What Makes Someone Truly Sexy?

Hint: It isn’t about dressing scantily clad, having a ripped body, or impeccable makeup.

image by Jeryd Gillum from Unsplash.com

We live in a culture that touts the idea: sexy = how sexed up and how “good” you look.

This is simplistic, not entirely true, and oftentimes, even misses the point entirely.

We’ve been falsely led to believe that “sexy” is all about exterior and looks.

Hence, the duck lipped selfies that litter social media, Instagram photos of ripped torsos having become commonplace, women dressing more and more scantily clad with each passing year, and the pornified, homogenized idea of beauty that we try and emulate today.

Sexy is much more than this.

How do both you and I know it? For several reasons.

How do you explain the crushes you’ve had on at least one or two (maybe more) people who were not model hot? Possibly even far from it. Though still, something captured you about this person and attracted you.

What about the fact that people who look great on the exterior still get rejected by others they pursue? This happens, and not infrequently.

What about actors like Benedict Cumberbatch, Benicio Del Toro, James McAvoy, Adrien Brody, Adam Driver, Javier Bardem, Cillian Murphy, Edward Norton, Sean Penn, and Daniel Craig?

What about actresses like Sandra Oh, Cate Blanchett, Lady Gaga, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Rooney Mara, Elisabeth Moss, Rose McGowan, Christina Ricci, Meryl Streep, or Serena Williams?

Both of these groupings of celebrities are not known to be conventionally attractive (aka, “sexy”) people, through each and every one of them have whole hosts of fans who find them sexy, alluring, and appealing.

How about the fact that plenty of people exude in-your-face, supposed sexiness (via walking around nearly naked, with butt cheeks and boobs on ready display, or with ripped abs and pants slung low), and find plenty of other people not especially interested in them? And even, some people repelled and smirking at their simplistic attempts toward “sexiness.”

What about the unfortunate truth that, many people fall in love with someone because that person is “hot”, appealing, sexy, and attractive to them. And then with time, they do not find the person nearly as appealing anymore (once they actually get to know them in-depth and heart), their attention then gravitating in other directions?

And, let’s consider quotes such as, “The flower doesn’t dream of or call out to the bee. It simply blossoms, and the bee comes.” (This quote, with regards to not needing to seek outer attention and validation via dress or behavior).

Another one, “Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud.” (This is true of both word and behavior).

How about, “Attraction is only intense when mystery is involved.”

And lastly, “In a social media world, the danger is being overexposed and when something is overexposed, it is no longer interesting. If ever it was.” -Donna Lynn Hope (Author).

So. Sexiness is something more than just looks, dress, strutting around with a swagger in one’s step, or vying for attention via our behavior.

Sexiness is different than what we have been led to believe it is.

So, what is sexy?

Sexy is happy. We’ve all met them. Beautiful people who are any of the following: arrogant, bitter, miserable, cynical, mean, dismissive, self-absorbed to an immense degree, condescending, etc. This is not sexy. You may look good on the outside, but if the inside if mealy or rotten, no one is going to want to stick around. While they might initially find you sexy, they will change their minds eventually. Instead, sexy is vibrant. Someone who is excited about and happy to be alive. The person who brings light and positivity to most interactions and scenarios of their life.

Sexy is not desperate. So much of the imagery people post on social media, and so much of how we dress and act today exudes an air of…desperation. A silent cry of “look at me, please, look at me! Give me attention. Notice me!” The second of sensing someone is aching for others to look at, notice, and find them appealing, it diminishes their appeal to a degree.

Sexy is a sense of self-contentment and of being at home with oneself. Many people fake this. Few actually feel and have it. This is something that, for many, will take a lifetime to find and uphold within themselves. If they ever are able to get there at all. You can tell, the people who are truly comfortable and happy with themselves. It sticks out like a sore thumb. Why? Because it’s rare. And it’s quite sexy.

Sexy is kind. Mean people are not sexy. They might look good on the outside but, again, if they are nasty? People will eventually find them ugly on getting to know their inner character and heart.

Sexy is having a sense of curiosity, open-heartedness, and intelligence. Dumb is not sexy. Playing dumb, also not sexy. Smart is sexy. Being interested in exploration, discovery, and adventure is sexy. An interest in learning, reading, and pursuing more knowledge of the world is sexy. Know-it-alls and arrogance are not sexy. Being humble, open-hearted, and warm are sexy.

Sexy is healthy, and this is not as tied to weight as we think. Sexy is exercising at least semi-regularly. It is an interest in keeping your body strong and with decent stamina. It is a concern with true health and not just “looking hot,” since they are often not the same thing. It is placing a priority on caring for yourself and eating well. It is having a sense of discipline and ownership of your well-being. It is choosing to maintain your self and health.

Sexy is being present and listening. People who tune in, listen carefully, and focus fully on you when in their company? This feels awesome. You know what I am talking about because, again, it is a rare trait and behavior. The people who do this are memorable, noteworthy, and very sexy. Those who are looking at their phones all the time? Their attention, ever elsewhere? Not appealing behavior. This indicates someone who is not able to be where they actually are. Someone who is not comfortable being with themselves and fully present in the given moment. Someone who is…uneasy with not being distracted. All of this indicates a degree of discomfort with oneself, with stillness, with one’s own company, and with interacting with the world. None of which is very sexy.

Sexy is adventurous. It is willing to try new things. It is having a sense of playfulness and excitement about life and the world. Sexy is yearning to explore, and doing so. Sexy is turning toward the unknown with a sense of bravery, rather than shying away.

Sexy is not letting it all hang out. This can refer to manners, to dress, to not revealing everything about oneself or too much in a given situation and instead, leaving something to mystery. It can refer to oversharing on social media. It can refer to dumping life stories on people you hardly know. You get the idea.

Sexy is flexible. Sexy is not rigid. It is instead, an interest in novel and venturing into the unknown. It is a willingness to dare to say “yes,” even when one might be hesitant or uncertain. To stretch one’s comfort zone and do something different.

Sexy is having a sense of manners, politeness, and thoughtfulness toward others. Those people who blare music from their cell phones within confined spaces (waiting rooms, buses, cafes, etc) without the care of others in the vicinity? People who push past you to get slightly ahead in line? Those who grab and shove? People who are entitled and snotty? Those who think they “deserve” things? People who get petulant and rude for little to no reason? None of these people are sexy. Rude and self-centered? Not hot.

And yes, sexy can be a wow-inducing outfit. Though not in the way we tend to think of it. Sure, walking around nearly naked will nab you some immediate attention. It won’t be lasting though. Plus, that is how almost everyone dresses nowadays. With butt cheeks bared, boobs all but falling out, and most of our bodies right out there. This has become strangely…boring. If something is everywhere, it quickly shifts to become…unremarkable, forgettable, and not very impressive. Remember, the attraction is intense (and longer-lasting) when mystery is involved. Sexy outfits are those which are different. Elegant. Sexy but a bit subdued. Those who leave something to the imagination. Which leads us to yearn seeing more. Sexy outfits are classy. They make it obvious that the wearer put in the effort.

Sexy is multi-dimensional. These are the people who are multi-faceted, with a degree of varying interests, who have different passions and personal projects going on in their lives. They usually have much to talk about. They are always checking out something new. They read a lot. They are perpetually learning and growing. They have goals toward which they are in strong pursuit. People who just sit around and watch T.V. most of their free time? Meh. Not so much.

Fervent writer. Ravenous reader. Impassioned with words. Relationship researcher. Social Scientist. Social Justice Advocate. Author. www.brookeenglish.com

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