Ancient and tribal tattoos were administered not merely to decorate the body, but also for sacred purposes. Some were symbols of rank and prowess. In Western history, sailors and servicemen were well known regulars of the tattoo parlor. Nowadays, anybody could be sporting a tattoo. The practice has developed into an art form. Practitioners are called artists, as well they should be. Today's tattoo artists work with an array inks, dyes, and pigments. There are now high tech machines that help with the process. Skin and the human body is the canvas. A good sense of design and style are most needed in this field, not to mention technical know-how and some training in related health issues. This has injected professionalism into the practice. Competitions are regularly held, as well as conventions and get-togethers.
In popular culture, sexy tattoos could be of any single thing. There is a vast array of designs to choose from. The old meanings of most designs have been lost or blurred by their appropriation into modern culture. What used to be tribal, sacred, or prison and gang symbols are now seen everywhere as marks of fashion and style. Therefore the zigzag lines and other ethnic patterns as anklets, the cobweb tattoos at the elbows as fashion statement and heretofore religious symbols as body decoration. In the theme of the sexy, there are the single-stemmed rose designs, strategically placed in the hidden parts of the body. Roses are a symbol of romantic love. Star patterns are also popular, usually seen in the lower back, erotically peeking from pants or underwear. The heart has become a very common symbol of love, ordinary in its familiarity. However, when tattooed into a precise area in the body it is an effective sexy symbol.