Book Chapter

Buying and selling sex: Sexualisation, commerce and gender



Boyle K (2013) Buying and selling sex: Sexualisation, commerce and gender. In: Carter C, Steiner L & McLaughlin L (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Media and Gender. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 259-268.

This article explores the ways in which changing Western cultural norms around sexuality and its representation are linked to commerce. It examines the ways in which “sex” (or the promise of sex) is sold, and used to sell products to, women and men. My concern is not how individuals experience such consumption practices (a theme dominating much feminist debate), but rather what they tell us about gender, sexuality and power more broadly. A central question is whether it is useful to insist upon a distinction between the commercialisation of sex and commercial sex. Whose interests are served by muddying these boundaries? Comparing heterosexual women’s place within this marketplace to the positions offered their male contemporaries – something rarely done in the academic literature - sheds further light on this.

commercial sex; sex toys; Sex and the City; The Hangover; pornography.

Publication date31/12/2013
Publisher URL
Place of publicationAbingdon