So I noticed this phenomenon:
Girls would, spontaneously, while watching a movie say something like "I'd fuck Tony Stark. Not Robert Downey Jr. but Tony Stark."
"Like the comic book character?"
"No, like Robert-Downey-Jr-As-Tony-Stark-If He-Looked-And-Acted-Like-RDJ-Does-In-The-Movie but not the actor and not the guy in the comics."
I heard this more than once. Spontaneously (without prompting) from women.
So I asked around. After about an hour on the internet, (twitter, facebook, etc.) I got these responses from women:
Magnum PI but not Tom Selleck
Dirk Diggler but not Mark
Frodo but not Elijah
Lestat but not Cruise
Venkman but not Bill Murray
Arthur in Inception but not whoever
10th Doctor but not whoever
Castor Troy but not Cage
Cyrus the Virus but not whoever
Joker but not Ledger
Tyler Durden (twice)
Gyllenhall but NOT Donnie Darko (A reverse example, but those work, too)
Cal from 40 yr old virgin.
Han Solo but not Harrison Ford
Bruce Wayne but not Christian Bale (three times)
Patrick Jane but not Simon Baker
Seymour from Ghost World but not Buscemi
"All sexy vampires but not the actors who play them" (twice)
Spiderman but not Toby McGuire
Now while by no means an entirely scientific experiment, I would say this is a fairly decent control/variable situation. Same body, same face, different personality and style, remarkably (literally: from "remarkable" as in "worth remarking upon") different levels of sexual interest from women. These are some good-looking men (as I understand the concept), but apparently only sexy to a given woman if they act a certain way.
(Counter-possibility: all responding women just hate actors. I know that in the case of all the respondents I know personally, this isn't true.)
Guys--are there female characters you'd have sex with but not the actresses who played them (at the time?). For me? No. I probably like Catwoman more than Michelle Pfeiffer circa 1990, but I wouldn't kick her out of bed. You? Would you do Barbarella but kick Jane Fonda circa 1968 out of bed? (Or the other way around?) Let's hear it.
And ladies, if you would like to add to the data (or contradict it), go right ahead.
A) An economically significant majority of women are attracted to sexy characters. i.e. Attractive bodies and faces attached some sort of personality or style to indicate the direction or kind of thing to expect from that guy. If you would like to include sexualized males in your game so as to capture this market, be aware, in the artwork or the fluff, of the indications of what kind of guy they are you are giving.
B) An economically significant majority of men are attracted to sexy pictures. Period. i.e. Attractive bodies and faces. Based on what I've seen, I think the industry probably already knows what to do with that data.