Sex Sells

“I’m too sexy for my love too sexy for my love” Right Said Fred

If anybody makes a general observation you will find that beautiful women, scantily dressed abound in advertisement. It doesn’t even really matter what the product is. The reason being is that sex sells. This phenomena of course carries over into movies, television and literature. Prostitute photo

How exactly then does sex sell?

What happens when a male sees an advertisement containing a sexually charged woman? First of all his attention is grabbed. He notices the picture and a sexual arousal happens in his mind. The man associates the pleasurable psychological response to what else is in the advertisement. Thus if the picture is of a beautiful woman with a soft drink then somehow mentally a connection between the two is made.

Observe this advertisement.

What is the appeal of this advertisement that men will want to buy some bottled water? The picture has nothing at all to do with the water and has everything to do with the sexual attractiveness of the model. What happens is that when a man is in a store and wants something to drink, what he witnessed in this advertisement will influence him into buying this particular bottle of water. A purchase of the water is his confirmation of his sexual desire.

On the feminine side of things a lot has to do with the strong desire for a woman to be sexually attractive. Observe the models who walk the runways in Milan and Paris wearing the latest clothes and fashions. They are hailed as being possessing ‘ideal’ beauty. The connection women make is that if they purchase the stylish clothes the model wears that they too will be attractive as well. Observe Vogue Magazine and consider what qualities all the models who grace the cover share. When I look at the covers I see women who are young, pretty, made up, and very thin. A woman who purchases these magazines are influenced by their desire to look like the woman on the cover.

When a man responds to a sexual ad he is acting out on his sexual desire to possess the female that he saw in the advertisement. When the woman acts out on the figure of a sexually attractive woman she is expressing her desire to be like what she sees.

There are several problems with this whole societal occurrence. First of all it cheapens and devalues women into sexual objects. Models are not valued for a warm heart or their intelligence but simply for their looks. To reinforce the worth of models they get paid millions of dollars to do their trade. There is far more to a woman than her sexuality but that is not even part of the equation.

Secondly the image portrayed is harmful in two major aspects. First of all the image of these women is borderline anorexia. Advertisements featuring women who are little more than skin and bone suggest that the average woman should be as thin as well. This brings all sorts of problems as young ladies starve themselves to reach some ‘perfect’ and almost unattainable goal. Advertisements featuring very thin ladies brings about anorexia.

Another objection is the inherent racism of these advertisements. While the majority of the models are ‘white’ the problem goes far beyond that. Different cultures and thus different races have diverse ideals of what beauty is. For the most part these images are kept subservient to the desires of ‘white’ male. The reason is that an advertisement is designed to make money and the ‘white’ male has economic dominance. Even in ads which feature African American woman the ladies are light skinned and their hair straight. It seems that the majority of African American models are as far away from their own natural appearance and skewed towards ‘white’ as possible.

The question I then ask you if sex sells, what does that say about society?

Sex Sells

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2018). Sex Sells. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 19, 2018, from


Last updated: 9 Jan 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Jan 2018
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