The Juicy Cuts: Cindy Gallop on financing MakeLoveNotPorn

I’ve been enormously honored to be published in some truly fantastic publications this year, but one setback that often happens with said fantastic publications is word limits. They’re important to editors and to the readability of the articles, but I often find myself cutting out some great content to meet them. Especially when the content that needs to be cut is from fascinating interviews, it hurts to leave so much of the juicy stuff out.

So I’ve decided to publish some of what’s been cut! For the good of humanity!

Here I present you with some of the most succulent slices from an interview I did with Cindy Gallop of for my article “Blowing the Budget” in Bitch Magazine‘s Love/Lust issue. We were talking about the numerous, gigantic obstacles that she and her team have faced in trying to get their company funded and set up to make and receive payments… it’s been quite a journey for them, and one that Cindy is not at all afraid to share.

For more on this topic, go get your copy of Bitch‘s Love/Lust issue! Read my article!

Cindy at work in her apartment. (Photo via Dwell.)

“It took me two years to get funded, and that’s enormously ironic, because in theory, I should have been every venture capitalist in Silicon Valley’s wet dream, literally.

“We have an idea, enabled by technology, that is designed to disrupt a sector worth billions of dollars, in a way that is both socially beneficial and potentially very lucrative. I mean that hits off everything that every investor in the tech world is looking to hit off. But because that sector is porn and the social benefit is for sexuality, no VC would come near it.

“So it took me two years of pitching to finally find one angel investor who got it, put up the small amount of seed funding we needed to build a platform and launch it…Then I literally could not get my hands on the money for two months because I couldn’t find a single bank here in America that would allow us to open a business banking account for a business that has the word ‘porn’ in its name, even though our name, by the way, is MakeLoveNotPorn… We can’t find a bank anywhere in the world that wants my business.

“Our single biggest operational challenge has been putting our payment structure in place. Because we’re adult content, PayPal won’t work with us, Amazon won’t work with us, none of the mainstream credit card processors will, as well.

“I am battling publicly for the right to do business on the same terms and conditions as everybody else…I am very, very public about all of this. I talk about this at every speaking opportunity I get. I call it out. So that whenever I’m talking at a tech conference, I say to the audience, ‘Here in the tech world, we pride ourselves on the open internet, freedom of access to everything, inventing the future… Tech world, I call bullshit. Until you change your mindset about ventures designed to change the world through sex, all you’re doing is you’re perpetuating the same old world order closed-mindedness you pride yourselves on exploding.’

“You know, we believe you can change the world through sex. We’re working to make sex better for all of us. The world of business and tech is doing everything it possibly can to stop us. Where is the sense in that?

“When I talk to the tech world, I try to shame them—and the business world—for all of the problems they’ve put in our way, one thing is that this is completely ridiculous because there is a huge amount of money to be made out of sex. But there are two factors. One: sex. Recession-proof. We all do it, it never goes away, all that. But, you double, triple, quadruple your financial return exponentially when you make sex socially acceptable. The money to be made out of socially acceptable sex hasn’t even begun to be seen, and that’s what we’re at, actually.

“When, along this path, one of very many people said to me, ‘Cindy, you’re having all these problems. Why don’t you just change your name of your company? Call it something different? Take the word ‘porn’ out of it? Innocuous holding company name, doing business as, it would make life so much easier.’ I said, ‘I refuse to do that, and there are practical reasons why, but the principle reason is: when you concept and design a venture around existing societal biases and prejudices, all you do is reinforce them.’ I refuse to bow to this because I want to change it. But everyone else in the adult industry is accepting it, and saying, ‘Yes, this is dirty and shameful, so we will cover it up and we will hide it.’ And so I’m really saying to people, ‘Take this out of the shadows. Take this out of the mindset that, before you even started you condemned yourself to not be on the front foot, because you tell yourself that society won’t like it.’

“[When I was interviewing Larry Flynt,] in the green room before the interview, I said, ‘One of my questions is, “You are a pioneer and disruptor in a marketplace that nobody is ever ready to pioneer in… What advice do you have for people to encourage them?’ He said, ‘Well I never thought of myself as a pioneer because I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.’ I bloody love that.

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