5 Core Traits of Truly Sexy People.

Via on Apr 25, 2014

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I was at a bar with a friend a while ago and we were talking about who we found attractive in the room.

This is not something that I normally find myself doing, at all. It was a random night. And I found it near impossible to decide who I was attracted to just based on physical appearance alone.

I said this to my friend: I can’t really tell who I’m attracted to based on looks alone. I kind of just want to know that the person is nice.

“Nice,” though, is not enough. It’s a bland word: mandatory for any acquaintanceship, but not nearly enough to encompass the traits required for a full-on relationship. Most people that I know or would choose to spend time with are nice enough.

But full-fledged attraction is about so much more. I’ve been trying to get a handle on what that is, for me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s some combination of these things (in no particular order):

1. Emotional security.

The capacity to be vulnerable—emotionally but also intimately—is huge. It’s about a willingness, space, an exchange of acceptance. It doesn’t mean we let our entire guard down all at once, that we have no boundaries. But an understanding of why openness matters is key.

2. Compassionate exchange.

Generosity, giving, kindness. Showing the other person that you are thinking of them and wanting to help, knowing that this give-receive exchange feels generally energizing rather than draining.

Of course the way everyone gives and receives love is different; part of life and love is in an ongoing journey of figuring it out. But the point is that other people matter—not just the other person in the relationship, but that the person cares deeply about other beings (including themselves).

3. Self awareness.

By this I mean willingness and capacity to grow and learn and figure things out, an understanding and appreciation that change and transition are a part of human relationships.

4. Confidence in life (especially the unpretty stuff).

Confidence…ahhh, we always use this term. But really, it’s vague.

We typically think of confidence as “self” confidence, the capacity to walk into a room and ‘own it,’ to project charisma, or a certain comfort in yourself in most situations. That’s great, of course. But to me part of confidence is acknowledgement and acceptance of the moments that that we’re not so much feeling that way: the days where we are mad at our boss, the days where we aren’t being a great partner.

It’s also about how we handle our own egos when they flare up (especially when it comes to the big stuff, like career, family, relationship).

I see confidence as something that extends beyond the ‘self.’ It’s about a certain capacity to hold ourselves and accept situations—especially the imperfect ones. And to ask questions, to wonder, to accept the times when there is only a non-answer. Perhaps this is expressed as a good balance of faith and flexibility, resilience and adaptability, self-forgiveness and other-compassion.

5. No show (but some mystery).

The ‘no show’ idea alludes to authenticity, of course. And at the next level, the older I get the more I realize how important it is to feel that there is zero expectation for either person to entertain the other or otherwise be anything different than themselves. Personally this stems from being an introvert who needs a lot of alone time. So if I can sit with the person and ‘feel’ as great as I can when I’m alone, or just do my own work/writing/stuff while they are there, that’s huge.

That said, it’s not about being passive. There has to be a sense of wonder, learning, evolution. There has to be a bit of an urge to challenge each other, a wanting to get to know the other person at a deeper level, to see each other as new.

I’m not going to say that looks don’t matter at all, but looks are a part of the whole package: how we carry ourselves, how we treat ourselves, our loved ones, the world.

I find it hard to say exactly what about looks do or don’t matter because in the end it’s more about being with someone, about how people are together. And that is an energetic thing, push-pull dynamics which often take time to become established. So this is part of the adventure.

These are all basics in solid friendships, to start. Sexual relationships might vary or have different priorities, but at the end of the day if the relationship is going to last in any form the above must apply.

(Note: all of the above crosses over into the bedroom, too.)

So: do you think I’m asking too much?



Inspired by / Relephant:

10 Things I Find Sexy in a Woman That Have Nothing to Do With Looks

10 Things I Find Sexy in a Man That Aren’t All About Sex

5 Things I find Sexy in a woman That Aren’t All About Sex


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Photo: Kylie Allan at Pixoto 

About Renée Picard

Renée Picard is an editor and columnist at elephant journal. A grounded creative, her words often spill out via coffee shop thought streams. She prefers real conversation over small talk, red over pink, ocean over mountains. She leads life with a soft-but-fierce heart. For this story doula, a core mission is offering and holding safe spaces for others to creatively express themselves. She hopes that her writing facilitates real action in the big (and little) picture: social justice, the environment, music and art, relationships, body image, LGBTQ issues---the list is endless. A key to mindful action is keeping conversations erupting and evolving. For her, writing is an instinct, craft, a heart-thing. For more heart-writing, check out her elephant journal author page, connect with her on Facebook, at her blog and at Medium. For quickie updates and cool photos, follow her at Twitter and Instagram.  


21 Responses to “5 Core Traits of Truly Sexy People.”

  1. C. Devlin says:

    Yes. Simple. Honest. Kind. Generous to yourself and to others.

  2. Nicola says:

    No, I don't think you're asking too much. In such matters, there's no putting up with. Thank you for articulating this.

  3. Moondiva1970 says:

    Ahhhhmazing! I so needed this today. All my thoughts/beliefs succinctly stated in this song!!

  4. Allen F Mackenzie says:

    A very intellectualized, female and anglosaxon point of view. If you consider the male or latin or dare I say less educated point of view sexiness would more likely be seen as an animal-power, outward confidence, cemically based interaction. Sexiness in this sense is much more ephemeral, spontaneous and irrational. Unless your looking for a long term relationship sexiness IS more about mystery and discovery but maybe less about emotional security and sentimentality.
    Vive la difference!

    • JohnH says:

      While I would generally agree with your assertion that "sexiness" by definition is more of a subconscious experience, I would support Renee in that there is no problem connecting the "executive function" part of the brain with the more primal motivators. As adults, hopefully we are able to integrate our core instincts with mature social survival concerns rather than mere procreation. "Mystery" and "discovery" have to be integrated throughout our psyche to have relevance and context. I thank Renee for bringing a more balanced, mature sense of "sexiness" rather than unconscious lust.

  5. Neena SmyLee says:

    I learnt a new thing today and I liked it. Up until now, I have always thought that to be sexy meant (as a girl) to have a beautiful body, being attractive and walking the road as if it were a ramp. But, right now I feel that I have such a shallow thinking. You have just described being sexy as not just what we see on the outside (I thought it was always about the outside) but a 'feel' on the inside (..that in itself is sexy). I would want to be the kind of sexy that you just described and now, I want to find out my personal core traits to define someone sexy. So, NO, I don't think you are asking too much!

  6. mareemaclean says:

    What a totally refreshingly honest piece and it's really true about their needing to be room for being imperfect and dealing with the EGO flare ups that happen with career, family and relationship, even if you don't understand it. it helps to let the other person indulge their sore spot for a little bit and spit the dummy but welcome them back to bed anyway!!!!

  7. pottz1975 says:

    Great Article.

  8. Dean Hin says:

    I really love how you describe confidence. The first thing that came to mind about imperfect situations is how many people try to “control” things when controlling the outcome and forcing it to turn out a certain way is really just an illusion. We can make decisions, take action, and learn, but what ultimately happens is out of our hands. Knowing the uncertainty, doing what you believe in, and accepting that reality with openness (IMHO) is a good way to start. Thank you for a great article!

    • Renée Picard Renee says:

      Thanks Dean! I'm glad that this resonated with you.

      It's so easy (for me) to write about this stuff but difficult to always put into action. Still, the intention is there and it's nice to see that people are on the same page.

  9. Nazli says:

    Great points, indeed. But if we are discussing 'sexy' then I would add one more very important trait ( at least for me ) – sensuality. Which translates into being in touch with and comfortable with one's body and senses. Knowing what turns me on, owning my needs and desires. Someone who is truly sensual and alive is the sexiest person for me. :)

  10. Jared says:

    This was amazing and all very true! The older I'm getting, the more I find myself drawn to only these traits in a partner. Now to find that special woman who reciprocates this! I know she exists and is out there!

  11. Abifty says:

    This is how I too perceive ones sexiness! I’ve noticed though, that this perception isn’t very commonly shared and is difficult for others who don’t view it in the same light to comprehend. In fact, I’ve tried roughly explaining before this to a few people and they responded with how they didnt believe me- they said there had to at least be a physical factor that appealed to me, that drew me in. — a smile perhaps?
    However, when it comes to how I view myself and how I feel sexy- I still can’t seem to apply the same type of factors. Working on it though. Thank you for a great article.

  12. Izabela says:

    Dear Renee, thank you for this great and deep article. I love it. But for the title that I find a bit misleading. You see, different people will find different things sexy. A more physical person will be attracted to looks. A more spiritual person to the traits you describe. Both are right in their own choice. I found myself attracted to diffrent people at different times for different reasons. So it’s all very subjective. And “truly” sexy implies some objective truth. I don’t think there is one. I too have problems to tell sexiness by mere looks – was never able to do so based on a picture only. But sexiness is also about sexuality and sexuality is also about the body. The smell, the touch, the feel, the taste, the sound and the energy. All this chemistry. And the way it “fits” ours. In the world ruled by media, diets and photoshop talking about physical aspects of sexyness might be to much in line with the general shallowness but I’m not refring to attractiveness by the rule of esthetics. Just to the fact that we need to integrate our bodies, minds, hearts and souls when we talk obout sexyness in a holistic way. To me your article is about what we often forget or overlook when getting involved. And what I personally would like to foster in myself. By your definition I am not (yet) a sexy person. But we all are here to grow and thrive. Thank you again for the inspiration to do so!

  13. Linsey says:

    Beyond true.

  14. Ethan King says:

    I agree with the comments that say – awesome list, just not sure it's really "sexy" they describe, rather, elements of a lasting relationship. And with the one that adds sensuality is key. Thank you.

    : )

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