Friday, August 26, 2011

Does Sex Sell?

Have you noticed how often sex is used to sell a product? Consider the sexy book covers. Comic books are riddled with huge muscular men and fall to your knees sexy females. What about movies and TV shows? Some people consider it sexist, but it's not just females anymore. Now they use male as well as females sex symbols. Gyms are capitalizing from the new idealism. Everyone is now lifting weights, dieting, and joining all types of aerobics classes.

Don't get me wrong I believe in healthy living. I also think everyone should look as good as they desire. However, I do know there are limits we all should live by. Once we abuse those limits, in any direction, we damage our own bodies and break the laws of nature. Too much is still too much. But that is not what my blog is about.

Yesterday, I randomly asked this question on twitter and got a very good response. Actually, my question was; does sex sell, or does quality? The first response I got back said quality sex sells. The second explained saying sex sells but quality keeps them coming back. I want to thank all my twitter friends for a great laugh while having this conversation yesterday. For those of you who did not get in on that conversation, you have the opportunity to convey your thoughts on the subject here.

Is it going to far when you use sex to sell your books, comic books, movie scripts, or any other media? Now I'm not talking about erotica, although I entertained the idea for a few seconds. Those that write erotic novels do so not because they are an easy sell. They do so because they feel a passion for that type of writing. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't feel that erotic books are easier to sell than any other genre.

I write science fiction and let's face it; this genre does not make the best sellers list very often. But it's what I love to read, and therefore, write about. Here lies the question. Would a picture of planets, stars, or spaceships sell more than a beautiful female and muscular male on the cover? It may even capture the attention of people who like other genres. Ah… but would they be happy after reading it if they found no love scenes in the book? Okay… then put a love scene or two in the book. The fact is any story regardless if it's a thriller, adventure, sci-fi, family drama, murder mystery, or any other, will still need a love connection in it. I've seen movies where even androids or robots fall in love, or someone falls in love with them.

Should you use sex to sell your book? Give us your opinion.

And remember… Always stay in your write mind.


  1. My guess was right, you were picking our minds for this post! I think it's excellent! Yes, that convo yesterday was interesting and at times quite funny! All around, I agree with you. And who doesn't judge a book by its cover. When I'm in a hurry sifting through used books, I do that, but try to read a bit of the cover too. Very true to that sex sells and we buy it! Very interesting subject Orlando! Thanks! ~Ranae

  2. Konrath just wrote about this yesterday. There was a heated dicussion, probably still raging.

    Sex can be wrong or right it depends how it's done. Every scene in a book should move the story forward. If it's sex just for the sake of having a sex scene then it's wrong. If it shows a side of the character we can't see otherwise or shows conflict between characters then it's fine.

  3. @Ranae: I'm glad you participated in both.

    @Asrai: I would have loved to read it. Please provide me with his blog info so I can read stop by, and thank you for visiting my blog. Nice to have you.

  4. Everybody is doing it. Not the sex (though I'm sure a majority of the population are doing that) but using sex to sell. It's rife through advertising, on television shows, in magazines. Why - probably becuase as humans we are always interested in sex. On some level, we want human connection, even if that human connection is assigned to a non-human robot.

    As for erotica (I'm flirting with the idea of writing some myself), I agree with you that it's not easier to sell but I'd hazard a guess in saying it sells regardless of the quality of the writing. In researching my idea to write for the genre, I read some of the offerings on Smashwords the other day and was appalled at the overall quality (or lack thereof) of what is selling. And some of it is selling like hotcakes. Go to the most downloaded or the highest rated and see how bad it is. Graphic sure, but literary porn should still be well written.

  5. Rebecca Byfield:
    Now that is funny. Yes, I suppose that if you're going to write porn, you should write it well. I helped friends in the passed to write erotica to acquire some assistance in writing romance in my novels. Not that romance and erotica are the same; however, I feel erotica should start with romance since its allure is, pleasure.

    Anyway, back to my point, if you're going to write something, write it well or don't write at all.