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Brief Published: 8 Mar 2018

How to Talk About Sex & Sexuality

We're in a time where not understanding sexuality and gender is unacceptable

Learning how to talk about sex and sexuality is vital for brands today, said Sarah Forbes – author of Sex in the Museum – during a lecture in London on February 22. Organised by global talk curators Rising Minds, the event explored key themes including:

  • Biased Views: Brands should proceed with caution when communicating aspects of sex or sexuality, owing to inherent bias. "Even in fields that are supposed to be unbiased, biases still creep in because we are human beings and the ideas we have about gender and sexuality are socially constructed," said Forbes.
  • Appropriate Language: We're in a time where not understanding sexuality and gender is unacceptable, said Forbes. Brands shouldn't portray ideas about concepts such as gender fluidity before talking to these communities and heeding their advice. The word cisgender illustrates the importance of language, she explained: "It's not 'trans' people and 'normal' people – this is not going to fly well with your audience." If brands want to be on the right side of history, they must educate themselves, she explained: "Terminology and ideology go hand in hand."
  • Tech Innovation: Forbes urged tech companies to look to the sex industry for innovation inspiration, because "as soon as there's a new technology, it's used for sex". Our Rewiring Relationships report reveals more on how disruptive technologies – including artificial intelligence and virtual reality – will irrevocably change behaviours around dating and love in the coming years.

For a better understanding of consumer attitudes towards gender and sexuality, see Gender-Fluid Generation: Beauty Attitudes and Culture Guardians.

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