TED Conversations

Cindy Gallop

Founder & CEO, IfWeRanTheWorld

TEDCRED 200+

This conversation is closed.

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!

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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: One thing I find that is harmful to sexuality is the all or nothing approach when dealing with sex. The reason why so much pornography deals with more violence and degradation seems to be: "you stepped into this pond, you might as well get in over your head." If porn was more "mainstream" I think we would see a lot less of sexual violence in pornography. As it is because of the hard 18+ years or older boundary, which if you'll forgive me is a pipe dream now, sexuality in the media comes in two flavors: kissing and hand holding with chaste side view lovemaking set to flute music or full on semen drenched porn with some generic hard rock in the back ground. There is NOTHING out there that looks even remotely like the sex normal people are having. Children are watching porn, we need to take our heads out of the sand and deal with it in a responsible manner by showing what real sex is like as opposed to awkward leg positioning.
    • Dec 7 2011: "There is NOTHING out there that looks even remotely like the sex normal people are having."

      How do you define 'normal people'?
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        Dec 7 2011: ME!

        I'm a normal person and porn doesn't come close to the sex I have. That's why it's called porn and not just sex.
        • Dec 7 2011: Corvida, I believe Burton's question in defining "normal people" is that people are varried and so too are their sexual preferences. If you were to group together 100 men, all of whom you believed are normal, chances are that at least some of them were homosexual, engaged in bondage, heterosexual anal sex, or a myriad of other sexual acts that you may not engage in, but are still very much normal. Sex, like people, is continually evolving, and changes from relationship to relationship, even when only looking at 1 person.

          Defining normal action is difficult to begin with, but when we're concerned with something that people talk so little about, it becomes even harder, and worse still, biased. While I might not engage in choking, hair pulling, or some of the other things that people have mentioned in this very thread, they are still very much normal. But the negative stigma of not being normal is often attached to them because of very similar mentalities of it not meeting the same sexual criteria as what you, or any other readers, might engage in.

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