29 June 2009

Vampire reproduction

According to L.A. Banks in The Awakening, "Vampires can't breed...their seed is dead...They make more [vampires] through the bite" (P163). As previously mentioned, this argument is fallacious. The world is not overpopulated by vampires; therefore, they must not reproduce through a bite (Read more: turning a human into a vampire).

So, how do the 'undead' reproduce?
If you've seen the movie Van Helsing, your mind probably conjures up the image of giant cocoons and exploding monster-bats. This is Hollywood at its best. I guarantee you that vampires do not create cocoons or have bat-children.

But, they do reproduce. After all, vampires surface in all time periods and all parts of the world. Some manner of reproduction occurs. In humans, reproduction most commonly happens through sex. Vampires are also capable of sexual intercourse. The Empusa, generally believed to be among the oldest blood drinkers, seduced men into bed and drained their blood after weakening them with sex. Female vampires are still often depicted as "ravenous succubae that take more than just blood from their male victims" (Ramsland 225).

Male vampires are also physically capable of having sexual intercourse. If a male vampire is feeding, he should have adequate blood to achieve an erection in the same manner as humans. Circulation of blood should not be squabbled about, because "the discovery of corpses with erections" is "not [an] uncommon occurrence" (223).

Furthermore gypsies, the source of much vampire folklore, "believed that vampires left the grave at night to have sex with their spouses" (223). Vampire-Human copulation seems possible, right? After all, the anatomy does correspond. But, what about reproduction? "Poppy Z. Brite's vampires can have children with mortals, and dhampirs are the result of such a union" (224). "Usually a dhampir has a vampiric father and mortal mother" (Belanger 116). According to the supporters of the dhampir idea, a male vampire can copulate with a female human and may produce a viable offspring, which is "physically indistinguishable from ordinary humans" and is considered a sub-race of humanity (Morton). Reportedly, "dhampirs can recognize vampires" easily, and although their particular traits vary by legend, they do not usually possess supernatural powers (Handeland 131). Since dhampirs share the same traits as humans, it is logical to assume that they can live a normal existence without ever realizing their vampiric nature. However, if "they share the blood...then they become more vampire than human" (132).

What does this mean? Well, the idea of a dhampir indicates that vampires may reproduce and that the hybrid-offspring will become a vampire if it begins to consume blood. This falls in line with the modern vampire community's assertion that vampires gradually become aware of their vampiric nature as they reach maturity.

If you buy into the possibility of a dhampir, then you may question whether female vampires can produce children. Like all vampiric mysteries, the topic is debated. Among the mythological "lamie, styrges, empuse; children were the objects of their envy and thus their hatred" (Levi 90).

For a single case study, let's examine Lamia. "Lamias were creatures which made love to sleeping men and also killed and ate their children". To understand why, we should look to the "original Lamia" who "was said to have been a beautiful Libyan queen...Hera was bitterly jealous and murdered Lamia's children. Lamia went mad with grief...and in desperate revenge she stole and devoured other people's children" (Cavendish 100). Clearly, Lamia had children, but that was prior to the moment when "her beauty changed to bestial ugliness", or in other words, she become evil (100). This idea of a childless female snatching the children of women develops throughout the legends as "the adulteration of familial bliss by a vampire or monster presence" (Principe 99). Of course, if a female vampire stole a human child the child would still be human, which does not solve the problem of reproduction. Some sources assert that the spirit of the vampire enters child of a dead mother, whether killed by a vampire or deceased in childbirth (Poe 16). However, this idea "dictates the precept of monogenesis--that is,...the descent of an entire race from the vampiric Progenitor" (Principe 94).

Is there a single vampiric ancestor from whom all blood-drinkers descend? --I suppose that there must be, but I have never met a blood-drinker who has knowledge of vampiric origins. Do vampires reproduce? --Yes, but I will not say how. Some questions cannot be answered, and I refuse to answer others; however, you are welcome to voice any opinions and provide knowledgeable sources on the matter.


Banks, L.A. The Awakening.
Belanger, Michelle. Sacred Hunger.
Cavendish, Richard. The powers of evil in Western religion, magic and folk belief.
Dundles, Alan. The vampire.
Handeland, Lori. Doomsday Can Wait.
Levi, Eliphas. Alphonse louis Constant. Arthur Edward Waite. The history of magic.
Morton, EW. Out for Blood.
Poe, Edgar Allen. Morella. 1836.
Principe, David Del. Rebellion, Death, and Aesthetics in Italy.
Ramsland, Katherine M. The Science of Vampires.


  1. I like your arguments but I don't think male Vampires would stoop so low as to sleep with a human. And why would they want children in the first place? If so they wouldn't need sex to have one. Just steal a human child and when he or she comes of age, bite them.

  2. You raise an interesting point. Folklore is riddled with legends of copulation between vampires and humans. Does that mean it's true?...of course not. I refuse to say definitively how new vampires come into being. Certainly, it does not happen when a human is bitten by a vampire.

    I would appreciate reading more about your opinions. Please sign a name next time, so that we can continue a conversation. Thank you.