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On what makes a woman sexy

As a woman who has had sex with a man on more than one occasion, I felt like I might be well-placed to give you some advice on how to become sexy. Here goes.

When I’ve asked men I’ve slept with “what makes me sexy?”, answers have ranged from ‘your enthusiasm for dick’ through ‘your big, fat, argumental mouth’ to ‘the fact that you live quite close by and I’m incredibly lazy.’ But luckily we don’t have to rely on flattery dished out by men I’ve known – FHM has the answer.

Today FHM released its ‘100 sexiest women’ edition and I, completely unscientifically and with pint in hand, logged the key things that stood out about the women in the top 100. See my ‘methodology‘ for more info.

I then spoke to the collection of liberal, pervy, lovely people who follow me on Twitter, and asked what they thought was sexy. The results are in:

What makes a woman sexy, according to FHM

To be sexy you must be willing to strip to your underwear but never *ever* show people your nipples


What makes a woman sexy, according to Twitter

To please Twitter you must be mouthy, and it sometimes helps if you do tweets that make people do a 'lol'

Quite the difference, no? It turns out that becoming the sexiest woman in the world might be more difficult than I originally thought.

What does FHM say about ‘sexiness’?

Most of the things mentioned in the bios of FHM’s top 100 were career-related. In fact, almost all of the copy focused either on what the lady had featured in (TV shows, films, magazines, adverts) or songs she had sung. Curiously, although many of them mentioned the women’s careers, there were only 11 mentions of specific achievements – ‘breaking a Guinness World Record’ or ‘kayaking the Amazon’, for instance.

Although there were a few glimpses of their personal interests and passions (one of the top 100 sexiest women campaigns to save Great White Sharks, another is a noted philanthropist) the majority of the copy focused, unsurprisingly, on dribbling odes to their ‘legginess’ or bodies ‘sexy enough to bend time and space.’

What does Twitter say about ‘sexiness’?

Twitter, on the other hand, focused far more on a girl’s attitude – her individuality and confidence were key indicators of sexiness, as were wit and intelligence.

Special mentions go to words like ‘edgy’ and ‘ballsy’, which I personally appreciate in a woman. One enthusiastic gentlemen assured me that the sexiest thing in a woman was her offering ‘even the slightest indication that she’d be willing to touch me.’

But the overall prize goes to the four people who pointed out (though no doubt most others were thinking similar things) that it’s all completely subjective. Personally, I love a girl with attitude – a loudmouthed, argumentative, filthy creature who could beat me in both a fist-fight and an argument. Someone with pretty eyes, a huge arse and spectacularly hard nipples.

How to become the sexiest woman in the world

Depressing though it is to read FHM, it does help you to understand the tedium that comes with consensus. Yes, most of the women in the top 100 were similar – they all had jobs in the public eye, so were presumably quite outgoing, they were all slim and feminine, with lovely tits. Most of them had long hair and almost all of them were wearing clothes even my mother wouldn’t let me leave the house in.

But that’s just what happens when you get thousands of people to choose sexiness based on pictures of women they’ve seen in magazines. Their sample is limited, for a start, and there are so many people voting that things will eventually work their way towards a democratic middle-ground – the breadth and variety of human sexual preference won’t get a look in. You’ll inevitably end up with 100 beautiful yet very similar singers/models/actresses in their pants.

When you ask people a question – an open one – about what they find attractive, ‘sexiness’ becomes far more inclusive. Suddenly to become the sexiest woman in the world you no longer have to choose from a limited range of careers, associate yourself with someone famous or freeze your arse off in cheap lingerie.

If you can be confident, intelligent, make someone laugh or melt at your smile, you’re onto a winner. If you have a twinkle in your eye or a penchant for filth or even just a special something that makes you different then someone – somewhere – will probably want to fuck you.

Well, someone on Twitter at any rate.

Methodology: Let it not be said that I am not a rigorous motherfucker. What was my methodology? I logged things that were mentioned in tweets, using what I believe is technically described as a ‘tally chart on the back of an envelope.’  I then logged things from the descriptions and accompanying photos that appeared in FHM’s ‘100 sexiest women’ supplement. If it wasn’t mentioned, it wasn’t logged. For example, I know that at least three of the people in the supplement have had a sex tape/sexy pictures leaked, but it was only mentioned on one occasion, so was only counted once.


  • John says:

    FHM’s decision might also be based upon who is available/willing to do an unimaginatively-themed photo-shoot for them!

  • jj says:

    What? “Huge boobs” did not make the FHM list?

  • Neil says:

    What you don’t seem to mention although I’m sure you have discussed this in the past (first time I’ve read your blog) is the way magazines like fhm project and rigorously enforce a particular image of what is sexy so it’s no wonder their readers all vote for a homogenous and one-dimensional kind of sexiness.

    • girlonthenet says:

      You make a good point – I didn’t want to bang on about it because it’s such a depressing, ubiquitous thing. I wanted to try and focus on something other than the media’s incredibly warped view of what’s right/wrong/ugly/sexy etc. But glad you brought it up. I’ve never tackled the whole ‘why is the media such an insane, hatefully judgmental bastard?’ issue specifically, but have probably spat bile at it in passing. Will see if I can think of anything unique to say on it that doesn’t just involve me smashing my keyboard with a brick until all of the horror stops.

      Minor update on the ‘sexiness’ via Twitter responses – now that I have published this post more people are coming out of the woodwork to point out just how hot graphs are. This is why I love twitter with the whole of my nerdy heart.

      • Rag says:

        Mainly cos the lads mag buying public are ‘insane, hatefully judgmental bastards’. Shit. If it didn’t sell, they wouldn’t sell it.

        It kinda bugs me when people accuse the media of shaping what we want. They provide what we want. It may be a jaded and contrived version of what we want. But if we (the consumer public) didn’t buy it, they wouldn’t sell it.

        So is it our bad or theirs?

      • Rag says:

        Ohh, did I get overly serious and raise issues on society? Sorry. I am very drunk, and trying to avoid typing on Facebook. Cos I seriously piss off my buds when I do drunk typing on FB.

        • girlonthenet says:

          Hehe, nah – questions on society are always worth raising. I think the answer’s a bit more complicated than just laying the blame on either the media or the consumer, though – it’s a two-way relationship. I think the media has a huge role to play in shaping how we feel about these issues, but you’re right – we do have a responsibility to fight back by not consuming products that are offensively sexist, or otherwise morally questionable.

        • Rag, if you type such sense when you’re p!ssed maybe your buds are predominantly a bunch of ‘insane, hatefully judgemental bastards’?

          Questions about society are good, top ‘whatever’ lists are bad because if I include ‘my neighbour Claire’, ‘the single Mum from down the street where my mate lives’ or ‘that 6th former I see walking to school each morning when I’m driving to work’ …it’s a truthful and honest account of what I find sexy. Ask folk to chip in on a list and they require you to appreciate their point of reference, precipitating a list of homogenous celebrity. I’m not denying that some of these famous women are going to look stunning but I’d be willing to bet that a good third of them look effin horrid first thing in the morning before they ‘hit make up’.

          Keep up the good work girl, you brighten my days.

  • Daisy says:

    The logical next step here would be to compile a Twitter Top 100 Hotties – that way men and women could be included.

    You need any help with organising THAT, you call me, y’hear?

  • Totally anonymous username says:

    Expanded version of what I said on twitter: being a geek. Being at least a little at odds with standard ideas femininity. Being a bit of a dork. Being clever. Being dirty. And pretty eyes and a nice, squeezable arse.

    (So, pretty much the same as boys, really.)

  • TPRyan007 says:

    Intelligence without arrogance PLUS nice eyes PLUS good bj skills = sexual perfection.

    • TPRyan007 says:

      Way too many things.

      Sometimes shyness with a glint of embarrassment in the eye, sometimes a raging thirst to suck my cock like there’s a prize inside.

      Physically, I think of all sorts as sexy. Redheads, dark eyes, large-ish breasts, and a geeky tshirt will always win.

  • “What was my methodology? I logged things that were mentioned in tweets, using what I believe is technically described as a ‘tally chart on the back of an envelope.’ ”

    AKA hermeneutics or content analysis.

  • Mr Smith says:

    For me classy, confident, posh women push all my buttons. My posh I don’t mean rich, privileged brainless who ray Henrittas I mean elegant, confident, bright, intelligent women who know what they have, but know how to show only as much as is needed. Nigella Lawson or Helen Mirren are perfect examples. Classy, ballsy, intelligent confident women who realise the effect they have on us poor men and use it to there advantage. Mind you a posh voice works for me as well.

  • Richard says:

    I love a woman who knows her way around a dataset.

    However, while I hate to defend FHM, I’m sure most of the FHM Hottest 100 women possess many of the traits identified in the twitter poll, whether or not the FHM writers explictly mentioned them in their descriptions. Put yourself in the shoes of the FHM copywriter who’s been tasked with putting it together: You haven’t met any of these women, but you’ve been asked to describe each of them in a short bio. Of course you’re going to focus on their career and what they look like. Describing their personality is difficult and subjective, and it requires more research than simply copy-pasting lines from their bio.
    And sure, singers and actresses are bound to be overrepresented/overrated because you’d need to be reasonably well known to merit inclusion. There are bound to be many women in the world far sexier than those in the list, who failed to merit a mention simply because no one’s ever heard of them. (And to those who have heard of them, and have subsequently fucked them: kudos.)

    That being said: Fuckin yeah, nice graphs data-wench, oo-er.

    PS. bla bla sexiness is subjective bla bla

  • TheComedian says:

    I have to agree with Richard above to a certain extent.
    As much as it pains me to admit it, I bought more than a handful of issues of FHM as a teenager, and always made sure to pick up the 100 Sexiest Women issue for several years running. As one of their flagship events, they consistently pulled out the stops for some top-notch soft porn that month.
    However, even as a horny teen my overly analytical brain started to notice correlations in the rankings.
    Out of a 100 there were always a few esoteric choices, a few wildcards, and of course several animated characters. These are due to it being a public vote.
    But the higher ranking all seemed to be directly proportional to their exposure in the publication itself in the months during voting.
    It probably comes as no surprise, but the 3 years I bought it, the winner “sexiest woman” was without fail the woman who had exposed her nipples the most times in the first month’s issue to contain a voting slip.
    Scientifically I’d say that was a significant correlation.

    • TheComedian says:

      Oh by the way, I just happened to be compiling my list of most underrated attractive features in a prospective partner for a dating website.

      My top 5 (in no particular order) are currently:

      Heavy Alcohol Consumption
      Video Game Prowess

    • girlonthenet says:

      Hey, Richard and The Comedian – you’re both right, of course. There are far too many factors at play to be able to confidently say ‘X says this and Y says that’. Not only is there a serious selection bias in terms of who gets onto the FHM list (appearing in the mag, being confident and cool and talented enough to become a singer/actress etc) but there are also issues with my twitter sample (the fact that they’re more likely to tell me what they think I want to hear, the fact that the sort of people who follow me are likely to be the sorts who think that feisty confidence is cool, etc). So yes, accept both your points – it’s not the most scientific study in the world =p

      But the point I’m making mainly is that if we look only to aspirational figures for our definition of ‘sexy’ then we’ll end up with quite a weird view, based on ‘the things that famous women seem to have in common’ rather than looking outwards, more generally, to our peer group and seeing how different they all are.

      Also I like making graphs. So there =)

  • Ash says:

    Am I the only living human who thinks there’s a difference between hot and sexy?

    A hot woman is one that’s good to look at. Most of the FHM 100 would in my book count as hot. But sexy, to me, is as much an attitude/state of mind. Like your Twitter poll said.

    • DforDerivative says:

      You’re completely right. There are some women that are completely amazing to look at, but you don’t get “the feeling” looking at them. Then another time you’ll see someone and then for no reason at all you can’t take your eyes off them, but you’ve no idea why.

      • Ash says:

        Yep. Sexy doesn’t always mean hot.

        I wouldn’t know what our girl here looks like (I have my theories but nothing more) but I can guarantee I’d find her sexy.

        • girlonthenet says:

          Yep, you’re both right. I think the word ‘sexy’ is many things to many people. We might focus on the attitude but for print media such as FHM it’s much easier to focus on the tits.

          Incidentallly, Ash, there are pictures of me *all over* this blog. I am deeply offended that you have not yet looked at any. There’s none of my face on here, though, partly because I want to remain anonymous and partly because I have the sort of face that makes children weep in the street.

          • Ash says:

            If all the photos of women on here are you (I wasn’t sure) then I can assure you that not only have I looked at them, I’ve had a wank to them while reading the words.

  • DarkHound says:

    FHM is still going? Though that inaccurate nonsense had died years ago.

  • ahmadreza says:


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