Mind Matters: Sex sells

Sex sells. You have heard that saying. I could go on and on to provide proof, but instead I will list key words. You can fill in the specifics.

Pornography, the oldest profession, sexual slavery, strip clubs, sugar daddies, advertising, movies, TV, books, magazines, sex toys, doll women, sexbots (I can see the future).

The buyers are almost entirely men. The profit makers are mostly men. Women are usually involved, without profiting much.

Some countries go to great lengths to try to block profiting from sex. Australia is not one of those countries.

I have my mind on the money involved in sex because I just read about a school board in Alaska that banned five books: Catch-22, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Invisible Man, The Great Gatsby, and The Things They Carried.

Gatsby and Things got the axe because of sexual references.

I was an adult when I read Gatsby. I was not warped as a human by the experience, but I may be made of tougher stuff than the average Alaskan teen.

Before the banning, I had never heard of Things. Now I want to read it.

I have read books that would never make it into a high school library to be banned: Lady Chatterly's Lover and Fifty Shades of Grey (I did not finish it).

The writers made a bundle on these two. I have seen movies that are often banned, even for adults: Deep Throat and I Am Curious (Yellow).

Both movies made a fortune. I found Curious by accident in the town library.

You may wonder whether I have ever cashed in on sex. I have, in a sense. I wrote an article for The Conversation about how often people have sex.

I saw today that over 277,000 people have downloaded the article. That number is almost surely higher than the number to read anything else I have written.

I did not make any money writing the article, but I did attract readers and failed efforts at censorship.

Most people are very interested in sex; some will do anything to suppress information on the topic.

The common denominator in sex interest and sex-information suppression is the obsession with sex. Why the obsession?

I point the finger at genetics. Individuals who are not oriented towards sex do not reproduce.

Their genes disappear. We collectively have been left with sex-obsession genes.

John Malouff is an Associate Professor at the School of Psychology, University of New England.

This story So why does sex sell? It's all in our genes first appeared on The Canberra Times.