Sex Sells Everything Else, So Why Can't Sex Be Sold?

From sex toys to sex work, the adult industry constantly finds itself defending it's right to cater for sexual lifestyles. The question is, why in modern times is this still such a hard pill for some to swallow? Particularly, when you factor in that various creative industries have been using sex to sell products successfully for decades.

Image composition: Burn the Night.

Image composition: Burn the Night.

From gyrating backing dancers in music videos, to raunchy fashion campaigns; whether you like it or not, sex is everywhere in various forms. With the help from renowned psychoanalysts and cognitive behavioural experts, the retail sector learnt that in order to successfully promote the awareness of a product and attract more paying customers, you have to tap into an individual's emotions and appeal to their desires. That's precisely why sex moved it's way into advertising and marketing in such a big way.

Beneath the prim and proper exterior of a human being, lies their dormant, wild, lustful, excessive and demanding nature. From the study of these attributes, came the birth of materialism and consumerism as we now know it. Investors are more than happy to throw money into markets that are booming or that start to grow exponentially since it's conception. So why is this not the case with the adult industry? Most corporate and commercial investors raise an eyebrow at any business proposition that is inherently or even indirectly linked to the adult sector, though it is proven that the Sex Tech and Adult Entertainment industries are accumulating billions in revenue each year. Sex Tech, though still somewhat in it's infancy compared to it's long established counterpart, is absolutely soaring and continues to be the face of pioneering technological development with lifestyle interests at it's core. It's current estimation is between $15 - $16 billion, this figure is expected to increase dramatically over the next two to three years. 

Screenshot from Nicki Minaj's 'Anaconda' music video.

Screenshot from Nicki Minaj's 'Anaconda' music video.

Thanks to pop culture, more and more people deem it to be socially acceptable to purchase adult goods in the form of raunchy lingerie, stimulating sex toys and light BDSM accessories such as blindfolds, wrist and ankle restraints and handcuffs i.e. items that you expect to see in an Ann Summers store. While more and more people are watching porn, still very few would actually admit it, particularly those who identify as female due to the lingering victorian / pseudo-religious stigma and discrimination against female sexuality. More women now than ever are watching porn, particularly as there are more genres and productions that cater to different preferences. Not all porn is 'malecentric' and some women even like content that is. It's normal to have different sexual interests and curiosities and people should be allowed to explore that without any shame attached.

This type of prejudice becomes far more amplified when you look at the sex work industry. Few demographics have to contend with the level of discrimination and verbal abuse that sex workers are often dealing with. Just the constant threat of being pursued and raided by the police and possible prosecution through the legal system is bad enough, it's then coupled with the fact that sex workers are far more at risk of being seriously harmed, stalked or ostracized simply for their choice of work. This is a subject we discussed in our latest IGNITE spotlight interview with UK sex work advocate and sexual therapist Charlotte Rose

Sex Work GIF

If people were more accepting of different lifestyles, choices of work and sexual identities, the world would be a much more positive and safer place to be in. Sure, there would still be a multitude of issues that need addressing, however at least in regards to those in sex work, the police would protect them rather than automatically pursue them, they would have a much needed support network they can rely on and ultimately, people would not treat them any differently. They would be able to enjoy the same courtesies as anyone else without the looming fear of becoming a social target.

Bottom line? None of these industries are going away any time soon as people will continue to use these services, purchase content and products. What does need eradicating is the normalisation of discriminatory behaviours and the perception that sexuality isn't a fundamental part of human nature. It may not be the case for all, but for most, it is well and truly linked to human behaviour and lifestyle. 


Written by Brenda Adiyiah for Burn the Night

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