COMMENT:

I'm forever grateful that every boyfriend I had at Oxford dumped me. If any of them had asked me to marry them, I probably would have said yes and it would have ruined my life. In an alternate universe somewhere, there are divorce papers with my name on them.

Instead, my first foray into online dating in 2002 changed my relationships, career and world-view. I was 42 and had recently moved to New York to set up the US branch of advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH). Work was all-consuming, so when a pitch for a new client, uDate, required us to set up dating profiles, I decided to mix business with pleasure.

I was completely honest about everything, including my age. To my surprise, I received an avalanche of responses from younger men. I realised I was every young guy's fantasy – an attractive, high-flying woman, who wasn't interested in children, marriage, or even a relationship.

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Cindy Gallop started dating men half her age when she was 42. Photo / Getty Images
Cindy Gallop started dating men half her age when she was 42. Photo / Getty Images

So began a sexual odyssey with young men aged 19 to 30-odd that would change the course of my life.

I quickly discovered how differently millennial and, to a lesser extent, Gen X men view sex and relationships to us baby boomers.

Almost 60, I'm old enough to remember a time when it was extremely important to my partners that I had an orgasm.

Gallop founded MakeLoveNotPorn after realising society's silence around sex meant young people were learning about it from porn. Photo / Getty Images
Gallop founded MakeLoveNotPorn after realising society's silence around sex meant young people were learning about it from porn. Photo / Getty Images

Now male-lens porn has become today's default sex education, men have learned, albeit subconsciously, that sex is a form of pleasure to be "performed", not enjoyed equally by both genders.

The issue is that we don't talk openly about sex in the real world, to separate out reality from fantasy – parents themselves often don't realise what the things their children are seeing on screen look like.

This is the message I share in the final episode of Channel 4 documentary series, Generation Porn, which airs on Wednesday. It speaks to parents' worst fears that their children aren't having consensual, loving relationships – and growing up in a world that has a very different idea of sex.

Gallop launched MLNP to help drive healthy conversations around real sex and erase harmful myths and stigmas. Photo / Getty Images
Gallop launched MLNP to help drive healthy conversations around real sex and erase harmful myths and stigmas. Photo / Getty Images

For example, this week's episode opens with a look at a "virtual brothel", where visitors watch porn through a VR headset while giving themselves real-world sensations with a sex doll.

I am on a mission to use technology, not to drive us further apart into our own virtual worlds, but to bring us closer together in this one. In 2013, I created MakeLoveNotPorn, a social network of sorts, where couples share videos of themselves having "real world" sex. We have 131 MakeLoveNotPornstars (as we call our contributors) at the moment and 800 videos, and over 750,000 members have signed up.

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I want us all to celebrate the messy, awkward, funny, wonderful sex we have in real life, to promote consent, good sexual values and behaviour. One teenager told me he had "learnt more about sex from your website than any sex education I've ever had".

On average, children first stumble across hardcore porn, aged 8, so parents need to have "the conversation" sooner.

I want to expand MakeLoveNotPorn to include sex education and information for all ages about love, relationships, intimacy, sex and health.

My challenge is finding investors; in 10 years I've only been able to find one, to the tune of $3 million. Everyone else is too scared of "what other people will think" – so now I'm raising $200 million to start AllTheSky Holdings, the world's first fund for sextech designed to bring people together, not drive them apart.

I am my own research lab – I date a lot of younger men simultaneously, though I have an extremely selective three-step process, which men I meet on dating sites need to pass before a date. First, sending me some more pictures beyond those on their profile; secondly, emailing until I can tell we have chemistry; then, speaking on the phone to check the same. They need to be a very nice person.

When we get to the point of intimacy, I am open with them about what I want. I'll happily debunk the myths they've learnt from porn about what "good" sex looks like. I know it might change the atmosphere between us, but I think: "I have to do this for every other woman he's going to sleep with."

Even though I date casually, my relationships can often last, off and on, two, five or even 15 years.

Interestingly, though they may go on to date women their own age, when those relationships end, many of them later come back.