16 Ads That Changed How We Think About Sex

Calvin Klein JeansCalvin Klein’s 2010 jeans campaign.

Photo: Calvin Klein

There is no shortage of sex in advertising. We all know sex sells, but how has it altered the way we think about sex?When done right, these ads can have a huge impact on society and how we think about sex and gender, such as Gatorade’s empowering “Keep her in the game” campaign.

When done wrong, using sex in ads can go very, very … sideways. Take the infamous Dolce & Gabbanna gang rape ad, which was inevitably pulled.

Here are 16 ads that marked turning points in the way we think about sex and its commercialization.

By World War II, the U.S. was once again warning soldiers against sexually transmitted diseases. But also note that the female temptress in the ad has a more modern sexual appeal.

Brooke Shields' Calvin Klein jeans TV spot from the 1980s made it acceptable (well, almost) to use very young models in very sexy ads.

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