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Get out your handcuffs. We’re about to get kinky.
Romance makes us INSATIABLE. Love is a highly addictive drug. Recently, the romance genre has taken a turn for the bourgeois, the taboo, and the abusive. Let's check out the two works that made the media tear off their clothes. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer contained themes of self-loathing, codependence, and psychological manipulation. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James tempted its readers with physical/mental abuse in a luxurious atmosphere. I thought these popular themes were the result of global INSANITY. What makes any of those brow-raising features SEXY? I don't think painful spankings are hot. (Maybe softcore is just my preference.) But after diving into countless book reviews and analysis, I found three irresistible elements in every popular romance...
The Irresistible 3:
These elements are major players in a SIMPLE algorithm. This formula led to international success and millions of horny readers.
The focus of these stories are on the "Dream Men." In The Twilight Saga, Edward Cullen has a ridiculous amount of supernatural abilities. Come on, he’s a vampire. Of course, he has to be insanely strong, super fast, and TELEPATHIC. Christian Grey, on the other hand, has realistic abilities. Christian is a self-made millionaire with a PhD in The Art of Manipulation. Both Edward and Christian have CRAZY power compared to their vulnerable female love interests. Apparently, a gross imbalance of power in relationships is SEXY AS HELL. The obvious success of both of these works proved that most women WANT to be DOMINATED.
Even in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the male love interest Mr. Darcy was making BANK. And that novel actually promoted girl-power. From the Victorian Regency Era to the Roaring 20s (think The Great Gatsby) to TODAY, money is a huge factor in romance novels. Why? Women want security. I’m not speaking for all women, but money is still great to have. Both Edward Cullen and Christian Grey have loads of cash to spend on their penniless lovers. Material “love-bombing” is a major motif in each series. Edward Cullen often displays the wealth that his immortal family has acquired to awe Bella. Christian Grey buys Anastasia a new car, among other jaw-dropping things, to lure her into his world. Money tempts us ALL. The importance of WEALTH is ingrained in our psyche. That’s why gorgeous bunnies surrounded Hugh Hefner. They all wanted a piece of the fine dining, shopping sprees, and purring Ferraris. Therefore, money is a BIG turn-on.
Let’s talk about SEX, baby! Humans have been horny since the dawn of time. We’re still multiplying like rabbits. Twilight and Fifty Shades ignites our sex-drive by making us thirsty for ACTION. In both stories, the idea of sex with the “Dream Man” manifests itself as a toxic addiction. Edward Cullen tempts Bella with make-out sessions and heavy-petting. Bella yearns to go all the way, but Edward refuses her advances because he wants to wait until marriage. The anticipation drives both Bella and the readers insane with LUST. We all want what we can't have. Christian Grey, using his mastery of manipulation, takes Anastasia’s virginity. This opens the door to fulfilling his own kinky fantasies. After their first steamy experience, Anastasia becomes a willing participant in “Red Room” activities: bondage, brutality, and begging. Christian's dark, exciting sexuality gets Anastasia hooked on him. I’m only human, so I can’t deny that certain parts of both stories revved my engine. Just writing about it gives me a love-buzz. However, I’m still not a fan of imbalanced power between the sheets—both in bed and in a novel.
We all want power. Sometimes, we want to be overpowered. We all want money. Money equals security. We all want sex, simply because it feels awesome. The authors of these narratives knew exactly what they were doing. Stephenie Meyer and E.L. James hacked our ever-wanting psyche in order to achieve literary SUCCESS. Historically, “The Irresistible 3” reeled in a large audience and got them hooked. "The Irresistible 3" are STRONG storytelling devices. Statistically, these devices are best-selling material! Undeniably, power, wealth, and lust are panty-dropping elements. And if you use them, they will leave your audience thirsty for MORE!