Friday, April 30, 2010

Vampires and Sex: Give Me a Break - by Neil Benson

Vampires have been associated with sex since Carmela was written by by Sheridan Le Fanu in 1872. The novel is about a young woman's seduction by an older woman who is a vampire. In Dracula, by Bram Stoker, the tradition continues as Count Dracula takes Lucy's blood, gives her some of his, and converts her to a vampire. This exchange of bodily fluids is a clear sexual metaphor. Then he turns his attention to Mina whom he bites before he is forced back to Transylvania. It is important to note that no mention is made of conventional sex. Stoker wrote in the Victorian era and doubtless felt constraints on what he could say and portray.

My question is why would a vampire, hundreds of year old, turn his evil attention to these young women? It certainly can't be a case of raging hormones. Dracula is dead; he has no functioning hormonal system. One source I found said the following:

"Stoker used the vampire as a metaphor for the Victorian view of sex as innately dangerous. In Dracula, sex with the Count transformed women into seductive sirens and horrific baby killers – the opposite of the Victorian ideal of chaste and nurturing womanhood."

The above citation greatly oversimplifies Victorian society's view and actions about sex. I don't have the time to explore this complicated issue. If sex was dangerous in that era, it was so because of the deaths of so many women during the process of childbirth.Jumping ahead to the present time, there is hardly a vampire novel in which sex doesn't steam from the cover until the last page of the novel. This just doesn't mean sex takes place, as in the case in "Some Girls Bite" by Chloe Neill, or the much more popular, Twilight Series. Even in the absence of sex in these novels, the heated looks, and drooling anticipation of sex, pulsates like a chorus of loud drums. In other novels, romance and sex between mortals and vampires is a key element of the plot. In some novels intraspecies sex is the central focus of the plot. I choose not to name these novels for a variety of reasons.

Let's get back to vampires and sex. I've already asserted that vampires have no hormones. Since they're dead, they can't have circulatory systems, ergo no blood flow to a very important organ for the males. What's that you say? The vampires cut themselves and the blood flows? Not bloody likely. Sure, it happens in the novels and in the movies, but that doesn't make it so. I'm currently reading a well-written vampire novel, which I won't name, where the vampires are not only sexually ravenous, but capable of emitting pheromones to control human sexual responses to them. Back to the beginning. No hormones, no pheromones, no sex.Despite what I said, since it's fictional, anything can happen. In fact, in my vampire novel, Unholy Embrace, there is a passionate love affair between the female vampire and her mortal lover. Probably, for as long as vampire novels will be written sex will take place regardless of the biological impossibility of it. All the more fun.
Link to first three chapters.

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