The following post is part of an ongoing series about how sex is used to attract and hold customer interest in authored works of all kinds, and particularly in stories. Previous posts include Sex Tells and The Sex Question.
The Question of Sex
Think for a moment about any type of authored end product: movies, songs, books, web sites, stage plays or musicals, fan fiction or zines, newspaper columns, magazine articles, graffiti, paintings, tweets, doodles, t-shirts, sculpture or anything else that someone creates in order to communicate ideas or feelings. If I asked you to come up with a sexual example from any of those product categories, or from any category I failed to mention, it would probably take you less than ten seconds to recall one from memory or locate one via internet search, and less than a second to imagine one.
Sex is everywhere because sex is part of who we are. It’s not all that we are, of course, though if you get your life experiences from television or other advertising-driven mediums you may find that hard to believe. Still, apart from business motives sex is found in the art and ritual of cultures around the world, from phallic symbols to fertility rites to images and descriptions of sexual acts and relationships. Despite the advent of the internet and world-wide, on-demand, in-home pornography, when it comes to sex there is, truly, nothing new under the sun.
It may seem absurd, then, to wonder about the motives for including sex in authored works, but that’s just what I’m about to do. If sex is a known ingredient in authored products — and I have stipulated that it is — then we are as justified in asking whether that ingredient is being used effectively in the authored works we consume as we are in asking whether a chef’s ingredients have been used effectively in the food we are eating.
The question is not: What is this ingredient? The question is: Why is this known ingredient being used? [ Read more ]