By Suzanne Carré
I am continually asked about my vampires, especially considering they are sexually active and have the power of procreation. Although a curiosity in our acceptance of the modern vampire, erotism still requires justification for why a creature endowed with fangs designed for drinking blood has any measure of sex appeal. It is not an easy transition of the vampire from pure blood lust to mingling the bite and sex to create a new yet disturbing sensuality. Vampires have evolved rapidly in the last 80 years, no doubt due to the imagery of film, assisted by the ever increasing fiction, but the seduction of the vampire has always been in its power over death and freedom from the mores constraining our behavior. It seems with our sexual liberation there has developed a compulsion to include all beasts of our imagination into our ever widening notions of sexuality. The vampire is so special an entity of our dreams that the transition to sexy beast seemed natural, and so the vampire welcomed our embrace.
Relationships with the Undead
But why do we lust after the vampire? The recent attraction to a pair of fangs certainly does not explain our long lived love affair with the night stalker. The modern vampire of the Western mythology began in Germany, where the undead of the Balkans merged seamlessly with the dream evoking incubus of demonology. The original vampires of the 1700′s returned from the grave, not just for blood, but also love, seeking the soul of the seduced by offering eternal love beyond death. Immortality became not only a rebellion against the Church but an escape from all restrictions of this world.
It is a different world 300 years ago, with a “new world order” envisioned in the blossoming science and burgeoning industrial mechanization. Logic supersedes superstition, witchcraft is no longer punished by burnings, and gravity described a universe governed by laws of nature. The human body could be dissected and studied without fear of reprisal from a Church weakened by the Reformations. Now the final frontier of investigation was the soul and death. With science unable to break into this uncharted territory, the unknown proved fertile ground for fiction. The novel saw its birth at this time, and vampires became popular in poetry and stories, telling of the “evil” presence of an entity capable of surviving the grave to corrupt innocent sleepers in their beds.
Death and Sex
It was the intimacy of the vampire seeking its human victims in bed that led directly to the erotic ideals of the vampire. In the first stories, the vampires are beautiful and untainted by death. The famous among these is Lord Ruthven, a dashing young man, and Camilla, a beautiful seductress, so we have the emergence of vampire romance. It is in the 19th century that the vile nature of the vampire returns, as a rotting corpse, with all the repulsion associated with death. The Victorians were consciously clean and yet surrounded by rotting social conditions, and the vampire accommodated our imagination and took up all the aspects of what we feared or detested. Having a rebirth of the romantic blended with in vampire lore is simply a return to the original German myth.
Vampires have a history of reflecting our needs and wants in their physical appearances, and it seems today with our more fluid acceptance of sexuality that vampires have taken up the mantle of our sexual culture. Each steamy romance, or characterization in film and television, drives our insatiable desire for more sexual pleasure with the vampire. The risks involved from partaking in this form of sexual activity only seems to increase our affection for the nocturnal beast. Vampires were stylish from their onset into the Western imagination, and they appear to increase their popularity more than ever.
While social trends suggest the renewed attraction of the vampire, it certainly fails to explain our sexual obsession for the vampire of popular myth associated with the grave. The specter of putrefaction no longer haunts the vampire of modern romance but it still resonates in our subconscious. We imagine some aspect of the undead exists with the vampire, no matter how sexually appealing the imagery may appear, and so representations in film and literature include details of the “unclean” characteristics of the vampire. The bad boys of the preternatural domain carry with them the stench of death or the vampire sex-goddesses are pale and cold to the touch. All the more reason to not find such an entity sexual attractive.
Yet we do. There is something compelling about the sexuality expressed by vampires to make them irresistible. It is more than curiosity feeding into our basic desires and fueling our erotic dreams. While the perfect bodies of supernatural entities has sexual value, one cannot ignore the sexual potential of the vampire. Without ever indulging sexually, the vampire demands intimacy with the bite. The fangs target one of our more sensitive erogenous zones, the neck, and the embrace of the vampire is very erotic regardless of the penetration being exclusively of the dental kind.
Importantly we are attracted to these beasts of the night because the vampire can be anything we desire. There are no restrictions on any preferences of the vampire or the number of lovers the vampire can accommodate. In my opinion, the sexual liberation of the vampire forms one of our prime attractions of them. But it is more than the sex. I believe the preoccupation in vampire lore is a sign that we are seeking more intimacy with the vampire, only this essential requirement remains undefined. Relationships with the undead involve more erotica, create characters we can relate to or admire, but the essence of the vampire remains unexplored.
When we invite the vampire to our beds to sleep with us, we consent to more than the pure physical sex, if only to sustain our emotional attraction to the denizens of the underworld. We fell in love with the creature of the grave 100′s of years ago, and if current trends are telling, we will continue to love our vampires for several more centuries. What entrances us about the vampire is certainly much more than physical, but structured on the inner search for our own identity. The vampire is a reflection of all the best and worst the human being can be, and we use the representation of the vampire where our own mirror image fails to exist. We admire and revile the vampire for all the truths it contains, so we are compelled to love this creature, as we love ourselves. Making the vampire sexy only makes this task easier.
So now, would you like to tell me why you are attracted to vampires?