A&E El Blog

Unzipped: Fangs for Fantasy

While some of you may be reluctant to view your favorite vampire movies and shows as erotica, I’ve got news for you: if you find yourself turned on, then it’s erotica. If you are on Team Edward and have ever thought about how wonderful and glittery he’d look like naked, well then Twilight is your vampire erotica (not to be confused with vampire porn. We’ll get to that soon).

For those of you who haven’t thought about glittery vampire penis, maybe you’d like some insight into why anyone would want to give head to the living dead. As far as I can tell, the vampire fulfills multiple layers of psychological needs and desires that we as a society don’t always find acceptable.

Those needs and desires are as follows:

Chivalry

In vampire erotica, chivalry is undead. The character of the vampire literally resurrects codes of male behavior that many today, especially women, find appealing. The vampire often mixes old fashioned standards of behavior with modern sensibilities. For example, the old Southern gentleman archetype figures prominently in vampire fantasies. Think of ‘True Blood’s Bill Compton and how he asks waitress Sookie Stackhouse if he can “call on” her. He doesn’t mean a “booty call.” No, the man has tea with Sookie and her grandmother. This is how he begins his courtship of her. Ask a man you’ve just started dating to have tea with your grandmother and see how quickly he disappears. Sex? No problem. Ask him to meet your Nana and all of a sudden things are getting too serious. Oh, how backward things have become. The vampire fantasy allows modern, strong, independent women to express a longing for what may feel like outdated romantic courtesies. Yes, sometimes what turns a woman on the most about vampire erotica is a vampire’s attention to etiquette.

Domination

Most vampire stories are essentially modern versions of the Hades/Persephone myth, where a young maiden is abducted into the underworld. With vampire erotica, this dark underworld includes sex with BDSM undertones. Restraint is the name of the game- and not just restraint or power that a vampire may exert over a human lover. The sexiest display of power lies in the restraint a vampire has over their baser instincts. Like in kink sex practices, a vampire has to be able to restrain him/herself in order to keep from hurting their lover in a bad way. The top, dominant, or vampire all have to be able to stop inflicting pain when enough is enough. Another thing vampires have in common with BDSM is a fascination with the neck. Vampires may suck on your jugular while a kinky dom might get you a studded collar. Same principle, more bling.

Now many of us might feel conflicted about our desires to dominate or be dominated in today’s society, what with our shifting gender roles. Women might feel guilty about wanting to be dominated because what would Gloria Steinem think? And men might fear feeling emasculated by submitting to a strong and glorious female or male for that matter. The vampire, being supernatural and thus stronger than us acts as a release valve for all of our social neuroses around submission, seduction and sex. It’s easier to attribute that kind of erotic power and desire to a superhuman figure than to realize that that kind of power is something we can give ourselves and each other while still maintaining our power outside the bedroom.

The Dark Side

Life is all about balance. One extreme illuminates the other. It is only through confronting death that we can fully experience life. The vampire has completed the cycle of life, death, and rebirth and has its experience to share. Experience is one of the reasons we fantasize about older lovers. In the case of vampire erotica, the lover may be centuries older. By feeling the pain of a vampire love bite, protagonists symbolically confront their own mortality. By inflicting pain and releasing endorphins, our sense of pleasure is heightened. For more of this mystical approach to vampire fantasy, and how it connects to ancient goddesses like Lilith, read the introduction to Dark Angels: Lesbian Vampire Erotica. And also read the erotica. And check out the episode of the L Word where Alice dates a vampire.

Humor

I was originally tempted to make this article about how the Vampire vs. Werewolf debate could be solved through what is known as temperature play. Werewolf or Vampire? Hot or cold? Just heat up a Pyrex dildo and see which feels better. With this kind of erotica, one can’t help making all kinds of tasteless jokes. And that’s what is so great about it- the ability to laugh at ourselves and our desires. After all, isn’t lusting after vampires and werewolves just short of necrophilia and bestiality?

It is this sense of humor that differentiates the new era of vampire erotica. Let’s face it Gary Oldman in ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ and Tom Cruise in ‘Interview with a Vampire’ were kind of on the creepy side. Charlain Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels, on which the show ‘True Blood’ is based, on the other hand, are sassy and irreverent in its treatment of the supernatural world. One of my favorite passages is a scene in Dead to the World between Sookie and Eric, where a certain body part is referred to as “Mr. Happy.” Ridiculous? Yes. Did it make me enjoy my day a little more? You betcha.

Warnings

As with most things, here’s the fine print. Most fantasies are better left as fantasies. By which I mean, in this case, don’t drink your lover’s blood. Especially not if it’s someone you just met. Blood, along with semen and vaginal secretions, can transmit HIV and unlike vampires, you are not immortal. Also, necrophilia and bestiality are bad ideas and illegal so don’t try that. And, as always, don’t mistake abusive behavior for consensual BDSM.

And now, the vampire porn I promised I’d tell you about. It’s called VamBIres and it’s about bisexual vampire rock stars that kill their groupies. It’s hilarious. I’m not saying it’s good. I’m just saying it’s hilarious.

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