There is nothing, and we repeat nothing, wrong with harnessing your sexuality. In fact, some of the best performances of all time (especially at the VMAs) made us feel a little tingly all over. But being sexy doesn't have to be something that gyrates and gropes in near nudity.
Fortunately, sexy can be defined in so many different ways, but it is most refreshing when it goes against the norm and surprises us. These 13 artists created their own definition of sexy — cool, confident, liberated, free-thinking, and, um, goosebump-giving when we thought about them late at night.
Photo: REX USA/ARALDO DI CROLLALANZA
One of our male editors wondered out loud why women always associated Jim Morrison with "danger" and danger with sexuality. Maybe it's the dark eyes, the constant brood, or the onstage sneer, but Mr. Morrison was rock 'n' roll's first to harness true aggressive, erotic sexuality.
Photo: REX USA/Excel Media
To be honest, the world can be divided into two distinct portions: Before "La Loba
" was released, and after "La Loba" was released. Her proclamation that there is a "she wolf in her body" ("ah-woo!") allowed Shakira to release rampant, insanely seductive sexuality — but on her own terms (and with a hilarious interpretive dance, to boot).
Photo: REX USA/Ilpo Musto
While disembodying women is always problematic, Tina Turner's legs aren't legs, but a force of nature meant for dancing, stomping, thrilling, and "Proud Mary"-ing. Along with her voice, they are a national treasure, and should be respected as such.
Photo: REX USA/Moviestore Collection/Rex
On the surface, Jagger may not be the world's most beautiful man. But the voice, the presence, and the electricity made him one of the most sought-after men of all time. His stage presence isn't just magnetic — it is demanding. There's a reason we all strive to have "moves like Jagger."
Photo: REX USA/Gunter W. Kienitz
Sure, we won't see Joan Jett twerking anytime soon, but Jett's unapologetic and aggressive approach to sexuality was a game changer — not just for punk, but for women. Though "Do You Wanna Touch Me
" wasn't her song originally, her brazen cover has become one of our favorite seduction anthems, ever.
Photo: Via Rolling Stone
There are two kinds of sexy: The type of sexy that lasts forever, and the type of sexy that defines a very particular time and place. Unfortunately, Axl is the latter (time has not treated him super kindly), but when he was at the top of his sexiness game, oh dear, he was quite
Photo: Getty Images 2013
Strong, confident, and feminine, Beyoncé is a modern classic. While she isn't changing the game in terms of what society has deemed as "sexy," she certainly does up it.
On top of being obviously gorgeous and elegantly, demurely sexy with a sexy, sexy, somewhat hard-to-pronounce name, Sade actually has the magic ability to make other
people and situations sexier with her voice and music. Add a Sade track to any playlist and — boom — all people within earshot are not only themselves feeling more sexy and open to sexy things, but they themselves become sexier in the eyes of the similarly sexified people around them. Have you not experienced sexy times while "No Ordinary Love
" plays softly in the background? You're missing out on a whole lot of sexy.
Photo: Via LLCoolJVevo
LL Cool J
Ladies. They love Cool James. It is true. And while he is kind of serving a bit of a dad vibe in 2013, LL proved, in an era of East Coast versus West Coast beefing, that rappers could switch up the whole game and use eroticism to appeal to women with just their, um, lips. And what good lips they are.
Photo: Courtesy of Atlantic Records
The ladies of En Vogue are beautiful and alluring, no doubt, but it was their music that really amped up the sexuality, letting listeners know that they could indeed be giving us something we could feel. You know what the best part of En Vogue is? They were a girl group, but comprised of women.
Photo: Via BadGalRiRi/Instagram
Yes, sometimes Rihanna resorts to overt depictions of sexuality and gets naked and paints herself gold, but that's what is great about her: It takes little to no effort for her to be the sexiest woman in the world. Perhaps — if we may — maybe her eroticism feels upfront and present because it is so natural for her.
Photo: REX USA/SNAP/Rex
Jimmy Hendrix was incredibly sexy, but he didn't quite know he was sexy. Lenny Kravitz is incredibly sexy, but he definitely knows his effect on women. The rock 'n' roll bad boy who dresses better than you is absolutely irresistible.
Photo: REX USA/Brian Rasic