Why is cosplay so sexualized?

Whether you’re new to cosplay or been in the Cosplay Community for a while, you’ve probably seen some sexy cosplays at some point. In fact, it’s become quite common and not out of the ordinary. If you use social media as a cosplayer, you’ve probably seen tons of sexy cosplay content in your feed given to you by the algorithm. If you attend cosplay conventions, you’ve likely seen some sexy versions of a character in cosplay.

But if you are interested in being serious cosplay, you might be wondering if doing sexy cosplay is needed? Do you have to show some skin in order to become the most popular or successful cosplayer out there? That’s what we’ll look into today. Let’s first answer the question…

Why is cosplay so sexualized?

There are many reasons why cosplay can be sexualized. Much like with any other hobby, sexy content will always get the most attention. It’s what a lot of the audience wants to see. Because cosplay is also mainstream, it’s easier to do sexualized content on many platforms, which allows cosplayers the freedom to dress up the way they want. With that said, don’t feel obligated to do sexy content if you don’t want to, or feel uncomfortable. You can enjoy and be successful in cosplay without needing to show any skin; it’s up to you.

In this post, I’ll answer in detail why is cosplay so sexualized and drives people to love that content. And for you as a cosplayer, you can decide if you want to do sexy cosplay or not.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Many fandoms are sexualized to begin with

I don’t want to say that sexy content for cosplay is good or bad. I’m pretty neutral about it; like anything, it can be good or bad, depending on the circumstance. But if you wanted to put the blame pie on cosplay, let’s not do that (at least for now). We should take note that cosplay is roleplaying characters from existing fandoms. And by that logic, that is why we have sexualized content for cosplay; the characters themselves are sexy!

I can list a bunch of characters that have some sort of attractive appeal to them:

  • Chun Li from Street Fighter
  • Lara Croft from Tomb Raider
  • Zero Suit Samus from Metroid
  • Satsuki from Kill La Kill
  • Panty & Stocking
  • Nami from One Piece
  • Yoko from Gurran Laggan
  • Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop
  • Harley Quinn
  • Wonder Woman
  • Princess Leia (especially her slave outfit)
  • Mary Jane Watson
  • Black Widow
  • Poison Ivy
  • Makima from Chainsaw Man
  • Deadpool
  • Sebastian from Black Butler
  • Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist (ahem)
  • Nathan Drake
  • Free! Iwatobi Swim Club
  • Dante from Devil May Cry
  • Ace from One Piece
  • Jojo

I can go on and on, but there are a TON of fictional characters who have some sort of sex appeal to begin with. So it’s not a coincidence when someone cosplays any of these characters, they too will come off sexualized (unless you really tone it down). That doesn’t mean you have to be sexy in order to cosplay (more on this later). It’s just that with cosplaying fictional characters, you will have some sort of sexiness involved with a lot of them.

Yes, it’s true that some cosplayers do sexualize characters that don’t have that sex appeal. You can go on sites such as OnlyFans to see what I mean. But let’s not pretend that in fandoms or in the fictional world, that sex appeal doesn’t exist. It totally does, and that naturally translates into the cosplay world.

Which brings me to my next point…

Sex sells (duh!)

What do big boobs, big butts, pretty faces, muscular abs, perfect Waifus and Husbandos have in common? They sell like hot cakes! Whether it’s Anime, video games, television or in cosplay, sexualized content is always going to be around because it’s there to sell. Whether that’s getting more views for the Anime, selling video game copies, getting more viewers in TV or getting more subscriptions/engagement in cosplay, sexualized content definitely helps with that.

It’s what the audience (mostly) wants

What most people search for when it comes to cosplay. 🙂

Even for me as a cosplay blogger, sexy content is what tops the charts in terms of what people are searching for! Check out this spreadsheet above if you don’t believe me. 🙂

Let’s not forget that if it weren’t for the audience, there would be no demand for sexualized cosplay content. When sexy cosplay gets a ton of likes and engagement, when cosplay OnlyFans is a viable market, etc. (click here to learn how to make money as a cosplayer). Then you know that sexualized cosplay is a subgenre of cosplay that many people want to see and are willing to pay to see.

With that said, not everyone wants to see sexualized content. Sometimes we want to enjoy the cosplayer’s costume without being visually distracted…so to say. Fortunately, we can make our own choices in what type of cosplay we want to enjoy and appreciate. But because there is a demand for sexualized cosplay, it will always be around.

Okay, now that I’ve given you some solid reasons why cosplay is sexualized, you may be wondering…

Do you need to dress sexy in order to cosplay?

“I don’t think my cosplays are influenced by my job at all… However they are limited. I have to be very careful in making sure whatever I cosplay is not overly revealing.”

-Pastreflections (from my article, “10 Interesting Gigs That Cosplayers Have“)

Absolutely not! While sexualized costumes will likely be at the forefront, that doesn’t mean you have to do so as well. It is not mandatory to do sexy cosplay. In fact, there are TONS of cosplayers that dress up without needing to do anything sexy, and they do just fine. There are lots of those regular cosplayers at conventions. In fact, I know quite a few successful professional cosplayers who don’t do any sexy cosplay at all. They look just as attractive and beautiful in cosplay; it’s their craft and skills that stand out.

Some of my friends, due to their career and profession, do not do any sexy cosplay at all.

So if you don’t want to do any sexualized cosplay, you do not need to.

But if you want to, you can

This post may have come off as anti-sexualized cosplay. But not at all! I have no opinion for or against sexy cosplay. If you want to do sexualized cosplay, then by all means go for it! I know tons of cosplayers who are proud to do sexy cosplays for so many reasons:

  • The engagement and attention they receive. Of course.
  • The confidence boost they get in doing sexy cosplays. Remember that it takes a lot of vulnerability and confidence to put yourself and your body out there. It’s definitely not easy. But some of the cosplayers I know, they say doing these types of cosplays gives them a lot more confidence.
  • Showing love for their character. Don’t forget that part of cosplaying is showing love for the character. And that includes sexy cosplays. Who doesn’t love characters that are attractive?


And that pretty much wraps up this article regarding why cosplay is sexualized. I hope you found this post informative enough so that you can make your own decisions regarding sexy cosplays.

What’s your take on this? I’d love to hear. Let me know in the comments!

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