The Lure of the Erotic Vampire

Jaid Black

Humans come equipped with a few basic and fundamentally primal instincts, two of the strongest ones being the need to mate and the need to survive. Because of that fact, I don't think it's any wonder, really, that the lure of the erotic vampire is as strong as it is. What could possibly be sexier, after all, than a sensually masterful alpha male who can offer his female mate eternal life?

Freud once said that we need to believe that we will always exist, even after death. The very notion that once we die we are gone forever goes against the primal instinct all of us have had imprinted on our genes since the womb, the same primitive instinct to survive that put our caveman ancestors' bodies into fight-or-flight mode when they were hunted down by predators. The male vampire offers the human female a way to continue on, a way to ensure that she always exists. Better yet, he is the most ferocious predator on the planet so she can always rest easy that he will care for her well. That in and of itself is powerfully arousing.

Over the years, vampire myths and legends have changed from place to place, but what I have found fascinating in my research is the fact that all cultures have some form or another of these myths, even if the details differ from region to region. And what's more, these vampire myths are as old as human civilization itself. From ancient Manchuria, to tribal Africa, to medieval Europe, the legend of the immortal vampire has permeated every region of the globe and continues to evolve as civilization itself evolves.

Once thought of in the ancient worlds as no more than an animal doing what every other animal does to feed, the vampire didn't become associated with demons and Satantism until the rise Christianity became. The myth surrounding the vampire evolved once again during Europe's Romanticism movement, evolving from the loathed demon known as the vampire to the mystical, sensual male known as the vampyre.

In the modern age, the male vampire has evolved a bit more, becoming not just a mystical, erotic lover, but also a man who has needs and wants, an immortal man who possesses the strong desire to form a permanent attachment with one special human female. In return, he offers his female eternal life, fierce protection, and sexual skill the likes of which human males can't compete.

Again I ask, what could be sexier?

When I began writing my work in progress, The Hunger, I combined all of the above elements to create my own world of vampires complete with my own take on how they first came into being and then evolved. The Hunger follows the life of one male vampire in particular, the sexy and brooding Italian count, Dario Giovanni, beginning with when he is "made" in 1610 and culminating with the human woman he takes as a mate in the modern day.

The Hunger (due out this Halloween at Ellora's Cave) is the very first vampire novel I've written, but from day one I have been completely and utterly mesmerized by it. To me, writing about vampires is a lot like writing futuristics (my other passion) in that there are no rules an author must adhere to and I’m limited by nothing but my own imagination.

Better yet, I can keep bringing my readers back to the characters they grow to love through sequels because a vampire never gets old and never dies. Very Freudian, perhaps, but very sexy indeed.

Sex and the Modern Vampire

Angela Knight
author of several vampire novellas in the Secrets Volumes

Of all the assorted “monsters” of fiction, the only one overtly associated with sex is the vampire. That’s ironic, since the vampire of folklore was not a sexually attractive figure; he was a dead man who fed on blood, a monster about as attractive as a zombie. Bram Stoker changed all that with his novel, Dracula. 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.

Stoker’s Dracula was intelligent, witty, and urbane, but he was not heroic. He was the villain the book’s noble male heroes had to defeat. That plot is still being used to this day. If you look at vampire fiction in the past twenty or so years, you’ll find that male authors almost universally write vampires as the enemy, the rival, the dangerous monster the hero has to kill.

Women take a different view. Indeed, women tend to write vampires as attractive, even when they are overtly anti-heroic. The most famous example of this comes from Anne Rice and her homicidal vampires, who cheerfully feed and kill without a second thought.

I think the reason for this gender split is that women have unconsciously adopted vampires as an archetype for the dangerous male. We see men as alien in profound ways, and our vampire heroes give us a means to talk about our fears and reactions to men in a way that would be difficult with a merely human hero.

First, of course, we use vampires much as Stoker did – as a metaphor for dangerous sex. When a woman has sex with a mortal man, she risks pregnancy and social shame. When she has sex with a vampire, she risks actual death. In both cases, women take the chance in trusting men who may not be trustworthy. In the vampire, so many male attributes are exaggerated, from physical strength to sexuality. Particularly sexuality. In this politically correct age, romance heroes are not allowed to display demanding, aggressive sexuality, but vampires can. Because they need sex to survive in a way no human male does, their vampirism allows them to demand sex without being seen as unheroic. His needs also give the heroine a reason to surrender to her vampire – as an act of self-sacrifice that keeps him alive. This gives her an acceptable reason to get what she wants without appearing morally loose.

Another aspect of the fantasy is that vampires have centuries of sexual experience. My hero in “A Candidate for the Kiss,” in Secrets, Volume 6 had spent 230 years seducing women. He had, in fact, become highly skilled at figuring out a woman’s most intimate fantasy and giving it to her. Almost every female vampire writers mentions her immortal hero’s extensive sexual experience.

Of course, the problem for the writer of such powerful and fascinating men is to make sure they don’t overwhelm their heroines. This is very tricky to do, and I’ve seen a lot of writers fail at it. Personally, I hate limp little Victorian virgin heroines paired with incredibly dominant male vampires.

For good conflict, both opponents must be equal, or nearly so. The heroine must be able to fight her vampire tooth and nail, and do so believably. Otherwise, he’ll just walk all over her, and the result will be acute boredom for him and the reader. There must be something about her that puts her head and shoulders above all the hundreds of other women he’s had in his long life. This is, after all, a man who can seduce anybody. Why does he fall in love with this particular woman?

Given these two elements – a seductive, superhuman vampire and a heroine who is every bit his match – you end up with a sexy, delicious read guaranteed to please.

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