While sexual referents are an implicit use of sex in advertising, as there is nothing overtly sexual about them, they are placed by advertisers in the aim that viewers will consciously interpret them as sexual.An example of sexual referents is Volkswagen's campaign for the Beetle Cabriolet.Sexual behaviour can also be displayed using several models interacting in a more or less sexual way.
The use of sex in advertising has been criticized for its tendency to objectify the female body and emphasizing stereotypes.
a 1979 book by Canadian social anthropologist, Erving Goffman is series of studies of visual communication and how gender representation in advertising communicates subtle, underlying messages about the sexual roles projected by masculine and feminine images in advertising.
The use of physically attractive models in advertising is a form of sex in advertising.
Physical attractiveness can be conveyed through facial beauty, physique, hair, skin complexion as well as by the model's inferred personality.
In contemporary mainstream advertising (e.g., magazines, online, television), sex is present in promotional messages for a wide range of branded goods.
Ads feature provocative images of well-defined women (and men) in revealing outfits and postures selling clothing, alcohol, beauty products, and fragrances.This form of sex in advertising is effective as it draws attention and influences the overall evaluation of the ad.Furthermore, such ads create an association between physical attractiveness and the product, sending a message to the consumer that buying it they will help them achieve that physique.Examples of sexually appealing imagery include nudity, pin-up models, and muscular men.The axiom "sex sells" is often said as a shorthand to encapsulate this phenomenon.The interaction of the couple may send out a message of relative dominance and power, and may stereotype the roles of one or both partners.