Why vampires are sexy
In the good old days, before cinema or television, vampires used to be horrific re-animated corpses walking around at night eating the flesh of the living. These old-school vampires had more in common with modern-day zombies than todays toothy enchanters.
But then things started to change. Arguably it all began with the birth of the first modern vampire: Bram Stokers Dracula. Rather than being a zombie-esque corpse, Dracula was a gentleman. A count, even. This meant that he knew how to conduct himself in order to infiltrate human society so he could strike out from within. He was likeable; he was charming. He was sexy.
And from that point on, vampires became the new sex symbols. In books as well as films and television series, vampires were portrayed as overtly sexual beings who seduced and preyed on the week-minded humans.
Why do we get off on vampires?
So. We’ve established that modern vampires are all about the sex. But why? What is it about those undead ectoparasites that we find so attractive?
There’s been countless pieces written on the sex appeal of vampires, with references to anything from the sex-oppressed Victorian society of Bram Stoker to the penetrative action of the vampire fangs. But I don’t fully subscribe to these explanations. Instead (as always, you might sarcastically say), I’ll focus on the biological/psychological aspects of modern vampires and see if that can shed any light on the matter.
One of the main characteristics of modern vampires is their flair for seducing their human victims. All they need to do is to give you a long powerful look and your resistance will melt away like an ice lolly in a hot tub. This seductive power obviously has sexual undertones, and I would argue that it stems from our desire to feel special and confirmed. Having such a powerful and seductive creature focusing solely on you is obviously flattering, and will easily make you forget the tragic consequences of this attention.
We can also note that most victims of vampires rarely object to becoming seduced. They are usually willing slaves. This in turn would suggest that people who find vampires sexually attractive (which is, to be fair, most of us) have either open or hidden masochistic tendencies.
The second trait of modern vampires is that of power. Vampires as magical creatures of immense strength and they have many powerful tricks up their sleeve. Such implied power is a known aphrodisiac, possibly because it shows a person who has done well in live (or afterlife, as it happens), and is in charge of his or her own destiny. And as we humans usually find ourselves victims of circumstances beyond our control, we naturally find this type of power very appealing.
All of this makes us predisposed to want to become vampires ourselves. After all, who wouldn’t want a piece of that kind of (after)life-style?
Finally we come to the core of it: vampires are evil creatures. They live by drinking of human blood. They are soul-less and lack any sense of compassion or empathy. They hide in dark alleys and prey on us like wild beasts. They are truly horrid in every way.
Now, this is interesting. Why are we drawn to evil creatures? We see this in regular human society as well in the form of groupies and followers of psychopaths and mass murderers. I think evil is another kind of power. It shows a person who doesn’t care about the rules of society – a rebel if you will. To rebel against all other people shows confidence and determination, both of which could be seen as attractive traits.
The thrill of bad
In combination, all the above characteristics create a powerful sexual image; a hyper-sex symbol, if you like. It also represent the thrill of what’s bad, in that it’s about sex – and sex is still tabu in many societies (perhaps due to the power of our sex drive, but that’s another post). This also allow us to experience the sexual tension without actually having to think directly about sex.
In addition, it’s also possible that the danger element remind us of the exposed feelings of the early stages of romantic love, where we’re not yet sure of the other persons character and everything is still uncertain and scary.
Summing up, modern vampires are sexy because they are a combination of most (if not all) traits we find sexually attractive in a person. In fact, the best way of testing if a person has any sex appeal is to try to imagine them as vampires. Only those who would make a convincing vampire are truly sexy. It’s as simple as that.