Let me explain. When I write paranormal romance I feel as if "sexy" is right out there in the open due to the nature of the character. If the person is outherwordly, their sex appeal can be tied in with that aspect of the character. A male wolf shifter can "prowl", "growl", and do a whole host of things that are indicative of his animal half that position him within the archetype of a sexy "alpha". My female characters can exhibit a type of sexuality that is more visceral than what I feel a regular mundane woman is allowed.
In a contemporary romance I feel I'm always working against what the preconceived notions of appropriate sexual expression is for the gender of my characters. I want the same sexy alpha for my hero that doesn't sprout fur and claws, without him appearing like a creepy batterer. I want a female heroine that owns her sexuality and exudes sex appeal without getting locked into the dreded "promiscuous" box that women of the "real" world often get put into.
I want sexy to not just be about the "sex" of the sex appeal. I want sexy to be about the witty mind and clever conversation of my characters. I want it to be that thing that is hard to describe but you instantly know it when you see it. I want it seems, the intangible quality that one experiences when all those factors come together without explanation or purpose. I want it all, in a finite amount of words, and I want it to be believable.
It's a large task, and I'll confess I'm missing my characters ability to flash a little fang, or have a growl of desire rumble up from their chest, but I'm determined to make this happen. After all, the norms can be damn sexy too.