For a romance writer, sexy is one of the most important words of the trade, after the word love, of course. Both intertwine to cast the writer’s spell on his or her intended target, the reader. Metaphorically speaking, the writer is the spider and the story is the web he or she weaves that entangles the reader.
So knowing exactly how to weave a romance story, using both sexy and love in an effective way is extremely important. That’s why before I started on my new erotic romantic suspense m/m series I was developing, I decided I’d look into the true definition of Sexy.
I looked in several dictionaries to help me out. Words like “sexually suggestive,” “stimulating,” “attractive,” and “interesting” came up. All physical and general words that helped me not one bit. Then I decided I’d Google “male sex symbols in history” to help me come up with the perfect definition. Names like Rudolph Valentino, Errol Flynn, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Brad Pitt, and such came up in my search.
“What made a man sexy? Was it his character, his intelligence, his wit, his philosophy, his quirks?”
I reviewed my results and scratched my head. This search didn’t help me, either. Because frankly, even though these men were handsome, well built, had great smiles…The only other thing they had in common was that they were all actors and the characters they portrayed were sexy: Sean Connery as James Bond, Pierce Brosnan as James Bond and Remington Steele, Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in A Street Car Named Desire, James Dean as Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause, and Brad Pitt as Tristan Ludlow in Legends of the Fall and as Louis de Pointe du Lac in Interview With a Vampire. So then I began to wonder. Was sexy only physical or was it something more? It had to be, because there are so many good-looking people out there, but they are not all sexy.
What made a man sexy? Was it his character, his intelligence, his wit, his philosophy, his quirks? Then I began to look at my experiences in life to help me solve my dilemma. I remembered the first and last blind date a friend of mine coerced me into eons ago, long before I ever met my husband. She loved playing matchmaker and said she knew the most perfect, sexy guy for me. I was skeptical, but decided after she pulled my arm for months that I’d take her up on her offer. And when I sat at the restaurant she instructed me to be on a hot summer evening, and saw my blind date approach the table, my initial reaction was wow, he’s tall, good looking, chicly dressed. Then he smiled and his perfect white teeth only added to the package, and I thought that my friend was right, that he was the perfect, sexy guy she described to me.
But once he spoke in a high, nasal voice and ended almost every sentence with “you know,” the spell his looks cast at first quickly began to die. And the boring topics he brought to the forefront of our conversation pretty much dowsed what tiny ember was left of that initial spark. That two-hour dinner date felt more like a two-year jail sentence to me. And by the end of the evening, he was as far from the word sexy as he could possibly be.
“Then I looked at all the characters those sex-symbol actors portrayed and realized that all those characters had something in common.”
It was obvious to me that what I found sexy and what my friend did were two completely different things. That’s when it dawned on me. Up until I found out who my blind date was, he was seen as sexy to me. And it was thanks to my imagination. My mind conjured up this perfect man who had all the traits I was looking for: handsome, tall, smart, witty, charming, and creative to name a few.
Then I looked at all the characters those sex-symbol actors portrayed and realized that all those characters had something in common. What did James Bond, Remington Steele, Stanley Kowalski, Jim Stark, and Tristan Ludlow have in common? Why, mystery and danger, of course. They were the bad boys the heroines in the movie fell madly in love with.
And as I pondered this revelation further, I decided that would be the theme of my new series—Sexy Men of Mystery. I would base my stories around mysterious and dangerous heroes, which the other heroes would be pulled to like metal to magnets or like bees to honey. Their imaginations and sexual and mental desires would draw them to these heroes of mystery and danger. No matter how much they tried to fight this insatiable attraction they had to these heroes, they’d succumb to their lure sooner or later, and in the process get into loads of trouble and more danger doing so.
I’m writing the third story in the series now and am having so much fun working on it. I think I chose the perfect theme to inspire me. I love the sexy men of mystery that my muse and my imagination have and will continue to create, and I hope readers will, too. J