What makes a character sexy? Is it enough that another
character desires him/her/hir, or should the reader be
Here are my thoughts. A character can be sexy as an object or as a
subject. The object case involves a character as the focus of some
other character's desire. We see the "sexy" character through the
second character's eyes, and find him/her attractive because (if) we
can identify with the second character.
One measure of an author's skill is his/her ability to make us
desire (or at least feel the appeal of) a character who would
not traditionally be viewed as sexy. An example that comes to
mind is a wonderful story by Robert Buckley in which
the narrator finds himself drawn to a woman who looks like a young
version of a bag lady, a nerdy, shy person whom everyone ridicules.
(I can never recall the titles of stories! But if you ask Bob,
I'm sure he'll know the one I'm talking about.) She works with him,
in the "morgue" of a newspaper, and one day he happens to catch
a glimpse of her bare abdomen as she's reaching for something on
a shelf. He finds himself fascinated by her, seduced by this
fleeting view of naked flesh.
A character is sexy as a subject when he or she feels attractive and
desirable. My novel Incognito opens with the character of
Miranda hanging around in a club, dressed in her roommate's
suggestive clothes, but not feeling in tune with her costume at
all. Everyone ignores or rejects her.
As the book progresses, she becomes more sexually open and also
more accepting of her own desires. As a result she becomes (I
hope!) a sexy character, though she was not at the start of
The prototypical Dom character is sexy because he's sure of
himself, sure of his ability to bring his submissives to ecstasy.
Often, characters who know that they are irresistible, are.
KB: Lisabet also reviews erotica at Erotica Revealed. She's
written several novels (Raw Silk, Ruby's Rules) and has two collections of short stories out (Fire, and Rough Caress).
When I read this in Lisabet's answer: "One measure of an author's skill is his/her ability to make us desire (or at least feel the appeal of) a character who would not traditionally be viewed as sexy." my thoughts went to comments about the film Notes On A Scandal. Someone said, "Thank goodness the British made this movie, because Hollywood would have cast a 23-year old hunk of god flesh as the 15-year old student, and everyone would be saying, "Yeah, he was hot, totally worth the risk," but by casting someone who could look the part of agangly , pimply teen, the audience was wondering, "What the hell is she thinking," which changes the emotional
impact of the story. I like stories that make inexplicable desire interesting. (which makes me think of Lolita...)