TED Conversations

Cindy Gallop

Founder & CEO, IfWeRanTheWorld


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What do you think each and every one of us can do to counter the impact and influence of porn as default sex education, everywhere?

Today hardcore porn is more freely and widely available online than ever before, thus accessible by kids at earlier and earlier ages (the average age at which porn is first viewed online is 11; a friend of mine recently found her 9-year-old son watching hardcore porn on her iPhone). At the same time, we do not as a society talk about sex openly; the majority of parents are too embarrassed to teach their kids about sex, and sex education is generally not taught in schools in a realistic and directly relevant way. As a result, and I can testify to this through my direct personal experience of dating younger men, an entire generation (guys and girls alike - girls watch and are as influenced by porn as guys are) is growing up believing that what you see in hardcore porn is the way that you have sex, with some very fundamental, ingrained negative impacts. As someone working to counter this with my venture http://makelovenotporn.com, I would love all thoughts and ideas from the TED community as to how we can collectively address what is, quite frankly, the single biggest impact technology is currently having on the most fundamental aspect of huma behavior - our sexuality, which informs everything to do with how we feel about ourselves, other people, our relationships, our lives and our happiness.

This is a global issue that is currently impacting everywhere.

We'll start this conversation at 1pm EST on Wednesday December 7. I am very much looking forward to conversing with all of you!


Closing Statement from Cindy Gallop

Everybody - I loved this conversation! Terrific free and frank exchange of views, many aligned. I found this enormously helpful, both to me personally as I take MakeLoveNotPorn forwards, but also in the context of the many friends I have who are all tackling different aspects of this whole area in different ways, and will also find a lot of this useful. Many thanks to everyone who participated - I really appreciate it. I hope to continue the conversation in due course, and certainly to add to and expand it when I and my team launch http://makelovenotporn.tv in spring 2012.

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  • Dec 7 2011: That is a really hard question. Because of the varying values and morals out there, can you really make one that fits all. I think you have to create things that fit what you believe. Here is what I believe:

    1. Porn is a drug.

    It has been found to be just as addictive as crack cocaine but be much cheaper and more accessible.

    2. Porn is just one form of sex addiction

    There are many sexual addictions. Others may include but not limited to sleeping around, strip clubs, prostitution, one night stands. Each are addictive.

    3. Porn destroys lives and relationships.

    Your brain easily forms pathways when pleasure is felt in an easy way. Though relationships can provide longer lasting forms of pleasure that also reach deeper and make people better, porn and other sexual addictions provide easy access to pleasure. Indulging in these outlets prevent people from building strong relationships because the high of temporary pleasure must be increased over time. This prevents healthy relationships from forming because the high is unachievable because the brain has been trained to be numb to such interaction.

    First people have to understand this before they can accept that porn is not good.
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      Dec 7 2011: Jeremy - have you seen the movie 'Shame' (about sex addiction)? I found it interesting that the censors gave it an NC-17 rating. As the New York Times review observed, 'Younger viewers will have to go elsewhere to learn that sex is enjoyable.' ....

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