Sex in advertising: Gender differences and the role of relationship commitment

Darren W. Dahl, Jaideep Sengupta, Kathleen D. Vohs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


This study draws on differences between men and women's attitudes about sex, either as an end in itself (men) or as inextricably linked to relationship commitment (women) to understand attitudes toward the gratuitous use of sex in advertising. In line with predictions, four experiments showed that women's spontaneous dislike of sexual ads softened when the ad could be interpreted in terms of commitmentrelated resources being offered by men to women. In contrast, men's positive attitudes toward sexual ads were relatively unaffected by the salience of relationship commitment cues. These results not only offer insights into consumer reactions to sexual advertising but also inform theories on how men and women conceptualize sexual behaviors and relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-231
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2009


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