What makes a man sexy?

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Laer Carroll

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In my latest book the story requires that my heroine fall in lust (not love) with a man. I've had a couple of affairs with other men so I know what turns a man on about other men. But what turns a woman on?

My first thought was to turn to the romance forum. But I don't know if this is the right place. A lot of romance novels deal with fantasy lust objects: pirates, highland chiefs, cowboys, fire fighters, etc. But the men in my story are ones you'd encounter in real life: teachers, mechanics, accountants, coworkers, etc.

Still, it's worth a try. So: what makes a man sexy to most women?
 

Lakey

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My first thought was to turn to the romance forum. But I don't know if this is the right place. A lot of romance novels deal with fantasy lust objects: pirates, highland chiefs, cowboys, fire fighters, etc. But the men in my story are ones you'd encounter in real life: teachers, mechanics, accountants, coworkers, etc.
I am not even a romance reader and I know this is off-base -- lots and lots and lots of romances are not at all about pirates and cowboys. But I'll let the folks who do read and write them lay out the specifics of how wrong your generalization is here.
Still, it's worth a try. So: what makes a man sexy to most women?
Women are people, they are pretty different. You need to know your heroine to answer this question.

:troll
This. Who is your character? What does she desire and need? What is sexy to her? If you can't answer that question, why and how are you even writing a story about her?

:e2coffee:
 

M.S. Wiggins

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I wanted to crack a joke when seeing the thread’s title: Silence.

Anyway, women vary in what turns them on. Some may like beards, while others prefer clean-shaven, and still others are attracted to five o’clock shadows. Then there’s the tall or short preference. A nice smile is relatively universal, I believe. Butts? Round, or rounder?! Scent plays a vital role as well; everyone has their own unique scent, men and women.

The list is long, and it depends on the individual woman.
 

ElaineA

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Come on, Laer. You're a writer. You make whatever you want to seem appealing appealing. Your character can lust after men who routinely spill salsa down the front of their shirt and walk around with crumbs in their beard if you want. You just have to convince the reader she finds that sexy. All the things that attract men to men probably apply to women as well.

If the question is more about what women *readers* find sexy, well, I'd concur with the others who say we're not a monolith. Sell it for your character. That's all you can do.

And quit belittling Romance. It's a huge and varied genre, including Contemporary, populated with teachers and mechanics and handymen and bakers and birdwatchers and
 

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If you want to turn this on its head, take a look at various male heartthrobs around the world. Sean Connery. Leonardo DiCaprio. The Beatles. Dan Carter. Aamir Khan. Donald Trump. Then look at the kind of girls/women who swoon over him. There's your pairing.
 

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In my latest book the story requires that my heroine fall in lust (not love) with a man. I've had a couple of affairs with other men so I know what turns a man on about other men. But what turns a woman on?

My first thought was to turn to the romance forum. But I don't know if this is the right place. A lot of romance novels deal with fantasy lust objects: pirates, highland chiefs, cowboys, fire fighters, etc. But the men in my story are ones you'd encounter in real life: teachers, mechanics, accountants, coworkers, etc.

Still, it's worth a try. So: what makes a man sexy to most women?
Also, methinks you don't read many romance novels.
 
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mccardey

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Might be a good idea to move beyond the physical. I believe men are also creatures with minds* which opens up a whole realm of thinking and feeling and doing and believing. Any of these things can also be noticed by women.



*I read it somewhere.
 

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Yeah, but falling 'in lust' usually is a physical thing. Maybe later they discover his mental qualities, but I think 'lust' is more of an 'I gotta have that' - more of a physical response, and faster.

You might lust after someone, and later discover his loveable qualities (or not).
This is why both 'marry in haste, repent at leisure' and divorce/murder are all things.
For both men and women.

But, yeah, you've got to figure out what your character wants/desires in a man.
 

mccardey

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Yeah, but falling 'in lust' usually is a physical thing. Maybe later they discover his mental qualities, but I think 'lust' is more of an 'I gotta have that' - more of a physical response, and faster.
I'm not sure that's universal. Is it mandated (see what I did there) in Romance? It isn't in Women's Fiction, as far as I can tell.

Certainly isn't true in real life.
 

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I'm not sure that's universal. Is it mandated (see what I did there) in Romance? It isn't in Women's Fiction, as far as I can tell.

Certainly isn't true in real life.

Speaking only for myself: I have almost never in my life been struck with lust purely by a man's appearance. (There was that guy that came into the library when I was in high school, but that was once.) I can't look at pictures of actors or models and think "Wow, hot." I can appreciate that they are aesthetically pleasing, like a painting, but I don't have a physical response. I need to meet someone and talk to them, and while there are a few physical things I like, personality and presentation overwhelm absolutely everything else.

OTOH, I've had friends who flip through magazines and genuinely respond to photos of handsome men, so YMMV.

As everyone else has said: do what your story needs. It'll work.
 

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In my latest book the story requires that my heroine fall in lust (not love) with a man. I've had a couple of affairs with other men so I know what turns a man on about other men. But what turns a woman on?

My first thought was to turn to the romance forum. But I don't know if this is the right place. A lot of romance novels deal with fantasy lust objects: pirates, highland chiefs, cowboys, fire fighters, etc. But the men in my story are ones you'd encounter in real life: teachers, mechanics, accountants, coworkers, etc.

Still, it's worth a try. So: what makes a man sexy to most women?
Romance is a broad genre, and there are M/F romance novels where the MMC is from a more ordinary walk of life (though adventurous and wealthy types are indeed popular).

To answer your question, though, is a bit harder, because women obviously don't all have the same taste.

I won't lie and say I don't notice a guy's looks, or that I don't have certain types who tend to catch my eye more. But I've been attracted to plenty of men who don't fit that profile. And there are men who I should find attractive, but somehow I don't.

Sometimes there's that moment of connection that cements the fact you have something in common beyond maybe just politics or shared interests and hobbies etc.

To explain from my experience, there are times when you just lock eyes with someone and you know you're on the same wavelength, such as a take on something happening at that moment or interpretation of a given situation, or a joke most others wouldn't get.

I remember being at a party with the man who is now my spouse, but at the time we were friends who weren't dating (though I think we were both cautiously tiptoeing around the possibility already). We just made eye contact and started laughing at something two people in the next room were talking about that we both thought was a silly, pretentious discussion/debate. I think that's when it became inevitable that we'd end up together.

I don't know if what I am talking about is applicable to your story, as you said "falling in lust" but I've never been good at the whole one night stand thingy. Generally if I am attracted enough to want to sleep with someone, I want to know him better as a person too.
 

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A fun read here:

 
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ChaseJxyz

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His ability to turn into a werewolf? His family fortune and the fact he's a heavy sleeper? His FBI Most Wanted poster? Lotta options. Your MC could also have a highly specific interest if you want something uncommon. Maybe she's into feet and he has really nice feet, they met at the local health food store and he's one of those bare-foot hippies. Again, lots of options.

Watch some reality tv like 90 Day Fiance or Love After Lock Up. You'll see lots of totally normal straight* women instantly falling for men that are both stereotypically hot/sexy (bad boy, muscular, interesting job, accent, his American passport) and what would be painfully average, at best. Your 1 is someone else's 10, as they say.


*There's been 2 gay couples on 90DF and none on LAL, but otherwise they're all cishet, so the vast majority
 
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A lot of romance novels deal with fantasy lust objects: pirates, highland chiefs, cowboys, fire fighters, etc.

This sounds more like Village People fanfic

Still, it's worth a try. So: what makes a man sexy to most women?

He doesn't need to be sexy to most women. As pretty much everyone has said here, he just needs to be sexy to your character.
 

Tocotin

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Also, standards of beauty and sexiness vary between cultures, eras, places etc. In Heian-period Japan, if an aristocratic guy didn’t know how to mix incense or the colors of his many-layered sleeves didn’t match, he was out. Muscular warriors who couldn’t compose poetry or write good calligraphy were considered incredibly cringey.

If you write fantasy or SF, you can make your own rules on what is considered sexy in your world. Fun!

:troll
 
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llyralen

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Are the two meant to stay together? That’s kind of important, imo.

I think you build the sympathy for the woman through story. Show that she wants and needs a lustful affair and then it doesn’t matter too much what he is like, your reader would want her to get with him.

An example— D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover which is still the most erotic book ever written in my opinion. She had a mental connection with her husband (her husband is in a wheel chair if you don’t know the story) but there was no physical connection and she was sex-starved, affection-starved, so much so that the MC describes their first copulation as one of pure sympathy for her. He describes love as physical sympathy. You wanted her sexual needs to be seen and met by her lover. And they were.

So here comes why I ask if they should stay together. It would be a huge betrayal to have all her needs truly met and satisfied and then have him discard her. That could wrench your reader’s guts out— if you want to as a writer. If it’s going to just be a fling then have him not satisfy all of her needs and somehow leave her wanting, emotionally, intellectually, or physically and you can play around with her still trying to make it work and eventually growing up and learning what she really needs and moving on, maybe even finding her needs met elsewhere.

To DH Lawrence it seemed like his argument was that a good physical sexual connection WAS love, but he also showed emotional and mental connection between the two characters no matter how he framed it in his mind.

I guess just make sure the physical need is shown on her part and depending on your story show her satisfaction on whatever level: Passion, intensity (it can be from frequency, sacrifices made to meet, fantastic and multiple Os, foreplay, banter, etc.

I guess I could go on about things a majority of women usually like as qualities, but most people know them: tall, good-looking, strong, smart, capable in multiple areas and maybe vulnerable in one or two only she knows about and can help him with, money and/or adventure doesn’t hurt— yada yada. I also personally like perceptive, intelligent, interactive, kind and funny and I will take those things over looks any day. We all love intense sincere interaction, feeling really seen, really appreciated, and understood and our needs met. We want to see that in books. Honestly with the way women’s sexuality works it’s about making sure to write that he finds her beautiful, intelligent, witty, and basically gets boners constantly from her— this is true. We will often love any respectful (of our choices and autonomy) man who adores us and who we turn on. We even want to hear that another member of our sex is found to be super beautiful and turns men and her man on constantly. There is a narcissism for our own sex’s beauty and sexual power there. Oh, it’s so true!

I had more to say than I thought. Good luck!
 
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Catriona Grace

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What makes a man sexy? The ability to listen to a woman like what she says matters. Sense of humor and a good dash of the maverick don't hurt, either.
 
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This sounds more like Village People fanfic
:D

back on track: A lot of women also find it very sexy when a man desires her. Obv not creepy stalkers and wolf whistling strangers on the street, but when the situation is appropriate, if the man makes it clear (through words, looks, body language, physical responses) that he finds her attractive and would like to have sex with her, that can be a huge turn-on.
 
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mccardey

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:D

back on track: A lot of women also find it very sexy when a man desires her. Obv not creepy stalkers and wolf whistling strangers on the street, but when the situation is appropriate, if the man makes it clear (through words, looks, body language, physical responses) that he finds her attractive and would like to have sex with her, that can be a huge turn-on.
Are you sure?
 

mccardey

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Well, no. I mean, not every woman, surely. But for some women, yeah.
It just seems like such a very low bar.

ETA: I'll take your word for it though. As you say - not all women and not in all situations caveat caveat ;)
 
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Laer Carroll

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Really helpful input. The kind of thoughtful answers which is why I like AW so much. I can now go ahead from where I was blocked. In fact, right now!
 
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TeresaRose

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Watch some reality tv like 90 Day Fiance

Dare I say I love this show, I'm addicted... or should I appear normal, and say that I watch it once in a while when I can. Alas, the latter would be a lie! :roll:
 

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