Updated: NOVEMBER 4, 2019

Sexualize means to make something sexual or give it sexual characteristics. People most often sexualize other people or objects.

The term sexualize has been used for centuries. It’s believed to have originated sometime between 1830 and 1840. It is the opposite of the term desexualize.

The word sexualize is spelled 'sexualise' in nations that follow British spelling rules.


More About Sexualize

People typically sexualize other individuals they find attractive, such as crushes, celebrities, or their partners. People with kinks and paraphilias may also sexualize objects, from items of clothing to statues or buildings.

The term sexualize has a number of negative connotations, particularly when it’s applied to people. Some suggest that when individuals are sexualized, they become viewed only as a person intended for sex rather than a whole human being. In fact, some definitions of sexualize suggest that when a person is sexualized, their sexual attractiveness in inappropriate contexts. For example, these people believe doctors shouldn’t be judged on how sexually attractive they are when attempting to administer treatment or that people shouldn’t be subject to lewd comments when they are walking along the street.

Some people also feel that sexualizing certain parts of the body, like large breasts or defined abs, can make people that don’t have these features feel inadequate. In some cases, this inadequacy can lead to serious problems like body dysmorphia and eating disorders. This type of sexualization occurs not just by individuals but also by advertisers wishing to sell products and TV shows and movies wishing to attract viewers. Sexualizing people through pornography has also been linked to higher incidences of sexual violence in society. It’s also thought that people who get used to sexualizing others struggle to form deeper, more intimate connections.

Despite the negative connotations of the word, sexualizing someone isn’t all bad. It can be a thrill for someone to be sexualized as it shows desire. However, ideally sexualizing someone should also be balanced with an appreciation of other parts that make the figure of desire attractive.

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