Does Sex Always Sell?
Both product producers and consumers in contemporary culture implicitly accept the notion of “sex sells”. But is this actually true? Does the addition of sexual content genuinely result in the commercial success of a product?
Contrary to this notion, the statistical data revealed that sexual content in movies correlates negatively with box office both in U.S. and worldwide.
In fact, movies with sexual content do worse in international markets, indicating that it is not just because of puritanical values that sex does not sell in U.K.
Even though titillating scenes are cheap to produce, overall they bring about more audience loss than audience gain.
Movies with sexual content do not do well in the critical realm either, as they correlate negatively with movie-guide ratings and Oscars.
Out of 15 different variables, only tense/frightening scenes associated positively with favourable critical reviews and movie awards.
So why is it that sexual content does not result in profits, at least with movies? Was the saying “sex sells” ever true?
Intuitively this seems true. Erotic content is more attention grabbing than non-erotic content. Just informally comparing movies from the 1950s to those in 2000s one would probably find newer ones more appealing, simply by the greater explicit content in newer ones.
It also seems to be the case that for the sake of making one’s product more attention grabbing, over the decades the general cultural trend in places all over the world has been towards more and more sexual content in media.
If, for example, a company is trying to sell their perfume via a raunchy ad, what move should their competitor make in advertising their product? You guessed it, make their ad raunchier. This trend towards increased sexual content seems logical.
However, it is precisely this logic that has resulted in over-exploitation. It’s the primary reason why sex doesn’t sell anymore.
Just how difficult is it to view anything pornographic these days? When we go online, we can access endless porn content.
When getting to videos of people fornicating takes seconds, seeing people half-naked in movies is as exciting as watching clouds pass in a clear sky.