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Defining sexy: Are you sexy or not?

Updated on July 15, 2011
Good news ladies. You don't need to look like this to be sexy.
Good news ladies. You don't need to look like this to be sexy.
Fellas you don't have to look like this  certainly not with your drawers showing.
Fellas you don't have to look like this certainly not with your drawers showing.

Like all other labels we use every day, ‘sexy’ is an inherently subjective word. Even the label ‘intelligent’ is somewhat subjective and contextual. Sexy can mean so much or so little.

On the internet, some persons overuse the darn word or its related meanings – hence sexybabe20567 or hunkypunk100.

You just have to wonder whether the persons who use those monikers are still trying to convince themselves first.

The concept of “sexy” straddles the divide between the objective and subjective realities. On one hand, evolutionary psychology opines that our definitions of sexy are indexed to symbols of fertility or reproductive capability.

On the other hand, a sociologist may perceive the term “sexy” strictly as a social construct, which is influenced by culture and related mechanisms. There is merit to both notions.

At its simplest, “sexy” refers to how sexually attractive or stimulating a person or thing is. Among animals, physical appearance is the critical to reproductive opportunities – just check the proud peacock. Fortunately for some, and unfortunately for others, what humans find attractive or arousing is a bit more complex, involving our senses and our complex mind.

Physical appearance

While there is more to being sexy than what meets the eye, it certainly forms a major component of it. A person’s face and their form are considered good benchmarks for physical attraction. One guy I knew a long time ago used to rate women according to their face and form and even provide an average. It would have interesting to see what women would have given him while he was at it. While perception of appearance is the preserve of the beholder, the beholder’s ideas about what is good-looking or not is influenced to a greater or lesser extent by others.

Physical form complements the face or, in some cases, it compensates for it. There is no telling which is more important. Evolutionary psychologists would say that the form may tell a lot about the genetic desirability of a person. For instance, a man’s broad shoulders may have a similar function as the mane of a male lion. However, some persons prefer a nice face over a nice body – if they can’t have both.


It almost seems like a fad when persons suggest that they’re attracted to the minds of others. Well, it doesn’t seem like such a Twilight Zone notion when you think of it. That is what makes us different from other animals after all. For women, the mind is the greatest sex organ and many men appreciate a woman who has her wits about her. The more cynical among us would suggest that intelligence is a factor in being “sexy” because it is usually positively correlated with power and status in society.

Anyone can be sexy. Remember that.
Anyone can be sexy. Remember that.
This is stretching it a bit, but it's entirely possible.
This is stretching it a bit, but it's entirely possible.


How often do you hear that a person ended up being with someone to whom they weren’t initially attracted? The reason for that could have been that the seemingly unattractive person had something special in their personality – at least in their partner’s opinion. We can connect with others at the level of personalities. Personality can make some persons seem sexier than others or give them some added mystery that draws others in. There the intense personality with the irresistible aura and the light-hearted (or flirtatious) personality that can be the spark that ignites your flame – yes, yours. Whether you find the reserved, mysterious personality sexy or the effervescent “life-of-the-party,” personality has a role to play in defining “sexy.”

Personal authority

Personal authority is an amalgam of confidence, a positive attitude, ability to influence and desire to claim ownership of self and responsibilities for one’s actions. Those attributes sure seem sexy, don’t they? Given that both men and women appreciate confidence, it’s no wonder that it is a critical aspect of attraction; confidence makes people take notice. Having false confidence is like doing a Figure-8 on thin ice though – not sexy.


The perfume industry wants us to believe that their smell-well can even have the troll under a bridge oozing with sex appeal. In caveman days, pheromones were significant in identifying who was sexy. Smell is somewhat important, but I don’t think it is as significant as other factors. Maybe it’s because a woman who was attracted to me nearly made my nose bleed with her perfume once. Still, a good smell can enhance your chances of being sexy, since you may at least have a “sexy,” clean smell. What makes it better is that we can easily link scent to memories and persons.


Oh yes – the sexy voice. Of course, this is quite different according to the sexes. Women should have more feminine pitch – that with a higher tonal quality, while men with deeper voices stand a better chance of being considered as having sexy voices. Of course, this is an over-simplification, since it is subjectively determined as well. I’m sure you can identify a voice that just sends shivers much lower than your voice box.


Some other favourites in defining “sexy” may be humour, power and social status. There are so many factors that contribute to sexiness, which suggests that no one is completely unsexy. All you need to do is find out why you are sexy, without necessarily advertising that you are.

Advertising just makes you seem conceited, deluded or thoroughly unconvincing. The many attributes that contribute to defining ‘sexy’ means that anyone can be sexy at some time, in some place, and to someone. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel sexy.


Submit a Comment

  • MG Singh profile image

    MG Singh 

    7 years ago from Singapore

    Wonderful ! I liked your write up, but again what is sexy to one may not be sexy to another person. That's chemistry and is difficult to define

  • jaredbangerter profile image


    7 years ago from New York City

    Hahaha I love the pictures you chose. But yes, I agree with everything you said about people putting too much importance on appearance when determining who is sexy and who isn't. I'd rather date a girl who isn't exactly super model looking, but who is nice, loving and trustworthy than a girl who looks like a supermodel but is a rude, cheating monster. I also like how you take smell into account here. Hygiene is critical and nothing is a worse turn off than someone who smells horrid. Great article. voted up and marked as useful.

  • Eric Prado profile image

    Eric Prado 

    7 years ago from Webster, Texas

    I couldn't agree more. Anyone can be sexy in many different ways. It is what comes from inside that should be considered sexy, but in today's media and seemingly shallow society, sexy is only what is on the outside and I think that is very backwards in thinking. There seems to be no feeling or intrinsic value anymore. Quite a shame. Brilliant hub, I voted up! =)

  • dashingscorpio profile image


    7 years ago

    Excellent points!

    It's true you hear about couples who initially did not find each other attractive. "Chemistry" is an intangible quality. It can strike you like a lightning bolt or slowly wash over you like a low ocean wave. I've also known instances in my own life when I was physically attracted to a woman but once she opened her mouth her attitude,personality, or outlook on life in general was a turn off.

    I think for us individually "sexy" is a state of mind or a mood that we feel about ourselves at a particular time. None of us probably thinks we are sexy all of the time.

    With regard to our perception of others I believe that "sexy" like "beauty" is in the eye of the beholder. What one person considers to be sexy is viewed as being "tacky", "trashy", or "slutty" to another. Fortunenately there are enough people out there who will admire most of us no matter what our height, shape, size, color, or personal style may be. One trip to the mall or other public gathering place and you will find numerous couples who no doubt consider (their significant other) to be "sexy"(in their eyes) :-)


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