Sex & consumerism - An introduction

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  • What does use of the word “Disneyland” conjure up in your mind in relation to sex?? Don’t be shy now!! *(Promoting Sexual Health: The Basics and Beyond - Online course by Indiana University)
  • Pottery, paintings and sculptures have depicted any number of sexual behaviors. Love and romance has inspired countless volumes of poetry, novels, and artworks. Can you think of any artwork or exhibitions you’ve been to where sexuality was the theme? Having awareness about how sexuality is alive in personal interactions as well as in many cultural mediums can help people to be critical thinkers and informed, knowledgeable consumers and citizens.
  • Do you agree with the first statement?? Although some shows have included stereotypically gay characters (something that Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was criticized for early on), other television shows - such as Six Feet Under - have included more diverse characters who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual. In addition, many networks and television executives are joining the call to include messages and images about sexuality that are healthy, helpful and positive - that promote family planning and the use of effective contraception, including condoms.
  • Often, scenes with sexual content fail to include discussions about safer sex, let alone model practicing safer sex. Even so, rarely do potential consequences of unprotected intercourse get raised as an issue for consideration or concern. Unrealistic expectations about love and relationships and "having it all" can provide unhelpful models to viewers. One positive aspect: by portraying or alluding to sexuality, viewers learn that sexuality is a common part of many people's lives - sometimes it causes stress and other times it is linked with pleasure, enjoyment, couples' connections or procreation (making a baby). Only in recent years has sexual content in shows been complemented by ads for condoms and contraception products. Still, consistent and high profile advertising opportunities and venues for products and information to promote sexual health and wellbeing are lacking, especially on major networks during "primetime" when condom companies may not even be allowed to advertise!
  • Only in recent years has sexual content in shows been complemented by ads for condoms and contraception products. Still, consistent and high profile advertising opportunities and venues for products and information to promote sexual health and wellbeing are lacking, especially on major networks during "primetime" when condom companies may not even be allowed to advertise!
  • Many readers fail to remember that the images are computer enhanced, and sometimes completely computer generated, so it's true that the images are not a realistic ideal, they sometimes aren't even real. And many important elements of how we look, act and dress, involve our sexual beingness. Messages are both implicit, as is the case of advertising images, and explicit, as is the case of advertising for such products as Gardasil (the vaccine for HPV), or contraception options. Accessibility of magazines for young or other readers can make this an essential outlet for sexual health information. Many magazines carry articles about addressing sexual concerns on topics that range from improving your relationships or achieving orgasms to preventing or dealing with reproductive health concerns like cervical or breast cancer. Some research has found that young women who read women's magazines may be more knowledgeable about important sexual health topics (such as sexually transmissible infections, including HPV, as well as birth control methods) than women who do not read such magazines.
  • Magazines can reinforce roles and expectations by framing stereotypical interests and commonalities amongst groups to inform the readers about how they are "supposed" to be. And this serves to further market the magazine and the products advertised inside. This can be seen in magazines that target women and teens, and in magazines that focus on sports or hip hop culture as examples, (i.e., most sports magazines target male readers and are filled with ads that support traditional views about masculinity as positive for males). [discuss examples??] Accessibility of magazines for young or other readers can make this an essential outlet for sexual health information. Many magazines carry articles about addressing sexual concerns on topics that range from improving your relationships or achieving orgasms to preventing or dealing with reproductive health concerns like cervical or breast cancer. Some research has found that young women who read women's magazines may be more knowledgeable about important sexual health topics (such as sexually transmissible infections, including HPV, as well as birth control methods) than women who do not read such magazines.
  • Consider the media frenzy around the sexuality portrayed decades ago by Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show. The TV cameras showed Elvis from the waist up only, to “protect young women from the supposed evils of his gyrating pelvis. Radio influences and responds to sexuality in ways beyond providing wide access to music and news. Hearing a question from a listener on a call-in talk show, can be the first and only indication that others share your experience and there is perhaps information and support available that had been previously unknown. Decades ago Dr. Ruth Westheimer began her long and illustrious career as a sexuality educator by hosting a radio show about sex. The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction houses a particularly expansive collection of art and artifacts that span thousands of years and illustrate how sexuality and women's and men's bodies were thought of throughout many different cultures and time periods (to learn more, visit www.KinseyInstitute.org and check out the Gallery section).
  • In the eighties, Madonna pushed the envelope further with her provocative costumes, sexy dance, and later by publishing her book, titled simply SEX , and featuring Madonna nude. Today, explicit song lyrics and artists with styles that rely heavily on overt sex appeal - such as Lady Gaga and Nicky Minaj - are common. Themes that combine violence and sexuality are also common in music videos.
  • Radio influences and responds to sexuality in ways beyond providing wide access to music and news. Hearing a question from a listener on a call-in talk show, can be the first and only indication that others share your experience and there is perhaps information and support available that had been previously unknown. Decades ago Dr. Ruth Westheimer began her long and illustrious career as a sexuality educator by hosting a radio show about sex. (How do we decide on what is decent or obscene anyway???)
  • Online dating sites provide new forums in which people can meet or make plans for romantic dates or sexual hook-ups. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, also allow for people to meet while simultaneously being a primary way that many people maintain contact with a former partner or learn about someone they have just started to date or become involved with, by perusing their photos, wall posts and other parts of their Facebook page. As a sexual health professional, educator, counsellor, therapist or just consumer you may find yourself helping those around you to think more critically about the types of sites that they rely on for sexual health information. You may find yourself helping others' to identify authoritative sites that offer accurate evidence-based information rather than sites that provide false information or that use scare tactics to get people to believe a specific type of information.
  • There are some web sites and blogs, for example, that focus on sex during pregnancy, sex after having a baby, sex following cancer treatment, cross-dressing, sex and power play (BDSM), gender identity, sex work or what it is like to be a sexually active person who is out there dating but who also happens to have a sexually transmissible infection (STI). Blogs and sites such as these can help people to connect with others who are going through a similar experience and can help people to feel more normal, connected, and less isolated.
  • Fisher & Barak (2001) note that "existing findings by and large fail to confirm fears of strong antisocial effects of self-directed exposure to sexually explicit media".
  • Can you figure out what product or service is being advertised in this image???
  • And in advertising, the demand is to outdo what was done before, so it will no doubt continue to spiral toward progressively more sexualized images and messages.
  • (Below left: The Naked Maja (c. 1800–1803) by Francisco de Goya . and right: An Allegory with Venus and Cupid, erotic painting by Agnolo Bronzino. Mainstream pornographic videos have historically been produced by men for male viewers. This gender bias has resulted in an unrealistic and unhelpful dichotomy between "good girls" (who are not sexually explorative and playful), and "vixens" (those women who have fun and enjoy sex). Of course, women are more complex than that and most women exist somewhere in between - or may enjoy pretending to be innocent in one moment and racy and vixen-like the next! In fact, an enjoyable aspect of sexuality for many women and men is that sex offers us all the chance to try on different identities, with or without dressing up or role-playing!
  • Mainstream pornographic videos have historically been produced by men for male viewers. This gender bias has resulted in an unrealistic and unhelpful dichotomy between "good girls" (who are not sexually explorative and playful), and "vixens" (those women who have fun and enjoy sex). Of course, women are more complex than that and most women exist somewhere in between - or may enjoy pretending to be innocent in one moment and racy and vixen-like the next! In fact, an enjoyable aspect of sexuality for many women and men is that sex offers us all the chance to try on different identities, with or without dressing up or role-playing! A number of researchers have been curious about the effect of sexually explicit material on sexual arousal.
  • Widespread availability of best sellers and how-to-manuals written by former sex workers, such as Jenna Jameson, is a demonstration of how commercial erotica is becoming more mainstream as an industry. A number of researchers have been curious about the effect of sexually explicit material on sexual arousal.
  • The real indication of the mainstreaming of efforts to improve sexual wellbeing is in the sexual enhancement products industry. Retail shops in strip malls, websites and in-home parties all allow greater comfort with and access to sexual enhancement products. These products and services can be beneficial to individuals and relationships. Although once stigmatized, it is now common to see sexual enhancement products, such as vibrators, on television and as gifts at bridal showers.
  • Our ability to clearly demonstrate the benefits to total health and well being when one's sexual health is attended to create a rich opportunity for promoting information, products, skills and techniques that can enhance personal sexual wellbeing. As a result, a vast market has developed for erotic self help and how-to-manuals and aids that are marketed to single women and men as well as to those who are in relationships.
  • Herbenick and Reece (2006) found that there is a number of teachable moments involved in the questions women ask in adult retail stores. Providing the retail worker has the sexuality education skills necessary to facilitate learning, this can be an incredibly valuable experience for the shopper. This finding has been mirrored for in-home sex toy parties as well (Reece, Herbenick, & Sherwood-Puzzello, 2004). Fisher and colleagues (2010) found that in-home sex toy parties provided an effective avenue to increase adult sexual literacy. In addition to making products available to women and men, they often help their clients to learn about their bodies and may even connect them with valuable resources, such as books about sexuality, web sites about sexuality, or doctors or therapists in their community who can be helpful in some way.
  • Sex & consumerism - An introduction

    1. 1. Sexuality and Consumerism: An Introduction <ul><li>Sex in the Media </li></ul>Date 2012 January 09th
    2. 2. “ Disneyland for Adults” <ul><li>*Researcher Edgley (1989) called the world of commercial sex the &quot;Disneyland for adults&quot; as the types of sexual commerce seem unlimited. </li></ul><ul><li>*(Promoting Sexual Health: The Basics and Beyond - Online course by Indiana University) </li></ul>
    3. 3. “ Disneyland for Adults” <ul><li>Throughout history various art media have depicted very diverse sexual interactions. Erotic sexuality and more explicit sexual images have long been an important thread in artistic expression of all forms as well. </li></ul><ul><li>Sexuality, on both the individual and societal levels, is sometimes used to manipulate others. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Sex in the Media: TV and Magazines <ul><li>&quot;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. &quot;The difference is the proliferation of it. We live in a 24/7  media world now.” </li></ul><ul><li>More TV shows have included gay and lesbian characters. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Sex in the Media: TV and Magazines <ul><li>Sexual references on television are commonplace during all viewing hours. But what is the content of these references? </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual content on TV can have both positive and negative effects. </li></ul>
    6. 6. ???? <ul><li>Questions or Comments so far?? </li></ul><ul><li>Any thoughts on high profile companies or actors in relation to sexual imagery/content etc. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Sexuality & Consumerism Popular magazines have a mixed relationship to messages about health: on one hand, they are effective tools to promote ideals about beauty, as well as market the products that promise to enhance beauty. However they can have a negative impact on readers' self esteem, due to messages about how women &quot;should&quot; look.
    8. 8. ???? <ul><li>What are your own impressions of messages magazines give about sex, body image, gender etc.?? </li></ul><ul><li>Feel free to share any personal stories you are comfortable with (if you wish). </li></ul>
    9. 9. Sexuality & Consumerism <ul><li>Images and messages portrayed in magazines teach us how to look, act, and &quot;be&quot; who we want to be. </li></ul><ul><li>Messages regarding attractiveness and body image can be found in magazines & there is diverse and plentiful amount of information about many sexuality topics. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes the accessibility of magazines for young or other readers can make this an essential outlet for sexual health information. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Sex in the Media: Music, Radio and Internet <ul><li>Music is an art form that demonstrates the progressive evolution in how sexual messages are expressed in ways that have moved from subtle to overt. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Sex in the Media: Music, Radio and Internet Music videos provide a perfect venue for combining the lyrical musical message with sexual imagery to sell the song and artist.
    12. 12. Sex in the Media: Music, Radio and Internet <ul><li>Talk radio serves to normalize feelings, ideas and experiences among those that sometimes feel isolated. </li></ul><ul><li>Talk radio hosts like Howard Stern push the line on decency and obscenity while providing public platform to diverse ideas on current issues that often include sexuality topics. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Sex in the Media: Music, Radio and Internet <ul><li>The Internet offers an ever-expanding range of ways that people can use to learn about, experience or express sexuality. (Hey, you are here on Second Life aren’t you??!!) </li></ul><ul><li>The Internet offers an enormous amount of information, which is both a pro and a con when it comes to learning about sex. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Sex in the Media: Music, Radio and Internet <ul><li>Some blogs provide quality information about sexuality whereas others may be less fact-driven but serve an important role by providing subgroups of people to talk about various aspects of sexuality in their lives. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite widespread findings that sexually explicit material is not directly related to sexual violence or aggression, it remains a hot topic both in mainstream society and the research world. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Much of the media such as song lyrics from artists like Eminem, or the graphic representation of violence in video games like Grand Theft Auto have sparked debate about the long term effects of exposure to these mediums. Researchers have studied the influence of violence in video games, music videos, or song lyrics and have examined themes related to sexual aggression.
    16. 16. Sex Sells ... Or Does It??
    17. 17. <ul><li>Advertising, regardless of the medium, is saturated with sexual imagery. </li></ul>People respond to sexually attractive images. The nature of advertising is to constantly push the limits of what is acceptable.
    18. 18. Sex Sells ... Or Does It?? <ul><li>Inherent in the sexual messages popular in advertising, are: </li></ul><ul><li>1) their product or service will get you the ideal partner and relationship; and </li></ul><ul><li>2) you will be unsuccessful in your efforts to get the ideal partner and relationship without their product or service. </li></ul>
    19. 19. <ul><li>There is deliberate edginess to the sexual imagery presented in much advertising and marketing messages. </li></ul>
    20. 21. ???? <ul><li>What did you think of some of these ads?? </li></ul><ul><li>Were there any that you liked, disliked, and why? </li></ul>
    21. 22. <ul><li>Erotica is material that uses sexually explicit images. Erotic art is generally thought of in positive regard by community standards. </li></ul>EROTICA VS. PORNOGRAPHY
    22. 23. EROTICA VS. PORNOGRAPHY <ul><li>Pornography is typically more &quot;hard core&quot;, explicit, and perhaps vulgar. Some pornography includes violent images. Personal taste varies greatly and what one might consider erotic, another might deem pornographic. Mainstream pornographic videos have historically been produced by men for male viewers. </li></ul>
    23. 24. <ul><li>In recent years, female producers are making commercial erotic videos for women as the primary viewer. This has been a pivotal shift in the industry, as so-called &quot;mainstream&quot; erotica clearly was directed at only a slice of the viewing world, heterosexual males. </li></ul>
    24. 25. ???? <ul><li>How do you think porn produced by women would be or is different from that produced by men?? (hmmm…) </li></ul>
    25. 26. <ul><li>There is a reason there is an &quot;industry&quot; related to sexuality and sexual wellbeing. Aspects about one's sexuality are directly related to one's quality of life. A good sex life is a valuable commodity that people often times place great value on. Health benefits of sexual expression can include: </li></ul><ul><li>happiness through improved self esteem and decreased stress; </li></ul><ul><li>longevity and prolonged life; </li></ul>Why is there a “Sex Industry”?
    26. 27. Why is there a “Sex Industry”? <ul><li>immunity increases, improved sleep, and a more youthful appearance; </li></ul><ul><li>pain management for migraines and muscle relaxation; </li></ul><ul><li>improved reproductive functioning; </li></ul><ul><li>relationship stability; and </li></ul><ul><li>less psychiatric illness, depression and suicide. </li></ul>
    27. 28. Meeting the Needs of Consumers <ul><li>Although sexually transmissible infections (STI), HIV and unintended pregnancy are important sexual health topics, they are not the only topics that women and men have questions about. In fact, most adults have questions about sexuality topics such as: </li></ul><ul><li>pleasure orgasm, oral sex, vaginal sex, anal sex, the G-spot, choosing lubricants and using vibrators etc. </li></ul>
    28. 29. Meeting the Needs of Consumers <ul><li>In order to address these more pleasure- and behavior-specific questions and concerns, a wider range of sexual health promotion professionals are needed - including professionals whose career necessitates that they have expertise in sexual enhancement products and the way that women and men live their sexual lives. </li></ul><ul><li>Increasingly, sexual health organizations are recognizing the very important work that these individuals do in helping to enhance the sexual health of women and men in communities worldwide. </li></ul>
    29. 30. THANK YOU! <ul><li>Thanks for your participation, attention and feedback! </li></ul><ul><li>Enjoy Safe Consumerism!  </li></ul>

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