today, we will continue our SexTech journey. Before to start, be aware that this episode is an explicit version with some illustrative language.

In the field of data and technology, having a governmental framework is very important in terms of ethics and privacy. And it seems that New Zealand is the only country in the western world to have a chief Censor. And this Chief is called David Shanks. We most of the time think that censorship is synonymous with authoritarian regimes like in North Korea. But rather than being the arbiter of taste, for the adult entertainment industry, New Zealand’s chief censor is in favor of education on sex and consent.

He also explains us that “the interesting thing is, if you don’t have any authority that makes those censor calls, you abdicate [it] to private sector and also to a group of invisible kind of bureaucrats and groups,” and Censorship ‘is still happening in various ways, but it’s happening in a disaggregated, disorganized way that nobody can make any sense of.” 

How is it then in sextech? Some considere sexuality as an art. Therefore, role models and knowledge need to be accessible.

When we relate it to food, trying to be a better cook by looking for new spices, new cooking methods and new recipes will only make you unbeatable and irreplaceable.

Keep It Real Online – Department of Internal Affairs of New Zealand   1:59

Oh yeah, I’m Sue. This is Derek, we here because your son just looked us up online. You know to watch us.

Matt, Matt, darling. There are people here to see you.
So he watches you online?

Yeah, you know on his laptop, iPad, PlayStation, his phone, your phone, smart TV, projector… Anyway, we usually perform for adults but your son’s just a kid.
He might not know how relationships actually work.
We don’t even talk about consent, do we? no, just get straight to it
yeah and I’ve never had act like that in real life.

No… Hi Mattie!

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  2:30 

A young boy appears, holding a laptop, sees the porn actors and drops his cereal bowl.

As you have guessed it, this is the viral New Zealand TV advertising with two porn performers urging parents to start sex discussion with their children. Because if you don’t, no one else should or will do it with your children or partner. 

UK government wants also to re -enforce age verification with a new law. The purpose is to prevent under-18s from accessing adult content. But to be honest, the effect of it can go beyond that.

You will tell me that the current checkbox saying ‘I’m over 18’ is not efficient and you are right. But here,  your age is verified only by sharing identifying details like the ones that you have on your driving license or passport. If not possible online, you can get a  ‘porn pass’ by going to a shop or your telecommunication provider for an age-verification. You wouldn’t want to register your personal data and other people to know what you do, right? And still these are the measures that the UK government will put into application. This could encourage you to share your sensitive data to anything online. When gathered in databases, those can be tempting targets of hackers.

And when you are not a big company but more an independent porn site or ethical producers, what will then happen? Sooner or later those non mainstream small companies can die and by consequence are not able to fund any implementation of age verification.

Cindy Gallop – MakeLoveNotPorn  4:33

MindGeek operates as a total monopoly in the porn industry, and it operates as monopoly in a way that would not be allowed in any other industry, except that nobody ever wants to examine the porn industry and so, no antitrust legislators have gone after MindGeek.

MindGeek owns Pornhub, YouPorn, RedTube, Sex.com… It owns every single tube site, and porn production companies and so on and so forth.

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  4:59

This is Cindy Gallup CEO and founder of MakeLoveNotPorn  , which I had the chance to interview for this episode. MakeLoveNotPorn is a social sex video sharing platform. Anyone can upload their #realworldsex videos, which will be seen by real people before to release it on the members. Rather than being scripted and performed, Cindy points out that the videos must only contain what goes on in the real world, as it happens, spontaneously, in all its funny messy and sometimes awkward beautiful ridiculous humanness.

As Cindy and recent studies confirmed it, the issue comes when people use porn to educate themselves on real life sex. For sure, when we can’t talk about it, the transmission of knowledge is broken and each generation needs to find their own source of information.

And when it comes to practice, everyone is facing an awkward situation.

Cindy Gallop – MakeLoveNotPorn  6:14

12 or 13 years ago, I began realizing through dating younger men that I was encountering an issue that would never have crossed my mind if I had not encountered it so very intimately and personally. I realized I was experiencing what happens when two things converge. And I stress the dual convergence, because most people think it’s only one thing. I realized I was experiencing what happens when today’s total freedom of access to hardcore porn online meets our society’s equally total reluctance to talk openly and honestly about sex. It’s when those two factors converge. The porn become sex education by default is not a good way.

So I found myself encountered a number of sexual behavioral means in bed, I went, Whoa, I know where that behavior is coming from. I thought, Gosh, if I’m experiencing this other people must be as well. I did not know that. Because 12 – 13 years ago, nobody was talking about this. Nobody was writing about it, this was me in complete isolation. As an action oriented person going: I want to do something about this.

So, 11 and a half years ago now. I put up a no-money, a tiny clunky website, MakeLoveNotPorn  .com. That in its original iteration, it was just words: the construct was porn world versus real world. This is what happens in the porn world. This is what really happens in the real world. I had the opportunity to launch MakeLoveNotPorn at TED, in February, 2009. I became the only Ted speaker to say the words ‘Come on my face’ on the TED stage, six times in a session. The talk went viral, as a result. And it drove this extraordinary global response to my tiny website that I have never anticipated. Thousands of people wrote to me from every country in the world: young and old, men and female, straight and gay pouring their hearts out. And I realized I’d uncovered a huge global social issue.

And so, I then felt I had a personal responsibility to take MakeLoveNotPorn forwards in a way that would make it much more far reaching, helpful and effective. And I also saw an opportunity to do what I believe in very strongly which is that the future of business is doing good and making money simultaneously. I saw the opportunity for a big business solution to this huge untapped global social need. And I use the word big advisedly. Because, even then, 11 and a half years ago. I knew if I was to counter the global impact of porn as default sex ed. I would ave to come up with something that at least had the potential. One day to be just as mass, just as mainstream, and just as all pervasive in our society as porn currently is.

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  9:19

As MakeLoveNotPorn  says it greatly: “Be pro sex, pro porn, be pro know the difference”

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  9:31

In 2015, The Atlantic reported that Bedsider.org, an online birth control support network for women, faced an unprecedented situation with a lot of their content blocked.

And this is only one example among many of TechGiants applying adult content policy which allow them to censor content. MakeLoveNotPorn.com also faced such obstacles..  As a new social sex start up, it took them 4 years to open a business bank account; Paypal, Mailchimp, credit card processors and streaming platform compagnies won’t work with them.Their policies always say ‘no adult content’. 

What is that telling us? Do we need to have a chief censor like in New Zealand to make   it clear what is or not sex education?

In episode 1, I talked about my difficulty to find data for the sex industry and the few that I have found were from PornHub. According to Cindy, Mindgeek has put into practice successfully all the dynamics of technology in the adult industry. 

So as soon as MindGeek releases its annual analytics reports, a lot of people jump in to talk about it. And here there are some dangerous interpretation risks. Note that porn data is not representative of the whole sex industry data and is not the sex behavior reference so not the real life sex. For sure, we need to start somewhere and by steps. Having more light on such data can only support to analyze it and challenge it.

Cindy also confirmed our point of a high risk of a closed loop when it comes to recommendation system in porn.

Cindy Gallop – MakeLoveNotPorn  11:29

That’s much vaunted Pornhub algorithm you just referred to only teaches people to search for what Pornhub serves up. It’s a closed loop, because we do not talk openly and honestly about sex in the real world. There is no educational loop in the real world to counter that closed loop. Okay. And that’s a very dangerous situation.

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  11:52

According to the BBC, 38% of UK women under the age of 40 have experienced unwanted violence during consensual sex. BDSM is not put into question because there is a clear and open communication for consent and permission. According to Cindy, sex has become “very hetero and male-centric’.

Cindy Gallop – MakeLoveNotPorn  12:23

Let me give you a couple of demonstrations of why that is never going to be the place to go for sex education. I have an art project that I’ve wanted to do for many years, I want to take the homepage of Pornhub or YouPorn, anyone who has tube sites, and I want to recreate it and replicate it. Reshooting, every single video thumbnail, with the genders flipped.

I already do a version of this on Twitter, I troll Porn sites.  Brassels might twitt something about a blow bang, and I will tweet back to them ‘Hey Brassels , I want to see the female version of that, I want to see a lick bang. I want to see a photo of a naked man on his knees and all around him a bunch of women naked from the waist down shoving their purses in his face’

Or, you know, Brassels will twitt us still, from Porn videos, and I’ll tweet back there ‘Hey Brassels . I want to see the female version of that, I want to see a giant pussy looming in the foreground. And close up behind it, three beaming men’s faces grinning from ear to ear covered in pussy juice.’

Nothing would demonstrate the ridiculousness of the male lens in porn more than that.

Do you know what I mean?

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  13:44

What are your sexual values? 

Note that all values in society that were transmitted to us by our parents are also valid in bed. For Cindy Gallop, those values are empathy, sensitivity, generosity, kindness, honesty and respect.

Cindy Gallop – MakeLoveNotPorn  14:04

I’m making a very serious point here, Yudan, because I am my own research lab: I freely admit that I date younger men, I did a lot of them. I see for myself, exactly what happens in the real world, all the time: when porn acts as sex education in the absence of sex education compensation in the real world.

So I’m very selective about who I date: I only date utterly lovely younger men with all the right values, outside bed, and yet in bed, I see them modeling the behavior that says ‘my dick is the center of universe’. Because in a male dominated porn industry, the porn that most young men and women grew up watching is porn that says ‘it’s all about the man and the only thing that matters is the man’s pleasure and the only thing that matters is what he wants, everything matters is whether or not he comes’.

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  14:54 

The only way to really understand what is great consensual communicative sex and good sex behavior is by watching people actually having that kind of sex.

Cindy also claimed that her startups data could have a huge importance.

Cindy Gallop – MakeLoveNotPorn  15:13

Because right now, quite rightly, everybody is talking about consent. Everybody is writing about consent. Here’s the problem: nobody knows what consent actually looks like in bed. And MakeLoveNotPorn videos is an object consent communication, good sexual values and behavior: we are literally education through demonstration. And so what we are working on with a partner is an algorithm for consent, and I’m not going to say any more about that at the moment because this is a confidential project.

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  15:44 

In fact, consent can be understood from multiple angles: from real world sex videos, we could collect, for sure with permission data like desire text body feedback or reaction people’s actions, seduction and excitement duration and etc.

But what is selling and out now is Netflix distributing kidnapping, sexual assault and Stockholm Syndrome as hit with the movie 365 days. So how can we make each other comfortable with consent and especially not kill the mood? One part that I can see is that we are  limited in words. To talk about genitals,   we have childish or medical or dirty words. 

Cindy Gallop – MakeLoveNotPorn  16:39

We have a very different approach to algorithms

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  16:43

And for Cindy, real and global innovation is only possible if there is a change from to bottom that equally distributes and values people and that reflects our society as it is.

Cindy Gallop – MakeLoveNotPorn  16:57

The bar is set so low, right now, when the bar is defined by white men. We have not even begun to see how high the bar can be raised, when we welcome in the innovation, the disruption, the creativity of women, black talent, of color talent, LGBTQ talent disabled talent.

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  17:21

We have not even begun to see the greatness of it. And this is valid for any company. I would say that is even more for technology, including data and data science. It is still a freenfield. So, it is up to us to shape it for better. And for Cindy, it even goes until world peace.

Cindy Gallop – MakeLoveNotPorn  17:42

Parents will bring their children up, openly to have good sexual values and good sexual behavior in the same way that they currently bring them up to have good values and good behaviors 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 talked about promoted, operated and very importantly, aspired to gold standard of what constitutes good sexual values and good sexual behavior. When we do that, we also end MeToo. 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 their victims will 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, I talk about MakeLoveNotPorn as my attachment about world peace, and I’m not joking.

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  19:02

Another problem that a lot of SexTech encounter is the lack of funds. Cindy told us that the investors won’t fund her because of the fear of others

Cindy Gallop – MakeLoveNotPorn  19:14

The one thing I did not realize when I embarked on this venture was that I and my team would fight an enormous battle every single day to build it. Every piece of business infrastructure, any other start ups just gets to takefor granted, we can’t. I can overcome all these issues with money. Investors won’t fund me, because the issue that we experience that no other tech startup does is the social dynamic that I call fear of what other people will think.

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  19:43

And that only slows down the startup analytics project on sex behaviors and consent.

Cindy Gallop – MakeLoveNotPorn  19:49

It is never about what the investor I’m talking to thinks. When you understand what we are doing and why we are doing it, nobody can argue with it. The business case is clear. It’s always their fear of what they think other people think, which operates around, sex, unlike any other area. We have never had the funds to build out the kind of data analytics, dashboards that I want to have, we are trying to do that very slowly over time, we are getting there. But, if investors funded me the 10th of millions of dollars, they shower young white bro-founders with to start up oddly trivial food delivery apps and ridiculous gaming ventures, I’ll be in a very different situation. And so, no, I can’t compete with anybody’s data analytics because nobody will invest in me and give me the funds to build out the kind of resources what we want and need.

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  20:43

So now, the primary and main focus is on keeping MakeLoveNotPorn alive. So Vienna, if you’re up to the challenge, let’s become the SexTech hub of Europe. And for us, Data experts: Data is data, right? There are only data opportunities as it seems that no one is yet going deep in it. So let us know if you are up to support here.

Let’s all talk openly and honestly about sex and make it normal, like Cindy does.

Cindy Gallop – MakeLoveNotPorn  21:25

If you want to support her mission, there’s one very simple micro action you can take, which is talk about sex every day, I’ll give you my own instance, you know, on Facebook. You know, our friends will post birthday celebrations, or, much less now obviously but you know, lovely vacations they’re taking in tropical faraway places and people leave comments on those photos, you know, ‘happy birthday’ or ‘what a great vacation’. So whenever I comment on his photos on the birthday celebration one I will say ‘happy birthday. I hope you had great birthday sex’, and on the vacation photo, I’ll go ‘wow lovely beach, have you had great sex on it’, because you know they are.

And when I do that, people go, ‘hahah, you’re right Cindy, we did’. That is socializing and normalizing sex. That’s why MakeLoveNotPorn we call ourselves the Social Sex Revolution, the revolution part is not the sex, it’s the social, socialized sex. To help our mission every day, talk about sex, completey and naturally.

Yudan Lin – Unexpected Data  22:28

Congratulations! By listening to this entire episode, you are actively breaking the long-lasting taboo of practicing our sexual values. In the same time, you are helping bring data science to the next level in our daily life.

I would like to thank Cindy Gallop for her time and her passion for bringing all of us to the next level of sex tech innovation. Thanks, the Department of Internal Affairs of New Zealand for the amazing work done on Keep It Real Online TV advertising.

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