I’ve been mapping out how erotic templates build into erotic narratives in relationships for a long time. One way to start is looking at narratives connected to erotic arousal. Before reviewing some better known erotic narratives, it helps to ask: what makes any narrative tick?
An erotic narrative contains and expresses a tension. This tension gives the narrative(s) developed with a partner their energy. It’s always unresolved, never completed or finished, and that’s good. It continues developing in an ongoing relationship, keeping it fully alive.
The word tension is not used to suggest something necessarily unpleasant or stressful. Rather, it describes a certain psychological, emotional and physical connection, operating within the imaginative realm of the relationship
Tension is the “central conflict” of a story line created by partners. It’s central to their lives because sexuality is essential to both psyche and relationship; nothing about it is trivial. That story line continues; it stalls, and it can be restored. It always re-shapes and defines the people involved, and how they relate.
Power & control
The tension between power and control is loaded with erotic potential. That’s not exactly news to most adults, who understand that BDSM and kink exist in some way. Yet that awareness alone isn’t sufficient to really explore power and control.
Partners buy BDSM props and costumes, but they often sit idle. The lack of sustaining erotic narratives, characters and motives, is why. Power & control is a rich source of these narratives.
Reading high quality erotica (clients can get author, editor and publisher recommendations from me), particularly when it’s suited to a particular kink(s) gender or sexual orientation, provides a rich source of examples of many erotic narratives. Of course it’s fun to find readings that turn you on. It’s another to study the underlying structures, themes and motifs.
“Understanding” high quality erotica this way reflects a certain mastery of what makes erotica tick for readers, but most of all for yourself.
I’ll look at power & control, and other templates and narratives in upcoming installments.