Everyone these days refers to branding. What are you trying to portray to people, what does your colour scheme say, your logo, your front etc. But what about the branding of sex? It seems there are 3 strong stereotypes available to those who talk about sex and I apologise in advanced for the generalisation.
1. The stiff blazer wearing expert who looks like they wouldn’t know what good sex was if it hit them in the face. 2. The “sexy” person. The one that probably owns more sex toys than you do underwear and would sleep with anyone and probably has and 3. A sex and the city character who loves to dress up in amazing clothes and fabulous shoes and often wears colours that are associated with being feminine. But what happens if you don’t quite fit into the boxes that are available and are a little from 1, 2, and 3? (I love shoes, probably do have more sex toys than you could imagine but also love a smart blazer).
We are challenging labels and stereotypes when it comes to gender and sexuality, but I don’t feel like someone who talks about these subjects also has that same space. We are in a society that is not supposed to judge women on what they wear and what they look like, but so many times I’m judged by exactly that. My appearance has been what has previously lost me work, with the importance of my credentials coming after looks (and don’t worry my appearance was not exactly insulted but my brains were.) It doesn’t matter sometimes if you can do the job, but apparently there are set ideas of how you should look whilst doing it, especially when talking about sex.
But this all makes me think of the branding of sex in general. People have such an issue seeing it outside of the stereotypes. It’s either clinical and using words such as “intercourse” and “physical intimacy” or seductive and erotic with picture of naked people and an overuse of the colour pink or red. Do those two labels fit your sex life? Is that how you want your bedroom life portrayed? Why can’t we just see sex as an everyday subject cause it is a subject that most people are interested and fascinated in. No one has ever said to me they know enough about sex and are happy just the way things are. They ask me questions, they want advice and often they don’t know who to get that from. They are not smutty people or using words like intercourse. They are the people around me in my daily life and in yours too. So just maybe it’s about time we normalised the branding of sex, how we sell it, how we talk about it and how we promote it too (and FYI, I’m not suggesting we normalise teens having sex, I’m suggesting we normalise being able to talk about it. If we did, maybe we wouldn’t see so many curious minds rush to the net to find out what it’s all about).
What about being associated with sex? Well me, my job and a lot of my content is not always considered “brand safe.” But what does that even mean? Is sex a risk? (Well maybe if you are not wearing a condom). It’s as though, even if your customers are those that are most probably engaging in some sort of sexual activity, the brand should not be seen to be associated with sex. Sex peaks interest, it gets the hits and the traffic, but most certainty sex does not sell (unless we are talking about strip joints, porn and brothels) as the subject of sex by most is considered too risky and too taboo. If we are trying to normalise talking about sex, then imagine if a mainstream brand did take a risk on the subject? Imagine what a statement that would make? “We accept that people are interested in the subject of sex and that’s ok.” It’s as though sometimes, even though the majority tune in, just like with porn, no one wants to actually admit they are interested in hearing about sex and instead publically disregard it whilst privately searching for more.
Recently, I did a personal branding exercise. Not to change but to identify if I was really portraying me and what I’m all about. When you don’t fit into a stereotype, it can be rather daunting sometimes to really put yourself and what you are all about out there. But in this exercise, I realised the only option is to be me. I’m a 33-year-old woman, in a relationship, who has a passion to help others by educating and empowering them on the subjects of love, sex, dating and relationships. I continue to challenge what is normal and help people work out what is right for them by introducing them to all sorts of interesting content.
You have two choices in life. You either change yourself to fit into a brand, a category or a label, or you go out there and you be you, no matter what that is and what that looks like. You might be met with some hesitancy by some, but you will also find people that will accept and embrace you and that is what you need to focus on, just like I do in my professional world. But this is not just about our professional lives but our personal ones too. How many times do we mould ourselves to fit in, change who we are to belong to a group? Is that what is going to make us happy, or is being honest to who we are and how we want to live our lives the key to real success?
Don’t try and change yourself to fit into a brand. Just make sure what you are projecting to the world who is the real you…