What Makes a Character Sexy?
You asked if it was enough that another character desired that character or found him/her/hir sexy, or if the reader must be seduced as well?
First, I think characters must find each other sexy, or at least one must find
the other sexy or seductive in order for the reader to be seduced at
all. But sometimes one character being attracted to anotherisn’t enough for the reader to be seduced.
When I write I’m, in effect, the reader. I tell myself a story. I get
completely wrapped up in it. My characters pretty much do what they
want, go where they want and are attracted to each other for their own
quirky reasons. Sometimes I don’t fully understand their motivations (I
suppose I must subconsciously or Iwouldn’t have written them) or agree with their choices. But then, if the character is well drawn enough, he or she will grow on me.
A good example of this is Susan, who was meant to be a minor character in my first novel, The Melinoe Project. When I wrote her, she scared me. I didn’t find her sexually attractive, I found her dangerous and frightening, but that didn’t
stop me writing her into my main character’s life and he found her
utterly seductive and attractive, even to his extreme detriment at
times. I think it was a combination of his intense attraction to her,
regardless of the consequences and my growing identification with her
that she grew on me and I too began to find her hot. Hot enough that
she became a main character and wound up in the sequel as well.
Does she seduce the reader? I know she seduces some readers. We all have
different attractants, as do our characters. I may not be at all
attracted to the usual hunky alpha male or typical dominant man, but I
may find myself utterly in thrall over the earnestness and dedication
of a characters need to place himself in the service of another.
We (and by that, I mean characters and readers, alike) are all different.
What one finds sexy, another may find revolting. My adage has always
been that if something, or someone, is sexy to me, they will be to
someone else too. We are not islands. We have more in common with each
other than we know.
And I suppose that was a completely round-about way of not answering your question!
KB: D.L. King is the fearless leader of Erotica Revealed. Her interview with the L.A. Times about literary erotica should be out this week, so look for it! Besides running Erotica Revealed, her short stories appear in many anthologies, and her femdomme novels The Melinoe Project and The Art of Melinoe are available from Renaissance E-Books.