Let’s look at different narratives here in Part 7. Each creates a tension that frames an alternate version of reality turned on its head. Normal social rules are suspended. Adults can creatively seek out these experiences, wanting to feel alive and free.
Keeping it brief
I’m focusing on one and two word narratives here to keep it simple. In the language of erotic imagination, a single word qualifies if it’s rich enough, and conveys tension. The briefer examples also give a sense of the fundamentals. Partners can combine and add them together in infinite combinations.
Power is the ability to act with impunity, with no regard for the effect on others. Opportunities are generally rare for people to act in this way, yet it is often imagined. That opens a wide range of erotic possibilities. We can easily see their imaginative and emotional roots.
Control is the ability to regulate power; in that sense it’s power’s opposite. It’s the ability to restrict or constrain, to overwhelm another’s normal power, often the basic ones: restricting movement, sight, hearing, or even breathing (though that can easily go mortally wrong.) It might ruin another’s pursuit of pleasure. Or it might control another’s normal power to avoid pain. The erotic world turns the everyday world on its head.
Resistance, a tension between absolute power & control. It’s linked to the survival instinct. Episodically, resistance can vary, veering from less to more. That provides people a rich and fluid ground to cover, and it’s very bi-lateral. This encourages play at the edge; it’s connected like crazy.
Surrender, another rich vein of the erotic, runs deeply in the erotic psyche and spirit. It might be seen as opposite to resistance. That makes it equally strong. Here again, we can easily the immediate path to the imaginative. It’s a compelling picture. Surrender creates a strong anxiety, balanced against an accepted promise of safety. By giving up any resistance, personal transcendence and sublime sexuality become possible.
Transgression and its exotic erotic cousin, Taboo, capture alternate realities. To break rules (while most of life demands compliance) is a strong form of differentiation. The “forbidden” is one’s own imaginative territory. And one can break one’s own rules (or agreements), or society’s
Although two words, Mystery/Uncertainty challenges our sense of reality, qualifying it as a primary variety of tension. It also plays with Risk and Anxiety. It’s a complex transfer of power between partners. A ‘mystery date’ run by one partner uses this element. It can be an effective seduction into a new and unpredictable reality. That’s a perfect venue for the erotic.
Predicament ranks as a prime example of a single word erotic narrative. The subtext is power, because there’s very little control. Testing another person by forcing a limited set of choices that can vary along the Pain/Pleasure axis. Here we see partners explore their psyches openly. More elaborately conceived psychological and physical journeys expose parts of the self under selected pressures of various kinds.
Dominance/submission may also seem too familiar and easy to identify. An expression of power & control, directly linked to resistance and surrender. Here the imaginative component reigns, in the form of life and relational roles. It’s an alter-reality that can be pure fantasy, or adapted to everyday living. D/s is one adaptation to the power/control dynamics of all human relationships.
Pain/Pleasure is familiar in its connection to erotic & sexual kink, and BDSM play specifically. Of course it is experienced physically, yet the psychological, emotional and relational layers are all critically present (Trust and Consent mediate the safety risks.) This narrative can actively express virtually all the others.
Important caveat: (The human neurology of pain/pleasure is NOT binary in any sense. Pain can be experienced as both “good” and “bad”. Pleasure can be boring or very uncomfortably overstimulated, in effect “bad”)
Easy to see
It’s easy to see that even with brief narratives, there’s a lot of territory to be covered. We’ll explore these more in future posts.