Chunky men and the people who love them

Melting for a thick and strong Thor in Naughty List News #47

Recently there’s been a lot of talk about the new Thor from God of War: Ragnarok. While Kratos, the titular God of War, is the epitome of chiseled, this new Thor looks rather different. Even so, many people online say they find him very attractive.

This week, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and find out what makes this character so appealing to some people. After all, this is a newsletter about love, sex, and romance in games.

The first thing that people note when they talk about the new Thor is that he looks a lot more like a modern-day strongman would. He’s clearly very bulky, but he also has a healthy layer of fat around the waist. This puts him into sharp contrast with the series’ main character, but it is in fact a more realistic depiction of muscular strength.

Thor is voiced by Ryan Hurst of Sons of Anarchy fame and doesn’t look at all like Chris Hemsworth’s Thor in the Marvel movies. But this rounder look actually shows off the character’s super-strength, according to British strongman Darren McCormac:

"Like it or not, God of War's Thor is the peak of male performance," McCormac told The Sixth Axis. "As a strength athlete, there is a correlation between bulk and strength. In powerlifting, the most competitive classes are the under 100kg and under 110kg--guys who are lifting multiple times their own bodyweight. They won't be tall, they'll be bulky."

The chiseled look that we often associate with super-strength in popular media is in reality anything but. Actors follow strict diet regimes and often dehydrate themselves in order to make their muscles stand out more on set.

But what I was really curious about was whether the new Thor had sex appeal because of his looks. I’m not into men myself, so I decided to enlist the help of Twitter.

And boy, did my followers come through!

What is hot, anyway?

One of my central theses in life is that most of us actually have no idea what others find attractive about us. Especially if you’re heterosexual and not attracted to your own gender, how could you possibly know what others like about your body?

That’s why I think media depictions of larger men like the new Thor are a good thing. As a man, it’s easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking that because I don’t look like Mr. Hemsworth, I must not have much appeal to women. And I imagine that heterosexual women will feel similar about their own bodies.

But human sexuality is vast, complicated, and fractal. Seeing the reactions to this character online reassures me that there’s someone out there for everyone. It makes it just a little bit easier to love yourself for your own qualities, instead of comparing yourself to an impossible standard.

But enough about me.

Here’s what some people who are into men had to say about the new Thor:

Hannah

My first expert is Hannah (not her real name), who is a bisexual woman. She was kind enough to elaborate on why she finds the character attractive in a private conversation. Her comments are printed with permission.

The first thing she notes is his eyes. She finds his stare a very alluring look and I can certainly see why. Thor’s hair is a mess but his blue eyes pierce right through it. He’s putting his focus directly on the viewer, which Hannah says she finds assertive and attractive.

Next, she says that his skin looks well fitted to his body, stretched but not too tightly. She says it makes him look healthy and full of life. The fact that his chest is exposed makes her wonder what it would be like to touch it.

She imagines it would be pretty great.

Overall, she likes the stoutness of his frame. Combined with his big arms, it gives her the sense that he could be very protective. And those huge fingers show that he has no problem holding his hammer.

What Hannah does lament is the lack of chest hair. She says it’s the only thing that doesn’t really work for her. With a huge beard like that, why wouldn’t this character wear his chesthair proudly as well?

Minor gripes aside, she says she likes the character a lot.

Minoh

My next expert on raw male sexuality is Minoh, who is a gay man. He is working on the excellent gay management and dating sim Minotaur Hotel, so he was happy to share his thoughts with me as well.

Minoh’s perspective on the character is very similar to Hannah’s. He says that the character design reminds him of a common look in gay spaces: strong, thick, and hairy.

Like Hannah, he also laments the lack of chest hair on Thor. He even provided a fan interpretation of what that could look like on the character:

According to Minoh, adding chest hair would make him a lot more appealing to gay men who are into this particular archetype. Regardless, the round belly already does most of the work for this crowd.

Minoh says the character exudes a lot of rough masculinity. Thor looks very rugged and his armor helps to sell that look. That it leaves his chest exposed adds to the sex appeal for him.

Conclusion

It’s clear that Santa Monica Studios put a lot of thought into the character design for their Thor. That it appeals to both gay men and men-loving women tells me that they’re really onto something here!

And to tie it back to adult games for a moment: I think the reaction to this character shows that there’s a broader appeal to this kind of body type than some of us might realize. It’s definitely a blind spot for me and I’m interested in learning more.

Do you know of any other video game characters that are “strong, thick, and hairy”?

Let me know in the comments!

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Again, many thanks to both Hannah and Minoh for sharing their insights with me. You were a wonderful help and I couldn’t have written this article without you. 😘

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Until next time!

-Mr. Hands