14 October 2009


Previous articles expounded upon the topics of sexuality and the female vampire and cross-dressing vampires. Following that train of thought, we reach the topic of homosexuality and the vampire.

In literature, the vampire "mixed elements of horror and sexuality. To many, it became a symbol of the release of the powerful emotional energies believed to be bottled up by restrictions on sexual behavior common to many societies" (Melton 341). Samuel Taylor Coleridge introduces the lesbian vampire relationship in his poem "Christabel". In the following verses, we read how "Geraldine leapt upon the bed, and with sudden vehemence enfolded Christabel in her arms".
She took two paces and a stride
And lay down by the maiden's side
And in her arms the maid she took (Coleridge 10).

In the short story "Carmilla", Sheridan Le Fanu draws out the idea of lesbian vampires: "Sometimes after an hour of apathy, my strange and beautiful companion would take my hand and hold it with a fond pressure, renewed again and again; blushing softly, gazing in my face with languid and burning eyes, and breathing so fast that her dress rose and fell with the tumultuous respiration. It was like the ardour of a lover; it embarrassed me; it was hateful and yet overpowering; and with gloating eyes she drew me to her, and her hot lips travelled along my cheek in kisses; and she would whisper, almost in sobs, "You are mine, you shall be mine, and you and I are one for ever" (Le Fanu, Ch 4).

These early works introduce female homosexuality into vampire fiction; however, nearly a hundred years pass before male homosexuality rears its head. "Not until the sexual revolution of the 1960s did a male homosexual vampire appear...During the 1970s several...titles with gay vampires appeared," but "only Tenderness of Wolves was released to the general public. The movie was devoted to the case of Fritz Haarmann [Graphic violence warning], a homosexual serial killer who murdered a number of young boys and drank their blood" (Melton 342).

After the 1970s, homosexual vampires became common place. Most vampires were regarded as ambiguous in gender and sensual in nature. The product of these notions is the homosexual or bisexual vampire. However, the "most significant expression of a vampiric gay relationship" may be contained within Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, in which vampires are unable to consummate sex. Their sexual expression is translated to the sharing of blood, which is, according to Rice, "far superior" to sexual intercourse.

Whether or not blood transfer is more pleasing than a purely sexual connection, I will not say. However, it is important to note how the vampire in literature spearheads the evolution of social norms. The vampire rejects society's taboos and acknowledges alternative lifestyles. The creature of the night, who is considered dark and dead, acts as a guiding light for liberal lives.

I acknowledge that the above post contains a (quite obvious) pun. It's not meant to be offensive. I'm trusting that you have and exercise a sense of humor in the same way that I laugh off the stereotypes that seek to constrain me.

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. "Christabel"
Le Fanu, Sheridan. "Carmilla".
Melton, J. Gordon. The Vampire Book.

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