Lust. We all like to think we know what it is, but do we really? Do our textbook definitions encompass the depth and variety of what lust truly can be? I don’t think it does that often, and when we write or talk about lust we have to acknowledge it isn’t as simple as alarms going off in your pant regions. So let’s get down and dirty into what lust is…and yeah we’re also going to talk about pants region. This is only a little taste of this issue, but there is far more to be written about this. I’d love to know you’re opinion!
- Lust is more than the sum of how we usually define it…which is a strong desire for sex. You can lust for anything if the passion consumes you. You can lust for cuddling, for understanding, for someone to feel lust for you, and for anything else you are capable of yearning for.. The key to lust, to true lust, is an itching need that almost creeps up your spine like addiction. Oh we most often relate it to sex, but real lust goes so much farther. That is what makes it so entrancing to me is because it is something that consumes and comes over you. Lust is a wide sea of feeling and when it comes to writing sexuality it is tied to two things…need and sensual desire. Sure you can have shallow lust. Most people see a beautiful person they’re attracted to and experience the fun shallow burst of “I want you now.” However in portraying a deeper desire you have to unpack what those feelings are. Anyone can want anyone, but there are times you need to have someone want someone, to have them be consumed by an almost compulsive need and overwhelming sensual need.
- I’m very…very ultra familiar with lust and need. It often trips people out when I say sex is wonderfully common, but sensuality is the goal for me. It doesn’t happen every time but damn it if isn’t fun. Sensuality is about a few things and one is namely(but not always)…. The thing that a lot of writers struggle with is conveying the slow dance of characters. Sex begins with a look. It begins with the acknowledgement all parties are geared and ready for the good times to roll. Some of the most sensual experiences a person can have occur with the absence of sex. A slow caress of the hand, a tender kiss, or that single exchange of knowing smiles all contribute to the creation of a sensual energy between people. It can build up creating the tension readers want to feel. It can be intensely sexual and mind numbingly powerful because much like sexual pleasure it simply builds and builds so the sexual act itself becomes release. I’m not only talking about in erotica, but in any genre when you create then mount that tension you instill that in your readers. So they get satisfaction from the sexual culmination of it. This may not be a sexual satisfaction. Often it is a catharsis of knowing these characters you’ve invested in finally acted on something they wanted to do, which another wonderful form of satisfaction. But a word of warning: Sometimes it goes on too long and writers mistake dragging out a romance for tension. My partner and I have thoroughly discussed the fact that CW’s The Flash spent far too long trying to drag out the titular hero’s relationship with Iris West. It felt slow, the obstacles contrived and uninteresting. Ultimately its most redeeming quality is that it reminded me why some characters and people are better starting off as dates/lovers than as “friends with sexual tension”. None of it rang true and ultimately both my partner and I were rolling our eyes by the second season. When sexual or romantic tension drags out too long without tangible and convincing justifications or insight into why the characters decide to drag things out it can drive you mad. If you write this then your characters feel lazily written and your plot hackneyed. I’m proud that I just used that word, and no one can take that away from me.
- Need is a key component of lust, but we often talk about it in cliches. A lot of my life has been spent figuring out what it is to “need” someone or something. Once upon a time I thought I needed many things, but now I know I need only that which makes me content. But the need we often use in writing isn’t about existential happiness. No it is about an aching feeling of not just want, but the knowledge you cannot and should not continue without that thing or person. Full disclosure, the notion of “need” is something I’ve always romanticized until recently.In theory it is so romantic, but to me it also signals an immature love. I spent 6 pining for a man I thought I needed and it took him destroying my dreams to make me see that love shouldn’t make you feel that way. You may call me a cynic, but I call it obsession. I won’t claim we didn’t need each other when we were together. In fact I know we needed each other more than anything that we had at the time, but you should be able to stand on your own even if it hurts. If you can’t please think about what you’re feeling because you should never want to stop living because of anyone leaving like that. That all being said need is absolutely beautiful in writing. The thing about writing a character having a profound need is it can’t just be consuming…you have to make it felt. The sensation of need is one that isn’t just a character wanting strongly. But either: a character experiencing a powerful “realization”, through conscious thought, feeling, or both; a character , usually unconsciously, acting on impulses and a deep desire for someone or something whether recognized or not. Weaving a story where a character isn’t, only or even necessarily denying their need, but a character whose compulsive need/desire for is building is essentially writing about obsession. As I related in my story to have a need is to be obsessed, and that doesn’t last forever. Time doesn’t matter, but there it is most power when the obsessive need builds or when it is felt in a moment. Truthfully I believe need is often momentary, and by that I mean the need comes when you feel their is a risk. It hits you when you ,consciously or unconsciously, feel as though you need to act or cannot act but feel as though if you don’t something will slip away. There’s this weird tie between helplessness and need…and oddly hoarding, which is a common obsession. This is awesome because it gives you a thousand different ways to convey this situation because every single person has a slightly different reaction to need. Some people view it as an invasion by emotion, while others interpret it as this wonderful emotion(sweeping like a good pop song). You can go anywhere
Of course this post barely scratched the surface of it all, but I wanted to begin unpacking a bit of this awesome and complex thing we call lust! What do you think? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Tell me what’s up!