Sexy Names

August 26th, 2011

Delilah.  Haven.  Penelope.

At first glance, these recent celebrity births may appear to have little to do with one another than timing.

Look again.  Notice anything?  Perhaps the title of the post gives it away.

Delilah is the most obvious example, chosen by Kimberly Stewart and Benicio Del Toro for their newborn.  I’m talking about sexy names people.  It’s an uncomfortable topic when applied to babies, yet nonetheless it’s one we must address.

By some accounts she was a Biblical whore, by others, just a traitor.  Once considered unusable, Delilah was picked up by the Pilgrims and in recent years has altered its cultural associations.  Lily and Lila have been on the uptick for a while, and Delilah manages to be an extension of that.  It was also popularized by the Plain White T’s song “Hey There, Delilah” in 2007 when the song reached #1 in the U.S.

What’s with Haven on this list?  In part, it’s a comparison.  Jessica Alba and Cash Warren have two daughters.  The first bears the name Honor.  It’s not quite Chastity, but it’s getting there.  Honor is about as buttoned up as one can get, and has the historical pedigree to back it up.  Haven, on the other hand, is a modern coinage.  Many attributes can be applied to Haven, but I contend that this modernization is an amped up sexy version of her sister’s name.  I see Honor dressed in white, and Haven in black — or red.   It’s the Nevaeh for those who prefer to read forwards.

Then there’s Penelope, Tina Fey’s new baby girl.  You’re probably looking at me sideways on this one.  Penelope has a mythological reputation of steadfast loyalty, but the other side of the coin here is the contemporary cultural association, Penelope Cruz.  Penelope is cloaked in mystery.  She wears two distinct personalities, that of the studious librarian, and the Latin bombshell with long locks and swaying hips.  When these images combine to one, we get a picture of the sexy librarian, not unlike Fey herself.  It’s also a matter of comparison.  Say you’re an 18-year-old male going on a blind date.  Would you rather go out with Alice, or Penelope?

Here’s a little list I rounded up of some of the hotter names I see my readers considering.  They all have varying degrees of spice, and I don’t suggest that Scarlett is in the same league with Jezebel.  I’m curious to know what you would put on this list, and what you would have left out.  Is there a consensus on what are considered sexy names, or is it in the eye of the beholder?





























When naming your child, do you take the “sexiness” into account?  Do you worry about this aspect on a child, and do you think it will serve to make your child more attractive when seeking a mate?  

What boys’ names qualify as sexy for you? 

55 Responses to “Sexy Names”

  1. marginamia Says:

    Fantastic list! We did consider this aspect when naming our children! Well, sort of. One of my grandmother’s names was Lola, and it was a strong contender for Nona but for two things: the perceived rising popularity at the time, and… sexiness. I imagined Lola with red curls, lips, fingertips (hair band associations, anyone?), and just racy, racy, racy. I could see this on Valo June, actually, but not on Nona; it just didn’t seem to fit with the feeling I got from this little baby in my womb… and it still doesn’t. Nona (not so different in form from Lola, so funny) has a little sexiness to it, for me, because it sounds like Mona (see rationalization below) but she’s no pin up girl. That vavavoom factor was probably a tiny bit of a deterrent for us in naming our children–boy and girl names alike.

    one’s I’d add:

    *Mona (could this have been established as such by Mona- Who’s the Boss?)






  2. marginamia Says:

    oh, and


    ,of course

  3. CN Heidelberg Says:

    I think you hit all the names on my personal no-no “too hot” list: Delilah, Scarlett, Jezebel, and Lola. The others have varying levels of sass but nothing like those four.

  4. KC Says:

    Just like beauty, intelligence, and wit: sexiness is contextual. We lead complex lives in which we are sexy in one context, professional in another, etc.– and sometimes all at once. That is why I disagree with this post(oddly, only focused on “sexy” names for girls) — I do not find the names listed sexy or not. With the exception of some names having literary or cultural associations with characters known for their sexuality (which is a consideration when naming a child, just like any other connotation the parents feel might be negative– not that sexuality definitely is), none of these names scream “sexy” to me, but then again, no names do, particularly.

  5. You Can't Call It "It"! Says:

    Names have always presented certain qualities to me, sexiness included. It’s in the abstract from the human being, and of course people can, and are often, the opposite of how one might perceive them to be.

    Most of the names chosen here have a cultural icon attached to them that colors the association, be they from literature, lore, a song, or something else.

    I welcome dissent! But I do want to say that in the last line of the original post I intentionally open the door to sexy names for boys– it’s another post.

  6. Sophia Says:

    I have never thought of this before, but I guess you’re right for some of them. I disagree about Penelope, to me it sounds like a preppy little daddy’s girl. Not sure why.
    Three of my sisters’ names are on the list (Ruby, Scarlett and Tallulah), I just realised, that’s funny. Personally, the only names on this list that might strike me as “sexy” are maybe Delilah, Giselle and Valentina, but I still quite like all 3, mainly Valentina.

  7. Sarah A Says:

    I do think the “sexiness” of a name matters. Lulu, the Arabic word for Pearl, is off our lists because the image of Lulu as a “working girl” is stuck with us. DH has also nixed Ruby and Scarlett because they sound to sexy to him, even though Ruby was his great-aunt and I’d love to use it in the middle :(

    For boys, I think overtly romantic names sound too sexy for a child, like Romeo, Adonis, or Cassanova.

  8. Sarah A Says:

    Ditto Layla/Leila – the meaning of “night” puts this in the sexy category for me.

  9. Julie Says:


    For the boys:

  10. Julie Says:

    More boys:

  11. Trisha Says:

    I especially like Carmen, ever since The L Word.

    Several people have told me that Ezra is “a rock star name,” which I would take to mean sexy.

  12. Emily Says:

    I think just about any Spanish name can feel sexy.

  13. Gil Says:

    I absolutely think that it’s in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I love “sexy” names. I think they are more appealing than non-sexy names. But it seems rather arbitrary what is considered sexy these days. Names like Lilith, Jezebel and Delilah are associated with sexiness because they are temptresses in the Bible. And that’s linked, culturally, with “bad”.

    I know a little Lola and I think it’s adorable. She is the cutest, and when she grows up to be a gorgeous woman she will have the sexy name to match.

    I also wanted to point out that boys names can be sexy too. And that is not a problem either!

  14. Tam Says:

    A friend of mine wanted to call his daughter Lola, but found everybody singing ‘ Her name was Lola! She was a showgirl!’ or ‘But I know what I am, and I’m glad I’m a man, and so’s Lola!’ Personally, I took the Nabokov route and quoted the first couple of paragraphs to him: ‘Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul… She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.’

    His daughter got a different name, thank goodness. If ‘Lola’ has a single strong cultural reference which doesn’t have to do with some sort of transgressive sexiness, I don’t know it. That’s a lot for one child to carry.

    ‘Roxane’ is another one (‘You don’t have to turn on that red light!’) And sadly, my sister had mixed feelings upon finding out that she had a ‘sexy’ name when she discovered that trafficked girls from Eastern Europe often went by the name Natasha (which is a diminutive) to the point that they were known as ‘Natashas’ collectively.

    Sexy names for boys? That’s harder, I suppose. If you look at romance heroes, they vary from the ubermasculine (Blake, Tanner) to the Italianate (Regency heroes always seem to be named Gabriel, Lucien, Rafael and the like, rather than John and Alfred).

  15. Sarah A Says:

    I agree! Especially boys names, like Santiago and Rafael.

  16. WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

    Well that’s always going to be a matter of mixed opinion I guess … I prefer calling them “romantic” names rather than “sexy” ones! Mostly because I feel weird telling people their baby has a sexy name.

    To me Yolanda isn’t romantic, because the only Yolanda I know was 6 foot 3 and weighed 120 pounds of solid muscle, and had a deeper voice than most men (and she was still in high school!!!) And to me Trixie is cutesy and little-girly rather than erotic (maybe even a pet name).

    Other (ahem) “romantic” names: Gigi, Juliette, Bella, Rose, Sasha

    Names for the boys in the same light: Zane, Slade, Blade, Orlando, Digory

  17. Claire Says:

    I was going to suggest Tallulah, Lola and Ruby…

    Also… Stella, Eve/Eva, Eden have something sexy going on for me. And any names that are so strongly associated with a sex icon such as Brigitte/Bridget, Marilyn etc etc… I guess much in the same way as Penelope. Perhaps Eva Longoria comes to mind for Eva, hence my association with that name.

  18. Claire Says:

    oooh how could I forget Ivy?

  19. You Can't Call It "It"! Says:

    The Biblical story of Eve as “temptress” might have something to do with Eve and Eva. Love them both though.

  20. You Can't Call It "It"! Says:

    A baby isn’t sexy. But the baby will be an adult some day and hopefully, have some sex appeal to someone.

  21. L Says:

    I think most names with an “x” in them have potential to go there (Roxanne, Trixie, Maddox, etc.). I’m going more literal on this one…mainly because of how the names look and sound. I mean, the words “sex/sexy” have unique sounds and the “x” is the reason why. The letter “x” is distinct because it’s not often used in the English language. Thus, it could create a link in someone’s mind to one of it’s most famous/frequent uses “sex.” The one syllable names that end in x are especially prone to this connection: Lux, Lex, Pax, Dex, Dax, Jax, Max, Knox, Rex…

    Or maybe that’s just the immature 10 year old in me…Rex Sex. :)

  22. Diana Says:

    I have to agree with you there. I knew many variants of “Lexy” (Alexis, Alexa, Lexi, etc.) and they were all trashy! All of them used the same Sexy Lexy nickname. Just like small kids can find hurtful nicknames, teenage girls going through the societal pressure of being sexy will find ways to have slutty nicknames. A great example of this would be that American girl calling herself “Foxy Knoxy” who was arrested in Italy for a sex game turn murder.

    All of the girls I knew with the more romanticized sexy names like Valentina, Carmen and the French-sounding were conservative! Perhaps people were expecting them to be sexier than they were?

    As for guys with sexy names: I work with a Fabio who looks more like Danny DeVito than the model. Perhaps giving your child a sexy name just means you hope the child will one day be sexy – it doesn’t mean he/she will be.

  23. Gil Says:

    Lolita is different from Lola. Lolita does conjure up Nabokov because that is the title of the novel; Lola does not (for me). If I think of anything when I hear Lola I think of that song “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets”. Or “Lola” by the kinks. Which are both cool references.

    I think it’s stretching it a bit to link Lola with a “nymphette”, or Roxanne with being a prostitute.

  24. Caroline Says:

    Names definitely have connotations. There’s a name book (or two) out there that focuses completely on the connotations of names. I agree with this list for the most part, and ABSOLUTELY did we consider sexiness when choosing names for our daughters. THANK YOU for mentioning Lola. I balked when Kelly Ripa named her daughter this because I immediately thought “stripper.” Others I might add: Priscilla, Audrina, Leeza, Melania, Eden, and Desirae. Not that I would necessarily nix this right off the bat, but to me they definitely have a certain sex appeal–especially Eden and Desirae.

  25. Caroline Says:

    Agreed. Just think what “XXX” means.

  26. Tam Says:

    I’d disagree, Lolita is simply a diminutive of Lola. It’s like arguing that Megan and Meg are worlds apart.

    I think that the connection between ‘x’ names and sexy names probably holds true (Lexi, Roxy). Off-topic, but Roxanne is, of course, also a slang word for cocaine.

  27. KC Says:

    Hi Elisabeth! Thank you. I agree with your points– I just don’t find the names you listed (with a few exceptions) notably sexier than any others, but maybe this is something I have not given enough thought to. I do acknowledge that you opened the conversation to sexy names for boys, but I think it’s telling that this post (before any conversation about boy names) focused on girls first. Maybe because female characters are better known for their sexiness (and often much more negatively than men)? Maybe this creates more of a concern for parents naming girls? I find it interesting that several posters have commented that they (or their partners) have nixed certain girl names because of their “sexiness.” Do people have a similar experience with boys? I would guess not– when naming our son, we never worried if a name was too sexy or not. We were looking for something strong.

  28. Lou @ Mer de Noms Says:

    I think pretty much anything Sebastian Vettel has ever named his F1 car would go on the ‘sexy’ list for me – proof that I watch way too much Formula 1 – since his current car is named Kinky Kylie, successor of Luscious Liz, Randy Mandy and Kate’s Dirty Sister (a car named before the royal wedding), alongside a couple of others I can’t think of right now.

  29. evangelia Says:

    every man i know thinks that Vanessa is a very sexy name.

  30. Cat Says:

    It’s funny for me to hear Lola, Lila and Penelope as sexy names. These were on the very top of my name list and all I saw were sweet lil’ baby girls- not future vixons. I kind of like the idea of a sexy-ish name, I feel sexy might equal strong and feminim. It makes me like these names even more.
    As for boys, I always felt heat from Benicio, Leo and mostly anything exotic. Foreign and mysterious always seem to be exciting and draw you in. I married a Kunal and still find it sexy.
    Good post.

  31. Cat Says:

    On a side note- Beyonce and Jay-Z! How can they not have a sexy name picked out for their baby to be!? So excited.

  32. Babies of Mumpreneurs | Waltzing More Than Matilda Says:

    [...] Lola seems cute and spunky, and is #97 in New South Wales. This name was listed on a recent list of “Sexy Names” at Elisabeth’s blog, You Can’t Call It “It” – perhaps because of the [...]

  33. paullette Says:

    Omg no!!! Desiree sounds like an old fat cleaning lady with stretch marks on her tits that resides in the valley. No never name your poor baby such a disgusting name. Vomit!

  34. Huru Says:

    I genuinely knew a girl called Desire. I kid you not. She changed her name the second she could, now she’s Anne.
    I think ‘sexy’ names can be nice at times. I personally love ‘Delilah’ and ‘Ruby’. I think Ruby is cute rather than sexy though.
    At the end of the day, I’d rather have a sexy name than a name which is always followed by “You called what? How…exotic”

  35. Lexi Says:

    Alexis should definitely be on the list and Lexi

  36. sapphire Says:

    For the boys


  37. Courtney Says:

    My daughter’s name is Haven, and I have never even thought of the name as “sexy” at all. It is very unique, but compared to Delilah? C’mon…

  38. Summer Says:

    I have a 3 year old daughter named Haven and I never thought of it as being sexy…. I got it from the Hymn “Haven of Rest” and I think of it as being a peaceful, heavenly name.

    I asked my husband if he would rather go on a blind date with Alice or Penelope and he said “ALICE! Penelope sounds like a horse!” Of course we are just in our 20s so maybe that makes a difference?

  39. Sibset of the Week: The Mitchells « Mer de Noms Says:

    [...] someone using the name Allure. I wonder whether this should be classed with Elisabeth’s Sexy Names category, but then again I’m not so sure. It’s surprising that it’s not so [...]

  40. Andrea Says:

    I think if you have a child named Haven, Trixie, Ruby, or Jezibel, they are destined to be strippers. That goes for Chastity too.

  41. Lola Says:

    I think like hot names r sexy for example:Nariya I always think that’s sexy

  42. Lola Says:

    Or Fani

  43. Lola Says:

    And some ppl say that “Lola” is sexy

  44. waltzingmorethanmatilda Says:

    Ruby is the #1 name in many states of Australia at present. Are you seriously saying that all these thousands of baby girls are going to become strippers?

  45. adrian Says:

    I agree with the post stating; penelope sounds like a horse name.. I do agree with Lola being a really hotttt name for a girl :)

  46. Meghann Slawson Says:

    Personally I believe that people can make any name sexy. If you as a person feel sexy then other people will start to see you as sexy. So it all depends on the person. I mean think about it what makes all these names sexy? Its the movies or societies conventions. I mean what makes italian names sexy for boys? Its the fact that in all the movies they use these hot, buff, bad boy italians as the main characters. When in reality they are just names. I beieve that a name is what you make of it.

  47. Lolita Lee Says:

    I’m so offended that my name is drug in the dirt like it is. And yes My Gurl friend calls me Lola. Everyone I’ve ever meet has told me what a sexy name i have. And yes although i went to the finest prep schools around the world and My family name is on the Forbes top 2000 richest familys, I am a dancer because i love to dance and not because i’m a slut.I’ve had ever sort of dance lessons since i was 5 along with tumbling and Ballet and Gymnastics. Its not the name who makes me who i am , Its my preferences.So next time you want to stereotype my names (Lolita, Lita ,Lola,) please take alook at your mothers name and pick on it instead of mine. Thank You for your time.

  48. You Can't Call It "It"! Says:

    Please don’t be so offended. No one is dragging your name in the dirt! Lolita in particular is associated with Nabakov’s novel of the same name, as I’m sure you know. Have you read it? That is a cultural association. We’re trying to name babies, and if you have this come up all the time, so will future children. I know and love many Lolas, Scarletts, Rubys, Avas, etc. and they’re all beautiful people, whose names, in my opinion, carry varying degrees of sexiness. More say, than Ramona and Ethel. It’s not an attack, truly.

  49. Matthew Says:

    Does nobody else find something particularly attractive about the name sapphire? I don’t know whether its the link to the stone or blue eyes but i would definitely put it on the sexy list.

  50. Salome Says:

    Unfortunately I was named Salome. Worst decision my parents ever made. Most people cannot pronounce it . I don’t know about other people but I find nothing sexy about my name

  51. Salome Says:

    I’m also a Salome, but I wasn’t named after the famous seductress. My parents named me after one of the women who brought spices to Jesus tomb the morning of His resurrection (Mark 15&16). It’s also the name of a Jewish Queen.

    I really can’t say that I’ve ever had an issue with any “scandalous” associations. Most people don’t even remember the story of John the Baptist or even the play by Oscar Wilde. The only real issues with Salome are spelling, pronunciation (“Suh-low-mee” is the appropriate English pronunciation) and consequent teasing. But I’m used to the occasional minor annoyance and I have to say I’m glad to have my name, especially knowing that it comes from Shalom – Peace.

  52. janessa Says:

    I often get compliments on my name , Janessa, it is uniquq and kind of rolls in your mouth .A strange man the other day said it sounded as though it was a flower engulfed in flames. creepy- ut kinda sweet. What do you think of it?

  53. Kaytlin Says:

    I think that for girls “sexy” names sound like something that isn’t as easy to come off the tongue. That you have to spend a little time saying.

    For boys:
    Asher or Ashton

  54. Meef Says:

    Hey, I’m trying to figure out names for some characters in a short story I’m writing. I really want the character’s personality to show through in the names, but I’m stumped. The main character is kind and sweet tenage girl, but it’s a romance story, so the name needs some amount of sexiness to it. The mean girl in school is basically a gold digger and she is always flirting with guys. I was thinking of the name Emma, but I personally knew an Emma, so I’m not sure if other people get that. The male main character is some sort of half human and half wolf creature thing. He is basically the perfect guy; he’s strong, romantic, protective, etc. I was thinking of maybe Luke or something like that. Plz help!

  55. ZKgirl Says:

    Does anyone like the name Zara?

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