Two romance authors who blog about sex discuss what they find hottest in a man—and it’s not what you’re thinking.
Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton are co-owners of a naughty little blog called Coffee and Porn in the Morning. They have NSFW pictures, ebook giveaways, 25 free short stories from a variety of male/male romance authors, and more. Check them out at cupoporn.net. They’ve built careers on how sexy men are to women, and want to give us guys the straight dope on what’s really hot.
It’s true we write sometimes-steamy novels and run a blog chock full of cock, plenty of fulfilling fantasies of big buff men like our blog’s mascot. Men like this are great for ogling, we’ll admit. And maybe licking. The muscles. The taut behinds. The heavy, sculpted calves that promise power and good anchorage for heavy thrusting. The hard jaws and corded necks. The lovely treasure trails leading to parts below. But is this brawn and physical beauty really what we’re attracted to?
As far as the two of us are concerned, not exactly.
Both of us can honestly say we have no desire to spend any real-life face time with that kind of man. We’ve met men like that. They’re beautiful, and they always know it. They’re vain, self-centered, and usually not interested in anything more than a quick lay. Even then they’re more interested in pleasing themselves than their partner. This is generalizing, yes, but neither of us have yet to meet a man as physically attractive as the ones on our site whose personality was even close to as appealing as his abs.
So, what do we look for in real life?
Marie: Physically, I’ve always tended toward short guys. I don’t know why. I like cleanliness, unless it’s grubbiness that’s well-earned. If a guy is sweaty or has dirt under his nails because he’s been out working on the car all day, or doing yard work, or mountain-biking, or because he works in construction, I can dig that. But if it’s just because he doesn’t take care of himself, that’s a turn-off. Also, I’m really into scent. I can’t tell you how many times I catch a smell of some type of cologne or aftershave, or maybe it’s even just their soap. I don’t know. But it’s this really clean, masculine scent, and I’ll turn and look for the man it’s coming from.
The physical attributes are really minor, though. The truth is, what I find attractive has nothing to do with body and everything to do with attitude. I like men who are confident, but not vain. I like men who are rational. I like men who are honest and who like to laugh. I like men who don’t take themselves too seriously and who don’t need to make others feel small in order to make themselves feel good. I like men who know their stuff and will stand by that knowledge, but who aren’t afraid to say, “I don’t know” when conversation veers into other areas.
Turn offs? I really don’t like men who can’t control their temper, or who always want to be the expert, no matter the topic. I get annoyed quickly at men who constantly let their gaze wander to my chest. And complimenting me on my body won’t get you far with me at all. I’d much rather you enjoy my company than my curves.
One of the most attractive men I’ve ever met was actually a doctor I worked for. (Desperately hoping none of my old coworkers are reading this post!) He was at least fifteen years older than me. Maybe twenty. He was overweight. He was great big burly good ol’ boy from the south. He liked to hunt things, and he drove a beat-up old pickup truck. He was happily married and had kids he doted on. He never flirted with me. Not once. If he had, I probably would have lost a great deal of respect for him. He was an utter gentleman.
So what did he have that I found attractive? One was that wonderful smell. When that man walked into the office in the morning and past my door, I could smell his shampoo. Damn! That was probably the first trigger. But beyond that, it was his confidence, mixed with his modesty. He was a fantastic surgeon. He was very confident in his abilities, and with good reason. But on a personal level, he was shy and uncertain. He was a gynecologist—he dealt with naked women all day—but the tamest sex joke would make him blush and send him running for cover. And most importantly, he talked to me. He’d walk into my office, sit down, and tell me what he needed. He trusted me to get it done. He knew his business and trusted me to know mine. And that, I have to say, was sexy as all get-out.
Heidi: In real life how a man looks is the last thing I think about. It’s all about the smile, the way he moves. I’ve fallen for large men, small men, shy men, bold men. Their attractiveness to me was always a meld of everything about them, and there was no one barometer that drew me in. It’s always been the total package, just like RuPaul says.
If there’s any common ground between the men I’ve been attracted to, it’s inner fire. Not so much what they’re excited about but that they’re excited. There’s always this sense when they interact with me or with others that they want to play, to get their hands dirty in life. That they’re awake and aware. Not always sure about what’s happening, but they know that it is.
I won’t lie: physical does count. But I could give a damn if a guy is packing a six-pack or a set of spare tires. It’s about movement. My husband can turn his wrist just right while he’s drying a dish and make me swoon, and no, it’s not about the fact that he’s washing up. It’s that little movement, so subtle and male, even with his slighter-than-industry-standard form. In fact, if I gravitate to any type, it’s to a man who looks and smells and walks and talks all man, but carries a slender frame.
Shoulders, too—goddamn, but the spread of shoulders can transport me. Not so much muscular but again, the manly spread of them, especially when they’re natural, not built by Gold’s Gym. Same goes for hips and the always lovely male butt. It can be barely there or a bulging bubble. Doesn’t matter. I still want to grab it. Hard.
The physical comes down to inner fire as well: it’s not about what a guy has as much as it is about how he uses it. Gray hair, weight, skin tone—men are supposed to want to look like they’ve just stepped out of the salon at the beach, according to the media, but they can step out of the bedroom after eight hours of sleep looking just as desirable. Smile at me, lean on the doorway with confidence and presence that says you’re comfortable with your position in the world and want to show me some other interesting positions while we’re at it, that you see me for who I am and enjoy me for me, not what I could do for you? Leave the gray hair alone, honey, and skip the gym and the tanning salon. I’ve got a much better treatment plan.
The bottom line is that while it’s fun to ogle a beautiful form and dream of licking our way down a perfect treasure trail, what really turns us on is lot less physical and a lot more visceral. We’re pretty sure it’s more than just our opinion too, that most women feel this way. In fact, despite what your television and web ads might try to convince you to believe, we’d bet our royalties most humans with their heads screwed on straight feel this way about men.
Whether or not our heroes are gorgeous, it’s never what wins them their happily ever after. Just like it is—or should be—for all real men.
Photo—Heidi and Marie’s husbands, courtesy of the authors.