Is the Fact ‘Sex Sells’ A Good Enough Reason to Sell Sex?

SEX. SEX. SEX. SEX. SEX.

When I go on the hunt for blog inspiration, I am always confronted with the same truth: Sex Sells. There’s no denying it, from movies to children’s Halloween costumes, sexuality is everywhere. Sex is an easy way to sell just about anything. I bet you could sell an abstinence only camp if you make sure to use the sex appeal of attractive people on the brochure cover.

I’ve shied away from this topic on ChapterTK largely because I don’t want to be one o those bloggers who uses ‘buzz words’ to attract page views. I’ll take 200 followers who enjoy my content over 2,000 views from people who don’t care any day. It dawned on me today, however, that there is indeed something important to say about sex in our culture.

Culture may be the wrong word to use. The concept of selling sex is really more related to human nature. Sex is a natural part of the human experience. We crave it on a biological level. Can we really blame businesses for manipulating that fact to sell their products?

Let’s look at this from a different angle. A friend of mine once explained to me why it benefits the species for women to naturally weaker. If a woman were strong enough to fight off a man, she could be more selective about her mates and how often she has sex. In this way, she may not have as many children as the woman who is easily overcome whenever a man desires her. More genes from the woman who  is physically weaker will pass on to the next generation and so the species spreads. Does that make it ‘normal’ for men to rape, then?

Just because something comes from an animalistic side of our human nature does not me we have to give into those drives. Just because ‘sex sells’ does not mean that selling sex is what’s best for our society. If you want to go all biological, you could even make the argument that the selling of sex and attractiveness is working against our species. I’ve known my fair share of women and even a few men who suffered from eating disorders in order to achieve the attractive look perpetuated by our media. Hell, I even succumbed to that despair for a while. What happens when they become so malnourished they can’t reproduce? What happens when they lose their life to their disease?

This photo, “Sex Sells – Glue Jeans QV” is copyright (c) 2014 Alpha and made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license

That’s just one effect. What about the middle school children being caught in sexting scandals? On some level, it’s natural for children to start experimenting as their bodies change and hormones start to make their presence known. I worry, though, is that process still happening naturally or are we pushing it upon them.

This is entirely different from sex education, which is aimed at helping children understand their bodies and how to protect themselves should they choose to act on those changes. The imposition I’m talking about is having T.V. shows about elementary students or middle school students who have serious relationships. I’m talking about stores like Abercrombie and Fitch marketing themselves to children who walk through their stores plastered with images of near-nude models. We, as a society, have become consumed by sexualized images.

Whenever someone complains about 14-year-old models posing in suggestive images or how some bloggers get all their traffic from posting about sex every other day, they are faced with the same excuse: Sex Sells. The statement, said as fact, is usually followed by a shrug, as if that’s just the way things are. Is there really nothing we can do to change some of this?

I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy that. Sure, sex sells. It’s a fact, but that doesn’t mean it has to remain one. Just because something has always been, does not mean it should always be. Just because sex can sell does not mean it’s the mechanism we should be using to push our products.

There’s no easy balance here. As always, I’m left with more questions than answers. I am sure that the use of sex and sexuality to sell just about every product isn’t healthy for our society. At the same time, I’m not sure how to change this. Sex certainly isn’t a bad thing. We shouldn’t go out and make people feel shameful for having sex or sexualized feelings. Is the only answer to find something that sells better than sex?

We can’t change the fact that sex sells. We also can’t completely shelter children from the effects of media no matter how hard we try. How do we move from here to a better society with healthier ideas of sexuality? How do we help our children develop their sexuality in a healthy fashion without making them think they have to look or act a certain way?

Do you think the world has become overly sexualized? How do we fight the fact that sex sells? Is the answer to find something that sells better than sex? Can we push society towards a future where something else is valued as much as sex appeal is today?

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89 thoughts on “Is the Fact ‘Sex Sells’ A Good Enough Reason to Sell Sex?”

  1. I’ve muddled through this same issue in my mind so many times. I have notes on articles I have wanted to write, but like you haven’t wanted to go the sex word route. My main thought is don’t buy what the sex is selling. Movies, music, merchandise, just stay away from it. Instead buy from what is selling what you value most. Easier said than done really. But it all depends on how much you really value what you value.

    1. Sex is a really interesting issue. I want to talk about it… but I don’t want to… It’s such a conundrum. That’s how this article was born. I can talk about sex without giving people what they want. We’ll see what happens.

      It’s hard to avoid the idea that sex sells, though. It’s every where. Every movie, every book. Is there anything they aren’t trying to sell with sex or sex appeal?

  2. It’s a tricky subject, especially when you don’t want to sound like a creep. I think is some respects we are over reacting. Not that long ago a 14 year olds could be considered of marrying age, now we want to cotton ball them and freak out when they show any normal sexual urges or behaviour. I am not saying it is right sexualise 14 year olds or exploit them for capital gain, don’t misunderstand me. I don’t think they should be little nymphos running around doing what ever they want, I just think as a society we freak out over sex as a whole too much. Instead of trying to hide it from kids and making them feel guilty about it there should be open communication about it, an understanding that yes its out there but just because (insert tween idol name here) is acting in a provocative way, doesn’t mean you need or whatever the case might be. I might be looking at this the wrong way though, maybe the world is over sexualised and I am trying to justify it.

    1. No, I certainly agree. I’m not trying to say sex education and discussion around sex is wrong in any way. In fact, that might be a good way to help the youth. They deserve to understand how their bodies work, how their brains are working and how to protect themselves all along with the morals their parents want them to have. In that way, we aren’t leaving it up to the media to dictate that for our children.

      But it comes in more subtle ways as well. I mean, have you seen the Halloween costumes made for five year olds today and compared them to just a decade ago? There’s a show called Toddlers in Tiaras with little girls gyrating around on stage. Providing a healthy sense of sexuality to our children shouldn’t require us to have an over sexualized world. May I just wish something sold better than sex…. the whole ‘sex sells’ thing is getting old.

      1. Yes I agree with you, stuff like the Halloween costumes and toddlers and tiaras are taking it too far. In that respect it is creating a problem and taking the whole ‘sex sells’ thing too far. I think however that in those cases it is the parents allowing their children to be those little sex symbols that is the problem. They are letting it be okay that 5 year olds are spray tanned and wearing full makeup.

  3. I totally agree. I may be in the minority on this one, but I think it’s due to the fact a lot of parents want to be their children’s BFF and not their mentors. I have heard so many times, “they’re young, they’ll make mistakes,” but if they are aware of what their children are doing and ignoring the issue, then that’s neglect. I think this society has become spoiled and scared. They don’t want to say no. We need to be brave and grow as human beings by learning from our past mistakes. Children need to be taught self-respect.

    1. You make a good point. Of course they will make mistakes, but they still deserve to have all the education possible. Maybe it won’t prevent them from making mistakes, but it will at least allow them to protect themselves.

      Beyond that, though, all the media messages are a bit out of the control of parents. That’s more worrying than anything else. Parents and teachers can do whatever they way, but children will be exposed to peer pressure and media. Like it or not, they see our oversexualized world. The parents job isn’t just to educate, but to make them understand the difference between reality and fantasy.

        1. I don’t know that we can really say that either. Our society has always been obsessed with sex. I’m sure in those ‘good old days’ there were still issues. In fact, they may have been worse due to the fact no one discussed sex openly. It’s not a matter of removing sexuality, but of evolving society to a point where to recognizes sex is not the most important quality in anything.

  4. I think the spirit in which sex is portrayed is important. Megan Fox was so objectified and sexualized in Transformers, teaching young boys that to desire a woman sexually is all that’s important. Where as many other movies portray a woman as desirable for her heart, brain and her body. Objectifying a person, like say A&F clothing adds, is no advantage to society. Showing men and women as strong sexual people who control their desires responsibly is fine.

    1. I agree. The problem is not that sex is shown, discussed or used to sell. The problem is that we have grown into a society that values that kind of objectifying sexuality when there are so many other things that can make a person sexy or attractive.

  5. i think that for many people their morality is based on “if i can make money at it – its good” not just sex but any thing can and will be sold. we have the wars to prove it. if you look at TV you can see vast amounts of “celebratiez” doing anything for fame and money.

    1. Isn’t that sad? What does all that money get people? Things? Friends who are only there for the money? How can that buy happiness. Imagine what our world would be like if advertisers used things that actually make people happen to sell their products…. although, I’m not sure they’d sell as much that way.

  6. Very thoughtful interesting commentary today. I couldn’t agree more – so I am suggesting Marshmallows Sell as an alternative. Instead of blatantly offensive bodies everywhere you turn, we could replace them with marshmallows. Different colored Marshmallows. Miniature ones. Marshmallow cremes. Extra large ones. A few regular white ones thrown in for diversity.
    I have a pillow stitched with the phrase Money Can’t Buy Happiness but it can Buy Marshmallows Which is the Same Thing.
    Marshmallows Sell. What do you think?

    1. Puts me in mind of a clever quip, that I can’t seem to find the full attribution of. “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker . . . and sex won’t rot your teeth!” The first part is definitely from Ogden Nash, but I can’t find who “improved” upon it. It’s got kind of a Mae West ring to it! — YUR

    2. Hahahaha! I love the idea of using marshmallows, although I couldn’t help but think we could do the same thing with people, although I’m not sure what people cremes would look like so maybe not that one. It wouldn’t get completly away from selling sex, but at least it would expand the idea of what is considered sex.

      OR COOKIES! Dude, you could sell me a lot of things if there are cookies involved.

  7. Camille Paglia has made a few interesting points on this; the sexual revolution of the 60s combined with the aspects of women’s liberation that focused on women being as sexual and sexually promiscuous as men in the name of equality (rather than working to make men less sexual and less sexually promiscuous) let the genie out of the bottle and we’re now reaping the consequences. Women are told that their sexuality (and hence their sexualization) is a power they can hold over men, but while there is a power in a sense, it opens women up to exploitation. People are told by trendsetters, media heads, and even professorial types that they need to simply accept oversexualization because sex is natural or, even worse, told that telling women not to embrace and use their sex appeal in ways which our media culture demands is sexist.

    As gross and crude as Seth MacFarlane’s “We Saw Your Boobs” song was, the takeaway should’ve been that no matter what women have been told about getting undressed in front of cameras to sell movies and products, empowerment and blah blah blah, they are being laughed at because they’ve been had by the ‘sexual revolution’.

    1. You can hardly blame the 60s and/or embracing one’s sexuality as the cause since sex and sex appeal has been used throughout all of time to sell countless ideas. It’s a natural part of humanity. If anything, I think we’d benefit from being even more open about sex. The problem now is that, while everyone enjoys it and everyone is curious, it’s still a bit of a social taboo to discuss in the open. There’s a ‘forbidden fruit’ factor at play, there.

      Having sex and embracing one’s sexuality is good and healthy, but we feel like we have to value ourselves based on the narrow definition of sex appeal they try and sell us.

  8. The thing we all seem to forget is that, true, sex sells…but we DON’T have to buy it 🙂 The marvelous thing about getting older is that sex great sex – has nothing to do with clothes, make up, cars, things, stuff – and everything to do with the intimacy of spirit. 🙂

    1. That must be why marketers are targeting a lot of young people. I actually have a theory they mostly target teenagers because they have free money and no bills to spend it on.

  9. We can’t change how sex sells. We can change our discipline. The more sex sells, the more base our society really gets, acting upon impulse. I very much so agree with you that it’s hurting society. It weakens our convictions and desire to have long term goals and emphasizes a quick payoff.

    1. There are just so many better ways to find happiness. I wonder if we could strive for a society where we don’t deny our attraction to sex, but we do value things that truly make up happy instead of all the superficial stuff.

  10. As a father of a young daughter, the ever increasing sexualization of society troubles me to no end. As a man it presents a whole other set of challenges. Maybe I’m just getting old but it seems like each year less is unacceptable and decency is more and more optional. I have no answers, only prayers …

    1. I used to joke that, by the time I have a child, people will be wearing pasties in the street. The truth is, though, that’s it’s not a gendered issue. The problem isn’t so much what women and girls choose to wear. It’s really about the society that tells them they are not valuable unless they look and act a certain way. Those same pressures on one men and boys as well. They’re told to look and act a certain way and they are told to value certain things about women. Each lesson feeds the other.

      1. So true, society at large places a much higher value on presenting an “acceptable” facade than on living an authentic life. For some of us it takes many years to figure that out and become ok with authenticity (whether with appearance or personality), some never get there, which is sad (to me).

        What I don’t get is how society has swung so far in the over sexualized direction, seemingly so quickly. Maybe it has always been there, maybe it’s just more noticeable these days with media proliferation. Maybe it’s only become a problem to me since I became a Dad and started to try and be a better person … 🙂

        1. I think we all experience a time in our lives where focus on relationships, sex and attractive people seems normal. Since a lot of media is aimed at youth, they are using that. Of course, we don’t really want our children to think it’s normal. I really think part of the cure is just education. Sex is a normal part of life and I think we’d all be better if we could have open conversations, especially with our kids.

          For example, I remember mentioning to my parents the friends and peers I knew who were having sex. My parents kind of dismissed the whole thing, saying “I’m sure the the number of people actually have sex in your school is very low.” So, there were things I didn’t tell them. Things I didn’t ask them even though I wanted to. I, like many at that age, was wondering this new frontier half blind. That kind of environment leaves youth more susceptible to media interpretations of sexuality.

          1. You hit the nail on the head, education is key. Unfortunately many parents would rather avoid the subject instead of facing their discomfort, discussing with their kids and preparing them for what they will inevitably face. I’m still waiting to have “the talk” with my parents. Might be too late now 🙂

            1. It’s funny though, because that education will probably protect them more for the oversexualized world than ignorance on the issue. At the very least, they’ll understand the world a little bit better and be a little bit more prepared to deal with it all.

  11. I applaud your taking a stand on this issue. Thank you!!! I completely agree, and it makes me sad. We punish people for being so sexually explicit, but we’ve crafted that into the culture that it’s something that’s always okay. Not that it’s an excuse. Great post!

    1. It’s such and conundrum because I’m certainly not against sex. Obviously I’m not against discussing sex. There’s nothing wrong with sex, but there is a problem when we value sex and sex appeal as the most important qualities. We have a hard time finding balance here. We either want to ban sex or do nothing but talk about sex. Things are taken to extremes. We just need to be more open about everything, including sexuality, and recognize that people (and even most businesses and products) have value above and beyond sexuality.

      1. I agree with you! I think so much of the attitude has to do with social stigmas. Sexuality is part of human existence, and because we spent so much time avoiding the conversations, we now over-exploit sex in society. If we were more open about it to begin with, and educate people, it wouldn’t be so bad, I think.

        It’s similar to alcohol. Such a stigma about not drinking until a certain age, and that’s part of the reason why there’s such an issue with people getting drunk and partying. You don’t nearly as much of that in other countries where it is more acceptable to drink at a younger age. Obviously, I don’t think we should all be lushes, but the stigmas around something that is fine in moderation cause a bunch of problems.

        I also think it’s just lazy advertising with a capital L. When in doubt, fall back on “Sex Sells.” Please. That’s been done to death. I’d love to see a really awesome advertisement for clothes, perfume, alcohol, makeup, etc, that avoids the “Sex Sells” mantra.

  12. I’ve just clicked the link because the title says “sex”, lol. Just kidding, but I think unconsciously you’re punishing to those that sell sex but victimizing those that buy it. Sex sells because there a lot of people who says it’s forbidden. The same way that books about freedom and ideas were sold a lot in time of oppression.
    BTW, not in every culture women are weaker than men. In my country was normal that women generals eviscerated people alive during the battle, and today they can be the head of families. Here the feminist books has no meaning and don’t sell.

    1. I definitely wrote this article based on the idea that sex sells, but I wanted people to find something different when they got here. Like everything else I write, I wanted to make people think again about why they are so attracted to that quality.

      I’m certainly not trying to say with this article that there is a gender issue there. A lot of the visual effects of ‘sex sells’ involves women, but men are just as involved. As I told another commenter, women may be made to feel they need to look or act a certain way to be desirable in a society that values sex appeal more than anything else, but men are also taught to value that in women. It effects all genders. And I certainly think being more open and accepting about topics surrounding sex and sexuality would help to reduce society’s obsession. It wouldn’t be such an attractive quality with out the ‘forbidden fruit’ factor.

  13. I don’t think you’re going to find an alternative to “sex sells”, kiddo. Even if it offends, it has a broader appeal than any other of the human desires. We have definitely overdone it, but I think it will actually have to get worse – if that’s possible – before it gets better. Besides the sexy – nearly naked – advertizing directed at the young, you also have “erectile dysfunction” ads AND “vaginal dryness” ads! So, they’re not just sexing up the kids, they’re sexing up the old folks, too! — YUR

    1. I was just throwing that idea out there. The truth is that sex will always sell and that’s not really the main problem. The problem is that it seems to be the only thing that sells these days and they sell a very narrow definition of sex appeal. There are many other things to value about people and even products. There are other things that can lead to happiness. Why can’t we also value those?

  14. Just a quick thought, playing a little devil’s advocate here again. I think in some ways the over-sexualization of our culture is a bit of backlash against overly religious, restrictive, judgmental roots. And in many ways this is a good thing, we’re getting closer and closer to accepting homosexual and transgender people into mainstream society because the sexualization has brought up all the things that were previously shunned, ignored, or hated.
    Sex being a more open, talked about phenomenon I think has also led to something of a sexual revolution in society that previously held to the whole “sex is only for marriage” theme. That’s good for women, allowing them more choice and acceptance.
    I understand your concerns with the “sex sells” and the negative influence it has, but the actual sexualization of society might have some positive benefits too.

    1. I can certainly see that. I think a large part of the problem is not that sex sells. It’s that sex sells and no one is talking about it. We are obsessed with sexuality, but we hesitate to discuss it. We are getting somewhere, though. Once we evolve into a society that accepts all sexuality and sexual choices, maybe the ‘forbidden fruit’ of sexuality will fail to sell as well. Maybe there’s a generation in the future who will rebel against all this sexuality and actually start to hide it again… wouldn’t that be crazy?

      (p.s. for the record, I could abstinence and/or waiting until marriage to be a sexual choice. They deserve equal respect as the person who chooses to live their sexual life differently.)

    1. Certainly not censorship. In fact, I think censorship would only make things work. The problem is not sex or sex appeal. We should all be encouraged to embrace our sexuality and have healthy, positive views of sex. I think part of the problem is that we are both obsessed with sex and socially forbidden to talk about sex. If it wasn’t such a forbidden thing, if people were more open and educated on sex and sexuality, the glamour of sex appeal might fade a bit. It’s never going to go away, and that just fine. It’s more a matter of where it is and isn’t appropriate. I guess, as opposed to censorship, I’m suggesting we think about the messages out there.

  15. A world where something else is valued as much as sex appeal huh? Well have I got some great news for you! As a matter of fact we are living in a world full of stuff that’s just as import as sex appeal it’s just not everyone feels the same things are important.

    In high school I was friends with girls who could care less about ever having sex appeal. I tried as hard as I could to not sound like a terrible person as I asked them why they never tired to ‘pretty themselves up’? In the end they really had just never cared about their looks. All they wanted was to pursue their dreams, whatever they may be.

    That’s the problem though, how are rich douchey white men going to make money off some homely girls dreams? Short answer, they’re not. The market goes where there’s the most money. Unfortunately the girls who want to be sexy will pay crazy amounts of money to look sexy. On the flip side, girls like me who never wear make-up aren’t going to make anybody richer so why advertise to my taste.

    1. I know some girls like that. I don’t wear makeup, rarely wear heels and give very little thought to the clothes I put on in the morning. I still want to look good, but I’m not trying to impress anyone. It just never appealed to me. I’m not saying that stuff is bad, either. It all depends on the why. If you wear make up and/or get plastic surgery for yourself, that can be a healthy action. If you do it in order to amp up your sex appeal for others, then it’s a problem. The truth the sellers of sex never tell us is that sex appeal is an empty achievement that alone does not lead to true happiness.

      1. @tk ,let me more blunt why sex sells.There are 3 basic needs of a human psychy,and these are acceptance,approval and identity .Give any human being these,and he or she is made.Sex is engrossed in this matter.For there is no intimate experience between two humans than sex.I had this line from a movie”you just had sex with her, thats it “.Implying sex isn’t that blust without the element of love.This is innate in every human being,and a sex advert keeps that fantasy burning.lantern!;-)

  16. It seems like we arein sync and having simular ideas for posts lately. I always used to stay away from the subject of sex, but recently have decided to go with it a bit more. Not because I think it will get extra views, but more because I had stories I wanted to tell that would not make sense if I missed certain parts out. I think young people today are desensitised to sex. Look at films that were seen as scandalous from many years ago that are no where near as explicit as things you would see on a billboard on every street corner now.

    1. I have a lot I can say on the topic of sex, especially when it comes to ideas surrounding virginity… I’m just not sure how to bring it up. I hate the idea of pandering for view just because sex sells. I think that’s sort of where this post came from. I thought to myself, Fine! I’ll give it what they want then, but I’ll surprise them when they get here. It just seems amazing to me. I mean, our brain craves more than just sex. We crave sex, food and sleep. So why is sex exploited more than food or sleep? Although… maybe exploiting sleep would be hard ^_^

  17. I gotta say I love the opening sentence, “sex sex sex sex sex”

    Put a smile on my face.

    Anyways, I DO believe we can change this cultural problem… but its gonna take eons unfortunately.. No easy solutions.

    1. Any real cultural change takes eons, but it’s still worth it in the end.

      ….. and my frustrations may have come out in that first line… my bad.

  18. First and foremost, let me congratulate you on your strength of self, in refusing to conform anymore to the ridiculous expectations that modern, “fashionable”society has for a body’s appearance and body weight. I can never stand it when I see a beautiful person (very very few are not) harming herself (or himself) because of the outrageous depictions of some Paris-inspired model. Some people actually, nutritionally, Need To Eat A Sandwich.

    Second, I will point you in the direction of that classic gem, Brave New World, in which Aldous Huxley so eerily predicts a dystopian future of Epicurean abandon. Just look at the first few pages in the book to see his portrayal of a world where children in kindergarten are taught to sexually explore their own bodies and each others’. When I read that in high school, I was a bit shocked and sickened, but now i see he was simply predicting the future with what seems now like uncanny accuracy. Actually, according to his timeline from Brave New World, we are already about 400 years ahead of schedule!!

    Third, I completely agree with your sentiment here. Our society in mainstream Western culture is far too sexualized. The worst part is, “Sex Sells” is not a new phrase – it is simply a descriptive statement. Talk to people in Marketing or Advertising. The sad truth is that very, very little is shown to the public these days without some semblance of that sexual push, usually subliminal in America. Hell, find a “Christian Mingle” commercial to see the shameless prostitution of millennia of religious tradition swept away just to sell participation in a dating website.

    Lastly, and this is not really what I expect you want to hear, but “In My Honest Opinion,” it is all part of the Cycle. All of Life cycles, round and round. It is like the Yin and Yang, like Life and Death, like Fertilization and Fertile Ground — Oh!! Wait, there is even a somewhat sexual theme in Taoism, one of the oldest philosophies followed by a large number of Earth’s inhabitants. Damn. Anyway, worry not, this will all come full circle. I was amazed when I read in AP European History (12 years ago) that during Martin Luther’s time, the youth in Germany growing up during the Reformation were shagging like there was no tomorrow. Codpieces and tight pants were the fashion rage, and fornication was the teen order of the day. Not 200 years later, new denominations of conservative Christianity were sweeping across Europe and the United States (through the colonies, first, even earlier), turning the people “back toward God,” as it were, and away from sin and fornication.

    My (unenthusiastic) prediction is that since to every Revolution there is a Reactionary Response, the people in the West will soon find themselves overrun by conservatives who will push abstinence and antisexualism on us all. That will probably happen about the time the Neo-Con Republicans say “I told you so,” after the outrageous economic policies of our current government finally bottom out and we are left shackled to our debtors, in default on trillions of dollars of loans……

    Sorry, I am not usually so pessimistic, but I am certain of one thing — nothing lasts for long in this crazy world of ours!!

    NB

    1. I just think we have to find a balance between healthy sexuality and expressing that sexuality to the world. I guess I’m more optimistic that I don’t see the world falling like you say. Neo-Con Republicans seem far fetched in my opinion. I’m actually hoping for a society that embraces sexuality and does not shy away from sexual topics. In this way, it won’t be so forbidden and maybe we can shift to valuing more about a person than their sex appeal.

      1. Don’t get me wrong – I completely agree with you here. The “happy medium” would be educated sexual restraint where appropriate, but sexual empowerment for all. I find it fascinating that something the race has been doing since before we even had a coherent spoken language can still be something that makes people shy away or just go overboard. I don’t have very much faith left in our race for the idea of a happy medium. Sometimes I feel like overall, it is one extreme or another. I worry that we who can step back and look at things with rationality and enlightenment are in a minority.

        1. We definitely have a tendency for extremes, but I think more and more people are getting tired of that. Just like politics, more and more people are crying for a third voice in a world of extremes. They may be in the minority now, but I think it will get stronger. I really do believe there is a middle ground. Just because we haven’t found it yet doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort to find it and support it.

          1. Great parallel, to politics! Now I think I can get on the same page as you – I hadn’t thought about it that way. I of course am one who will never understand how the U.S. essentially always used a strictly bipartisan political system, with little or no third party, much less fourth, fifth, etc. So now I can see how you are calling for those of us who see Something Else to question what we have so far….

  19. I think the reason sex sells is at least partially if not mostly a symptom of a sexually repressed society. Look at how much pornography gets viewed in more conservative states compared to more liberal areas. I think a society that is more open sexually doesn’t need to buy sex as much. Why buy it, when you could be having it? 🙂 There is zero evidence that kids exposed to sex earlier are going to be more likely to commit rape, buy pornography, or get pregnant. BEcause we have birth control, because we know how to have safe sex, all we need is education on safe sex practices, and the consequences to unprotected sex. Sex is not bad, dirty, or shameful. It as natural as eating.. Whether it’s kinky or just plain old missionary, as long as it’s consensual.

    1. That sounds logical to me. Our brains crave sleep, food and sex. If you limit the amount of food a person can eat down to an unhealthy level, they’ll jump any time you say “buy this and you’ll get food!” Maybe sex sells for the same reason.

  20. I personally think that there’s just an unhealthy interest in sex now-a-day. Sex used to be something that was held as private and intimate. And rightly so. I think we see a lot more issues of rape and sexual crime because of such a strong emphasis on it by the media. Sex sells because ultimately it feels good. But, like so many other things, humans go to extremes. And of course, in today’s modern world and the breakdown of moral absolutes and a general caring for oneself and for others, everything becomes subjective. But then the question is: Where are the limits? In brazil, not too long ago, a person that raped a teenager younger than 14 was considered a pedophile. That’s changed now. Because kids are starting to have sex as young as 12 years of age, the age for sexual crimes being considered as pedophilia is now 12 years old. The government has started printing material for school children, as young as 10 years old, teaching them how to find their G spot, and showing graphic images of a boy and girl having sex, a boy behind another boy giving it to him from behind, and two girls with an explicit tongue shot. There’s even a cartoon of a farmer with a obviously gigantic penis (seen through his overalls), feeding his chickens and all of the chickens have got huge holes in their behind. Now if that’s not twisted, then I don’t know what is. This project cost about $10,000 Brazilian Reais. Meanwhile, the public health system is lacking medical professionals, hospital equipment and beds, and public schools – well, let’s just not go there. This sexual awareness publication is meant for the students and they are told not to show their parents. There has been a huge breakdown of the family unit, and in fact, our prior president, just before finishing his term in office, issued a decree/act for the breakdown of the ‘traditional’ family. Where does it stop? If there are no absolutes than where does it stop? The absence of absolutes can only lead to chaos.
    Sorry if I’m ranting on about this, but as you probably suspected when you wrote this, it would conjure up some serious discussion and opinions.
    Thanks for putting this on the table TK.
    🙂

    1. A lot of that does sound exstreme, but I do think children that young should be educated about sex since they start around that age. They don’t need to be taught how to have sex or have a cartoon with that farmer and chicken. They’re still children. But they need to understand what is and isn’t sexual contact. They need to understand the dangers. My simplistic idea of sex ed it saying “listen, you really shouldn’t be doing this because of these various biological and emotional reasons, but if you do, here’s how to protect yourself.” THAT kind of education is fine. It sounds to me like removing pedophilia laws and having cartoons like that is imposing sexual ideas on children instead of educating them.

      So… I guess this is just a sticky situation. I disagree that sex, that is, the discussion of sexual ideas, should be kept private. It should be treated like a healthy, natural part of the human experience. However, it should not be imposed upon people and children through media. One’s value is far more than their ex appeal.

      1. Oh I totally agree. Kids so need to be educated about it. And taught to be responsible people. And I agree too about the what you mentioned about the cartoons and all as imposing sexual ideas instead of educating them. I just don’t understand how the government could actually think that this is sexual education.
        I don’t think that the discussion of sexual ideas should be kept private either. It’s like I said above, being taught and teaching responsibility. And that’s just it too, “One’s value is far more than their sex appeal.”
        🙂

  21. Ok so this is kind of interesting territory for me, first off let me state that I was raised in a European household, and I have always had a weird fascination with how Americans and Europeans differ on their outlook of sex so very much. That is not to say that all Europeans are hedonistic wild men / woman who fornicate in the street, but I guess being raised in Germany in a pretty open family it’s always different for me. My family is pretty open about talk of sex, while my parents have never walked in on me or anything like that, they see it as only natural that I would engage in such actions. They didn’t ask me when I lost my virginity or anything like that, nor do they want blow by blow re-counts of anything I’ve done. However on the same level my Mom just shrugs and says “ok well enjoy it, and wear a condom.” That’s it no big drama, no “oh my pure sweet child how can you engage in such carnal acts, with wicked wanton woman. Blah blah blah ::throws book of particular faith::” I don’t even remember when I learned about sex, but I’m pretty sure I learned about sex even before I learned about death from my folks. This of course might have something to do with the fact that nudity (for both sexes) is just much more accepted in certain European countries.
    I completely agree sex, sexual health, etc are a natural part of the human experience and should be discussed. Granted not everyone is of the same mindset and I absolutely understand if some folks would rather not hear it, think it, talk about it, and then when they do it immediately ask for forgiveness. As I so recently stated while having a drink with a friend much older than me in the Philippines “what’s the big deal about two people smashing body parts together? It feels good, and it’s proven to be good for you.” Not to mention if you have a partner shouldn’t you be doing things for them that make them feel good? Shouldn’t they return the favor? How will you ever have a full filling experience if you both just grope at each other, while thinking “Oh dear god stop that already, your killing me”
    Now as far as sex sells, well your right in one sense I don’t think it should be stuffed down peoples throats, particularly the younger crowd. On the other I like to imagine that most people are smart enough to see that marketing campaigns, entertainers, and other such campaigns are there for the add’s not to show you how to conduct yourself. Because if you follow that logic I should be walking around without a shirt or shoes in my jeans, showering in AXE, and drinking some Bud Light and there should be a riot of the opposite sex whenever I step into any establishment. But I like to think I’m at least partially educated, with an IQ just above a boiled vegetable so I don’t believe any of that. And I don’t really think that marketing companies have to go to that extreme, I mean I buy clothes for comfort and (some) style all which are based on my own personal interest. Showing me some model having his chest groped by a scantily clad woman tells me nothing about whether I will find said jeans comfortable, or whether I would even think I look good in them.

    1. What you describe with your family seems like the ideal to me. Even in a religious household, that message can be there. “Don’t have sex, but don’t be afraid to talk to me if you have questions. If you take that action anyway, please protect yourself.” It really bugs me how afraid of the subject Americans tend to be especially because everyone is obsessed with it. Sex shouldn’t be branded as bad or wrong.

      I like to think most people are smart enough not to buy everything sex tries to sell, but things sold with sex appeal tend to sell better than others. When it comes to writing books, blog posts, creating movies or any of that, it always sells better if there’s some sex mixed in. Clearly there must be some amount of people who do give in based on the sexual quality, whether consciously or unconsciously.

      1. I’ve always believed it has something to do with America’s Puritan roots, maybe it’s something left over in the psyche from when everyone came over. One comparison I often draw is the sex vs. violence comparison in the US you have movies / video-games / entertainment that in some instances doubles as almost torture pornography, people are murdered or tortured in the most brutal way possible on screen the viscera practically drips out of the TV (movies like Hostel come to mind). That is a huge no-no in many European countries where violent video-games are either outright banned, or quite possibly heavily censored such as when the original Mortal Kombat came out in Germany and all the blood had to be green. On the other hand I remember picking up a “Bild” (a popular newspaper) and on page three is the daily nudy shot, everyday a different woman. The same on TV if some reality show has a popular entertainer that has been feature naked before, they will make sure to show plenty of his or her work, and this is during prime-time not at 3am. Something that would never happen in the US, I think we all remember the debacle that a certain “wardrobe malfunction” caused at the Superbowl, I mean how will the children ever understand a woman’s natural body part, we can’t have them see such things, think of the children. All in all I think I got pretty lucky growing up.

        Well I think it will always be something unconscious when it comes to sex sells, after all propagating the species is a normal biological urge. Secondly I will admit that yes I do look at add’s with “sexually charged imagery” in them, 99% of the time I’m not at all interested in the product it just comes down to the natural urge of “wow I think that woman is very attractive.” I think this is ultimately true for both sexes, it may not be even an interest in the add or the product but a purely biological urge of “oh my.”

        1. The way sex and violence is treated in America really is crazy. I’d much rather have us feel squeamish about violence and be open to sex. I mean, violence is just as much of a sin to most religions.

    1. You hope it’s too late to turn back?

      JK, I know that was probably a typo. It’s so interesting, and frustrating. I’m not really sure what the future holds. I’m at a loss for answers on this one.

  22. Sex is cool though. I saw some old grey haired women in sensual blow job scenes in the movie “the grand Budapest hotel” which was hot and not youth orientated.

      1. Yeah I guess so. My argument for this is men need lots of pictures of hot women everywhere because women have better imaginations (generally) and vibrating plastic toys. Obviously as is obvious a lot of these things are all too similar or based on youth or specific types of bodies and so on. I think that will just change as we become a bit smarted over the next 50 years.

  23. “A friend of mine once explained to me why it benefits the species for women to naturally weaker. If a woman were strong enough to fight off a man, she could be more selective about her mates and how often she has sex. In this way, she may not have as many children as the woman who is easily overcome whenever a man desires her. More genes from the woman who is physically weaker will pass on to the next generation and so the species spreads. Does that make it ‘normal’ for men to rape, then?”

    The problem is that if there is such a thing as a weak gene, all the descendants of the weaker women, both male and female, would become weaker. Aside from the fact that it doesn’t justify rape, it is complete nonsense. No one has ever explained why spreading the species is good.

    1. I don’t know enough about biology to know anything for sure. However, I have heard multiple people say that rape is due in part to biology (but I don’t really buy it). And regardless, it certainly does not justify rape. We have these amazing brains that have allowed us our freedom of thought and reason. Even if biology did ‘support’ rape in some way, every basic human being should be above such animalistic behavior.

      Lastly, I wasn’t trying to say that spreading the species was good or bad. It’s just a natural part of the animal kingdom. Qualities that benefit the spread of any species get passed on because those are the traits that cause more babies to be born. Qualities that reduce or hinder reproduction aren’t as numerous because, by definition, they don’t get passed on to as many offspring. That sort of basic process is changing, if you ask me, at least for humans. Now, qualities outside of an animalistic nature determine who does and does produce offspring. We’re not hunter-gatherers anymore and we can choose our mates based on intelligence or interests as opposed to genetic prowess.

  24. A bit late to jump on this post (but it came up first when I searched on google XD) I agree with you that sex sells, but nowadays its more like the media and the industries is shoving everything sexual towards us. Look at the Halloween costumes for example, there are hardly anything non-sexual for females to wear, and its not our choice that these are the only things that are available. I guess ignoring and not supporting (by not purchasing these goods) is possible, but I’d prefer it if there’s more choice for us to choose rather than being 100% ignorant on the issue.

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