Why Being Sexy Really Has Nothing To Do With Appearance

Michelle Brown
May 8, 2019 · 3 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Our stale concept of what’s sexy needs to take a backseat to a new definition.

For decades I thought I knew what sexy was. It started when I was a young girl. The concept of sexy would stare back at me from the grocery store fashion magazines and glamorous prime time soap operas.

The official definition of sexy is “sexually attractive or exciting.”

Words like seductive, desirable, alluring, toothsome, sensual, sultry, slinky, provocative, tempting, and tantalizing are also offered up as alternative descriptions of sexy. (If anyone out there knows exactly what “toothsome” is supposed to be I’d love to know…)

Sexy has become a word we use on a daily basis. We use it to describe the human body, human hair, skin, clothes — even accessories like bags or belts. It alludes to something we want just as badly as sex.

I spent my first 16 years or so on this earth thinking that glossy perfection in a magazine or villainous black high-heels with stockings were the holy grail of womanhood.

In reality, those magazine pictures were just airbrushed creations of someone else’s fantasy.

None of those things are what sexy truly is. Those are just superficial playthings we’ve come to accept as the status quo of sex appeal. Our stale concept of what’s sexy needs to take a backseat to a new definition.

Sexy is taking responsibility for your life. It’s waking up every day knowing that you might fail at something but continuing on regardless. Sexy is muddling through life absolutely terrified, but still knowing you’ve got the guts to do it.

Sexy is comforting someone even after you’ve had a bad day. Sexy is putting your children first. Sexy is making love without shaving your legs because you and your partner have to take what time you get. Sexy is messy, caring, and sudden. It’s not planned or contrived.

There’s definitely something to be said for looking neat, attractive, or stylish, but that’s not what I would consider sexy.

Wearing bare feet in the grass or laughing until you hurt is way sexier than a filtered selfie or an overpriced push-up bra.

Sexy is frown lines from thinking, crows feet from smiling, and an aging body because you’ve lived. Sexy is wrinkles on hands that have labored, typed, caressed, healed, and felt. Sexy is freckles on your nose and shoulders from staying too long at the beach.

A sexy woman is inspired, dedicated, and excited about life. She takes on challenges like educating herself, communicating her needs, teaching others, traveling the world, or braving motherhood.

A sexy woman isn’t made by wearing shiny jewelry or a pair of $100 jeans she can’t breathe in. She’s made by the real trials of life with blood, sweat, and tears.

Sexy doesn’t necessarily cost money. Sexy is simply crashing through this life as a genuine, flawed, magnificent person.

And that’s my definition of what’s sexy.

More from Michelle: How Masturbation is Affecting My Relationship

Self, Inspired.

Sign up for Self, Inspired.

By Self, Inspired.

Find practical advice and inspiring self-improvement journeys from writers who have lived through dynamic life-changing experiences. Take a look

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Michelle Brown

Written by

Top Writer, Partner, Lover, Mother & Stepmother. Ponderings on sex, love, parenting, step-parenting & the journey of life. Meet me there.

Self, Inspired.

Exploring the self, improving the self.

Michelle Brown

Written by

Top Writer, Partner, Lover, Mother & Stepmother. Ponderings on sex, love, parenting, step-parenting & the journey of life. Meet me there.

Self, Inspired.

Exploring the self, improving the self.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store