Sexual Messages in Advertising & Other
(see recommended texts/videos below)
KEY QUOTE: "Sexual content in mass
media has been around as long as mass media itself,’’ Arizona State professor Mary-Lou Galician, a researcher, author
and media literacy advocate says. "The difference is the proliferation of it. We live
in a 24/7 media world now. Take, as an example, the exploitation of Britney Spears, who
is literally pulling off her clothes during her performances. Her real talent lies
in being an objectified image. And it is an image, by extension, of our country around
Now here is a topic that many educators may not feel comfortable addressing in the classroom. But the expression "sex sells," is certainly one that many advertisers believe in. Many state's health teaching standards include: "Analyze the influence of personal beliefs, culture, media,technology and other factors on health." Many will agree that messages about sex found in the media certainly communicate and educate to audiences. But what are students understanding? Is the message always correct? And is anything important left out of the message?
Educators and students should review media literacy "core concepts" as well as these critical thinking questions before proceeding.
|Downloadable news stories and other resources||Research Articles|
Study Confirms Movies with Sex Scenes Influence Teen Behavior
Girls as young as 6 want to be 'sexy,' study says
Sexual Content Proliferates
Teens learning about sex through magazines, not parents: study
Why Sex Sells
Study: Sexualized portrayals of females are norm in pop culture
What Media Teaches Kids About Sexual Health(May 2011)
PTC criticizes heavy sexual content on TV
Media: one of the leading sex educators in the U.S.
TV Shows Spur Earlier Sex For Kids
Lolita at 5
Too Sexy, Too Soon (Family Circle)
Editorial: Sex, sex and more sex. Got your attention?
PTC bashes TV's use of sex (Aug 2008)
What's Missing About Teen Pregnancy in TV, Films? (Newsweek)
Little Girls Gone Wild -Marketing to little kids (Salon)
Patron Slapped by Industry Group for Sexy Ad Imagery
Sex Doesn't Always Sell
Goodbye to Girlhood (Wash Post series)
Sexy media images linked to problems in girls
Girls gone wild: what are celebs teaching kids?
Sexy, sassy, still in primary school
When ads say bad things to little girls
Listen: Jean Kilbourne how Big Media sexualizes children
So Sexy So Soon
Listen: NPR : Media, Sex and Talking to Tweens
Teens Call Hyper-Sexualized Media Images "Normal"
Call to ban jeans ads (Australia)
Celebrities make pregnancy glamorous
Fashion industry using sex to sell ad nauseam
Article/study The Media Sex Relationship
What's a mom to do?
Articles: Sex on TV Study (news stories; link to research below)
Are teens overexposed?
PR/study: Sex in ads improves men's purchase intent
Article/study: Sex on TV 'wildly unrealistic'
Article/study: Overexposed: teens, sex & mass media
Environmentalists sexy ad outrages women In Mexico
New Dolce & Gabbana racy ads controversy
Selling Sex to Kids
Sexy Jeans Ad Rejected by Magazine & Times Square
Critics: 'That's Too Hot' of Sexy Carl's Jr. Ad
Is childhood becoming oversexed?
Just the Facts of Life: porn in the digital age
Lesson plan: Social Influences (grade 7)
Lesson plan: Sex in Advertising (grade 11-12)
Parents' Dilemma: Keeping Kids from Sex on TV
Magazines Upping The Cleavage Quotient To Boost Sales
The disappearing tween years
Sex In Advertising
Sex in Advertising (A History)
Website essays: Take if off: Sex in Advertising
Young people not greatly affected by sexually explicit media: study
Sex in movies pushes kids to have sex earlier
Magazine trends study finds increase in advertisements using sex
Sexy songs have detrimental effect on kids
UB study finds media sexualization of women outranks men
Hollywood over-sexualizing teen girls: report
Influence of New Media on Adolescent Sexual Health: Evidence and Opportunities
Study Reveals New Data on Screen Sexiness (April 2011)
Sexualised Teen Girls: Tinseltown's New Target (PTC Study, Dec. 2010)
Study: exposure to sexual content not to blame for teen sex rates
Study shows sex sells, sometimes
Sex images in media harming kids' mental health
New Research Shows Sex in Movies Doesn't Lead to Box-Office Success
Children Who View Adult-targeted TV May Become Sexually Active ...
TV, Low Self-Esteem, and Family Problems Lead to Early “Sexual Debut”/ study abstract
Sex on TV Increases Teen Pregnancy, Says Report/Study links teen pregnancy to sexy TV shows /
TV habits, risk of pregnancy linked
Effects of a Peer-Led Media Literacy Curriculum on Adolescents' Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Sexual Behavior
and Media Portrayals of Sex
Study: Profit Motive Behind Sexualization of Tween Girls
Sexualization of Girls Is Linked to Common Mental Health Problems in Girls and Women-Eating Disorders
Sex in ads (apparently) doesn't sell (to women)
"Sexy Media Matter: Exposure to Sexual Content in Music, Movies, Television, and Magazines Predicts Black and White Adolescents' Sexual Behavior,"
Movies 'condoning sex and drugs'
Violence and Sex in Television Programs Do Not Sell Products in Advertisements
Impact of the media on adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors
Explicit media can lead to permissive attitudes about sex (study)
Verbal sexual content on TV more powerful than visual images (study)
Teens overexposed to media sex
Linking Exposure to Outcomes: Early Adolescents' Consumption of Sexual
Content in Six Media (Mar.2005)
Teens, Sex & The Media
Teenagers and the Media: A Media Analysis of Sexual Content on Television
Professor studies sexuality and social messages
Can the mass media be healthy sex educators?
Kaiser Research: Sex in TV 4 (2005); Sex on TV 3 (2003); Teens, Sex & TV (2002);
Sex on TV 2 (2001) News Graphic
Research (Mediascope) Teens, Sex & The Media
Calvin Klein ads (warning: some may find material here objectionable)
YSL ad and website
Sexism and sexuality in advertising
Curriculum: Youth Talk Back: Sex, Sexuality & Media Literacy; Teacher Guide
Downloadable book with activities/resources: Media, Sex and Health: A Community Guide for Professionals and Parents
Lesson Plan: Reality? TV: What is the media using sex to sell you?
Website/resource: MediaRelate: Understanding Media Images of Love, Sex & Relationships/MediaRelate: teaching resources
Website/resource: Teen Aware: Sex, Media & You
Student handout: Sex, Violence and Advertising
Sexualized Images in Advertising
There can be no denying that "sex sells." This article explores how advertisements in mainstream magazines have increasingly
relied on the explicit sexualization of both men and women to sell products.
Our Children Under Influence
So Sexy So Soon
Perspectives on the
The Media’s Journey from Repression to Obsession
Love & Romance
In The Mass Media
Media Literacy: Thinking Critically About Sex in the Media
and the Adolescent
Sexual Stereotypes In The Media
Page updated last: