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Romance Novels and Steamy Male Characters

How steamy does your male love interest character need to be? I’m all for a good looking male. Personally I feel the world is full of them. They come in all different shapes and sizes. Though novels tend to be known for the tall, dark, and handsome type.

Case in point, I’m in the middle of reading a romance series. I’m loving the books, I’m loving the author. I’m stumbling at my sixth male that is physically fit and over six feet tall. I feel like the entire male cast could audition for Magic Mike.

Granted, good-looking people tend to hang around with other good-looking people. I want variety. Give me a blond, at least! I’m married to a blond myself, and dated a few redheads back in the day. Maybe this is all part of my rooting for the underdog? All hair colors can be attractive. Or are we forgetting Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughey? (I’ll keep the redheads to myself; I know that is more of a personal fetish.)

How tall, dark, and handsome does a character have to be for you in a romance novel? Is short okay? We can make him still taller than the female if that is required. How about physique? Our leading females come in all shapes and sizes. But the men all have washboard six pack abs. Is a four pack okay? Two pack? Keg? Scrawny? Chunky? All these are body types that woman do fall for. Lust for.

At what point is the character on the inside more important than the outward looks? I mean, this is a novel, we can picture them anyway we want to. I’m not a fan of mustaches and read a book where the male had a mustache. I took out the shaving cream and shaved him in my mind.

If I write about a non-fit male, will it still work for my reader? Or will you have to send him to the gym for a few hours while you sit at home and eat a candy bar?

Or maybe that’s just me eating the candy bar?

Give me some feedback. How normal of a guy still evokes the steam of a romance? Or do I need to start channeling the tall, dark, and handsome stereotypes and leave the other options to my supporting characters?

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3 thoughts on “Romance Novels and Steamy Male Characters

  1. If I were a woman I would be interested in reading about a guy who was steamy without being pure “beefcake.” I mean, steamy is an attitude, isn’t it? Hasn’t it surprised you to meet someone who wasn’t “all that” only to discover that in their essence they were quite sexy? The pure opposite of a vapid “hunk.” Is it possible to describe a few generic physical qualities while leaving it vague enough for the reader to project whatever they want to see?

  2. In romance novels, more than anywhere else, men become sexy by what they say and do. Once they push those buttons, they can be handsome in my imagination. How they are actually described is less important to me.

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