The Most Readily Useful Sex We Ever Had Was (Additionally) a Narrative Structure

The Most Readily Useful Sex We Ever Had Was (Additionally) a Narrative Structure

Helen Betya Rubinstein on Expectation, Eagerness, and Enjoyment

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There’s one thing sexy about narrative framework. We’ve known this since before Robert Scholes penned in 1979 that “The archetype of most fiction could be the sexual work” “the fundamental orgastic rhythm of tumescence and detumescence, of stress and quality, of intensification to the stage of orgasm and consummation.” We’ve known it since before 1863, whenever Freytag received their triangle since Aristotle’s Poetics, perhaps. Composing in 2019, Jane Alison got some attention by responding to these males: “Well. This isn’t the way I encounter sex…”

Alison rightly accuses the classic dramatic arc to be “a small masculo-sexual,” and asks, “Why is it the proper execution we must expect our stories to just take?” A series of alternatives to that dreaded triangle, shapes in the vein of John McPhee’s well-circulated images of his own essay structures for her, the question summons. […]