I’m too sexy for my shape…

July 7, 2008 at 6:00 am (General, Lori Devoti) ()

Are wolves sexy? Based on the percent of shapeshifter romances that feature werewolves, it certainly appears we think so. How about dragons? Big cats? Bears? What makes one animal sexy and another not?

When I decided I wanted to write a shapeshifter romance, this is one of the first questions I asked myself. I loved wolves, but there were already so many successful werewolf series out there, I didn’t want to dive into that pool. I wanted something different, but still sexy. (think, think, think)

If you spend about three seconds visiting my site, you’ll see the answer for me was hellhounds. Still canines, still tough, and still lots of alpha potential–but different. Then I added on garm which are wolves, but a totally different legend than werewolves.

I did consider other animals. I looked at what a few other writers have done, and looked at various lores, but nothing worked quite as well for me. I don’t know why I find canines a sexy choice. Is it because they are familiar? Is it because they are predators? There are other predators out there I don’t find sexy–sharks spring to mind. Of course a shark is very different from us–they don’t have legs; they can’t breath air; they aren’t even mammals.

Other writer have used animals that don’t fit all these criteria though–seals/selkies and killer whales for example. I personally don’t find either of these very sexy, at least at first consideration, but they must work for them.

So, what is it? Do you know? Maybe if we make a list of creatures, we can rank their sexy appeal.
Here are a few I either have seen or could see someone choosing…

  1. Wolf
  2. Dog—obviously hellhounds work for me (a yorkie wouldn’t)
  3. Fox
  4. Coyote
  5. Big Cat–jaguar, tiger, etc.
  6. Dragon–mythical.
  7. Dragon–komodo.
  8. Selkie/seal–As I said this doesn’t strike me as sexy, but I think I could be swayed if the execution was really good and I didn’t think about them sunning themselves on a beach or balancing a ball on their nose…
  9. Rat–my friend Summer Devon did this and while I don’t see a rat as sexy, I really liked the reason the hero turned into one and thought it totally worked for her book. Besides, he WASN’T a rat; he just chose to turn into one that one time. There is a difference.
  10. Killer whale
  11. Bear
  12. Snake
  13. Horse
  14. Bull
  15. Falcon, eagle, etc.

Did I forget some? I’m sure I did. Feel free to add on. So, tell me which do you see as sexy and which would give you an instant eew and make you slam down the book?



  1. Michele Hauf said,

    Hmm, I admit, I’ve come over to the shifter side and do love me some hairy werewolves. Yes, hairy! I can’t believe I actually said that! 🙂

    As for instant eew? Hmm, snakes, rats, maybe any kind of sea animal, and spiders.

  2. Colleen said,

    I do not know about the killer whale… It is just strange to me!

  3. Beth C. said,

    I love wolves. They are dangerous, beautiful, graceful and very loveable. I can also see tigers and lions. I’m not so into the romance with the other cats although I can read them on occasion. I have a harder time with bears. So hard to see a natural bear as being loveable. Owls. I want to read more about owl shifters. I fell in love with Hedwig the first time I saw him on screen in Harry Potter (which ABC Family just reran 1-4 this past weekend)

    No reptiles. Although Salamanders might be excused. They aren’t quite as disgusting to me. Plus they are often used as Fire elementals so, I can deal with them. Also Dragons. I can deal with the scales of a dragon.

  4. Lori Devoti said,

    How about horses? That’s another one I just can’t get into. Sure they are magnificent creatures, but sexy…? An eew for me.

  5. Marcia said,

    Yay! No aardvarks or squirrels on the list. 😉

    Killer whales leave me scratching my head. Though graceful and majestic, they just doesn’t do anything for me. Neither do snakes for that matter, which makes them the perfect bad guys.

    A phoenix would make a good addition to the list. A yeti might, too, but that would depend on the story.

  6. Teresa D'Amario said,

    What about dolphins? I once read a story with a shifting dolphin. Also a shifting shark. Yes, I like phoenix as well. 🙂

  7. Savanna Kougar said,

    Oh no! I guess my stallion shifter hero story won’t make your reading list, Lori.
    But the story was an absolute blast to write, and utterly real to me. But then, I’ve always been fascinated with the Centaur mythology. although that was not a part of this particular story.
    I certainly have my fave animal shifters, but I really think it depends on the author and the story, ultimately.

  8. Moira said,

    I lean heavily towards the wolves myself. Though I must admit that Laurell K Hamilton’s Mery Gentry series… I am in love with Doyle and he can shift into a hellhound, a bird, and a stallion. So obviously where he is concerned those work for me. Rats are definately out as are snakes and such…

    Dragons… there is just something mythical about them that appeals to me. Though the only dragon story I have read is Emily Ryan-Davis’s. So Teresa… no worries… you know I will continue to devour your wolves and hounds… as long as you omit the yorkies…

    As far as what draws us… I think it is the strength and grace percieved behind the creatures used. At least that is what draws me.

  9. Lori Devoti said,

    I don’t know why horses have a bit of an ick for me! I love the animals…

  10. Lori Devoti said,

    I think dolphins are good, but for me, not as a hero. Am I a total hero-shifting snob…?

  11. Teresa D'Amario said,

    LOL not a snop Lori, just “picky”. LOL. Seriously, I’ve found it really depends on the person. Some people have had it up to here (over my head), with wolves. Others can’t get enough of them. It’s all so personal. I’ve found also that women want to be birds, but find mammals sexier. LOL.

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