How to identify sexy when we see it

How to identify sexy when we see it

sexy, sexuality, compatibilityWhat does sexy really look like? I’m not talking The Sexiest Man of the Year sexy–because that’s all about image and visuals. Though George Clooney…sigh. He’s my kinda sexy. But suppose he’s the worst kisser on the planet? Or one of those who thinks a quick ‘stuff it in and bang away for 2 minutes‘ is his finest hour?

I ponder this question when I’m at the gym. On the rowing machine. The rowers are up on the balcony with a bird’s-eye view of the track and everyone who walks in. I just got back from the gym, midday, when many of the folks there are older–retired. I’ve seen a man several times who reminds me of an old lover. (I’m going to use ‘lover’ to represent the whole range of gender and relationships so regard it to mean whatever works for you.)  He has the same white head of hair and beard and a similar body shape-big buddha belly and a rolling gait. My guy was introverted, a little shy, and often uncertain of himself–unless he was playing the Philosopher. We met on-line and were together for 3 years. If we’d passed on the street I would never have done a double take–he didn’t have that look I’m typically drawn to (see above image). But. We’re talking about sexy–this was a very sexy man.

 We can’t. We can’t identify sexy based on looks alone 

What made him sexy was his attitude towards sex–it wasn’t a game or a conquest. Sex was not a routine act or an obligation. Sex was an intimate moment, or a day, between two people. It was sensuous, a blend of giving and receiving. Seductive and teasing or lively and vigorous–there was room for all those things. He understood that women needed time to become aroused and he was proficient with the female anatomy-because he knew how much it mattered–to him and to his lover.

I don’t see that when I see his look-a-like at the gym, but it’s a good way to talk about how we define sexy. When I see the skinny young woman with a perky set of boobs drawing the attention of many of the men, I see what fits the stereotype of sexy. But what about the older woman with her conventional ‘old lady’ hair who wears sweats under her gym shorts? Is she sexy? Is she in tune with her body and what she wants when it comes to having sex?

Or the guy in his undershirt, wearing dress socks with his tennis shoes? He might give mind-blowing oral sex to his lover. The trim man doing hand stands over in the corner– clearly in good shape, but what’s his kissing style?

Sexy comes in all shapes and sizes and ages. It comes from caring about our lovers, from being open to new ideas and displaying a willingness to be vulnerable. To experiment, to ask for feedback. Awareness. Can we become better lovers after age 50? Absolutely, as long as we have a desire to improve, change, modify…whatever.

I’m less sure that bad kissers can be converted, however. 

I suspect that the older a man is, the more likely that he is a good lover. Which might be different from having the stamina of a young stallion–that’s not necessarily sexy or an indicator of ‘good’ sex.

I’m not sure if I’m writing this for the single reader who might be searching, or for those of you who want more in your current relationship. Maybe a bit of both. It’s a bit of a ramble as I am so fascinated by the humanity I see on the track and I wonder about each person who walks there. I wonder how many of them are happy with their sex life–giving and receiving in a way that is fulfilling.


The person who is in touch with their sexuality, in the way I want them to be (my bias is showing), understands the power of touch. They see kissing as a sensuous act–not just a prelude to grabbing a body part. They might reference intimacy, exploring, sharing and taking it slow. All key words that convey the understanding that having sex isn’t quite the same thing as creating an intimate encounter.

We judge too much on appearances–I guess that’s really what I want to say. I do. You do. It’s completely possible to be young, gorgeous, well-shaped and a great lover. And, it’s possible to be 65, a little out of shape and just a plain ole person who happens to be the most sensitive, bestest lover on the planet.

My message, while a bit vague, is to be more open when it comes to finding what you want. I don’t know what sexy looks like any more than you do. You have to be willing to step outside the box and embrace from instinct, not just because ‘the package’ looks perfect. There are no perfect people.

There is no perfect sex. It’s a messy business, at any age.

And, if you want to find that wonderful sexual moment, the mate for life, the person who makes your blood race then you better be open to a wider swath of humanity. Axe murderers and rabidly conservative Republicans excluded.


  • Laura
    Posted at 14:15h, 19 January Reply

    I love this article and it is so true, sexy isn’t about the parts but it’s about what radiates through the parts. (I need to apply this to myself when I’m being hypercritical)

    • Walker
      Posted at 14:31h, 19 January Reply

      Thanks. I think we all get to that hypercritical phase…I have that talk (silently) with myself all the time about what I’m seeing and thinking! Admittedly I study people to see if it’s possible to detect sexy from afar–interesting little pastime.

  • Carol Cassara (@ccassara)
    Posted at 15:33h, 19 January Reply

    Yes, sexy is an individual thing. I might admire a George Clooney’s beauty, but not find him sexy. Hugh Jackman may or may not be gay, but his manner and talent make him tres sexy!

    • Walker
      Posted at 16:34h, 19 January Reply

      Thanks Carol.

  • Ronna
    Posted at 20:04h, 19 January Reply

    I love this musing. You have hit upon a deep truth; that place where chemistry and intimacy meet. As you said, the willingness to try new things and be open and vulnerable is what it’s all about.

    • Walker
      Posted at 07:59h, 20 January Reply

      Ronna, thank you and welcome. It is a sort of magical place–not so easy to discover but quite delightful when we get there!

  • Bobbie Morgan
    Posted at 07:11h, 23 January Reply

    You got me at the last line!

    You’re right. You can’t tell what sexy looks like, at least I can’t. I’ve never been attracted to a man by looks alone since my sophomore year in high school. It’s always taken a conversation and eye contact for me to get my sexdar up with a man. As a former lover of mine once told me: “You can be good looking for the first 15 minutes, but after that you better have something to back it up.”

    • Walker
      Posted at 07:27h, 23 January Reply

      Your former lover was wise! A smile, good conversation, kindness and intelligence–all work well for me. Looks are secondary, for the most part. And, each of us is so very different that what works for me won’t work for you. As for that last line–I’m open to all kinds of people–but there are limits!

  • Interesting Man
    Posted at 08:27h, 23 January Reply

    I enjoyed reading this. I go to a gym that touts “no gymtimadation” and people watch there too. These same thoughts and conclusions have rolled through my head. The ladies in my age bracket are more attractive to me than those with the enticingly tight butts. (Although gazing at those butts reminds me of the way they felt many years ago – yum.) The ladies over 50 (or 60) most likely will be able to also stimulate me mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Old guys need that as a prelude to physical stimulation – it’s called foreplay. I’m not certain the younger ladies would know about that – yet.

    • Walker
      Posted at 09:10h, 24 January Reply

      We all need to think of sex as an extended act that starts well before we start to take off our clothes. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

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