Indeed it does, and it does really well. The first to understand the potentiality of using sex in business was Ernest Ditcher in the 1930s, an Austrian psychologist and a follower of Freud, known as father of Motivational Research. His studies focused on a basic question “why do people buy what they buy?” Few if any could give an answer to this question.
It may sound as if it is a cliché but in reality it is not. This phrase finds various applications in numerous marketing strategies and campaigns, and not just as a provocation but because it seems to trigger the customer to choose one brand over the other. Literally understood one can say that the phrase means that using ‘sex’ increases the chances to sell your merchandise. This entails that although the particular object is not sexual in nature, its marketing hinges on the sexual drive within man either to attract attention or to ultimately encourage the consumption of the object.
Also true is the interpretation that the sex market is profitable marketing in constant increase. It is one of the most lucrative one indeed generating millions of dollars and providing thousands of jobs. That would be great if the GDP would be your only measuring stick. I hope that we give more credit to man’s well being than to his pockets.
I would like however to bring into the discussion another aspect. This phrase consists of two words which might be a good idea if we analysed them separately, focusing primarily on the second. The first, crudely put, is considered by some as the physiological aspect of the reproductive method, yet it is not just that.
That can be said so of animals, but when it comes to human beings sex acquires more meaning, love affection and relations should, and indeed must be taken into consideration to get a holistic idea of sex. Sex is also love although not the same, it is about pleasure even if not identical. It is also about relations but also in this case not just that. It is a mixture of all these and other aspects, all of which need to put in the picture.
One must necessarily distinguish between sex and sexuality. The latter can be expressed without there being a sexual intercourse. It is basically what each and everyone of us is. It is expressed in the way we speak, think and act; male or female, our being is determined by our sexuality (what is commonly tagged as genre).
What about sale? Until relatively recent times sale also applied to certain human beings; the excuse being that they were sub-human and therefore not endowed with the image of God which elevates us above all other creatures. Commonly we sell objects, things, animals, property, ideas, in other words all man can take possession of. We speak of sale and have in mind objects material or immaterial, inanimate or animate. But can we possess a human being?
Yet today the human body seems to be up for sale as well. You don’t see men or women literally for sale on TV or internet, even though we can get very close to that. We all heard of people selling their virginity; in a highly sexed up culture that might make perfect sense. And thus isn’t this a new kind of modern slavery where the human body is merchandised and treated as a possession?
Slavery was, to put it simply, the sale of a human; his or her body was considered as commodity for business transaction. Today we find ourselves pretty much in the same situations. The human being is being transformed in a merchandise, because our body is a fundamental and essential part of our humanity. No human being exists without there being also a human body.
Society should appreciate more our bodily dignity and consider chastity as a more virtuous way of life. This has nothing to do with being celibate. Respecting oneself would be the first step towards this approach in life, and you don’t necessarily have to be a Catholic or a Christian to do so. Self-respect is the first step in this life journey.