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Representation of Sexuality in the Media: Advertisement

It is an entirely difficult thing to underestimate impacts that have been generated from sexual representation in the media. This is because, with the current advancement in technology, sexual advertisement has greatly influenced the cultural behaviors of people in the societies. The representation has also enhanced people to realize their true self and identity. Accommodative cultural values have been modeled in the recent times to uphold the ever changing sexual identities amongst people (Segal, 1997, 184). This paper will seek to analyze the representation of sexuality in the media. Strong discussion will be directed towards sexual advertisements and its influence in the people’s culture.

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It is very important to understand the weight accorded to sexuality in the modern world. Sexual information assists people in the realization their true self and can therefore be said to be the key towards happiness. It is relatively hard to quantify the impacts and influence of sexual advertisement in the modern world. A broad and enormous sexual feeling has dominated the people’s behaviors and activities. The domination of sexual feelings in song, films and books can act as an evidence of sexuality impacts.

It is important to note that sexuality has been separated from reproduction, and instead sexual varieties and pleasures have dominated the scene. Women liberations world wide has also greatly improved sexuality perception amongst the public. The introduction of homosexuality has also greatly impacted on the people’s cultural values. The advertisement body should play its central role in order to ensure that the public gets intended information from the images used in advertisement (Crooks & Baur, 2008, p. 55). There are some advertisement which draws the similarity of genders such as the androgynous imagery which promotes the fragrance for both men and women. The use of attractive male and female models in the advertisement gives the viewers a room to choose what to desire. Some advertisements arouse the heterosexual desires and also prove that lust objects are more interested in their own sex. All this human characters have been proved through sexual advertisement. As a matter of fact cultural behaviors amongst the current generation have drastically changed. Representation of sexuality in advertisement has corrupted the minds of teenagers and the young adults who actually mess up in life trying to practice whatever they read or hear from the media. Family planning advertisements for instance assures this generation the safety from pregnancies and other sexually transmitted diseases which might come as a result of practicing sex.

Sex in adverting can be defined as the thought of sexual appeal, using sexual appealing objects in advertising so that you create a persuasion that attempts to convince, inform and /or convince the consumer to use a certain product or service. These sexual appealing advertisements have sexual information incorporated in the overall message. Sexual information can be defined as any information that entails sexual interest, motivation or behavior, for example advertisements containing people dressed in tight fitting clothes, images of people in clothes that reveal sexual appealing body parts or containing verbal elements with sexual appealing words.

The sexual information can be integrated in the ads in greater or less degrees, for example some ads may contain images with total nudity or beautiful ladies engaging in erotic liaisons in other cases ads may contain elements of sexual suggestion. But in most cases due to media control and regulations ads will contain fully clothed physically attractive men and women who people consider be sexually attractive. Sexual information contained in advertisement is extensively elaborated in the following paragraphs.

Nudity: This is when people reveal some part of their body as well as wearing clothes that reveal muscular arms, breast, bikinis and barer tops among other lingerie. Nudity in advertisement does not only feature a man or woman who is totally nude. It is important to understand that there are different levels of nudity used in advertisement. Complete nudity is often rare to find in ads since it is represented by back shots of models, shower scenes and sometimes frontal nudity from chest upwards. The major implication obtained from those ads is in most cases psychological, meaning something which cannot be measured or proved. Indeed, the sexuality ads have continued to influence consumptions and purchasing decisions of many people (Louis, 2002).

Sexual behavior: This can be defined as visual or audio representation of people engaging in sexual acts. This is where ads contain some sexual provocative scenes. Models are photographed in provocative positions sometimes alone or with other models. Models in these ads behave sexy by making sexual eye contacts with the viewer, making sexual movements, innuendoes or flirting. In this way, the models communicate sexual interest with the viewers or try to provoke sexual arousal. Audio visual ads in television can accentuate erotic behavior by picturing models walking or talking seductively. The sexual behavior can also be portrayed when two models in ads show two models engaging in sexual contacts which may be simple contacts, intimate contacts, embracing or portrayal of intercourse. The young generations have engaged deeply into this form of advertisement since it develops skills and other sexual knowledge which boosts their activities (Nichols & Good, 2004, p. 97). Moreover, there is an immense moral deterioration amongst the young people who have turned the visual and read knowledge into practice. The corrupted minds have also led to the emergence of queer sexual behaviors amongst the youth, the result of which has been increased cases of pre-marital sex, lesbianism and homosexuality which have been reported in the recent times (Castañeda & Campbell, 2006, p. 21).

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Sexual referent: These are images or words incorporated in ads that refer to sex or trigger sexual thought although they are claimed to be less explicit and more oblique than nudity or erotic behavior; this also can be classified as sex in advertising. They can be referred to as messages that provoke or induce sexual notion. It can also be used to refer to sexual intimation or insinuation. In addition, the way in which these commercials are filmed, the music, the environment and lighting can contribute to sexual perceptions and meanings. This form of advertisement has further contributed to changes in both cultural and moral behaviors of people in the society. Moral deterioration amongst our teenagers and young people has worsened. Indeed, different sexual identities have continued to emerge as a result of these ads (Brown, Steele & Childers, 2002, p. 95).

Sexual embeds. This is sexual information intended to be perceived subconsciously. These are the main types of sexual information that is integrated in advertising in order to create sexual appeal. They bare two major concepts that explain the use of sexuality in advertisement. One is that the information incorporated in the ads catches the attention of the consumer. The other concept is that the information incorporated in the ads demonstrates that brands can make the consumer more sexually attractive and more sexually active.

Let’s first analyze the concept of catching the consumers’ attention. Research in psychology has revealed that human being’s sexual desire has strong influence on his or her decision making.This shows that any sexual appealing information is able to capture the attention of consumers easily and subconsciously. In addition, the message that is integrated together with sexual information is likely to capture the attention of the consumers easily. Moreover, the images of a beautiful model are likely to keep the consumer glued to the screen waiting to see what will happen next. This explains why the advertisers will always use sexual information to advertise products which are not even related to sex, for example, cars and phones.

Marketers use the advertisements to enable them influence the minds of consumers about certain products. This means that they must look for the best vehicle to carry this information. The process of consumers, influence by an advertisement must start with the customer attention to the ads. This show that sex information helps the marketer to be able to deliver the intended information to an attentive consumer. The consumer will be able to relate the information gathered with the products being advertised. Sexual information therefore acts as a catalyst which speeds up the decision making process of a consumer in favor of a given product.

The second concept of sexual information in advertising is when the intended information is meant to make the consumers believe that the products being advertised will make the consumers look more appealing. Research has shown that people try all means to look attractive and sexually appealing. The consumers therefore have a tendency to use products that will make them more appealing to their partners and friends. The aspect of sexual information and advertisement uses this concept (Louis, 2002).

When marketers use an ad with a beautiful lady model to advertise a vehicle, the intended purpose of this sexual information is to make the consumers believe that if they buy that model of car they will be have a sexual appeal and look more feminine. For the same reasons the Phones Company will associate the slim features of a given phone with a slim beautiful lady who is viewed as sexy. This shows that consumers are able to connect the looks of the advertisement models and the products being advertised. This shows that the consumers have the notion that sex-related benefits accrue to them through sexual information in advertising. The move has succeeded significantly in the automobile, phones, and cosmetics among other industries in the world (Gauntlett, 2008, p. 110)

Different studies have been conducted to investigate the influence of sex in advertising. Most of the studies concentrated on male responses; this is because historically women used to be neglected a lot in the development process. The notion later evolved when gender equality was sort in order to bridge the gap between the male and female counterpart. It was noted that the decorated female models information was directed towards both women and men. Ideally, sexualized male images were mostly targeting the female consumers while the female images targeted the male consumers (Louis, 2002).

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The history of sex advertisement shows that it has underwent many changes at different times to appeal to different generations of consumers. Comparing the adverts in the 19th century and those in the20th century, one will notice big differences. Research shows that more and more sexual information is being integrated in ads in mare creative and appealing ways. The integration of sexual information has been as a result of companies and businesses wanting to boost their sales. Sexual information is therefore used for product promotions and advertisement which consequently boost sales revenue of a given company.

Technology has also contributed greatly to increased use of sex in advertising; this is through animations and sounds effects. This representation has advanced greatly, something which has contributed to vast sexuality knowledge dissemination between the current generations. Internet advertisement is among the communication channels which have helped the advertising agency to reach out young generations. As a result, these children have been able to discover their sexual identity at their tender ages. Moreover, the development of mass media communication vehicles has led to increase sex advertising due to improved methods of producing illustrations, drawing and painting for commercial purposes (Louis, 2002).

Sex in advertising has been used for a long time in the history of advertising to influence the consumers’ emotions. It has for years succeeded in creating emotional appeal to consumers emphasizing on satisfaction that comes from consumption of various products. Sexual information has also undergone transformation to suit different generation and it is expected to change even further in future. The changes are as a result of the cultural and sexual changes in the world. The new generations have a flexible culture which accommodates newly invented ideas and also suit the modern culture.

According to Gauntlett (2008, p. 106), sexuality and sexual identity is regarded as the center of self-identity. Great importance has been attached to it in our day-to-day life, for instance, question concerning one’s sexual orientation is of great significance than the message being delivered through advertisement. It is because of this reason that most musicians, comedians, actors and magazine writers have majored more on sexuality matters in order to boost their sales and public appeal. The representation already made on sexuality has crowded the minds of the public thus enslaving them. There are a significant number of people who like hanging out to places where their sexual feelings will be satisfied such as in strippers clubs and Movie theaters among other places.

Sexuality advertisement has in the recent times tended to normalize what was earlier regarded as unethical. The adoption of heterosexuality amongst the current generation is a good proof of how sexual representations and advertisements can impact on people. In the earlier times, homosexuality and lesbianism was regarded as immoral, but the intensive sexual advertisements have normalized the whole thing (Gauntlett, 2002, p. 46). A complete cultural change has been undertaken and a new culture which upholds more diverse relationships has been adopted. Gender equality move which aimed at empowering the status of women in the society has also influenced their identity. The equality move also tended to separate women from men and make them politically, economically and socially independent. Since there was an enormous advertisement about the notion, quite a good number of people were able to be psychologically influenced by the idea. The move also boosted the feminist gender identity which was undermined in the past. In order to check the increased sexual impact in the society, advertisements need to be regulated to prevent them from extreme adversity (Crooks & Baur, 2008, p. 59).

Sexuality advertisement has also opened up the limited scope that people used to have and a more broad perspective has been adopted instead. For instance, in the current times transsexual and transgender, identity have emerged through sexology. The study defines transsexual as a person whose biological sex does not tally with the exercised gender. Such people suffer from a condition known as gender dysphoria where they feel wrongly placed. The extreme suffering may result to some medical address where people end up having a hormonal therapy or a genital altering surgery. The measures are done in order to realize happiness in self identity. The above explain some of the adversity brought by the representation of sexuality in the media.

In conclusion, sexuality representation in the media needs to be subconsciously dealt with in order to assure upright moral behaviors of our young generation. The government of the different states and countries in the world should come up with a united checks and regulations in the advertising agencies. These checks should then be enforced whenever sexual ads are presented in all communication media. In order to further prevent moral deteriorations among the current generations, strict measures should be enforced to all those who go against the set rules and regulations. By so doing, the lives and activities of the future generations will have been safeguarded from the increasing cultural erosions caused by sexual advertisements.


Brown, J.D., Steele, J. R., & Childers, K. W., 2002. Sexual teens, sexual media: investigating media’s influence on adolescent sexuality. New Jersey, Routledge. Web.

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Castañeda, L. & Campbell, S. B., 2006. News and sexuality: media portraits of diversity. London, SAGE. Web.

Crooks, R. & Baur, K., 2008. Our sexuality. Belmont, Cengage Learning. Web.

Gauntlett, D., 2002. Media, gender, and identity: an introduction. London, Routledge. Web.

Gauntlett, D., 2008. Media, Gender and Identity: An Introduction. New York, Routledge. Web.

Louis, J., 2002. Woman and Man in Advertising: Narrative Illustration of an ‘Equality which Cannot Be Found’. Image & narrative. Web.

Nichols, S.L., & Good, T. L., 2004. America’s teenagers–myths and realities: media images, schooling, and the social costs of careless indifference. New Jersey, Routledge. Web.

Segal, L., 1997. Sexualities, in Woodward, K., 1997. Identity and Difference. London, Sage. Web.

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