What Should The Term 'Sexy' Truly Refer To?



The word ‘sexy’ is an odd one. It means many things to many different people. It might be used to describe someone who is high energy, or perhaps to describe someone’s way of walking or talking. You might consider it the right term for someone’s hair, or their outfit, or their figure. You might think it’s a state of being, more of a state of mind than anything else. One thing is for sure, there is no hard and fast way to define it.

Unfortunately, this term has somewhat fallen into a sense of lewd occupancy. If we hear someone aside from a close friend use that term, we’re likely to feel a little creeped out and nauseous. Perhaps this is absolutely correct. However, it does seem like everyone is searching for that sense of it in their own lives. We all want to feel attractive. We all want to feel magnetic. When putting together an outfit, we might consider how well it compliments us in this way, or we might be deterred from outfits that are inappropriate for the occasion. Anyone with a calibrated sense of personal and social decency will understand what we mean here, and understand how to make life decisions that either increase or decrease its definition that we present.

However, what SHOULD the term ‘sexy’ truly refer to? How can we adopt it in our own lives, with our own sensibilities, to improve our confidence and help ourselves feel more attractive? Well, we’ve decided to curate a list of attitudes and affirmations to help you feel your best self. It’s astonishing to realize just how many people, especially women, are able to disregard just how attractive they are.  With our sensible and self-confident guide to sexy, you can look at this usually lewd term in a much more positive, empowering light:

Imperfections Are Attractive

We all know that perfection is never desirable. It’s never relatable. It can never fully satisfy, nor feel engaging. You might recall the old Leonard Cohen line ‘there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in!’ While this might be appropriate to refer to emotional difficulty, it’s important to convert that phrase to how we feel about ourselves physically. Our imperfections are not flaws. They are our personalities. You might have an odd birthmark that you have been somewhat unhappy with since childhood. You might not be too happy with how your figure seems to put on weight, or how well you fit into clothing. You might feel that you’re too short or too tall, or are unhappy with your hairline.

Sometimes, these issues can turn into points of obsession, which prevent us from truly feeling loved and competent as we should be. The tragedy here is that at this stage, we are the only ones who can see our flaws, while others might not even notice.  Remember though, these flaws are not flaws. They are personality. They are how the light gets in. A woman who is powerful enough to accept these self-imposed grievances can feel more radiant than ever, and it will show in the personality of the person we meet.

We might know obese people who struggle with their weight but are somehow still incredibly attractive, despite their physique going against normal standards. Why is this? Of course, obesity is not healthy in any sense, but that doesn’t dictate the content of the person underneath. It’s often because, despite their struggles and their very real efforts to rectify those problems, they accept the self-criticisms they have, and so are free to voice their true magnetism. This is an extreme example, but it can be used to illustrate that often, your confidence and your willingness to BE your imperfections can be worthwhile, even in the process to changing those problems that you can.

It might come across that we’re suggesting you should never work on yourself, or change parts of your style and presentation you aren’t a fan of. Not at all. There is no harm in maintaining yourself, enjoying the process of grooming and self-care, and improving your style. For example, there’s a difference between using cleavage wrinkle treatments to rejuvenate your skin, and only wearing bras that completely cover yourself out of worry when intimate. In other words, do your best to think more of yourself, no matter your perceived slights.


If you don’t respect yourself, how can you expect others to? Unfortunately, this can often surface in the relationship of some people, and is a real sticking point for them. If you feel in any way slighted or made to feel inferior by your partner because you allow them to, thinking less of yourself will make travel a million miles away from feeling any sense of personal attractiveness.

When you respect yourself, you’re more willing to feel a sense of confidence about how you are. Your personality will be imbued with a sense of satisfaction. Feeling attractive is much different from being validated for your attractiveness. When you rest on someone else's opinion of feeling attractive, the smallest thing could set that aside. It might be an odd expression they make when really they had an itchy eye. It might be the fact that they don’t continually express how gorgeous you are, but express it in more subtle ways you aren’t looking for.

However, when you know and feel you’re attractive, you are much more able to connect with someone’s appreciation of you, and for you to show that appreciation back out of a sense of love, rather than a clingy need. We all know that self-respect is sexy. It shows that someone’s priorities are in order. That they have trust in themselves. That when all is said and done, they know that their opinion, informed as much as possible by objectivity, is the only thing they can base their decisions on.

These are the ‘empowered women’ we find so attractive and magnetic in the celebrity circuit. They are the men we are most drawn to. Self-respect, in healthy doses, is in its own way a celebration of ourselves. Again, we come back to the question, if you can’t celebrate yourself, how can you expect others too? If you keep this in mind, particularly if you haven’t done this in the past, it’s likely you’ll struggle to feel your sexiest self, no matter what clothing you wear, or how hard you work in the gym.

When you respect yourself, you’ll find people who respect themselves. This often means you’ll mean someone who is willing to express their truest feelings to you, and you will respect their opinion. This means that when they tell you that you’re radiant, and that you’re worthwhile, and that you mean the world to them, you listen. It’s easy to say words, but unless the speaker of them is someone you care about, you’ll quite quickly brush them off.

Sexy Is Not Physical

Sexiness can be physical, in terms of the figure you have. But this is perhaps 5% of the overall package. We all know that someone with a physical body of perfection yet absolutely zero self-awareness or social intelligence would make us feel quite averse to them very quickly. This is how television programs such as Jersey or Geordie Shore can often feel so conflicting to watch. We know that the conflicts are arranged, that negative personality traits are often the number one content provider, but the good looks of the people involved seems to make a perfect storm for reality television. We all know it’s not good content.

However, sometimes we might forget to bring the inner voice that criticizes that to the way we view ourselves. Being sexy is not a physical thing. It’s in your playfulness, how you decide to express yourself through clothing and style, how you love and prioritize your life, what your hopes and dreams are. We often see people in relationships we might think are objectively mismatched in terms of their aesthetic levels. But then we realize that they balance out in other matters and that both bring something to the other that makes the relationship much more than the sum of its parts.

Feeling and being attractive is the kindness you show, it’s the love you share, it’s your smile when genuine, and it’s your laugh. It’s the ability to feel connected and appreciative of another person and feeling selfless while respecting yourself in that exchange. Sexiness is the ability to feel pride in your achievements and to express something you need to instead of just bearing something you cannot stand. It’s the ability to care. It’s the ability to help someone feel better about themselves.

Why is all this true? How can this be evidenced? Well, song after song for tens, hundreds of years, all dedicated to love, have somehow expressed the random nature of love, how it can seemingly spring up anywhere and take anyone by storm. Romeo and Juliet would not have come together if they had no heart in their relationship, and used their rationality to realize the danger of what they were doing. But no, the power of love and attraction, and with it ‘sexiness,’ is found in a million ways, and deeply matters in many respects.

So what should the term ‘sexy’ truly refer to? Well, if you ask us, it’s a surface word used to colloquially frame the massive expansion of love, self-respect, kindness and celebration of the individual we all deserve to feel. That, perhaps, is the sexiest thing of all.

Ellie Dickinson