We could get into all the psychological stuff, but since I am not a psychologist and just a social voyeur, you get my not-so-educated thoughts on the whole thing.
For me, “attractive” tends to encompass a different attitude than “sexy.” The challenge for us is figuring out which is which, especially in these confusing days of human sexual relations and varying tastes in sexual partners.
On the surface, attractive has an element of elegance that is not present in sexy. It is in the subtleties of how someone presents themselves to others; from their physical appearance to their demeanor. In a way, it can almost be tied to a person's level of "politeness" and "grace." That said, someone can be attractive but not sexy because they do not convey those base emotions of desire, passion, lust … all those raw instincts within us.
Sexy is more purposeful, emotional, and has a more direct message that touches on our animal instincts to spark a desire. It is within a person’s confidence and how they carry themselves in certain situations. And as such, is more obvious and easier to define.
Sexy is everything from laughter to intelligence and back again, Sexy is confidence and individualism, and it's being a team player and champion with dignity and class. Sexy is kindness and compassion, fairness and competitiveness.
Sexy is an aura that surrounds a person that doesn't hint at arrogance, but has a healthy dose of flirtation and approachability. Sexy reveals the passion in one's soul, and the desire in one's heart.
When a woman intentionally dresses sexy, she wants a man to know her and knows what that reaction will be. She is sending a signal that reveals her outgoing and adventurous side - perhaps even as basic as inviting interaction.
What it isn't is some societal standard. This past weekend, Men's Health magazine named Jennifer Aniston as the Sexiest Woman. I personally agree. Not only is she physically gorgeous, but she is also confident, funny and we've all lived through the exploitation of her vulnerable side - thanks in part to someone I think isn't sexy at all: Angelina Jolie.
But where all this falls down is that, while Jennifer Aniston is sexy, the media tells women that we can not be sexy unless we are like her. They narrow the definition down to celebrities, when there are so many other incredibly sexy women out there that aren't paparazzi fodder.
And, as Sensuality Coach Lori Bryant Woolridge states in her Huffington Post blog: "Sexy is an outward expression of your inner feminine confidence, which makes it an attitude, not a style or a cup size. True sexy is your sexy -- fluffed and shaped in any form you choose."
Now, how about sexy vs. erotic?