When I say David Beckham is the sexiest man to walk the planet, I mean I like how he looks physically, but I also love that he’s a family man. My feelings toward David Beckham are sort of like what it means when someone calls you sexy or hot. Each person has their own reasons and qualifiers because both adjectives are entirely subjective. Someone's charming personality, sense of humor, or infectious laugh can 100% make them sexy or hot to someone else. So what does sexy mean, and what does it mean when a guy calls you sexy?
It's OK to appreciate or compliment someone's physical attributes without making them feel objectified. It's also OK to appreciate someone's non-physical traits, if that's what makes them sexy or hot to you. As sexologist and relationship expert Lisa Hochberger tells Elite Daily, “In my clinical experience, ‘sexy’ and ‘hot’ mean something different depending on who you ask.”
Dr. Joshua Klapow, a clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, agrees. “What goes into a person’s definition of sexy or hot can differ significantly,” he says. “It can be anything from the way you smell to how you talk, walk, interact with a puppy, do your work, move your eyes, repair a car, fold laundry. Really, any combination of factors that are appealing to your SO can fuel their perception that you are sexy and/or hot.” And if ever you find yourself on the receiving end of one of these compliments, you can acknowledge the compliment if you'd like, but you don't have to. Your opinion of yourself matters much more than anyone else's.
But what does being sexy or hot mean, and what do people mean when they say it? The thing about attraction is — as hard as you try to find one specific explanation for finding someone desirable — it’s absolutely still subjective. There's no reason to worry about fitting into one person's definition of what sexiness looks (or acts, or sounds) like. And while it’s important to show interest in your partner or a potential partner, it's never OK to cat call, judge, body shame, or reduce someone to the sum total of their looks.
Here’s what 9 people mean when they call someone sexy or hot.
As Hochberger says, "People are attracted to a number of qualities, so someone might value a potential partner's sense of humor, knowledge about the arts, or a variety of other things." Ultimately, what’s important to know is that whoever is calling you sexy or hot or whatever equivalent, and for whatever reason they’re saying it, they’re giving you a compliment. So all you really have to do — if this is a person whose compliment you want to accept — is thank them.