Sex toys promote a new consumptive ethos whose significance may be adequately outlined by attending to the institutional implications of this product category’s consumption. By drawing on Foucault’s theory of sexuality and the technologies of the self that materialize with the aid of discursive formations about sexuality, as well as on relevant sociological and ethnographic insights, I undertake a qualitative content analysis on a corpus of 100 sex toys’ product reviews from popular magazines and web sites in order to identify how the discourse about sex toys is articulated in terms of three dominant categories of sexual scripts (Simon & Gagnon, 2007), viz. cultural scenarios, interpersonal scripts and intrapsychic scripts. By opening up the discussion to broader cultural issues, I outline how the consumption experience of sex toys, as articulated in the reviews’ discursive formations, facilitates the emergence of new consumer trends, particularly with reference to orgasm-on-the-go and no-touch-orgasm, while redefining existent ones.


Foucault, Sexuality, Discourse Analysis, Qualitative Content Analysis, Consumer Culture

Author Bio(s)

George Rossolatos MSc, MBA, PhD is an academic researcher, marketing practitioner, and the editor of the International Journal of Marketing Semiotics (Department of English, Kassel University, Germany). Major publications include the Handbook of Brand Semiotics (2015; ed. and co-author), Semiotics of Popular Culture (2015), Brand Equity Planning with Structuralist Rhetorical Semiotics (2012, 2014), //rhetor.dixit//: Understanding ad texts’ rhetorical structure for differential figurative advantage (2013), Applying Structuralist Semiotics to Brand Image Research (2012), Interactive Advertising: Dynamic Communication in the Information Age (2002; ed. and co-author), plus numerous articles in trade and academic journals. His research interests focus on new media and cultural studies, interpretivist consumer research, branding/advertising, and span various disciplines such as rhetoric, semiotics, phenomenology, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, communication theory. Download full CV from http://bit.ly/1cnUnVT. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: georgerossolatos123@gmail.com.

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