The Secret to Sex Appeal

Selling sex appeal is a billion dollar industry. Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with sensory stimulation that insists how buying a certain outfit, a pair of shoes, a brand name perfume, handbags, prohibitively expensive cars, underwear, accessories even a certain pair of socks will make us ooze sex appeal.  Just the thing we need to spruce up our otherwise banal existences.

Billboards are getting exceedingly edgier, not to mention television advertisements in which models adorn high-end luxury cars, sending subliminal messages suggesting that the man who purchases this car will now be armed with the adequate sex appeal to attract copious leggy models. Recently I came across an advertisement doing the rounds on the internet, of a model biting hungrily into a juicy burger as mayonnaise drips down the corners of her mouth. It makes you think, who needs the hassle of a relationship when you can have a burger that apparently provides all the sexiness, without the drama?

Have we not become overburdened with such images? Everything guarantees sex appeal and lots of attention, even a dishwasher! So pervasive are these images that once too often we have noticed the poor dear on the street that donned the latest ‘sexy trend’ only to do him or herself the gravest injustice. Sexy is neither the fabric nor the tailoring, if you don’t’ have what it takes to carry it. But the persuasive advertisements will have you convinced otherwise. They will direct you to what ‘they’ think, (“they’ who have no clue of your individuality) what you should wear and how you should look. The dirty secret ‘they’ don’t tell you is how sex appeal, like many other qualities cannot be bought at the mall because it is not sewn into the fabric of the merchandise they are trying to sell you.

It is not such a rare occurrence to come across a uniquely attractive face, that does not hold up to the standard, air-brushed images splashed across magazine covers, and yet has a certain je ne sais quoi? We know it wasn’t the clothes or the shoes, it was unmistakably a deeper element ensconced within the personality, which ever so casually oozed out of every pore of that person’s being. You look carefully and see the facial features are not quite the standard idea of beauty, despite that, the whole persona is redolent with sex appeal.

When you don’t have to buy the hottest trends, the most expensive clothing or jewellery and get your hair and make up done by a professional each time you want to be ‘seen’, and yet, you exude an appeal that makes one hunger for just another look; that is what is sexy in the truest sense. We have all too often spotted women baring it (almost) all and looked on with dismissive amusement, while none can deny being totally taken by the vision of a confident woman who’s engaging and beautiful smile had our eyes follow her halfway across the block. There is an allure, a certain mystery that sets her apart. Baring it all will attract attention, for a definitive period of time and not always the kind one seeks, whereas floating with that inner confidence and feminine presence will always invoke lasting admiration.

Sex appeal is not a product that can be purchased over-the-counter, it is a state of mind, an inner state of being. It has nothing to do with the act of sex itself. It is not to be found in your closet, in what you wear, it is inside your head. Some women and men can look incredulously sexy hailing a cab, or stirring coffee in the kitchen or watering plants.

That is because sex appeal has more to do with self-esteem and confidence than with low necklines and high skirts. Not the kind of self-assuredness that comes across as hubris, but the kind that is at peace with its strengths and its flaws.

This holds true for men too — not all men who have toiled in the gym for the buffest body will ooze it. They may warrant a head turn or two; but we have also seen men who have a certain presence, an inner confidence as they walk into a room, again, that certain je ne sais quoi. That is the kind of sexy that lingers on in the mind, inviting curiosity and interest.

Confidence and self-esteem are qualities one is hard pressed to find in abundance in both genders. So when we see it, we instantly recognize it, it always makes the individual stand apart. It’s hard to put one’s finger on what it is exactly, but suffice to say people who have worked to conquer their inadequacies and made peace with themselves are the one’s who have that evanescent appeal.

Sex appeal comes from having the confidence to not just play up one’s qualities and revel in them, but to embrace one’s imperfections too. So its not as simple as putting on a sexy outfit, because on closer look anyone will notice that there is little else beyond the outfit. It is being sexy in whatever you’re wearing or doing.

Originally published July 2009

photo by: Helga Weber


  1. Amen to everything you say. Anyone–even unattractive people–can look "hot" if they spend a lot of money on the right make-up and clothes and accessories. True sexiness, on the other hand, has to be spiritually and internally earned completely on your own.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly that the capitalistic system of advertising has attempted to use sex and sexuality in the service of profit. This is a perversion of sexuality. Sex appeal comes from the true self, who you are in your deepest soul and therefore the more real and original you look the sexier you are. On the other hand plasticity and commercialism are not at all sexy. I am a devottee of the goddess in her most mature form the crone goddess, the post menopausal woman who embraces both sexuality and spirituality. Unfortunately many women in this age group in Los Angeles especially those with money have had a lot of plastic surgery. I have never seen a woman with plastic surgery who did not look like she had plastic surgery. This unnatural look is not sexy. If the woman had only accepted herself and her age and allowed her natural sexiness to shine through during the stage of life where she is most powerful both spiritually and sexually then she would have known that she didn't need this. Unfortunately our society is driven slavishly by profits, by what sells. This has mislead women to think that they need to not age and to not be real. Real is sexy. Being yourself and your own age is sexy.

    However I will disagree with you on one point and that is that sex appeal is defiinitely related to actual sexual experience and orgasm. The release of neurochemicals in the brain during sex and orgasm definitely make a woman look more beautiful, younger, and vibrant. It is a very common experience for a woman who starts to be sexually active to suddenly generate a great deal of interest from other men because of the changes that are directly related to sexual experience. She looks different, she walks different, she smiles differently, her eyes have luster.

    love and light,


  3. Stuart,

    I agree with you completely except for your statement that what sells "… has mislead women to think that they need not age and not be real…"

    The women made the choice on their own, they were not forced to have their faces plasticized. So don't give them an excuse please. Free will is what it's about.

    All of them without exception suffer from a lack of self esteem and thus, a lack of self confidence. They don't know who they are, what to do with their lives and instead of getting professional help to face themselves and accept their perfect imperfections, they chose the "easy" way out.


    Have a perfect day!