07 October 2007

Once Bitten...Never Shy

Margo took us on a journey of supernatural sex this past Wednesday, for which we heartily thank her. Today I’d like to focus in a little deeper and speak to our love-affair with vampires. Okay, fine, you caught me, I want to speak of our sex-crazed vampiric urges, but “love-affair” sounds so much more wholesome. :)

Vampires have embodied our cultural taboos since before Stoker turned the bloodsuckers into European sophisticates ready to sweep young , influential, girls off their feet. Just like the wolf in the woods, laying in wait for little red riding hood, the vampire has served as a dual edged sexual warning and sexual invitation to the female libido.

The awakening of female adult sexuality has been feared and found fascinating since the onset of patriarchy and vampires are only among the most modern of devices used to explore it. The vampire’s attraction to virgin blood, always taken from some maiden on the cusp of marital age, stood in for the discussion of the virginal blood shed on a young woman’s wedding night. The vampire bled her innocence from her in the same way the tearing of the hymen would bled off her girlhood and place her forever among society’s women. But the vampire represented even more.

He was the lascivious rake waiting to take advantage of a young woman. The vampire’s bite and its transformative power to turn one into the undead, was a warning of the pre-marital sex act and the consequences of forever being apart from upstanding society through unwed pregnancy or loss of reputation. Give in and allow yourself to be seduced, and you were forever on the outside looking in at what could have been yours. This ostracization taboo wasn’t to last however, for women anyway.

After the free love of the 1960’s and club scene of the 1970’s, the concept of unwed pregnancy and the fallen woman went out of vogue and the relationship with the vampire stepped up to encompass more. Always part of the fringe, and the avatar of the ultimate alternative lifestyle, vampires stepped into the homoerotic frontier in 1976 with Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. Rice wasn’t the first to use vampires to show same-sex attractions, she was merely the one who put it on the modern map and left us forever tantalized with the idea of enduring male-male love.

The orgasmic bite of the vampire was the original oral-sex scandal. Pleasure through the most basic instinct of suckling could be nothing but sexual when happening among adults. The bliss experienced by the recipient mirrored or superceded that of genital stimulation and this only intensified when the bites traveled south and the femoral artery became a hot spot in vampire fiction. When those bites started being exchanged between pretty young men, women everywhere took notice and the boom of vampire stories with homoerotic overtones proliferated. Such overtones are still found in a wide variety of vampire fiction written today. That isn’t to say that lesbian vampires haven’t had their day, there are entire anthologies dedicated to the subgenre, but they have yet to catch on with the same fervor.

When we look to the fringes still explored through vampirism—domination/submission, mental bondage, touches of masochism, bits of sadism, gender-bending, multi-partnered sex, and the deeper feelings of enduring unconventional love and self-acceptance for all that is inside—these are the things we cling to in living out our vampire fantasies. We are everything we couldn’t be, and all the things some of us are now allowed to be, and more.

We take to bed what can transport us to the heights of ecstasies we never knew we craved. Immortality is wonderful, but it is freedom that gets our libidos up and “throbbing” in time to nightwalker heartbeats. It is the transformation to the ultimate dominatrix or beloved submissive doll, the having of all before us, or the elevation to one true enduring paramour, the being opened to everything and anything, all with the safety of being able to walk away when it becomes too much; this is what has us throw back the sheets and say “come on in”.

At least…it’s among the many reasons. What are some of yours?

Vampiric Ramble Done

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