I’ve already discussed hair length as far as those tresses on top of heroes’ and heroines’ heads, but what about the rest of their bodies? In an erotic romance, depicting a character with or without body hair can reveal everything from nationality and background to personality.
Take your metrosexual male. He certainly might wax or shave his chest (manscape), but the rural cowboy probably doesn’t. That makes a big difference as far as what his lover feels when he slides his body over hers or lets her caress him with her hands. Chest hair can come across as earthy or wild and adds another tactile experience. A bare chest can be cleaner and more suave or modern. Of course, if the hero is a swimmer, he might be shaved everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Doesn’t that inspire an image?
Obviously, male characters have the added detail of facial hair. Does he have a villain’s curly mustache? How about a trimmed beard that makes him look intellectual or a bad-boy goatee? Depending on his cultural background, facial hair might be a must.
Female characters have similar options as far as body hair goes. Is she Mediterranean? Ultra-feminist? Or is she a California beach bunny who’s been surgically stripped and sculpted? Probably something in between.
The point is that, from head to toe, a character’s grooming delivers a certain message, conveys a particular personality. It’s up to the author to cover the bare essentials.