I recently finished the book Vampires: From Dracula to Twilight – The Complete Guide to Vampire Mythology by Charlotte Monatgue. I have mixed feelings on the book in general, but one point aggravates me. Ms. Monatgue attempts, as many have before, to explain the psychological reasons for the appeal of vampires. She asserts that the vampire is an object of “safe” sex – aka, the bite being symbolic of intercourse without the actual act of invasion – and that this is what appeals to the female mind.
I can’t speak for every woman, but I’m afraid “safe” is not a word I associate with vampires. In fact, they’re really the ultimate bad boy and about as “un-safe” as you can get, without befriending a serial killer.
Moving past the idea that vampires are essentially murderers – whether he’s “vegetarian” or not, even Edward Cullen soils his hands with the blood of his own kind – vampires are dangerous, and an intimate relationship with them is tantamount to playing with fire. Whether it is a mythos that involves only oral blood drinking, or one that mixes sexual intercourse with blood, there’s still a common denominator: the blood. No matter how you slice it, the vampire partner gets their jollies by sucking something out of their human lover that the human needs to stay alive. And, if they wanted to, they could drain their partner completely dry. Talk about a way to go.
But of course, they don’t. Like the warrior men of old, or of a Harlequin Historical, the vampire is bigger, stronger, faster and generally physically superior to their weaker female counterparts. He could kill, maim, crush or destroy her in a moment, but he doesn’t because, of course, he loves her deeply. The vampire is an extension of the basic instincts where the woman looks for the toughest, strongest, alpha male because he’s the one who’s going to have the better shelter, the bigger share of the hunt, and the higher place in the tribe. Of course, our society has gotten rid of those things and replaced this alpha strength with money. The human instinct just hasn’t figured that out yet.
If that wasn’t enough, many mythologies give the vampire, or at least the vampire hero, mind reading abilities so that not only can he now crush his female or empty her like a juice box, he can now see every nasty, spiteful, dirty, evil, or just plain dumb things that lurks in the deepest recesses of her mind. Of course, so long as he can help it, he doesn’t out of that same love and respect for her. But, he could.
So what is the balance to this ultimate danger? The ultimate thrill, of course. Everyone knows that an orgasm caused by a vampire bite can’t begin to compete with what we mere mortals can enjoy. Just as a thrill seeker will leap from an airplane, so will the vampire’s human lover will risk life and limb. Because, far from being safe, vampire blood-drinking-mind-reading intimacy is on a whole new level. After all, you really can’t get more connected – or more invaded – than that.
And on a similar subject, you can read an excerpt of the upcoming Rolling Stone’s article “The Joys of Vampire Sex” http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/17389/191809 (special thanks to Dawn for the link!)
Or, a great article by Bertena Varney called The Lure of the Dead Boyfriend: http://markdeniz.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/the-lure-of-the-dead-boyfriend
So what do you think? Are vampires appealing because they’re dangerous, or safe?