Historical and psychological perspectives of the erotic appeal in advertising

Juliann Sivulka*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


Sexual images in advertising and throughout the media define what is sexy and, more important, who is sexy. To begin with, sex in advertising in the mass media is almost entirely heterosexist; lesbian, gay, or bisexual sex is rarely even implied in the mainstream media. In the world of advertising, only young people have sex. Not only are young women valued only for their sexuality, but the rest of us end up in a culture arrested in adolescence, surrounded by teenage fantasies of sex and romance, a culture that idealizes the very things that make real intimacy impossible, impulsive gratification, narcissism, distance and disconnection, romanticism, and eternal youth. The adolescent attitude towards sex is further reflected and reinforced by all the ads that turn sex into a dirty joke. According to one sex therapist, ‘Sexual boredom is the most pandemic dysfunction in this country’.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSex in Advertising
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives on the Erotic Appeal
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781135638214
ISBN (Print)0805841180, 9780805841176
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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