Since my first book The Vampire Shrink came out October, 2007, I’ve done lots of media interviews. At some point in each talk, the interviewer would inevitably lower her voice (most were women) and ask, “Why would a woman fall for a disgusting dead guy?” which prompted a discussion of zombies vs. vampires, giving me an opportunity to defend the appeal of my bloodsucking – undead not dead – lust objects.
I’ve been a vampire fan since I first read Bram Stoker’s Dracula as a kid, and I stood in block-long lines on Saturdays to buy a ticket for the matinee at my local theater, which usually featured scary vampire portrayals by Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee. I enjoyed the werewolf, alien and general monster movies, too, but nothing could freeze my blood like the sight of those sharp incisors hovering over a quivering mortal’s neck.
Most of the early vampire books I read were of the horror variety: Festering, cadaverous, hygiene-challenged bloodsuckers who crawled out of graves to steal children and drag them back to their filthy lairs in fog-shrouded cemeteries. Hideous, terrifying, long-fingered, dark visions from my worst nightmares — walking corpses. What fun.
In 1979, the Frank Langella version of Dracula appeared. Even though sexuality and sensuality had been attributed to vampires much earlier, I didn’t get a personal clue until I saw this movie. Yikes. I remember my friends and I screaming in the theater at the end of the film, hoping Frank would somehow manage to escape and fly away.
Did we find a bloodsucking fiend arousing? What was up with that?
Over the years, I’ve thought about this issue a lot. Not only as a reader and author of vampire books, but as a psychotherapist. You wouldn’t believe how many women share dreams and fantasies of vampires in therapy (and what great book material!).
Here are a few of the reasons we love vampires:
Vampires are the quintessential bad boys of the preternatural universe.
They break the rules, have little – if any – regard for human laws/morals, and don’t even try to be politically correct. They’re the dark, brooding figures hiding in the shadows and we love projecting our secret, forbidden fantasies onto them. Unlike the “normal” men we know, vampires won’t sit around drinking beer and watching television. They’re adventurous. And dangerous – in every way. Imagine James Dean with fangs. Or, Captain Jack Sparrow rising from his coffin.
Vampires need our very blood to live.
What could be more intimate (especially combined with sex) than the lure of someone who can’t exist without the blood flowing in our veins? In many vampire mythologies, the very act of sucking blood causes a body sensation (for the suckee) more powerful than the most vivid orgasm. Who wouldn’t want that? Where can I sign up?
Vampires can grant us immortality.
Afraid of death? Most humans are. Fall under the spell of a vampire, take his blood, and live forever – or for a long time, at the very least. Worried about keeping your body in shape? Never fear. You’ll never gain another pound and will be eternally young (depending on your age at turning). Existence won’t become boring for at least a century or two, right?
Vampires are extraordinary.
This one is my favorite. The vampires I love in movies and books (and my own vampire hero, Devereux) are brilliant. They’ve used their long lives to gain wisdom and knowledge. They’re usually gorgeous, and have bodies to die for. And, while they have flaws and psychological baggage from their human years, they seek understanding and awareness of themselves and the universe at large (it’s a good thing there are psychologists to work with these tortured creatures!).
Vampires have stamina.
Endless sex? Enough said.
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