Sex DOESN’T Sell

Hey everyone, Flobo here!

And as always, we’re are going to talk shop about your craft. Whether it’s writing, screenwriting, poetry or what have you, here’s hoping there’s some useful info you can pull for your own work. So without any further ado:


When I was in college sitting in my government class, I made a bold statement that almost everyone disagreed with. You see, we were talking about why “The Media” (and I mean that in the way angst-y teenagers would say it) tends to focus on celebrity news and athletes as opposed to the geopolitical landscape. One student said the reason for that is because (in regards to the personal lives of celebrities) that sex sells. I of course, rebutted.

“I disagree Mr. O,” I said, feeling the lump in the back of my throat. “Sex does not sell, but rather it is desire that sells.”

I offered that it is because we as a people live vicariously through celebrities (and their assumed bank accounts) and athletes (and their assumed awesome bodies) it was our desire to learn everything about them that made the media follow suit. Or to put it another way, it isn’t the objective sex appeal of the supermodel on the sports car that drives sales (no pun intended), but rather the implication that buying the car would make girls that looked like the supermodel desire you.

Of course, I was a teenager so my actual analysis came down to this: “If sex just sold on its own, why hasn’t Rosie O’ Donnell graced the cover of Playboy magazine?”

Looking back, that comment was kind of mean. In my defense, until you’ve held the only differing opinion in a room of twenty peers with your social “back against the wall”, you just won’t understand.

Well, how about this? Guinness World Records has pegged this “book” as the most purchased book of all time. Can you guess what is?

The Holy Bible, bro!
Sure there's sex IN IT but......

OK, so what does that have to do with your writings? Well, let me put it like this. It’s okay to write about your attractive looking protagonists, or to have an extended courtship between two characters that are romantically interested in each other. It’s just that your audience deserves to be given reason to want to see these two characters together. “Romeo and Juliet” painted each of the star-crossed lover’s depositions clearly enough to the point where you DESIRE to see them together. Now imagine if Juliet got together with Paris or Romeo with Rosaline?

Snooze City…Population: The Audience

Wow, did I reference Shakespeare in two posts back-to-back? *Shudders*

The whole “Sex Doesn’t Sell” doesn’t JUST apply to romantic tales. Take my “best friend” James Bond for example. When you saw a James Bond movie or read a James Bond book you wanted to be a super spy. Why? There’s something cool about going out and risking your life for your country (or Queen and Country if you’re British). There is a reason why James is never depicted  filling out mounds of paperwork, or standing trial at war crime hearings. While showing the “sexier” part of the spy job, the audience “desires” to ride along.

Well, as for me, I didn’t speak up too many times in that government class. If only I had this blog back then. Oh well, live and learn, right?

Happy writings


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