How to be sexy is a precarious question, especially since there’s no real formula—but in 2017, we know that being “sexy” is less about looks and more about having that certain je ne sais quoi. Sure, studies have been done about what makes a person sexually attractive, but actual real-deal sexiness is super subjective—and it’s almost always in the eye of the beholder.
But, it you’re curious about how to start to increase your appeal, we’ve compiled 50 tips—some science-backed, others simple actions that’ll give you a noticeable sexy boost. Read on for 50 ways to be hotter right now.
1. Always make eye contact
And not just with your partner—looking everyone you’re interacting with squarely in the eye won’t only will boost your own confidence, but it’ll get people to see you as confident and in control, which usually translates to sexy.
2. Focus on Dynamic Attractiveness
Sure, physical beauty is a key component in innate sex appeal, but dynamic attractiveness involves the expression of our emotions and our underlying personality—and can critically boost your personal charisma. According to Psychology Today, expressing positive affect—smiling, employing an upbeat attitude, having expressive eyes, are all associated with sex appeal.
3. You’ve got a brain—use it!
A sharp, healthy mind can be akin to healthy body when it comes to being sexy. This means occasionally challenging yourself by having challenging conversation, expressing interest in new things, reading books on new topics, or even just watching a documentary about something you never knew. The more you know, the more you can talk about in an informed way, which is a defining factor in real sex appeal.
4. Humor counts
Yeah, we know that razor-sharp wit isn’t something that can be learned, and we’re not all able to be truly funny all the time, but not taking yourself or the world around you too seriously is a key component in being sexy. Plus, everyone loves a good sense of humor.
5. Get your hair blown out
Almost all of us can certainly attest than when our hair looks bad, we often feel bad. Turns out, that’s not all in our heads, either: Studies have shown women spend around 20 years of their lives suffering from a bad hair day, and that it can greatly affect mood and confidence.
6. Expose your wrists
No, not because they’re attractive but because the glands in your wrists emit pheromones which can trigger feelings of attraction in others.
7. Take up yoga
A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women who regularly did yoga actually felt sexier. Why? Researchers say it could be because yoga encourages a stronger mind-body connection.
8. Test out some sexy lingerie
Along the way, lingerie became synonymous with tawdry—dare we day porn-y—pieces that look as if they belong on people eagerly awaiting the arrival of the hot young pizza delivery guy. And while that’s true in some respects, there’s also quite a lot of very elegantly sexy underpinnings out there that are sexy without being tacky.
9. Don’t assume showing more is sexier
You’ve heard it before: Showing tons of skin does not always translate to sexy. Bootie shorts, skin-tight clothes, insanely low-cut tops all can make you look less sexy, or like you’re trying too hard. Love your body and want to show it off? Great! Do it ways that are truly sexy, as opposed to flashy.
10. Unfollow people who make you insecure
Whether it’s the one fashion blogger who only posts bikini shots, a specific celebrity, or Victoria’s Secret’s Instagram, stop following people whose social media photos make you feel less than, even for a second. Social media is supposed to fun, not make you feel less sexy.
11. Touch Yourself
Yeah, we’re going there. People who masturbate know exactly what they like when they’re intimate with someone else, which only increases their sex appeal.
12. Find a good tailor
When clothes are too boxy, too long, or generally ill-fitting, it looks like you’re trying to cover up your body, which intrinsically translates to generally un-sexy. No need to prance around in skin-tight numbers, but a well-fitting dress with a nipped waist and a flattering hemline, a blazer that skims your body (and whose sleeves aren’t too long), or pair of slim well-fitting jeans that just hit your ankle will show your figure in a way that’s sexy without being overt.
13. Invest in chic specs
Need reading glasses? No shame in that! But it’s a known fact that most drugstore readymades aren’t the most youthful. Instead, seek out a modern pair at sites like EyeBuyDirect or Coastal. Of course, it’s worth getting an eye exam to make sure you don’t need a stronger prescription, in which case, your chic-specs options will be even larger thanks to hip affordable eyewear sites like Warby Parker and Steven Alan Optical.
14. Stop plucking your eyebrows
Full brows are associated with youth, while super-thin eyebrows can give your face a harsh appearance. As we age, our eyebrows gradually thin, but quitting the tweezers and using makeup to fill them in can work wonders, and completely change your face for the better.
15. Undo yourself a bit
Unbutton one extra button on your blouse, smudge your eyeliner, spritz some salt spray in your hair—sometimes appearing as if you just had fun in bed can make you feel—and look—extra-sexy.
16. Slow down
According to sex coach Sean Jameson, slowing down your movements and your speech by around 10 percent can make you sexier now. For example, instead of rushing down the hallway, slow down and accentuate your movements. Another example: When you’re making a point, don’t wave your arms about quickly and erratically, or ever feel like you have to get every word out of your mouth as quickly as possible.
17. Initiate sex more
This one is sexy in the literal sense: Even if you’re not tremendously assertive, initiate sex more often with your partner. This is hot in and of itself, but it’ll also imply to your partner than you truly enjoy sex, which is one of the biggest turn-ons.
18. Use touch
A killer way to get a person’s attention in a sexy way? Touch them very subtly on the arm or the back when you’re saying hello or goodbye, when you agree with something they’ve said, or if they’ve said something funny.
19. Wear heels
One of the quickest ways to feel sexier? Slip on a pair of heels. Not only do they give you an empowering boost, but the right heels can make your clothes hang better, and—especially if they’re the color of your skin—can have a leg-lengthening effect.
20. Challenge yourself
Whether it’s at work or even something as small as taking an advanced fitness class instead of a beginner one, succeeding will you give you an air of confidence which will travel with you, making you much sexier.
21. Don’t only wear sweats to bed
Obviously, comfy clothes are amazing, and—after a long day—there’s nothing better than chilling out in sweats. However, if you notice that your sex life is either lackluster or non-existent, swap out the sweats once in a while for something that makes you feel sexy. If you feel it, your partner will feel it, too.
22. Let your natural scent do the work
It’s not surprising that scent plays a big role in sex appeal, but—despite what perfume companies would have you believe—your best bet isn’t piling on a cloud of scented spray. In addition to good hygiene habits, a subtle spritz of a musky scent is fine, but you should be letting your natural pheromones shine.
23. Use sexy people to your advantage, rather than compare yourself to them
Instead of comparing yourself to others who you think are sexy, take cues from them instead. For example, stop bemoaning the fact that you’re not as tall, thin, or busty as a Victoria’s Secret model, and start using things you know make them sexy to your advantage. This might mean taking an extra 30 minutes in the morning to create the same bombshell waves in your hair, getting a light spray tan, or rocking a push-up bra on date night.
24. Try new things
Whether it’s a taking a dance class, trying a new restaurant in a new neighborhood, or booking a last-minute weekend getaway, trying new things can absolutely make you feel sexier.
25. Nix panty lines
Speaking of underwear, panty lines are never, ever sexy. Everyone should invest in nude, seamless underwear, or a good thong. Trust us on this one.
26. Be kind
No matter what you look like, nothing will knock your innate sex appeal down faster than being rude to people. You don’t need to—for lack of a better phrase—kiss people’s ass and be phony, but treating everyone—waitstaff, friends, new people, your elders—with basic kindness and respect is an attractive quality.
27. Get a manicure and pedicure
Much like getting your hair blown out, it’s often the small indulgences that make us look and feel our best, so making time for on a pro mani-pedi once in awhile can do wonders. You can skip the polish of you want, too.
28. Get a spray tan
Likewise, having a healthy glow not only makes most people feel sexier, but it also has a slimming effect.
29. Travel in a pack
Anyone who’s watched “How I Met Your Mother” knows that Barney Stinson often references the “cheerleader effect,” when average-looking women appear more attractive as a group. Turns out, he may be onto something: People do come off as more attractive when they’re part of a clique than they do alone, according to a study published in the journal Psychological Science. Read about it here!
30. Hone your talents
Lots (and lots) of rock stars, writers, actors, and artists aren’t traditionally attractive, but there’s a reason why they seem so damn sexy: talent. There’s something primally attractive about someone with strong skills, so take time to develop whatever it is you’re gifted in.
31. Invest in yourself
This doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money on material items like an It-bag, but rather investing effort into the things you know for a fact make you look and feel sexy, whether it’s something small like some bras and underwear, something transformative like keratin treatments, or something brainy like signing up for a class.
32. Be assertive
If you want something that you believe you deserve, if you know you’re correct, or if your date suggests going somewhere you don’t want to, speak up. Being assertive is different than merely being pushy, and happens to be a sexy—and admirable—quality. Wishy-washy can get real old, real fast.
33. Play up your best features
When it comes to our looks, we all have certain attributes we like better than others, so why not make them the first thing people see when they look at you? Got lips to rival Angelina Jolie? Play them up with gloss. Love your striking blue eyes? Make them pop with mascara, liner, and strong brows. Got great legs? Swap the boyfriend jeans for a pair of skinnies.
34. But don’t be obsessed with your appearance
Put as much effort into your appearance as you want before you go out, but when you’re around people, focus your energy on making solid conversation instead of running to bathroom to brush your hair, reapply your lipstick, or check the mirror every five minutes. Overt vanity is not sexy.
35. Turn on the lights
Sure, it can be sexy and natural to have sex in the dark, but try keeping the lights on once in a while. Not only will this feel more spontaneous, but it’ll allow both of you to really see each other, which can be super-hot. Not loving the harsh glow of your bedroom lamps? Light a bunch of candles, or buy a dimmer.
36. Never wear things that you can’t walk, eat, breathe, or talk in
Obviously, you always want to look your best, but wearing six-inch stilettos you can’t walk in, or a dress that’s so tight you can’t freely move around isn’t sexy at all. Instead, wear things you know look good on you but won’t hinder you from being cool, calm, and collected.
37. Put your phone away
This is a big one: The act of obsessively checking your phone every two minutes could be a bona-fide deal breaker when it comes to sex appeal. There’s nothing ruder than trying to have a conversation with a person who’s constantly staring at their screens—wouldn’t you be put off if someone were paying more attention to their iPhone than to you? Being present is sexy. Being preoccupied is not.
38. Ask the right questions
On a date (or anytime you’re with another human, really) it’s a good bet that asking questions will always ensure flowing conversation. However, if you start grilling someone on politics, religion, their exes, or how much cash they pull in, you’re going to look nosy and abrasive, rather than sexy and seductive.
39. Don’t be a snooze-fest
This might sound harsh, because we know you’re not boring, but if people ask you questions, and you give one-word answers, roll your eyes, or seem generally disinterested, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Even if you look like a supermodel, people are most turned on by stimulating conversation, eye contact, and personality.
40. Screw ALL OF THESE RULES
Loving yourself for who you are and being comfortable in your own skin is the sexiest thing in the world. Be yourself and your sexiness will shine through.
Originally published March 2016. Updated March 2017.