Saturday, February 12, 2011

Some Raw Data On Sexy Male Characters And A Question

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.)

So, question:

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.


Pen-and-paper-game-designer-relevant hypothesis:

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.


Mandy said...

Seven of Nine but not the actress that plays her.

A couple roles Yul Brynner had but probably not just Yul Brynner himself.

Dax but not the actress that plays her.

Etc, etc.

Anonymous said...

Frodo but not Elijah
Wow, I guess size really doesn't matter. Or maybe in the mind's eye, Frodo is [i]vastly[/i] disproportional...but I'm going to just assume the former is true. :)

As a straight guy, no, personality doesn't matter in this context. Tomb Raider or Angelina? Both yes. Eve or Natalie Portman? Hell yeah. Beatrix Kiddo or Uma Thurman? Eh, I'm not into her type but this is hypothetical anyway so sure. Either one.

The only way personality matters is 1) in real life or 2) in extreme and unavoidable characters. Like, Bruce Willis' g/f in Pulp Fiction is my favorite kind of cute but I don't know if I'd say yes to her character. She's the wrong combination of annoying and pathetic.

Zak Sabbath said...

Treat this as if it was "in real life". Like: this will happen. Would you kick Uma out of bed in real life?

thekelvingreen said...

It may be because it's late, but about the only one I can think of right now is Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I don't know if I think of her as "sexy" per se, so she probably doesn't count for the purposes of your question.

Maybe Ramona Flowers from the film version of Scott Pilgrim? She's compelling in a way the actor isn't, but then I don't know much about the actor.

Sorry, I appear to be quite bad at this.

Adam said...

This is totally an interesting project you're working on. I showed this to my girlfriend, and she thought a factor in the women's response's might be that a number of the actors listed (Robert Downey Jr, Christian Bale, Tom Cruise) have unsavory personal reputations, while women who are trainwrecks (Courtney Love, Lindsay Lohan) don't really tend to get high profile acting work.

Zak Sabbath said...


Fair point, but would you fuck hot trainwrecks? I would.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mordicai said...

There are plenty of characters I have a crush on-- not the actress, but the character. Like Parker from Leverage (a heist show), or 6 from BSG, or whatever. That being said...uh, I wouldn't kick the actresses out of bed either.

Drama tricks you into thinking you have a relationship with a character. I don't think it is weird to be attracted to the character but not the actor.

ALSO I think you should ask "the girls"-- I'm thinking the Axe girls but whoever-- & draw a megamix with all the traits they say are hot.

Zak Sabbath said...

I'd like to say it's been about a hour and a half and we have got only one mayyyybe from the guys (Kelvin Green).

again: I got most of the stuff from the girls off facebook & twitter in less than an hour. same day. And this blog usually gets waaaaay more comments than my facebook or twitter on a weekend.

Adam said...


Huh. Touché. Though in Christian Bale's case, didn't he push around his mom or something? That's pretty bad.

Zak Sabbath said...


If Jayne Mansfield had strangled a baby in its crib, I might refuse to fuck her on general principle, but I'd still -want- to.

squidman said...

Call me old fashioned, but for me - personality (and intellect) does go a long way. For example:

I'd sleep with Jane Fonda, but Barbarella is too stupid/annoying;

Catwoman, seems way more interesting than Michelle Pfeiffer;

Shannyn Sossamon in Writs-cutters, who seems super hot in the movie, but sounds super stupid in the interviews;

Ramonna Flowers but not Mary Elizabeth Winstead;

finally Tomb Rider and Angelina Jollie don't seem to cut it for me. ever.

I guess all this comes to the fact that I think that sex with interesting people is more interesting than sex with boring people. On the other hand it's usually the looks that first draw my attention.

Zak Sabbath said...


One guy. Who else?

Trent_B said...

In this context, I make no distinction between actress and character. The fame is a factor also. In my experience personality is far more indicative of excellent sex than looks, but I will shag an actress anyway on account of A: it might rule, B: no harm done if it doesnt and C: I like to shag interesting people and actresses are inherently interesting from my external, impersonal perspective.

I often find myself saying things like "Yeah, I'd shag her, but I probably wouldnt hang out with her".

Essentially, I'd probably shag most actresses once at least, on principle. I do note, however, that often its an attraction to their character that spurns said interest.

Trent_B said...

Hahaha... strangely, I seem to be very similar to squidman (Ironic), except while I share his ideals I'm perfectly willing to allow myself to be proven wrong by shagging someone who I otherwise wouldnt pursue.

eg Flowers > Winestead, but I could/would make out with either. Also 0 points for Jolie.

Adam said...

@ Zak

Blogspot doesn't have a "like" button, so take this as the equivalent.

trollsmyth said...

Zak: You know there's at least one I wouldn't. Nothing personal, and I'll admit the divorce has made it worse, but there are absolutely certain levels of messed up I won't dip my bits into.

Pekka said...

The first ones that I can think of:

- Angela in The Office
- Cleopatra in Rome
- Amy Wong in Futurama

- the actor of Phoebe in Friends but not the character

huth said...

I have an ex who had a huge crush on Darth Vader.


Which Dax?

huth said...

...All of the personal examples I can think of are cartoons.

Anonymous said...

@ Zak: No, I wouldn't kick Uma out of bed. I just wouldn't pursue her, unless she caught my attention with a common interest.

@ Huth: Vader, seriously? I guess there really is a woman for every kind of man. Still creepy though.

Adam Thornton said...

Yeah, I'd totally fuck Dr. Girlfriend, but not, probably, her voice actor. Somehow it doesn't seem like this counts.

Phoebe from Friends was an excellent example, but I'd probably still do her. There are dozens of characters I'd much sooner fuck than the actress who plays 'em, but I really can't think of a "would kick her out of bed" one of those.

James said...

Fiona from Burn Notice, but not Gabrielle Anwar.

Mandy said...


Jadzia, never Ezri.

James said...

I was miffed when they killed Jadzia. :(

Anonymous said...

Interesting idea. I honestly can't think of any women who play characters that I'd like to have sex with, but not the actual actress herself.

Now, there are many, many instances where I'd like to have sex with the character MORE than the actress portraying her - even a great deal more - but if she's good-looking enough that I'd want her playing a character, I'd want her as herself too.

Unknown said...

I think that I would do either the woman or the character, with the exception of Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie. I wouldn't do either with another guy's dick.

However, I think I would prefer the character than the actual actress. Not going to kick either out of bed for eating the saying goes.

Roger G-S said...

This mainly applies to me when the actress is hot but has known personality flaws/awful choice in men. Example: Winona Rider; Laura Dern.

Tenkar said...

As many actresses look better in their roles then in real life, I'd probably choose their character first. As many seem shallow as all shit, it would have to be a series of one nite stands.

Crying shame, ain't it? ;)

Zak Sabbath said...

to be honest, I'm kinda surprised so many people know what actresses are supposed to be "like". I don't read "Us", do you guys?

Trent_B said...

Err.. I've just noticed many incorrect words in my posts. Who = Whom. Spurn = Spur. etc etc.

Anyway, you get the point I hope. I don't know if i like them, but I would make out with most actresses until, after interacting, i decide that i do not care for them

SirAllen said...

Absolutely not. Every female character I like is tied to the actress. Cordelia from Buffy. Because Charisma was (and still is) so hot. Is she a good person in real life? How the hell would I know until I porked her? I'm certainly not taking Perez Hilton's advice.

Also, everyone above is clearly lying. Of course you care about personality in your girlfriend or the new girl you are dating, but we are talking about sex. Lindsey Lohan may seem like a jerk but she has a hot bod and nice freckley titties, and you would still bang her if you two were taking a warm shower together.

SirAllen said...

And by everyone above, I mean the guys who wouldn't bang Angelina Jolie.

If I were younger, single, and in a position for promiscuity, then I would with every reasonably attractive female, and some that were not.

Anonymous said...


Pierce said...

lol, Joesky has entered the battlefield.

Anyway;Hermione Granger but not Emma Watson, I guess cuz Hermione is hot and I like her personality. Conversely Emma Watson looks bad in most photos and I know nothing about her personality.

Also side note, I'm straight, but I feel comfortable saying if Liam Neeson asked me to hop in the shower with him I'd probably say yes.

squidman said...

@Sir Allen
Your lack of faith disturbs me. I know it's an unpopular position on Jollie, but just looking at her face makes me feel weird. I really don't even want to imagine making out with her

On the other hand, when she was younger, circa Hackers, than maybe...

Wyrin said...

We used to have this term 'quirk factor' at uni - to describe the girls that, on the face of it didn't stand out, but something about their personality, charisma, confidence, way of moving... just meant youlusted after them far more than the 'pretty-but-vacant' types. Beauty's the easy option, after all.

Can't think of many (mainstream) actresses who have much of a public personality, unless its PETA or other outfits they sell their image to. Plus, how many play roles that are that different from themselves anyway...

I agree with the other comments that its difficult to get a real opinion on a lot of actresses personalities if you don;t hunt down interviews. One actress that did strike me was Uma Thurman in an interview on UK tv (with Jonathan Ross for those who know). I've never found her (or her roles) that striking before, but she came across as so funny, interesting etc, that it really spun it around for me.
Scarlett Johanssen - never found her alluring in any of her roles (might be alone in this, but I hated lost in Translation as some of the most patronising bollocks ever) - but on the red carpets, hell I'd grab her boobs like Isaac Mizrahi if I thought I could get away with it.

Tilda Swinton could be a good example - some of her characters are amazingly alluring, but in real life...

Angry Wombat said...

You know, perhaps a better question for the guys that "would you do them" is - "would you pursue them in the face of public humiliation for the sake of doing them".

That would perhaps garner a few more useful responses.

Kara Thrace(Starbuck) but not Katie Sackhoff
Trinity, but not carrie ann moss
Claudia Donova but not Allison Scagliotti

thekelvingreen said...

I'm no better this morning, alas.

I think my difficulty with the question is that while there are many women I find beautiful or -- for lack of a better term -- aesthetically pleasing, that doesn't tip over into a sexual urge. Maybe it's the same thing, but it doesn't seem like the same thing in my mind.

So Ramona Flowers is attractive, yes, but sexy? I don't know.

Oh dear. It's probably best if you consider my responses as null data.

SirAllen said...

@Dionysus: an excellent thought. Because of course we would do them. I like the twist.

Adam Dickstein said...

"Ramonna Flowers but not Mary Elizabeth Winstead;"

"So Ramona Flowers is attractive, yes, but sexy? I don't know."

Seriously? I can't watch that movie and end up with dry undies.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is adorable. Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona is wet dream country.

Emma Stone. In anything, as anything, for anything.

Other than those two I don't usually find actresses attractive. I know, its weird but I never have. There is a fakeness to their appearnace and position in society that turns me off.

Also, I have rather eclectic taste in women. Mandy = Gorgeous, Frankie = Amazing, Gwyneth Paltrow = Boring as all hell.

Marcus said...

I notice that I'm very affected by the character an actress plays, and when I see her in an interview and she turns out to be--not really unappealing or anything, but lacking that character's *essence*--less attractive. So yeah, I can play this game:

Cordelia Chase, but not Charisma Carpenter.

Willow but not Alyson Hannigan.

Enid from Ghost World but not Thora Birch.

Unknown said...

[male bisexual with fairly normal tastes, I think]

Jadis, but not Tilda Swinton

Johnny Depp, but not Jack Sparrow (at least not before a shower)

Legolas, but not Orlando Bloom

Rachael Tyrell, but not Sean Young

Lydia Deetz, but not Winona Ryder

Jen Page, but not Luster

Julianne Moore or Kimberly Kane, but not Maude Lebowski (unless she needed my help to, you know, conceive, man)

Parker, but not Beth Riesgraf

Feystar said...

I've spent a little while trying to think of one and in the end I have to say if I like the character I also tend to like the actress. If I did it would be the exception rather than the norm.

On a related note though, I do find Beyonce Knowles both attractive and unattractive depending on which music video she's in but that's about as close as I can get on this one.

Clovis Cithog said...

It is clear women like men of success & mystery,but want THEIR man to be loyal !

The least sexy man in America =
Tiger Woods
(funny, a couple years back he was in the top 10)

"The most inportant thing to a woman is security."
Edgar Rice Burroughs

Stefan Poag said...

I'm more attracted to Jeanene Garafolo than the character she played (voiced I guess) in 'The Incredibles.' This is based only on seeing her talk about her own views with a passion I find attractive. But I find imagining sex with cartoon characters difficult, so maybe that is a failure of imagination on my part.

I'm attracted to both Jane Fonda and Barbarella, but in a film like Barbarella, the character she played is so campy that I don't accept it as real. Then there are strange celebrities like William Shatner where I have trouble telling Shatner and Kirk apart, but I can't think of a female equivalent to Shatner.

I don't think I know enough about most celebrities to say --- but whether that is because I just don't see them being themselves (i.e.: the only time I see "Uma Thurman" is in movies, so, since she is acting, maybe I don't know anything about the real person at all).

I think I would be cheating if I said I preferred the real Mandy Morbid to the one in the movies? But both of them are gorgeous.

squidman said...

@Barking Alien

Tuche with the Mandy, Frankie, Paltrow example.

Besides, isn't Gwyneth married to the guy from Coldplay?



Anonymous said...

I don't read 'Us' or pay attention to celebrities off-screen, normally. And as I don't personally know any celebrities, maybe the whole character vs. actress thing is a moot distinction for me.

(I was paid to watch E a few years ago, and it was agonizing. For those couple of months, I wanted Britney to die just so I would never have to hear about her again after the memorial episode.)

Zak Sabbath said...


That's not true in the case of the short term situation. Which certain women do indeed pursue.

Zak Sabbath said...


Cartoons obviously do not count.

Zak Sabbath said...


I can't figure out why that question wouuld lead to better data.

I ask the women "who would you do?" I am asking the men the same thing.

Adam said...

Nnh, the problem I have with his - actually I have a few but this is the one that bothers me most - is that female characters are so narrowly (read: badly) drawn in so much cinema. I mean, most of them are barely characters (see the bedchel test). It's a quantity thing if nothing else, surely.

Adam said...

...Meaning that ma-hey-be men think about actresses rather than characters because there are so few half decent female characters.

Zak Sabbath said...


while it may be true that there's a lot of crappy female characters out there, absolutely nothing you said has anything to do with the results of this test.

Adam said...

Yes. Sorry. That occurred to me a couple of minutes after I commented.

Might have implications for any hypotheses born from said results, tho'.

Zak Sabbath said...


It might if and only if men don't want to fuck poorly-written women. Which doesn't mostly seem to be true.

Tahotai said...

Cady Heron (Mean Girls) but not Lindsay Lohan
Bruce Wayne but not Christian Bale

I am hampered by two things. First I know very little about celebrity culture. Julia Roberts could be a horrible person who I would never want to sleep with for example, but if she has I've heard nothing of it. Or even more then that, if there's a really popular actress who's totally vapid or shallow which would disqualify her, I have again heard nothing of it.

Secondly there are a number of actresses I wouldn't sleep with, Paris Hilton to pick one, but they don't play any sort of character I'd sleep with either. She for example seems to basically play herself or herself with a different name.

But I definitely think differing levels of celebrity knowledge and male cultural conditioning to say you'll sleep with anybody "hot" could play into this.

Anonymous said...

I have a bit of a problem separating my dislike for an actor from the characters they play. This applies to both male and female actors. So in just about every case I can think of where I dislike an actress, I can't remove the dislike from the characters they play. So in general it would be a no for the character if it was going to be no for the actress. Oddly, the same in reverse does not seem to be a problem for me.

Adam said...

Sigourney Weaver - yes
Ripley - more yes

It might if and only if men don't want to fuck poorly-written women. Which doesn't mostly seem to be true.

I dunno, seems to me that men will inevitably want to fuck badly written female characters because there's so many of them, it's pretty much unavoidable. However, I think it's entirely possible that men *remember* fewer female characters because they're so often unmemorable.

Adam said...

Penelope Cruz - yes
Maria Elena - More yes

Zak Sabbath said...


Really? I don't think you;d get this much from men or women: "I wanna fuck so-and-so from this movie even though s/he's poorly written because I don't have any other imaginary character to want to fuck"

It makes little sense to me.

You either are stirred or you are not. Economies of supply only apply when making real life choices among partners.

Zak Sabbath said...


"But I definitely think differing levels of celebrity knowledge..could play into this"

Maybe. I certainly know almost nothing anyone attractive says or does is a turn-off for me.

"and male cultural conditioning to say you'll sleep with anybody "hot" could play into this. "

It could be for people dumber than me, but for me personally I have slept with people on this basis, assuming it would still be fun, and afterwards it was revealed that my body thought it was, indeed, fun.

I don't think cultural conditioning can tell my body when to have an orgasm. i think cultural conditioning can -limit- innate chances for sexual pleasure but not -expand- them. If you do, then we have a fundamental philosophical rift that will never be bridged.

(Though, if they can be expanded by culture, I suggest it would be a worthwhile cultural project to do whatever is necessary to expand them to the maximum for everyone over the age of consent.)

Adam said...

Naomi Watts - very yes
Betty Elms - yeah, but a bit weird
Diane Selwyn - No. Definitely no.

JDJarvis said...

I would bump nasties with Ripley from alien(1 or 2) but not Sigourney Weaver.

huth said...

@ Tequila

She also had a thing for Spawn. I never asked about the Phantom of the Opera, though...

@ Mandy

...Is it a tall vs short thing?

-C said...

I know I'm late to this party (since I work all weekend) but here's my two cents.

I (as a general rule) have no interest in fucking the actress, versus the character they play. Working in psyche, the personality style of a woman attracted to acting is super-close to a combination of borderline and narcissistic personality disorders IMHE.

(granted this is a generalization, but it holds true for the general personality type I've met that's been attracted to theater and most actresses I've met - "pay attention to meeeeeee")

When I think about the actual actress, I just think how annoying it would be to be out with someone like that. (Because IRL, they won't vanish once you finish). So I would give you *lots* of answers that would be "Character not the actress"

On the other hand, someone who had acting skills would be awesome to fuck - it would be a little bit like dating mystique from x-men.

Why the sudden interest in what or who would fuck who and why Zak?

Zak Sabbath said...


Why the interest?

The disproportionate sexualization of women in RPG material is a popular topic. I feel that rather than lower the level of sexualization, period, it would be better to raise the level of male sexualization so it's equal to that of female sexualization. Sexy is good.

So I'm just trying to help provide data on how one would manage that.

Adam Thornton said...


You, sir, have won the Internet.

Mange said...

Venkman? Thank you for ruining my VD.

Fran Terminiello said...

This is just my opninion.

What women find sexy vs what men find sexy I think can be fairly simplified: men are not that fussy.

I don't know, perhaps genetically speaking it makes sense that males find more females attractive than the reverse, their priority is to spread their genes as far and wide as they can. Females on the other hand need to select the most appealing characteristics, consciously or subconsciously, to pass on to their descendants.

Or perhaps that's all bollocks.

Zak Sabbath said...


Well, having had very practical conversations with Mandy about who we are going to have sex with, I would say she's fussier about men she sleeps with than she is about women.

Probably because men who don't know what they're doing can make the whole procedure awkward and/or painful.

Fran Terminiello said...

or maybe women in general are just more attractive ;)

Erin Palette said...

OK, I'm going to be VERY strange and say that voice is a huge turn-on for me. So much so, that I can get off on sexy talk (NOT specifically phone sex) if the pitch and timbre and words all come together in the right way.

So there are some people whose VOICES I would like to have sex with, or at least be involved in some kind of sexy scenario.

I have a weird fantasy of Stephen Fry being a kind of sexual Howard Cosell, narrating in sensual detail the particulars of an erotic encounter.

"And that brings us, my lovelies, to the oral sex portion of this evening's activities..."

Anonymous said...

After long, long reflection, no. And Downey's a really hot trainwreck.

SlurpeeMoney said...

Poison Ivy, not Uma Thurman.
Pepper Pots, not Gweneth Paltrow.
Rachel Green, not Jennifer Aniston.
Kate Libby/Acid Burn, not Angelina Jolie
Elizabeth Swan, not Kiera Knightley
Saffron, not Christina Hendricks

Lucy Liu, no role she's ever played
Drew Barrymore, no role she's ever played
January Jones, not Betty Draper

Heath Carroll said...

Hi all, awesome blog!

@Dungeonmum - I think you're spot on about most guys not being fussy. But I think there is level of attractiveness (for all genders) beyond which we stop caring, and go with "don't talk, just do me!" (possibly because the talking might ruin it...or slow down getting to the doing part.) I think the converse also holds; The more attractive a person perceives themself, the more 'fussy' they can afford to be. I used to have a roommate that would get actively recruited to be in Abercrombie ads, and he was extremely picky (but he got hit on everywhere we went, so he could afford to be).

@the topic at hand -

Olivia Wilde - Too hot for me to tell, she bypasses my circuits.

Megan Fox - possibly as her character from Transformers (if Bay had given her one), but only once or twice as herself (c'mon, it's Megan Fox we're talking about).

Natalie Portman - Not as Padme, and not as the 'Black Swan', but her other recent roles yes. Her also yes.

Alyson Hannigan - Willow yes, 'flute-girl' maybe, Lily yes, herself likely no.

Kristen Stewart - Bella hell no, Messenger's Jess yes, her no.

Jennifer Garner - Any character I can remember no, herself yes.

Ellen Page - Characters no, herself yes.

Helen McCrory - Characters no, herself yes.

In reality I'd have to kick them all out of bed unless my wife agreed to them being there (and unfortunately we have different tastes).

Anonymous said...

Seven of Nine but not Jeri Ryan (in spades!)
Simbi Khali but not Nina from Third Rock From the Sun.
Lt. Uhura (Mk. I) AND Nichelle Nichols.
Zoe Saldana but not Lt. Uhura Mk. II (not until she removes the stick...)
Agent Astrid Farnsworth from Fringe but not Jasika Nicole (she wouldn't appreciate it).
Alyson Hannigan (her BJ vid was cute) and The Willow Rosenberg but not Lily.
Olivia Wilder and 13, both.
Janeane Garofalo, any time.
PA Divya Katdare and Reshma Shetty, both.
Dr. Neela Rasgotra and Parminder Nagra, both.

Hmm... brains _and_ vulnerability seem to be factors.