Sexing the Succubus – Out of the erotica frying pan and into the horror fire

Imagine you are on your honeymoon, and you and your partner are blissfully happy in your shared intimacy. Suddenly a strange woman appears and all thoughts of love and fidelity are forgotten in a frenzy of animal lust for this stranger, who leaves you just as suddenly and you know you’ll never see her again. The sex was fantastic, the best you’ve ever had, but has left you feeling drained somehow. Your partner is well aware of what you have done, and may have been a fellow victim and participant.

How would you react to this strange event?

Back in December, alexkellyoc suggested I write a lesbian story about a succubus being in love with another succubus.

(See here for index to Lesbian Succubus Diary and other succubus-related posts.)

My initial thought was that it didn’t really make sense. Traditionally the role of the succubus is to collect semen (okay, yes, sperm), which the incubus uses to inseminate.

The Dominican Charles René Billuart (1685–1757), in his Tractatus de Angelis, wrote: “The same evil spirit may serve as a succubus to a man; and as an incubus serve a woman.” By this duality they were able to re-use semen received while acting as a succubus for later emission as incubus.
—Rossell Hope Robbins, The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology

It’s difficult to really embrace the idea of a lesbian succubus whose life revolves around the male member. It’s also difficult to escape the ickiness trap when semen has such importance.

The usual solution to this in modern fiction is to make the succubus a creature that feeds on sexual energy. I like this idea because it removes gender constraints. (I will continue to use ‘she’ and ‘her’, but really even the gender of the succubus becomes a choice not a requirement.) But it’s also the start of a slippery slope. In Lost Girl, which I haven’t seen (yet), the sex seems to be optional.

I suppose I’m biased in that I see the succubus as a variant of vampire, one that feeds through sex rather than on blood. Last year I wrote a set of rules for vampires, and these should apply also to succubi. So, to be specific…

Succubus as superhero: I don’t have a problem with succubi being beautiful and having special abilities, but for them to be succubi then at least one of the following has to be true:

  1. The character must, in some way, feed off human essence – and it must be direct! Intimate sexual contact of one form or another.
  2. The character must struggle (frequently) with the desire to feed off human essence through intimate sexual contact of one form or another.

I think for the succubus I want to add another important attribute:

  • It’s not just sex. There must be negative consequences for the victim.

I guess the point I’m making here is that a succubus shouldn’t be able to survive in a normal, healthy relationship. A single partner should never be enough to satisfy her needs. The same way that a single partner should never satisfy a vampire – the vampire’s need for blood should be greater than a human’s ability to recover. And, yes, I know there are a lot of vampire romances that find ways around this, or just ignore it.

The Malleus Maleficarum related an incident at Coblenz. In front of his wife and friends, a man was forced to have intercourse with a succubus. He kept at it three times; but when the succubus wanted to recommence, the man fell to the floor worn out.
—Rossell Hope Robbins, The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology

Clearly I’m arguing that the succubus should forever be seeking new victims (sexual partners), that this is her nature and to do otherwise would be self-destructive. You can see how that would sit very uncomfortably in the Romance genre.

And if it’s a need that cannot be denied, in the same way that a vampire’s need for blood cannot be denied, then what happens when her need for sex outweighs the morality of consent? Is it still rape if her fundamental need for sex demands it? People seem okay generally with the idea of vampires taking human blood without consent (see Consent), but how do people feel about succubi forcing sex on unsuspecting humans? Does it make a difference if the succubus has the power to make the victim want sex (see Non-consensual consent)?

The huge difference between blood drinking and sex is that the latter can be interpreted as ‘natural’, whereas blood drinking will always seem ‘unnatural’. To be attacked by a vampire is to face an external horror. To be attacked by a succubus is to face an internal horror: Why did I do that? What’s wrong with me? I’m sick! I’m a horrible person!

Even if the encounter seems like no more than a fading dream – inexplicable and wonderful, yet also obliquely horrifying because the unconscious mind knows it really happened – is that any different?

The idea of being used by a beautiful succubus is seductive in fantasy, but the reality of it is horrifying. Consent is all about control of our bodies and the free will to give up that control. The succubus not only uses your body, she takes away your free will.

So, these are some of the thoughts circling in my head, mostly thanks to alexkellyoc. I’m trying to write her a love story, but who knows where Lesbian Succubus Diary will end up.

About Frank

A Sci-Fi & Fantasy author and lyrical poet with a mild obsession for vampires, succubi, goddesses and Supergirl.
This entry was posted in Sexuality, Succubus, Vampires and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sexing the Succubus – Out of the erotica frying pan and into the horror fire

  1. And now for something almost completely different: Check out “The Celibate Succubus,” by Barton Paul Levenson–the adventures and struggles of a demon who becomes a Christian and fights against the forces of evil. No really, I’m serious. The book exists, and it’s good. http://barkingrainpress.org/celibate-succubus/. The publisher I do editing for put it out.

    • Frank says:

      I think I’ve seen that before. I haven’t read it and the following comments may or may not apply.

      I think this post of mine is partly in response to books like that that create succubus-heroine characters for whom sex is optional, usually something along the lines of: “I’m a supersexy demon, but I’m really a good girl because if I have sex at all it will be with one special person and within a consensual, romantic relationship.”

      Which is all very well for a YA romance, but it is implied slut-shaming and not really a succubus story. A succubus story is more like: “I have a lot of meaningless sex with people I have no romantic interest in, but who I am as a person is not defined by that. I am a warrior against the forces of darkness, and my sex life is irrelevant.”

      On the other hand, if the theme is more that good Christian girls don’t have sex outside wedlock, then I myself would be more tempted to twist it into, “Good Christian girls may not have sex outside wedlock, but I am a succubus and to deny myself sex is to harm myself. Celibacy would be suicide, and suicide is abhorrent to God, so forgive me if I indulge in the pleasures of the flesh…”

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