Sex is big business with myriad opportunities to arouse PR pros

PRWeek Editor-in-chief Steve Barrett on the September sex issue.

Attitudes to sex, relationships, and dating are changing – and they are changing fast.

Vanity Fair drew Tinder’s ire in its landmark September issue, which suggested the popular dating app, and others such as Happn, Hinge, and OkCupid, were responsible for a burgeoning hookup culture that is killing young people’s attitudes to relationships and ruining romance.

In our first Sex Issue, Cindy Gallop from, addresses this trend and lambastes society’s reluctance to talk honestly about sex, which she says results in porn becoming the sex education of today by default. Indeed, one girl quoted in Vanity Fair suggested young men increasingly have a skewed view of the reality of sex through porn, which is now so readily available for free online.

The adult entertainment industry may decry the glut of free online content threatening the livelihoods of those who participate in it, but it won’t garner much sympathy. However, the fact is 250 million people will access adult content via their phone by 2017.

These are huge businesses: Industry analysts estimate the adult novelty, dating sites, and porn industries alone bring in annual revenues of more than $30 billion. Then there are pharmaceuticals. A new "little pink pill" called Addyi or flibanserin, which treats low libido in women, was approved by the FDA in August, billed as the biggest breakthrough for women’s sexual health since the pill. As Gallop notes, the famous phrase "sex sells" is, by definition, a male-centric perspective – the shift in emphasis to healthier, higher-quality sex toys and the introduction of "female Viagra" can go some way toward evening up the gender imbalance.

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