We’ve all heard the phrase, “Sex Sells” and a recent study shows the over the last 3 decades the use of sexual imagery in ads has skyrocketed. Apparently advertisers are taking that phrase to heart. Interestingly, showing a woman’s exposed arms and ankles, back in the early 1900’s, produced the same level or arousal as partial nudity does today. We’ve come a long way from the days when a woman’s ankle was a turn on; we’ve obviously become callus to exposed ankles and arms over the last 100 years. It does makes you wonder what advertisers will have to do 100 years from now to get consumers attention. I’m guessing we’ll have grown callus to nudity by then. Hopefully full-blown porn in ads won’t be the norm, because what kids see impacts their behavior.
A study by the RAND Corporation showed that sexual content on TV is strongly associated with teen pregnancy. One of the main points in the study is that there needs to be more family dialogue about sex on TV. If parents take the time to watch TV with their kids, they have an opportunity to use what they’re watching as teachable moments. When a character makes a bad sexual choice, a conversation about why that choice was bad and what decisions lead up to that choice can take place. The problem is many parents are disengaged. They not only don’t watch TV with their kids, they also have no idea what they’re watching. Their oversight is lacking. And left alone, kids will be watching things and seeing things that could have a negative impact on their life without proper input from their parents. Risky sexual behavior on TV isn’t portrayed as risky. It’s portrayed as normal. This can translate into kids making poor sexual choices and ending up pregnant.
Sex does sell but do you want your kids buying into the fairy tale happy ending that they can have sex anywhere, anytime with anyone with no consequences? That’s what many of the ads and TV shows are selling and it’s a pile of crap. Your kids can’t smell it, so you need to be the ones to point it out.