Relationships
When your partner calls you sexy, here's what they mean.

Here's What A Person Might Mean When They Call You Sexy Or Hot

Being sexy means more than just looking good.

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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.

Some People Don’t Exactly Know What Sexy Or Hot Means
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I won't ever use those words to describe someone I'm interested in because I kind of think it's derogatory. Like, why not just say she's attractive? What is 'hot'?

— Kip*, 22

Just means I think they're good-looking, I guess. I don't know. I don't really use 'sexy' or 'hot' when I describe anyone's looks. Sounds childish.

— Vee*, 29

'Hot' is probably something I would think but never say, you know? I guess it means I like you. I like your vibe. I think you're cute AF.

— Liam*, 23

According to Dr. Kaplow, “For some, the words sexy and hot are just not a significant part of their makeup. They may feel that you are sexy and hot but not verbalize it.” Being sexy is not just about one thing. "Attraction to another person is clearly physical in nature,” he adds, “but sexy and hot can be very evolved experiences that are driven by subtleties about the person, their nature, and how they move through the world.”

Some Think The Words Sexy & Hot Are Straightforward
When guys say that, they probably don't mean anything particularly interesting. More than likely it's just the simplest way of conveying physical attraction.

— Will*, 29

Whenever I find someone hot, it’s usually because they have sharp physical features, which draw my attention. I don’t feel the ‘desire’ to be physically intimate with people I find hot. It’s more like a fleeting thought.

— u/bruisedankles

I feel like it's one of those things you can't explain. It's for sure tied to sex, right? Because you can admit someone is attractive but not necessarily hot? Plus, sex-y. Right?

— Cody*, 26

Melissa Diamond, host of the dating podcast He Said What, says that — while “everyone has their own perspectives on these terms” — there is really no universal or straightforward definition. "Most people assume these words only have physical meaning, but I disagree," she says. "It can mean that they are physically and/or mentally/emotionally attracted to you. They can find your sense of humor sexy — not just the way you appear on the surface."

Some Think Being Sexy & Hot Isn’t Limited To Someone’s Looks
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It’s hot when a girl has lots of confidence and ambition. Knowing what she wants and going after it is incredibly attractive. I would say that if you’re in a relationship (like I am), then pretty much everything your SO does is hot.

— Simon*, 26

Hot, to me, means that flutter you get in your chest when [you and] your partner are cuddling, for example, [and] you feel physically hot by a person regardless of room temperature and clothes. It doesn’t even have to be physical touch.

— u/Professional-March22

Someone who is comfortable with who they are [is sexy]. I just absolutely love that. Because it means you value being who you really are and feel like you don’t have to pretend.

— u/flyingperson99

Almost everyone uses different words to convey attraction, mostly because attraction can make up more than just physical features. According to Diamond, "Most people assume [sexy and hot] only have physical meaning, but I disagree. It can mean that they are physically and/or mentally/emotionally attracted to you. They can find your sense of humor sexy not just the way you appear on the surface.”

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.

*Names have been changed.

Experts:

Lisa Hochberger, sexologist and relationship expert

Dr. Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show

Melissa Diamond, host of the dating podcast He Said What

Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.