Sunday, May 11, 2008

What Makes a Romantic Hero Sexy?

My fellow Siren authors joined me in a recent chat where we all agreed that the hero in a romance must be sexy. That’s like telling a chef that your food should taste good, it doesn’t tell the chef what you think tastes good.

So, what does make a male character sexy? Is it all rippling muscles and piercing bedroom eyes? Is there something more to it? Will a reader desire the hero no matter what he does, as long as he is buff with chiseled features?

For me the answer is appearance actually counts for very little. A hero must be something more than arm candy to be sexy. To sell me on him, he has to have the right attitude. I fall in love with a character’s personality, not his body.

That said there are as wide a range of personality characteristics as there are flavors for a chef to present to a diner. A hero can be determined, protective, hard, sweet, considerate, caveman mentality versus modern man mentality, scarred and hostile versus outgoing and relaxed, the list is endless.

As a reader, I enjoy a variety of characteristics in heroes. That said there are some core attributes that make a hero the perfect man for me. I like heroes that are protective, self-assured, considerate and respectful even if they’re rough around the edges. I like them to be determined and with a strong will power. Above all a hero most be faithful, violate this rule and I will put the book down.

What I want to know is what you think makes a character sexy? Are looks more important to you than personality? Are there personality traits you must have in a hero or ones that you wouldn’t tolerate?

Jenny Penn
Deception – coming soon in fall from Siren Publishing
Mating Claire – coming soon in fall from Siren Publishing
Cattleman’s Club: Patton’s Way – coming soon in late fall from Siren Publishing


Bill Newman said...


Good answer. You've just described the hero in my novel Venture. I based him on me, of course. Ha, ha!

Bill Newman

Lindsay Townsend said...

Care for others - espec his main partner/s.
Willingness to protect others - espec his main partner/s
Being unexpected.
Great topic here, Jenny! Great answer!

Jenny Penn said...


I think that is why I've had a crush on Will Smith all these years. There is something about a sexy man who can make you laugh. It's not easy to be funny.


Luxie Ryder said...

What makes a hero sexy is when he defines his success as a man by how he makes the woman in his life feel.

He knows a woman who is loved and respected makes a far better partner for him. He knows he can have everything he wants in a woman if he takes pride in giving her what she needs to be happy.

Wendi said...

Lordy, Jenny! Everything in that photo you posted makes him sexy! :)

Ok, aside from looks the single most appealing characteristic for me is a protective nature. Especially toward the heroine. Even if the heroine doesn't want him to protect her and is perfectly capable of taking care of herself, he's going to make darn sure nothing happens to her on his watch. Ummmmm...I love that.

Wendi Darlin

Tara S Nichols said...

I agree with the hero you describe but I also have a soft spot for the goofy geek. The man who can laugh in the face of a bully and ridicule him with his wit, who can gently call the heroine on her own flaws, and who is a friend rather than standoffish and block headed will win my heart no matter if his muscles aren't bulging and his jaw dinted with ac dimple.

Will Smith is an ideal hotty. He always makes my top ten list.