Created By: KingZealAugust 1, 2012 Last Edited By: KingZealJanuary 15, 2014

Interplay Of Desire and Discomfort

Missing Super Trope for various types of weird, abusive, or squickish relationships.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
"Being on a first date in a scary environment is basically like dosing each other's drinks with an aphrodisiac."

No Examples Please.

A Super Trope for situations where part of the fun is being both aroused and threatened at the same time.

In theory, the Interplay Of Desire And Discomfort creates a Vicious Cycle that ensures that love and lust are enhanced by distress. The cycle is maintained by physical, emotional, or psychological turmoil and discomfort which in some way also makes the relationship compelling. There are a variety of motivations and reasons for this desire, but they all have the same effect of enhancing sexual or romantic desire through discomforting circumstances.

Naturally, how well this succeeds depends entirely on how it adheres to the Rule Of Sexy.

See also: Wanting Is Better Than Having.

No Examples Please. This is merely an index of related tropes.

List of tropes which rely on the Interplay Of Desire And Discomfort are:

  • Accidental Pornomancer: This trope relieves the "victim" of any responsibility for their actions. They aren't at fault for what happens to them. The audience can still relate to them and enjoy the fantasy without any of the stigmatization of being considered a Slut or a Pervert. That goes a long way in making the fantasy even more potent.
  • Bastard Boyfriend/Bastard Girlfriend: In these types of relationships, the aggressor is typically the cause of discomfort and may even invoke this trope specifically to keep their lover dependent and addicted to the cycle.
  • Dating Catwoman: Dating the enemy brings both the uncertainty and thrill of going against the rules and the feeling that one is needed. After all, since Love Redeems, how else are they going to make a Heel Face Turn?
  • Glad To Be Alive Sex: Two characters have sex to cope with surviving a near-death experience.
  • Horny Devils: Works on two levels. The human is both endangered and lusted after by the demon, and the demon lusts after the human under the threat of death otherwise. In this scenario, neither party is truly, completely, "at fault".
  • Interplay Of Sex And Violence: Directly corollary to this trope.
  • Kiss Of The Vampire: Works similarly to the Horny Devils dynamic, but with the stimulation of being physically bitten and drained, bringing an added level of physical discomfort and danger.
  • Meet Cute: When this trope is played right from the moment the Love Interests meet.
  • Mind Game Ship: There's some real chemistry there, but one (or both parties) are equally concerned with breaking the other person's psyche.
  • Netorare Genre/Cuckold: In this genre of story, the cause of discomfort is a romantic rival. The more control the third party has over the victim's spouse, the greater the discomfort. However, this ensures that the spouse will never stop being the coveted property and the desire for him/her will remain. The titillation in the trope is the delicate balance between the jealousy and pain the victim feels and the feelings this reignites for their spouse.
  • Romanticized Abuse: Blatantly taking advantage of this trope for the titillation of the audience.
  • BDSM: A Safe Sane And Consensual version is usually invoked. Part of the thrill for "bottoms" in a BDSM setting is the discomfort of never knowing exactly what the top is going to do and the powerlessness of not being able to stop it.
  • Yandere: When played for romance, the victim is discomforted by the unpredictability of the overenthusastic pursuer, but still feels intrigued.
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • August 1, 2012
    TheHandle
    • Dating Catwoman. I'd add am intelligent comment like yours, but my brain is fuzzy at the moment.
  • August 1, 2012
    animeg3282
    Mind Game Ship ? They mess with each other minds but are in loves
  • August 8, 2012
    animeg3282
    and i don't like the bit about the biological basis.
  • September 11, 2012
    KingZeal
    What is your specific objection?
  • October 5, 2012
    KingZeal
    Needs hats and/or discussion.
  • May 29, 2013
    abloke
    Well, at the risk of coming across like a broken record, the whole thing seems to be based on some vague psychological theory, with some unrelated tropes retrofitted to match.
  • May 29, 2013
    KingZeal
    Yes, that's the point.

    Whether or not you agree with the theory, or believe that it's an accurate theory, that is the theory, and this is an index of tropes that support or utilize the theory as a plot situation or conflict.
  • May 29, 2013
    abloke
    So, essentially, it's for tropes which people think fit in with a nebulous theory?
  • May 29, 2013
    KingZeal
    If that's how you want to strawman it, sure.
  • May 29, 2013
    abloke
    No strawmen; just an attempt to get to the bottom of this. There might be a trope or an index along the lines of Fear Is An Aphrodisiac or something, but trying to tie it in with a half-explained theory would, if anything, detract from it.
  • May 29, 2013
    KingZeal
    Might I ask if you also have a problem with Theiss Titillation Theory, then?

    Focusing solely on fear makes the trope too narrow. The situation also applies to other types of discomfort, such as risk, embarrassment, squick, or temptation. But, simply an index of "situations which are both sexy and uncomfortable" makes this an index, but Not A Trope. What makes it a trope is the interplay of distress and arousal, and how the situation amplifies either, or both.
  • May 29, 2013
    abloke
    No problems with TTT. It's explained nicely.

    This could work as an index; I'd just advise keeping the psychology out of it.
  • May 29, 2013
    KingZeal
    As it is, it barely gets a mention. Only one sentence even attempts an explanation, which is much different from my original write-up.
  • May 29, 2013
    abloke
    It's still there, and there are two sentences before it explaining how the theory says it works.
  • May 29, 2013
    KingZeal
    The first two sentences describe the trope, not the psychology. The third sentence is the ONLY part that talks about psychology, and only claims it to be a possible explanation.
  • January 14, 2014
    DAN004
    Would Hemo Erotic count?
  • January 15, 2014
    Synchronicity
    • The Masochism Tango: Both parties want to murder each other, but stay together because that's part of the fun.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable