On the viability of vampire sexuality

“Vampires are immortal, you can do whatever you want, and get away with it. And there’s the seduction part of course, sex is a big part of the vampire thing.”

– Jonny Lee Miller

One of the many theories on humanity dictates that humans are primarily a fine combination between the instinctual (animalistic) element and that of the spiritual. We amalgamate the two to create a beastial nature leashed by a conscious mind. Thus we are capable of, and have the drives to, procreate, hunt, and defend what we ‘own.’ Even by murder if necessary. But we occasionally choose not to, to defend what we perceive as a higher form of life.

It can thus be said that if we did not have these physical needs to contend with, we may be far more attuned as a race, capable of overcoming the need for an environment held together by law. Or, vice versa, one might say we would be better off without a thinking mind to provoke us towards acts we believe we should not be committing. For instance, if we removed the conscious thought process, we would not understand a word such as taboo. It would not hold connotations for us, and we would not feel inclined to take a part in these acts just to say ‘I’ve been there.’ Sexuality, in and of itself, is a concept of the conscious mind. However, it is driven by the instinct within all people to procreate; to leave a legacy in the hands of a life which we were, in part, responsible for.

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Intimacy is the desired response in the face of sexual interaction. Something which occurs if one has a conscious mind guiding one to behave with spiritualism in the face of an act with a purpose so sublime as to create life. If we only perform the deed and then move on, forgetting about the action which just took place, whilst subconsciously seeking out the next opportunity, we behave no better than animals.

So intimacy can be perceived as the bridge between the animal and the spirit inside us. Soothing the animal and placating the spirit.

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It is in this vein that one should consider the subject of vampirism and sex.

For the vampire, creation shifts. It is no longer a physical drive that can be achieved in the natural manner (despite what Twilight is teaching kids these days), but rather a focus of the spiritual mind. An echo remaining from human days; that he needs company and a child. And the safety of knowing there is someone else attached to him, beholden to him in ways that only a child can be. There is no glandular need to create life, so the instinctual desire to procreate dissipates. Yes, as with any creature, the need for shelter, dominance (to some extent), and, most especially, sustenance is still there, but sexual intercourse is not a physical want. It can’t be, as anything other than a conscious desire to display intimacy.

In popular culture, we are faced with two opposing view-points on vampires and sex. Two extremes, really. Either the vampires we view are oversexed, constantly indulging in lust as a means to become more monstrous or more human. Or entirely devoid of the need to engage in sexual intercourse.

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In the former category we have tales such as True Blood. In this television series, vampires relate sexually with each other and humans out of – what appears to be – a physical desire, not just for intimacy, but for the sake of having sex. It is a matter which is not clearly defined. And this may be my only gripe with the show; that vampires seem to have sex just because they can. I suppose if you have nothing better to do then it’s a perfectly decent way to spend one’s time. I’m not saying the nervous system does not react in the same way. But that is an element one needs to take into consideration. In the vampiric form, if the body is no longer driven towards procreation, is sex viable? Does the gratification system, the body’s reward system (good for your animal health equals nice feelings) still exist? I imagine that the only reason True Blood vampires seduce humans is as a precursor to feeding, and not for the giddy endorphin release.

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As for the latter option on under-sexed vampires, one can look to Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. These vampires are more than capable of engaging in sex, but, more than often, do not for all the reasons listed above. If there is no physical drive, then the point is moot. If the need to procreate does not exist, then, one can imagine, the reward system for that particular instinct no longer exists. And all is overwhelmed by the sensation of feeding. It is a common perception throughout vampire literature, and one that makes perfect sense:

Vampires are, physically, centred on one purpose, to satiate their hunger. Thus, the desire to have sex, and the feeling of gratification inherent in that action, is no longer there. So, one can conclude, that vampires would only engage in sex to verify feelings of intimacy, love, and desire.

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It therefore follows that vampires cannot be considered in terms of a ‘sexual orientation,’ homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual. If the need to procreate dissipates, so too do the lines between gender. Intimacy becomes a product of the mind, and gender, if kept in line, does not diminish the mind. Although, it is pertinent to understand that it is only in recent history that the majority of women have been educated and can converse in an intellectual and provocative manner. Coincidentally, it only fits that men would, prior to this occurrence, gravitate towards one another, and stray from female companionship. Consequently, if intimacy in a creature that does not crave sex is a thing of the mind, then intimacy would transfer more easily between men than between men and women.

If humanity is a higher form of consciousness because it combines both spiritual and physical, then vampirism, which has left the majority of the physical behind, is higher still. It is a state of transcendence, a ‘becoming,’ if you will. In such a state, the act of sex is obsolete. Love is not tied in with sex, it is only the urging of a body bent on creating more like itself that leads us to think so.

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14 Comments

  • Reply Devika Fernando March 2, 2013 at 9:29 am

    *applauds* you have a fine point here and as usual, you convey it perfectly with the right mixture of succinct words and philosophy.
    though i like the twilight books (don’t kill me :p ), the sex part and especially the making-a-child part have never convinced me at all because to me, the concept of vampires and sexuality in anne’s books makes much more sense.
    your theories to me are backed up by – just for example – the way lestat reacts to physical attraction and intercourse in “tale of the body thief” when he’s suddenly human again. and by the way he reacts to / treats rowan in “blood canticle”.
    vampires to me are in general personified sexuality and eroticism but it makes perfect sense that to them it not what it is to humans, if it is anything at all.
    oh, and the homosexual / bisexual controversy… people always jump on that to criticize anne’s writing but, as is clear when reading you words, it makes perfect sense as well.

    • Reply Lafaeyette March 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Thanks, Devika. I’ll try not to kill you on the Twilight point :P. Hey, I read all four books and watched the movies, who am I to judge.
      Yeah, all evidence points to a ‘lack’ of sexuality with vampires, even though they ooze sex appeal. It’s something Rich and I are trying to bring across in Bought in Blood.

  • Reply Autumn March 17, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    I must disagree that people are only driven to have sex for matters of procreation. If that were true, there would be no such thing as prostitution, rape, or accidental pregnancy. Women like myself who have undergone hysterectomy would have no desire at all to have sex, and yet my husband and I have lots and lots of sex and thoroughly enjoy it.

    People (and those who self identify as vampires) have sex because it feels good, and only have sex for procreation if they’re actively trying to get pregnant. To say that those who cannot procreate would have no desire for sex whatsoever is ludicrous. Whether we’re wanting to produce a child or not, people get horny and have sex. We’ve done so throughout our existence, and very often, producing a baby is a byproduct of that act, not the origin.

    • Reply Lafaeyette March 18, 2013 at 6:01 am

      The intention behind what was written here is that the origin of the drive to have sex comes from a biological need to procreate. Following on from that, as creatures with both a body and a mind, we attach certain emotional desires to sex as well.

  • Reply rozy March 11, 2014 at 2:49 am

    What would suck most about being an Anne Rice vampire is that you have to experience all the thoughts of every random despicable person you ever feed off. That is why as big a fan of the VC I am, all in all I am a bigger fan of the concept of werewolf. Werewolves feed with abandon of the mind and I have never read the werewolf novel where they feel the victims thoughts but that is common in vampire literature.

    • Reply Carmen Dominique March 11, 2014 at 7:19 am

      I find it exquisite that they come to love their victims through experiencing their lives in the blood, no matter how wretched they are. The greatest example for me of this is when Lestat kills Roger in Memnoch and he experiences those snippets of Roger’s life, he finds reason for the man’s foul nature.

  • Reply rozy March 11, 2014 at 2:53 am

    You know there are feminists who would disagree with you! http://witchwind.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/piv-is-always-rape-ok/

    • Reply Carmen Dominique March 11, 2014 at 7:20 am

      Hah! I know. And, I am fully against forcing a person to anything, of course. But I do believe that many woman are drawn to the ‘bad boy’ because there is an element of threat inherent there.

  • Reply Hook in Mouth May 22, 2014 at 7:29 am

    “It therefore follows that vampires cannot be considered in terms of a ‘sexual orientation,’ homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual.” This is why it was dumb how so many people hated on The Vampire Armand because GHEY!

  • Reply Willow November 15, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Dear, I love this posting. ^_^ I completely agree, with you. I don’t see the vampires having sex as mortals do. Yes, they are very intimate, but it has nothing to do with body parts(save for the fangs).
    <3
    Willow.

    • Reply Carmen Dominique November 15, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Thank you, Willow. The issue is the use of the word sexuality in an area of study where it has no place. Vampires are intimate, more often than not, not sexual.

      • Reply Willow November 15, 2014 at 11:11 am

        Of course it isn’t as I would put it ‘Poking one another’ it is much much more than that. And my Brain’s not working Perfectly. <3 Otherwise I'd post more. Either way, Thank you for this site. I love it.

  • Reply Seer March 16, 2015 at 4:33 am

    Umm.. Ok, all good and reasonable points, except.. for the question as to whether the drive to procreate is glandular or hard-wired instinct. Instinct isn’t something that goes away, and doesn’t change without numerous generations designed to eliminate or change it – as in domestication of animals for instance ; the generations it took to develop wild canids into the dog – and the generations of selective breeding it then took to develop the numerous breeds – all the while redirecting the instinctive prey drive into something other than ‘kill and eat’. That prey drive instinct is still very much present, and can be exhibited by individual animals (if unsocialized or not properly trained), or in feral populations. So, if the urge to mate is an instinct (as we assume it is in the ‘lower’ forms of animals) then just because vampires can not reproduce sexually doesn’t negate the desire to achieve intercourse.

    The connection between sex as procreation and sex as a desire to form an emotional attachment is only a human construct – in other words we’re imagining it’s valid.

    As well, intercourse is not always about procreation, it is also often a display of dominance – and vampires are generally dominant temperamentally. Sex is also a tool of self-expression, whether to express aggression or affection, or for simple physical enjoyment. IF the drive to mate is instinctive, with immortality the genetic / mutation aspect isn’t a factor, so it would seem to me to follow that to have, or not have, intercourse remains an individual choice. Within literary tradition vampires aren’t simple mindless feeding machines, they often seek out / absorb their current environments / cultures – and just as we humans keep domestic pets, individual vampires might very well develop attachments to their own kind as well as other species. Personally I would think that the answer to “Do vampires have sex?” would depend on the answer to “How old is the vampire?”

    • Reply Carmen Dominique March 17, 2015 at 10:03 am

      I have taken the concept of instinct into account, which is why, I maintain, the act of sex remains with vampire-kind. People engage in sex for a myriad of reasons, some of those being simple human responses such as love, envy, possession. As you said, a tool of self-expression. What I did not discuss here, which I would still like to, is that vampires, ultimately, become ever more human in the way that they perceive not only themselves but, the world around themselves. If a vampire was homophobic in life, they will remain so, and probably become more staunch in death.

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