“Good-Looking” vs. “Hot”

Sometimes, when looking back at my life,  I find all sorts of ways that my asexuality has affected me that I just never noticed because at the time because I thought everyone was that way.

For example, at some point when I was in high school, I remember my sister teasing me about the fact that I only ever describe people as “good-looking” – never “hot”, never “sexy”, never “cute”. At the time I sort of just attributed it to being a word nerd with some odd speech conventions.

But looking back, I think it probably ties into my asexuality (although I was only just starting to realize it at the time). Because of how they are typically used, words like “sexy”, “cute”, “hot” tend to imply some sort of interest – that the target is appealing aesthetically and/or sexually to the target. They imply both a visual quality (aesthetically pleasing) of the subject and to some extent also an emotional quality of the subject (and therefore I want/am attracted to them).

And because I didn’t feel any personally reaction, even if they had qualities I found visually appealing, it didn’t feel right to call them “hot” or “cute”. “Good-looking”, on the other hand, is very specific about the visual appeal, but also uncommon enough that it hasn’t gathered those same connotations of attraction. It was effectively a more neutral option that didn’t carry the sexual baggage that always seemed so dissonant to me.

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