What makes an image erotic, when a similar picture simply seems tawdry? The erotic image has that almost indefineable 'something' that lifts it above the blatantly sexual. It's power is in what it does not reveal, rather than what it does. It invites us to imagine what may be about to happen rather than what is clearly happening, and our imagination can lead us to build a story around the image and weave into it our fantasy that places us centre stage in that story.
The picture doesn't just alert our brains about what may be about to happen, it sends a powerful signal to our primitive sexual core, that tells our brains that something exciting is about to happen to the people in the image, that we can enjoy by proxy. In this instance it shows what we assume to be a beautiful woman, although we do not see her face. Our imaginations won't allow us to believe that a woman with a curvaceous, sexy body can possibly have a less than perfect face, because that would spoil the fantasy for us. She wears a simple black bodystocking and those eternally erotic black stockings. The man is fully clothed in a dinner suit, his hand resting on the woman's waist. We know exactly what is going on in the minds of the man and the woman, because it is the same as is happening in our own imaginations. We don't know if the man is handsome, but in the absence of a face, we can contstruct our own picture of the man we would most like to take to our bed.
The fact that the man is fully clothed, while the woman is less so, reflects the dynamic between the two and leads us to imagine what is about to happen between them as soon as the camera disappears. The power of the image lies in what is not shown. We don't see the pair naked together. We don't see them in bed together. But we know that is where they will be shortly. And maybe the man will bend the woman over his lap and spank her lovely bottom. The possibilities are endless, and it is the possibilities that makes the picture erotic. Oh, and the black stockings too, of course.
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(Image by Shutterstock)