Saturday, May 19, 2007

Why do women love vampires?

A newspaper reporter friend asked me that the other day.

We hadn't seen each other for a while, and she was surprised to find out that the book I'd written (she knew I was writing one, and she just assumed it was nonfiction -- something about psychology or hypnotherapy or psychic abilities) was about vampires. She was so surprised, that she stood silent, staring at me for several seconds. "Vampires? Like the old gross, skinny bald guy with the long, filthy fingernails? Like Bela Lugosi? Why would you want to write about them?" I explained that I found the idea of a gorgeous immortal tapping at my window, wanting inside to share my bed, to be highly arousing. "Ewwwwww," she said. "You like the idea of having sex with some festering dead thing?" "No," I explained. "That sounds more like zombies. Not my orgasmic cup of tea at all."

So, for the next half hour I told her about paranormal romance and the explosion of vampire fiction over the last few years. She hadn't even read Anne Rice!! She said she had a hard time wrapping her mind around the apparent fact that women love vampires. (I'm sure men love vampires too, but that's a totally different subject, which I won't cover for now.)

Anyway, she said that if a wrote an article about "Why Do Women Love Vampires," she'd see what she could do to use it as a feature article. No promises. Well, cool!

Hera St. Aubyn is going to help with the research, by asking a different question on her blog: How many different "kinds" of vampires are there, and which is your favorite and why?

So, I'm going to ask all my vampire-loving friends to tell me why they love vampires. If you'd like to leave a comment with your opinion here (and on Hera's blog), we'd be very grateful!

So, why do women love vampires?


Blogger Tempest Knight said...

Vampires are dark and dangerous. They are also torment. Add to this that they're sensual creatures and totally uninhibitedly sexual, capable of awakening your most primal sexual instincts. How can you not love them? *winks*

11:33 PM  
Blogger zeldadg said...

We love them because they are the ultimate bad boys. In a paranormal romance, they find a woman who is "the one" after searching for hundreds of years. Talk about an ego rush - to be the everlasting love of an immortal. And then the heroine is in control of all this danger and power. She is vulnerable and powerful at the same time.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Missy Sue said...

I have to say that it's that bad boy element and what gal doesn't want a man who can protect them like a vamp can? Added to this, the blatant sexuality almost every vamp's every woman's dream...whether they admit it or not ;)

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is that huge thing about living forever with the one you love. Not just until one of you die, but forever! Talk about passionate! Plus the whole never aging thing? The all time botox!

And I agree, the bad boy element is so sexy. But have you ever noticed that most sexy vampires also have an angelic look to them? It's like having a slice of perfection.

It's also about the connection. Like zeldadg said, what an ego rush!

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me its the super bad boy with tons of experiance, add the fear of the first bite, yum! The mortal plus immortal suspense, not knowing if they can live happily ever after, Oh did I say the tons of experiance???

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your friend had the right idea about the original vampires of legend. According to traditional myths, vampires were little more than wandering spirits or slightly more intelligent versions of zombies. It wasn't until Bram Stoker combined these legends with elements of the historical accounts from Vlad Tepes and Elizabeth Bathory that Dracula was born. Bela Lugosi forever changed the vampire with his portrayal of Dracula as a sophisticated foreign gentlemen. The character isn't nearly as charming in the book.

However, Anne Rice is the reason we have the modern paranormal romance vampire because she gave us Lestat. He's broody. He's sexy. He's a misunderstood bad boy. She used James Dean and Jim Morrison as inspiration for the character. Suddenly vampires had a "soul" and were capable of intense emotions other than blood lust. She, for lack of a better word, humanized the vampire.

Can we still find the old-style "I'd rather kill you than have sex with you" vampires? Yes, but they aren't easy to find. And most of the authors choosing to create vampires of that nature are male. The paranormal romance vampire (written mostly by women) is the ultimate dream guy. He's young (in appearance). He's powerful yet vulnerable. He's rich. He's gorgeous. He's sophisticated. He's deadly and compassionate at the same time. He's the kind of guy you can take home to Mom and trust to say all the right things, but once you have him alone, in bed, he's a wild animal. He allows us to flirt with death and still remain safe. We all know we can walk away as soon as the sun comes up.

Besides, it's fun. :)

9:11 AM  
Blogger Lia said...

I come by my love of the paranormal and sci-fi honestly. It is all my mother's fault. She named me after the witch on Dark Shadows that was responsible for Barnabas becoming a vampire. Is it any wonder my keeper pile is almost all paranormals

Almost every woman who is honest enough to admit it is attracted to bad boys. What woman wouldn't like knowing that her love was strong enough to save a tortured soul.

Besides they are almost always physical perfection, at least my hero is.

9:16 AM  
Blogger Teresa D'Amario said...

Because he's not politically correct. In today's world of "Careful what you say, and who you say it to", it's nice to have a man who says and does what he wants. Who takes what he wants, and usually does so without hurting anyone else - except the bad guy of course.

All of the topics brought up to date are good examples of why they are so popular. I personally like an original vampire - a man we term as "vampire" only because we traditionally called any character that ingested blood as vampires. I like it when it's a race of beings rather than a virus.

I think part of the problem isn't "Why do women love vampires", but is more "Why do women like men who are true alpha men?" Because we can't write a human that's a true alpha male. That just wouldn't be politically correct.

It also explains all the reasons for the popularity of shapeshifters as well. It's just politically correct, but sure makes for a great rush of pleasure.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vampires are sexy because they need us.

Powerful, immortal, sensual, wise, dangerous, and completely helpless without one thing, the blood of the woman they love.

The old style vampires simply tore open a throat and took what they needed. Not sexy. Today's vampire seduces and desires and woos and focuses all this wonderful passion on a woman to get from her what he cannot survive without. He will not take it, she must give it, and that gives her absolute power of life or death over him. Very, very sexy.

And, Anne Rice was far from the first to come up with the idea of sexy vampires. They have been around a long time. I don't even think Anne Rice's vampires are very sexy. I believe someone mentioned Barnabus on Dark Shadows, but there are others. If you want a sexy vampire who predates Anne Rice by quite a bit, look at Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's St. Germaine. I grew up reading those novels, and wishing to be the focus of all that desire, passion, and need.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have to agree with teresa d'amario on the whole alpha male perspective. Guys seem more and more to be cut from the same mold (clothes, hair, build) it's nice to lose yourself in a story where the man is a man for a lack of a better term. Granted he's a bit dead and could accidentally crush you, but that just adds to the tenderness he does show. And, as someone who likes her men smart, the accumulated knowledge of hundreds of years and often first-hand knowledge is really sexy.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's the whole biting thing as well... anyone else find that a major turn on?
I love the bad boy image and the ageless kind of beauty. And the immortality issue means that vampires are gonna be talented in the bedroom...
But lets not forget the biting.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I imagine the reasons for loving vampires are as varied as the number of readers out there. However, I can suggest a couple of reasons.
1. The impossible love paradigm is irresistable. It plays out in other forms, too. Take Catherine and Vincent of Beauty and the Beast, or the Ghost and Mrs. Muir, the women who love the Immortals in Highlander, or the Doctor forced to leave Rose in another universe to keep from destroying her and all life. For any of these loves to work, something has to change, either one of the lovers' views, one of their biologies, or what have you.

2. Vampires inherently need redemption due to the prevalent thought that they are automatically damned. I have a few thoughts on that that could take on a whole page in and of itself, but I won't digress to that. Love is a redemptive force, even if it is not a romantic love, but for genre purposes, romance works, and in seeing another redeemed, we also gain a glimmer of redemption for ourselves.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's the beauty of immortality...being young and beautiful forever, but having monstrous urges. Being dark and mysterious but charming and sophisticated. It's romance and danger wrapped in one gorgeous can you resist the temptation of getting the best of both worlds???

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are dark dangerous and mysterious. Think about the vmapires described in storys. He is a bad boy and his body is perfect, Chiseled to perfection and his eyes always are a deep color. Lestat in from Anne Rice. he was the ultimate Bad Boy Vamp. but he made you just want to say "Bite me and F**k me all at the same time" And if you have read Laurell K Hamilton The Anita Blake series... Well Master of City Jean Claude.. I need say no more than "OMG" and "Please"
They are just arousing beyond belief!!

11:37 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

First, thanks to everyone for all the awesome comments. So appreciated.

Brenna Lyons emailed me that Blogger isn't being cooperative today, so she couldn't post her commments here. I copied and pasted what she sent me. Thanks, Brenna!

Why do we love vampires?

Yes, they are bad boys. Yes, they are powerful and tortured. Yes, they find the one woman who can ground them and give them peace. But, it's more than even that.

Think about vampires for a moment. Vampires, despite the old tales about them, are not always UNDEAD or walking corpses, cold, clammy, rotting, fact, the best vampires in history have looked appealing, at least part of the time. Depending on the mythos, they might never have died in the first place. They might be hot-blooded, living creatures that depend on blood to continue living...or to fuel their power. They might even be psychic vampires and not blood ones.

So, now you're dealing with a powerful being, intelligent (what woman doesn't like an intelligent man?), powerful, committed to his woman and to protecting her... But, it doesn't even end there.

No, now you have to add in the other attributes of a vampire. Vampires are known for their psychic abilities. What does that mean? It means he knows exactly what turns you on...or makes you happy and can provide it. It means he can seduce a woman without question that she A) wants him and B) is enjoying every moment of it.

And, vampires are known for the ability to shapeshift or dematerialize...or otherwise make themselves unseen. What does that mean? Let's see... Who doesn't dream of flying...or running as a wolf? Become a vampire like him and make those dreams come true. Or don't, and he can fly you with him. He can dematerialize into a mist... Hmmm... Surprising you in your bed at night. Very arousing. Being unseen... Well, the voyeur in some women are highly aroused by that concept.

Overall, you've got all those perks PLUS a long life, and what are the down sides? He drinks blood. IF a vampire's mate drinks blood, it's often from him and highly erotic for her. But, she may not have to. She may simply have a lifeforce that matches his, because they are bonded.

Even the sunlight thing changes from mythos to mythos, meaning that vampires do not have to abandon the daylight. In some worlds, the vampire is less powerful during daylight but can walk in the sun. In some, there are scientific ways to hide his skin from sunlight without it showing. In some, the older, more powerful vampires can take increasing amounts of sunlight, so if yours is powerful, no problem.

Good luck with your research.
Brenna Lyons

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the reason why women love vampires is the whole dark and sexual persona they carry. They are terrifying to some people but I am a sanguinarian vampire and I adore vampires because they're my own kind and ever since I've been one (for nearly fifteen years), I've felt a very strong sexual connection with them for years. They're sexy, mysterious, and above all delicious! >:)

2:54 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

This comment comes from Romantic Heretic via MySpace:

As I imagine them vampires are all these things.

Except for 'superior to humans'. They aren't. Not really. Individually they are more powerful, but, in my world at least, they are highly dependent on humans. Not just for food, but for emotion and society.

Humans change the world. Vampires just adapt to it.

Also, if humans knew that vampires existed vampires would be extinct in a month. A platoon of infantry properly armed showing up at a vampire's sleeping place during the day would make short work of any vampire.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, like most of the women I work or spend time with, have a fascination with a dark, sexy man with an air of danger thrown in.

Most of the time vampires are after only one thing, but are willing to do anything for us to get us to give them that one thing...willingly. Whatever our most wanted desire is, be it making love, wooing us or simply cooking dinner and making sure the kids are taken care of; whatever our hearts desire.

A man willing to do anything for me, his "motive" aside, is my ultimate hero!

5:27 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

As almost everyone has said, there's the bad boy mystique going on with most vampires in literature lately. However, for me it is the fact that they've seen their original world, their original family and loved ones, their original selves die and get swept away by a new time. It's the history that comes with them that entices me. The fact that they have to adapt to survive and yet most still long for their olden times. And because of this, their loneliness tends to stand out in most characters. That is another attractive factor: could we be the one who could cure them of that?

5:30 PM  
Blogger Leffy said...

many reasons we love vampires. the most common reason? they're sensual. they survive through seduction, so they must be well versed in.... anatomy. vampires have ALWAYS been linked, one way or another, to sex. some myths claim they need the blood of virgins. i once read a myth about vampires being the trapped souls of unborn babies from "relations" out of wedlock, so they fed from the breast of their victims. i've read another myth that claimed they had two penises to fully consume their victims purity with.
almost always these myths were from times and eras where sexuality was strongly repressed in women. few myths center around men being the victims. almost always the vampire is or was a lecherous beast feeding on the life force of a woman, awaking her sexuality, which in a time where it was beleived women should not feel arousal would confuse her poor weak mind, and make her crazed and needy of his brand of evil.
we want to be seduced. we want to feel erotic sensations and situations that leave other experiences pale and wanting in our minds hearts and bodies. the vampire promises this. no mere mortal can match a beast of raw virility. the primitive parts of our beings remembers when our men had to be the strongest, the most aggressive, and the most ingenious to keep us. the vampire is a throw back to that need take have mentality that our darker hearts crave to feel from our mates.

9:26 PM  
Blogger angelvamp13 said...

I think (pretty much like everyone else) that what most people think of when they think of a vampire, is the Brad Pitt from Interview. Someone who oozes sexuality and not so much like Nosferatu. In most vampire stories (TV, movies, lit) that I've seen/read, vampires are much more like Brad Pitt than Nosferatu. Although in many cases there are two sides to the vampire and that add to the danger that I think many women like. They can be sweet and sexy one minute, but the next they can be plunging their fangs into your neck. Buffy is good example of this since the vampires physically change when they are going to feed or fight (I think there are other examples like this but I can't think of any right now). Either way vampires have always been fascinating to me and I've been obsessed ever since I read Dracula when I was 13.

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vampires are attractive to women for a multitude of reasons. They offer a sensuality and heightened awarness to us that no other can. There beauty cannot be matched. They are passionte but not "players" They transcend our normal lives and give a glimpse of immortality and forever youth. In a society that is obsessed with beauty and staying young vampires are a womans way of having someone that will allways be young and sexy. Plus, for some there is the chance that they may turn us and we will forever be young and have a person that loves us for eternity.

The vampire in paranormal romance comes off as either a tortured soul who has longed his entire life for only that one woman who can be the savior of his damnation and the one person that he will worship, cherish, love and care for for all time. This gives two more reasons why we love them. Women want to feel loved and special. It also allows us to be the savior to take care of someone and save them in a way only we can.

Another way vampires capture the hearts of women is through the badboy syndrome. He is still loving and caring but he has had this evil past and this gives us a chance to save him but he has that ultimate element of danger. You feeled loved and safe. But then again thier is always that smalll element of danger.

Lastly, some vampires are sucubus' which means that have a natural allure for women. They are made to be sensual, and pleasurers of the flesh. Women are attracted to this because deep down they want someone who will be passionate, sexy, and sensual in and out of the bedroom.

P.S. We cannot forget about the blood aspect. Whether we deny it or not. Their is something about blood that is a real turn on for most women.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Kathy Kulig said...

Vampires are the ultimate tortured hero. Many women are drawn to the forbidden, the danger and can't resist trying to rescue the sexy alpha male. Of course, only she can rescue him, only he is worthy of her love, and only she can save him from his miserable world.

Kathy Kulig

3:18 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

What amazing responses! Thanks so much to everyone who shared! Much appreciated.

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do we love vampires?

Are they every womens fantasy? yes

wouldn't we give ANYTHING to make it or them a reality? absolutely

what sane woman doesn't want to save their immortal souls from destruction with the one and only vampire you love? no one

simply put it:

Their any possible way you can imagine.

we will also be hooked with shapeshifters: total alpha male, wanting complete control of your body and soul...maybe it's already to late.

isabella swan

6:44 AM  

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