|He's that sort of character you're drawn to again and again, the one who can make your heart palpitate and spark your imagination, the one you dream about, and invariably seek when choosing what movies to watch and what books to buy. It's no accident that this particular fellow draws you in. In fact, you chose him-or he chose you-for some very good reasons.
In his theories about the animus, psychotherapist Carl Jung developed the idea that every woman's psyche conceals a hidden, subconscious persona, a sort of "male aspect" made up of those traits in her personality that she has buried for one reason or another. This masculine entity possesses the characteristics that are very much part of the woman, but which she cannot exercise due to socialization, conscience, family and peer pressure, etc.
Jung believed that this hidden male, the animus, is grasped by the woman through the imagination. She projects him onto male figures she encounters, archetypes such as characters in books and movies, imaginary lovers, and sometimes real men as well (a phenomenon that can obviously create real problems!).
If Jung's theory is true, and my personal experience has convinced me it is, then the sort of archetypal man that attracts us is very significant. It says something important about who we are and who we are striving to become. So I thought I would invite several very popular romance heroes to tell us about the women they attract and why. Look for your own psyche in what they have to say:
The Vampire: Good evening… Pardon that cliché, I couldn't resist. I'm delighted to tell you about the woman who is drawn to me. She is the cheerful sort, always positive, helpful, like a ray of sunlight. She always looks on the bright side, which is why she secretly longs for the darkness. She is captivated by my amorality, my freedom to indulge my lusts without compunction, for she would never dare to live in such a way. She is also in love with surrender. She experiences deep bliss when giving away her will to a power greater than herself, and that I am. Surrender satisfies her longing to unite her darker side with her optimistic one. By union with me, she may bring these warring elements to peace within herself. Likewise she is drawn to my fellows, such as the Dark Wizard, the Cruel Master, and the Hypnotist.
The Bad Boy: Are you hot for me? Hell yeah. If you say no I'll just tell you you're lying. Half the thrill of it-although you won't admit it-is that you love lusting after what you shouldn't. You love wanting something so bad it makes you do what you know you'll regret. It's so damn powerful, it just gets you high. You're one of those women who always does the right thing, thinks of everyone else first, wouldn't dare be selfish. You want me because I don't give a sh*t what anyone, including you, thinks about me. Wouldn't you love to be so cocky, so self-confident, so reckless? Of course you would, and that's why you can't resist me. Me and the other guys like me-like the Evil Prince, the Gigolo, and the Criminal.
The White Knight: But my lady is one who seeks something better, higher, purer. She who seeks me has high standards for herself and longs for one who can likewise prove his worth. She so often must be strong and protect others; she dreams of someone courageous, bold, and mighty, to be her champion and protector. She has known cruelty at the hands of men but still believes there is one who is noble, kind and true. She is only too well aware of the complexities of real life and real love, and wishes for the sort of bond that transcends time and reality. So my love longs for me, and I for her…so we always have and ever will. My beloved finds me in every character who is heroic, supremely gifted, larger than life, pure and good: like the Athlete, the Superhero, and the Soldier.
The Perpetual Youth: My type of girl? She just wants to play. I admit I like to chase her, just as long as it stays fun. I guess she finds me charming, funny, irresistibly cute or something. I don't always get why she likes me, but I don't mind that she does. Actually, I admit I kind of like it. I don't think much about stuff like this, but I suppose she's attracted to me because her own life is so responsible. She always has to be the grown-up, make the right choices, work hard. Me, I just pretty much do what I want to: I be who I want to be, I go where I want to go. It's a challenge pursuing me, but I think my girl likes challenges too-nothing too easy for her. There's some other guys like me she goes for too: The Rock Star, the Adventurer, and the Magician.
The Shaman: The woman drawn to me is special. She perceives the mysteries beyond what we see with our eyes and longs for enlightenment, especially as learned from a wise, devoted teacher. She sometimes finds her life too mundane, her daily activities too routine, and rejoices that together we can find the deeper realms beyond. And meanwhile, she so often plays the part of guide and strength to others, she seeks one greater than herself to turn to and rely upon. Her satisfaction in our bond is deep and fulfilling and empowers her to greater achievements. And my devotion to her, although quiet, is as profound as the universe. I come to her in other guises as well: the Priest, the Teacher, and the Beneficent Alien.
Thank you, gentlemen, for your insights. So ladies, are you feeling a little…exposed? It's amazing how well these men know us. And they should, since they are part of us in the most genuine sense of the term. Part of us, but as Carl Jung taught, amazingly independent and beyond our control.
And would we really have it any other way?
These archetypes and more are featured in the erotic romance fiction of Diana Laurence. Visit her website at www.dianalaurence.com for information on three of her short works coming soon from the Love Bites series and the anthology Soulful Sex: Erotic Tales of Fantasy and Romance, soon to be published by New Age Dimensions Publishing.
For more information on the animus, see the author's website www.livingbeyondreality.com.
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