What is it that makes a woman sexy? Artists, writers and poets through the years have spent their lives trying to encapsulate the mystery of feminine allure. Scientists have entered the fray too, measuring, counting and assessing. But the secret of allure is still “unbottled”.
True, there are a lot of insights into beauty. Artists capture it and scientists can measure and predict it. Much of what they are now codifying was actually extremely well known to the ancient Greek writers in particular. Proportion, symmetry and social conditioning are all critically important to the perception of beauty. Some of them are timeless and some reflect social trends.
Take body fat or curviness. Peter Paul Rubens curvaceous ladies could not be more different in terms of muscle tone and sheer ampleness from the Venus in her clam shell of Sandro Botticelli, or the dancers of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec´s ballet dancers, or Titian´s Leda, or today’s Victoria’s Secret models. But the proportions of their limbs and bodies are the same, and they exhibit the same symmetrical faces.
So beauty can be articulated, measured, quantified and predicted. The best plastic surgeons in the world can, within limits, produce it. For both men and women, incidentally.
But sex appeal? That is something different. It too is largely timeless, but the mix that makes a woman (or man) irresistibly sexy doesn’t seem to lend itself to the same kind of formulas and rules that beauty does. There is no golden mean that tells us why or how, or predicts who.
As I have previously explained, I spend my entire time surrounded by beautiful and sexy women. (It’s a hard life…) And believe me, not all of them are both sexy and beautiful. Many are both, but not all.
Beauty can exist without sex appeal. Look at the Greek statues of athletes. Gorgeous, beautiful, inspiring. But not sexy compared to the old and has never-been-in-shape Jack Nicholson.
Take two great British actresses from the 1960s. Julie Andrews and Jaqueline Bisset. Ms Andrews was slim, beautiful, polished and had curves in all the right places. Not sexy. Ms Bisset had many of the same attributes but with a charmingly damaged smile. And was sex on legs. Still is, in fact! She is the star of many a MILF fantasy even now.
Or modern actresses show this equally well. Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Stewart. One is sexy and sensual. The other is pretty and has a good body but doesn’t have the secret sauce. There is some subtle difference between beauty and sex appeal.
Sex appeal sometimes doesn’t even require beauty. If you take a look at a photo of Mata Hari she was far from being a great classical beauty. But her sex appeal is famous to this day. Marilyn Monroe would be considered overweight by today´s standards of beauty (how sad is that?!) but her sex appeal and sensuality still make the edges of the paper curl on her photos.
So I am going to spend a few posts doing my best to pin down what it is that makes sexy. I will obviously mainly focus on sexy women. But I will also spend a little time on the sexy men too! It seems rude not to.