What It Means When A Guy Calls You "Sexy," According To 6 Men, Because It's Not Exactly What You Think

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When I say David Beckham is the sexiest man to walk the planet, I'm talking strictly about how he looks physically. The ex-soccer player is undeniably attractive to me, thanks to his scruffy beard, gelled-up hair, and brooding eyes. I imagine my feelings toward him are sort of like what it means when a guy calls you "sexy" or "hot." They, like me, have their own reasons and qualifiers because both adjectives are entirely subjective. Someone's charming personality, sense of humor, or infectious laugh can 100 percent make them sexy or hot to someone else. It's not always about outward appearances.

That said, it's OK to appreciate someone's physical attributes and to let them in on it with a compliment, just as long as we all agree that there is no universal definition of "sexy" or "hot." It's also OK to appreciate someone's non-physical traits — the way they treat themselves, the way they treat others, the fact that they love rainy days — if that's what makes them "sexy" or "hot" to you. What some might find attractive, others may not even notice. However, it's never OK to cat-call, judge, body-shame, or reduce someone to the sum total of their looks. My David Beckham fantasies aside, I find it incredibly hot when people I know IRL are good with directions and I can't really explain why. See? Subjective.

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 if you don't want to. On that note, don't ever waste your time wondering why someone hasn't called you either of these things because your worth doesn't depend on anyone's assessments of you. Like, at all. Zero. Nada. Never.

Your opinion of yourself matters so much more than anyone else's. The good thing is that you'll always know what you mean when you compliment yourself, which is more than you can say for compliments from guys, girls, or anyone you might be romantically involved with.

As a heterosexual woman, I've spent way too many hours of my life trying to discern what other people mean when they use words like "beautiful," "cute," sexy," or "hot," to describe me or any other woman. Each of these words is potentially complimentary but what exactly do they mean? Why are there lists of the sexiest people alive published annually and who decides what's sexy?

Here, seven guys reveal what they really mean when they call you "sexy" or "hot." As hard as they tried to give specific answers, most of them fell back on vague descriptions or statements like, "I don't know." That's the thing about attraction: It's totally subjective. There's no reason to worry about fitting into one person's definition of what sexiness looks (or acts or sounds) like — because you're exactly perfect just the way you are.

No one knows what it means, but it's provocative.

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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

According to this guy, it probably means he hasn't fully matured yet.

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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

Maybe they're just simple words that convey simple emotions. This guy doesn't read too much into it.

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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

So, what you're saying is... good vibes only?

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'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

Everything you do is hot to someone who really likes you.

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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.

— Saul, 26

For some guys, it all comes down to sex.

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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

Who knows, Cody? Who knows?

What this experiment has taught me is that being called "sexy" or "hot" isn't necessarily a bad thing. At the very least, it means the other person finds you physically (or otherwise) attractive. They can appreciate your beauty and personality and aren't afraid to tell you. (And yeah, they probably want to have sex with you.)

Now, all you have to do is figure out if you're attracted to the person who slid the compliment your way, and you're good to go. It's OK to give someone a compliment on their looks. It's OK to have a type. It's never OK to body shame someone or give them a backhanded compliment that's really intended to make them question their worth. Paris Hilton would agree: that's not hot.

*Names have been changed.