Vampire Sexuality

My investigation into the sexuality of vampires came about because, outside of the YA books, TV shows and films like Twilight, Vampires are so very closely associated with sex.  But Vampires were not always the fabulous creatures we read and see today.  Today’s vampires have developed through literature and commercial means.  But, the original vampire was the folk vampire, the undead monster or decaying dead flesh. Some sources have explained this with actual reasons a body might be out of its grave: floods, improper burial, body thieves, etc.

Well, that probably didn’t sell too many books. With the development of the novel and the Victorian era, Vampires became much more attractive  in many ways, and the Victorian subjugation of sexuality in the name of propriety merely made it more romantic, hence most literary themes became more romantic – so that of the undead, sort-of-dead, not human or whatever, blood consuming stalker progressed that way as well.

Simplification? I am positive.  There is certainly enough written about this topic, well-written scholarly texts and discussions of many natures including bibliography, reviews of film and books, arguments promoting one hypothesis over another and such. I think for me just bringing the idea up and looking into the idea is fun — I am not going to write my doctoral dissertation and ruin my enjoyment of this theme in literature.

There is ample evidence that the Victorians were probably just as prurient in thought an deed as we are.  Think of the  lingerie, the Victorian erotica (the Pearl and such), the prevalent discussion of “ruin.”

   Public Domain Image Wikipedia

Most vampires (outside of the aforementioned YA books & movies) are not wrapped up in the taboos of sexuality as mere humans are.   Perhaps because they have been freed by whatever transformation has occurred  from mortal morality.  All I know is that Vampires and sex are a hot topic and have been for a long time.  Charlaine Harris made several characters in the Sookie Stackhouse books gay or bi, including the very sexy character of Eric, the local Vampire Sheriff (Bi) and his assistant Pam(Lesbian). And, in Kim Harrisons”The Hollows” series the main vampire character is Bi leaning toward a Lesbian preference,  for the young witch lead in particular. The Battle of the Network Zombies book by Mark Henry (reveiwed a few weeks past) featured a gay male vampire culture.

Carmilla (1872) by Sheridan La Fanu is an early and well-known Vampire novels (available free in Kindle format  on Amazon).*  Written in the style of the time (tedious and where matters of sexualaity are concerned allusive the main vampire character’s sexuality is alluded towards being a lesbian.  For example, in the lead up to revealtion our young heroine is accosted by the Vampiress, Carmilla (Chapter 4) 

Sometimes after an hour of apathy, my strange and beautiful companion would take my hand and hold it with a fond pressure, renewed again and again; blushing softly, gazing in my face with languid and burning eyes, and breathing so fast that her dress rose and fell with the tumultuous respiration. It was like the ardour of a lover; it embarrassed me; it was hateful and yet over-powering; and with gloating eyes she drew me to her, and her hot lips travelled along my cheek in kisses; and she would whisper, almost in sobs, “You are mine, you shall be mine, you and I are one for ever.” Then she has thrown herself back in her chair, with her small hands over her eyes, leaving me trembling.

“Are we related,” I used to ask; “what can you mean by all this? I remind you perhaps of some one whom you love; but you must not, I hate it; I don’t know you—I don’t know myself when you look so and talk so.”

It is only after this discussion of behavior repugnant (of course) to our young heroine that Carmilla’s nature begins to be revealed as young women about the area begin to die of a strange malady. Honestly, the book is written in a style I find tedious because it is so of its time and I am not that I may never get to reading it in full and I have never been a great skimmer.

I do believe that there are more Vampire movies where important characters are gay and/or lesbian than straight.  I actually think there are more lesbian characters.  Now, as far as the Victorians go I don’t know whether men were as obsessed with seeing two women together as popular culture suggests men today are obsessed, but most novelists back then were men and perhaps found this more titillating (or less threatening) than a straight female vampire. But today, watch any TV show after 9 PM and you are likely, of sex comes up, to hear about how hot it is to watch to women together. For example, this Screen shot ffrom Netflix shows a film from 2009. So given the power of men in the film industry perhaps there is one reason this is such a popular idea.


Image: Netflix (http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/Life_Blood/) Fair Use

The International Movie Database shows 16 movies and 7 TV programs when the words Lesbian and Vampire are used. This including a kung fu action/ comedy/horror/musical “Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter.”  That is of 677 total titles when the word Vampire is used as the search term. So while it may seem that there are more films where the characters are gay, lesbian or bi, I cannot find anything to justify the hypothesis.

I think that Vampirism frees the characters from stupid and bigotted ideas like anti-gay sentiments. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily continue into other areas of morality  where freedom is not necessarily a great thing (draining people of their life blood).

* Kindle software is a free download (in much the same way as Adobe Acrobat Reader) available for Mac, Pc, iphone, Blackeerry and Ipad. Just go to the Kindle Store at http://www.amazon.com/kindle-store-ebooks-newspapers-blogs/b/ref=topnav_storetab_kinh?ie=UTF8&node=133141011 and in the left hand nav bar look for Kindle Reading Apps. This book is also online, gratis, at http://www.sff.net/people/Doylemacdonald/l_carmil.htm and it is thence I have quoted)