Why Is It Attractive When Your Partner Calls You By Your Last Name?

There are plenty of professions where your last name becomes your main moniker, and whether you're a doctor, teacher, or coach, you may be used to a formal prefix and your last name. Calling teammates by their last names is common in the sports world, but it can also translate into fratty or bro energy. Plus, last-naming someone may end up giving off "I know your older sibling" vibes, or make you feel like you're about to get picked on at recess. 

But your last name can also play out like a flirty nickname. Just think about "Grey's Anatomy" and all the fun characters had calling Meredith Grey's sister "Little Grey," which also became a cheeky euphemism when discussing hospital hookups. Whether you're making a first move in a new relationship or brainstorming things you should say to your partner every day, there's an answer to why it's sometimes sexy when your partner last names you. 

It keeps things playful

Maybe calling your partner by their last name imbues them with more mystery than they have when you call them by their first name. On the TV show "New Girl," the characters wait six seasons to find out that smooth (yet cringy) ladies' man Schmidt's first name is Winston, which he doesn't end up using since it's also another friend's name. But knowing Schmidt's first name arguably detracts from his cool factor. The writers imply this by simultaneously revealing his very silly middle name, Saint-Marie. 

Sexpert and author Tracy Clark-Flory told Bustle some of the reasons why we might enjoy the mystery surrounding a last name. "It's a way to kind of express a fondness or intimacy, but at a distance," she shared. Feeling semi-sporty and a bit flirty also has its advantage. "If you're just one of the guys, then it's almost a fun challenge — to be seen as not just a friend, to be seen as a woman." She explained further, "There's something very subtly neg-like about it that might be intriguing . . . We're not really being tender and sweet with each other, we're doing it with this air of toughness." However, in this case, your tone has to ensure that last-naming your partner feels flirty rather than mocking.

Just don't be weird about it

Last names feel like a super straightforward way to address someone, which can be a major turn-on when we communicate with our partner. Sex and relationships expert Rhian Kivits told Metro, "When someone calls you by your last name it can come across as a very confident, direct, and edgy way of flirting." And it can also feel a bit business-first, which is sexy. Kivits clarified, "In contrast to someone using your first name, which feels familiar, safe and friendly, the use of your last name still feels more formal — they know you, but it's also nuanced, because it's not 100% polite."

However, last-naming someone who isn't our partner may have a polarizing effect. Dating coach Frances Kelleher told the outlet, "When we don't fancy the person, being called by your last name can actually be a turn-off," noting that "Women have told me that they felt the guy was being over familiar and presumptuous." 

To avoid a poor outcome, Kivits advised, "Inject a bit of humour into the interaction to make it clear that you're being cheeky and pushing your luck, rather than being disrespectful or rude," advising people who try this to "Make eye contact, use direct body language and smile to convey your positive intention." And of course, when in doubt, ask the other person exactly what they're comfortable being called.