I’ve been thinking a lot over the past week about what makes a hero sexy or appealing beyond the requisite hunky, hot good looks. And, believe me, I don’t have it all figured out, but I figured I’d open the discussion here with the Rockville8 to get the dialogue going among writers and readers so that we can intentionally tap into the sexy factor that our heroines and female readers crave.
I’ve identified five qualities that immediately came to mind that amp a hero’s hotness quotient for me when I’m reading:
2. A Code of Honor
He’s got a code of honor. This ties in with what’s going on under the surface and is wrapped up in the motivation of our hero. I’m not always concerned that my hero is good--because I do love a sexy badboy hero. His choices may not line up totally with the world’s rules, however, he’s honorable at his core because he holds standards that even he won’t break. To me that is hot, hot, hot.
3. A Real Man
He’s a real man at his core. Translate, Alpha male. For me that’s important. I know it’s not important for every woman. It all depends on what you find attractive. But my hero doesn’t take bullshit from anyone. He might take some heat from the female, but it’s because he’s got the bigger picture in mind. He doesn’t roll over. He’s strong and he can hold his own against a strong heroine. A sexy hero also stands for what he believes. He doesn’t back down when the going gets rough. He’s a rock solid pillar in any storm.
He knows what he wants and he claims it. Nothing sends chills up my spine when I’m reading a well-crafted romance like that moment when the hero thinks Mine. This heroine is his soul mate and he’ll do anything to win her, keep her, and protect her.
Steve Harvey in his book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment has a lot to say about real men. He says you know a man loves you when he will Profess, Provide, Protect.
Harvey says every real man will claim his woman in public, warning other men off--effectively saying this is my woman, wife, girlfriend, etc. His purpose in life is to provide for those he loves. “Society has told us men for millennium that our primary function is to make sure our families are set--whether we’re alive or dead, the people we love need want for nothing. This is the very core of manhood--to be the provider.”
A real man wants to feel needed, and by allowing him to provide for a heroine in some way--whether it’s financial, emotional, or physical--the hero feels his purpose is fulfilled. His world is complete. Harvey completes his thoughts about the makeup of a real man by saying: “When a man truly loves you, anybody who says, does, suggests, or even thinks about doing something offensive to you stands the risk of being obliterated. Your man will destroy anything and everything in his path to make sure that whoever disrespects you pays for it. This is his nature.” Talk about motivation? And when a man feels he can’t protect someone he loves, it drives him nuts--often to irrational actions and threats.
4. Overcomes Woundedness
He overcomes his woundedness, with or without a good woman’s help. Whatever that wounding was that sits at his core, that has made him the man he is today and has crippled him to some degree, he overcomes it to find the love of a good woman and to move forward with his life. And, then, he loves the heroine beyond reason and logic. He’s found true love and he’ll move heaven and earth to claim it and keep it. For me, it’s imperative that he’s monogamous. This is his one true love. There is no other. He has only eyes for the heroine, all other women pale in comparison and he’s no longer tempted by anyone else.
5. Desires Connection
So, what does it for you? What makes a hero sexy for you when you’re reading or writing? And, yes, it’s all grounded in what we find appealing in the real-life men in our lives. Who says fiction can’t mirror real life? As writers, we know that the best fiction does reflect the true emotional ups and downs in life, the real motivations that make people do what they do--it’s what draws readers in and keeps them glued to the page until the end of the story. So, let’s stir the pot. Get the discussion going. Find out what truly moves our readers and heroines to love the men they do. Then, let’s give it to them in spades.
Let the discussion begin! What Makes a Hero Sexy? Who are some of the sexiest heroes you've ever read or watched? And why?
Here are a few pictures to get you thinking of your favorites!
Sunday, May 6, 2012
What Makes a Sexy Hero?
Posted by Mackenzie Lucas
Labels: Fiction, Popular Fiction, Romance, Romance Hero, Sexiest Heroes, Steve Harvey, Think Like A Man, What a Woman Wants, writing
Writes contemporary romance as Mackenzie Lucas. Find me on twitter @MacLucas_writer and on Facebook at MackenzieLucasFanPage. Lucas holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and a B.A. from Dickinson College. She is a writer, writing coach, editor, mother of three, wife, and life-long writing student. Lucas has published four books with Soul Mate Publishing and Indie pubbed five additional titles. She is represented by literary agency McIntosh and Otis, is a PAN member of RWA, and served as president for her local RWA chapter (Washington Romance Writers) for the past two years.