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

Originally posted on


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 tochildren’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 anAttribution-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 cansell 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?

Twitter: @tkrv12


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