"I cant believe that people think that what they see in mainstream porn is the way that they should be having sex" is probably the best way to sum up the (SFW) MakeLoveNotPorn: The Social Sex Revolution documentary — which you really, really need to watch. If you're not familiar with MakeLoveNotPorn or its founder, Cindy Gallop, it's time you get up to speed.
Basically, MakeLoveNotPorn is user-generated, crowdsourced videos of people having sex — including all those awkward, messy moments. Basically, it's the real world sex you're having in your everyday life but never get to see outside your bedroom. Not only that, users can remain anonymous and even wearing their masks if they want.
Recently, the team behind MakeLoveNotPorn and the stars spent some time at Mermaid Ranch and created a documentary that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the company and some of its contributors. The MakeLoveNotPornstars in the documentary, two existing couples and a a newbie, recorded themselves having sex there and talked about how the experience affects them, both personally and within their relationships. It's only 15 minutes long and it's definitely worth a look.
"We want to encourage people to understand that great sex is born out of great communication," Gallop says in the video.
So many of us (myself included) get so used to watching mainstream porn and turn a conveniently blind eye to the power it has in society as a whole, like how destructive it can be to young viewers who have no real sex education. Watching the MLNP video was a good reminder of that — and that there is an alternative.
Here's a sneak peak at the video and the folks involved.
This is Cristina, who went to Mermaid Ranch to shoot her first-ever sex scene for MLNP. Interested in sex education, sex therapy, and drama therapy, she initially met one of the curators at a sex toy shop — and the rest is history. Sexy history.
"The most important thing is that you're having the real world sex you're having in everyday life," Sarah Beall, curator and community manager for MakeLoveNotPorn.tv, advises her in the video before shooting. "You're not performing for the camera."
The Old Timers
Efi and Walter are a couple who have been together nine years and shoot videos for the site. So what's it like? They seem to get a lot out of the experience. Efi used to feel self-conscious about her body, but says MLNP has helped her recover her sexuality and her womanhood.
"It's fun to watch, it's also... it's nostalgic," Walter says in the video. "It's like keeping a diary, a sex video diary."
For Colin/Gray, it's all about learning about their sexualities, together and separately. They explain that filming allows them to expose fears and get rid of them. It sounds liberating as hell. "I like to be taken care of during sex," Colin says. "When I watched porn in the past that was never going on. So what we get to do is representative of something I don't often see."
In addition, the two talk about the sad state of sex education in America and how they grew up not discussing sex in school or with friends. "It kind of started as cutesy little home things," Gray says of their videos. But now, they're using their videos to teach others and treat their scenes like art pieces, with themes and concepts.
"I think in the back of our minds we're interested in what message we can push," she says.
What Filming Is Like
So what does filming real-life sex actually look like? Well, it's real, and it's sexy AF. You can tell how much they all enjoy it and feel fulfilled by it. In fact, during Efi and Walter's shoot, Cristina got emotional seeing the soft moments that aren't shown in porn, like caressing. "That look into their private lives was really beautiful — and I want that," she says.
I love MLNP. They have a strong understanding of how porn is becoming formative in the dearth of comprehensive sex education— and how damaging that can be. They celebrate the real, messy, and silly moments of sex. Keep it up, team.