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What Are "Bedroom Eyes"?

By Mark Wollacott
Updated May 23, 2024
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The phrase “bedroom eyes” refers to a glance or look given by one person to another to suggest a romantic or sexual desire. The recipient has the feeling that the person with such eyes is almost hypnotizing them into similar feelings. These eyes are described in various ways, but tend to be dreamy, sultry and seductive eyes.

“Bedroom eyes” is a non-literal or semi-literal collocation where two words, ‘bedroom’ plus ‘eyes,’ have been placed together in order to derive a third meaning. In this case, the hidden meaning is a desire and invitation to something else. The bedroom is the desire and the eyes make the invitation.

The reaction is in the eyes of the beholder, literally. This means that the phenomenon could be a simple matter of perception. The person who likes the person with “bedroom eyes” is seeing an attractive feature rather than a projected look created in order to get the other to bed. This means having such eyes is sub-conscious and cannot be recreated.

To describe someone as having “bedroom eyes” is to attribute to him or her a positive aspect. This insinuates that the beholder wants to see something positive in the other person and wants to be seduced by them; what he or she sees reflected is his or her own desire. If he or she did not want to see “bedroom eyes,” he or she would describe the person as “lecherous” or “seedy.”

Eyes have been associated with conveying inner emotions and desires for centuries. Science is beginning to understand how eyes reflect a person's personality and can be used in sex. Orebro University in 2007 tested iris patterns and then compared them to personality types and found a clear correlation. The University of Melbourne in 2010 tested minute eye movements to study where people look when they are flirting. These studies complement others on the important role of eyes and eye contact in seduction.

The phrase has appeared as a film title in the 1980s. William Fruet’s movie concerns a voyeuristic runner who aims to look at women or a woman, but instead witnesses a murder. Bedroom Eyes is also the name of a Swedish rock-pop singer, whose real name is Jonas Jonsson, who debuted in 2009.

What Does Bedroom Eyes Mean?

The term "bedroom eyes" refers to a particular look or expression that one person uses to signal a certain romantic intent to another person. Bedroom eyes are generally used as a signal when one person invites another person into the bedroom or metaphorically invites them to participate in activities that are commonplace in the bedroom other than sleep, such as romantic or sexual activities. Bedroom eyes are usually a shared glance indicating that it’s time to retire from an open space to more private activities.

What Do Bedroom Eyes Look Like?

Bedroom eyes appear differently to different people. The primary indicator that someone is trying to give you them is sustained direct eye contact. After that, however, there is not much solidarity among accounts. In fact, many a laugh has been made by people theatrically attempting to make bedroom eyes to no avail. There are plenty of memes with exaggerated eyebrow wiggling and lip pursing. Even cartoon skunks and puppet pigs bat their eyelashes and look up from under their lids to give the best bedroom eyes they can muster.

The Science Behind Bedroom Eyes

Aside from sustained eye contact or the batting of eyelashes, there is one constant that you may be able to look for to determine if someone is giving you bedroom eyes. When you are aroused, your body releases hormones called dopamine and oxytocin. You can be either sexually or romantically attracted to someone or desperately in love; no matter the relationship, your body releases the hormones. As these hormones surge through your body, they initiate several bodily reactions. One of these reactions is the dilation of your pupils.

If you happen to look over and consistently make eye contact with your love interest, try to hold their gaze for just a few moments. If you can tell that their pupils appear to be more dilated than average, it may be a natural response to being attracted to you. You may be, in fact, getting bedroom eyes at that very moment. If you’re into it, give a wink and reciprocate the gaze. If not, look away and suggest you split the bill.

Bedroom Eyes in Music

There is no shortage of songs about eyes in the music industry. Songs about bedroom eyes are certainly no outlier either. There are multiple mentions in music from pop to rock to rap and everything in between. This curated list is just a small portion of recording artists that have totally unique songs entitled "Bedroom Eyes":

  • The Knocks
  • Dum Dum Girls
  • Ernest White, Jr.
  • Ronnie McDowell
  • Eddie Rabbit
  • Motorpsycho
  • Kate Ceberano
  • Lazarus

Bedroom Eyes in Pop Culture

Bedroom eyes aren’t only for the bedroom. Before you gasp and clutch your pearls, remember that pop culture has a way of taking terms and twisting them one way or another to fit a particular narrative. Bedroom eyes aren’t always taken seriously. While the term does refer to sexual attraction, it can often be the butt of many jokes.

Bedroom eyes can also be the impetus of a court case defense, sadly, or the title of a make-up tutorial for Valentine’s Day date night. Interestingly, the term is a subtopic of a significant number of diverse topics in pop culture.

If you search for bedroom eyes and pop culture, some of the featured combinations include:

  • Simba and Nala meme
  • Do your eyebrows move with bedroom eyes?
  • Miguel balances political undertones
  • The male gaze and femininity
  • Does eye shape affect bedroom eyes?
  • Bedroom eyes playlist
  • Sexy bedroom eyes in a new make-up ad
  • Do bedroom eyes make you look?

Help Your Bedroom Eyes

Despite all the memes and the songs and the search results, it seems there is no one clear set of directions for making bedroom eyes at your love interest. If you’re still stuck on how to get that sultry boudoir gaze, try these tips to help lure in your lover in no time:

  • Lean into the conversation while making eye contact
  • Alternate between sustained eye contact and looking at the other person’s lips
  • Lightly touch the hand or the arm of the other person when talking
  • Use your words and seduce the other person verbally
  • Mirror the body language of the other person
  • Keep your voice soft and low, so the other person leans close to listen
  • Flirt and create a playful banter between you to build tension
  • Be direct and say what you want if you can’t get the whole bedroom eyes thing to work
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Discussion Comments

By jessiwan — On Mar 08, 2021

I think that when someone has "bedroom eyes", which means they are constantly giving out signals, it's a very creepy thing. Kind of funny, because they think that they are being alluring, but fundamentally creepy. I would not want to be looked at that way. The only time I will sort of welcome bedroom eyes is when it's from a guy that I already like. And even if that's the case, I still prefer words. Words are the chief way humans communicate with each other, and non-verbal communications are only supplementary. Bedroom eyes would not make me fall for a guy. His words are the only thing that can.

By Inaventu — On Jun 08, 2014

To me, a good bedroom eyes definition includes a deliberate attempt at seduction. I have been around women who had very beautiful eyes, but they weren't always trying to project a sexual image. If they became attracted to a man at a bar, however, they could change the way they looked at him. A man or woman with bedroom eyes can definitely send out a powerful sign of interest.

By mrwormy — On Jun 07, 2014

I think it's really hard to define bedroom eyes, since it's mostly about perception. I'd say a lot of Hollywood-level actors and pop stars have bedroom eyes, like Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. They aren't always bright-eyed and cheerful, but they have slightly hooded eyes and a sultry half-sleepy gaze. Other entertainers may project a raw sexuality, but they don't all have that same seductive quality.

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