Hello, I’m Laura Baumbach and write and publish M/M erotic romance. I’m published with MLR Press, Aspen Mountain Press, Samhain Publishing, Changeling Press, LI and Torquere. I also own MLR Press, a small print house for M/M erotic romance and gay fiction. My work can be seen here: www.laurabaumbach.com
I have written a number of paranormal stories featuring werewolves, ghost, and my favorite—vampires. I love the sensual, seductive, and forbidden nature of vampires. I’ve had a long and lasting relationship with my love affair with them dating back to my childhood.
Mesmerized by the ’60’s soap opera Dark Shadows, I would race home from school every afternoon, sit down on the floor as close to the television set as I was allowed to be, and waited nearly breathlessly for witches, ghosts and, of course, the vampire Barnabas Collins, to appear. He was neither gorgeous or young, barely handsome in a gaunt, haunted way that added to his brooding mystic. But as a young girl, I was still enthralled by him. And I was not the only one. Just about every female character on the show was swooning in his presence. And a few of the men appeared not to be immune to his charms as well.
While Collins actively courted the women, the one person he choose as his eyes and ears was a man, Willy Loomis. A man he kept control over by regularly feeding from him. This vampire didn’t feed from the major vessels in the man’s wrist, either. No, the vampire choose the traditional close, intimate feeding position of a tight body hug, taking his nourishment and his pleasure from his manservant’s neck. He wasn’t the least bit ruffled by the fact the person in his arms – pressed against him, skin warm, blood pulsing hotly into his mouth — was a man. He was definitely interested in women, but the person he choose for an intimate was a man. A frightened, weak young man.
Which makes me wonder — does gender matter after being turned? One assumes that in life this person had a preference for one gender over the other. Does that disappear when they cross over or are turned? Does death destroy all barrier?
In the film adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, the main character Lestat has a history with women, but his attraction to a man, Louis, mourning his wife’s death is clear. Lestat’s primary plan was to acquire Louis’ plantation but his desire for Louis is obvious. He refuses to release Louis as a companion. And later in the story, the widowed Louis is attracted to another male vampire Armand, who returns his affections.
In The Queen of the Damned, the central character, again Lestat, is kidnapped and turned unwillingly by ancient vampire Marius. The conversion scene is intimate and sensual, leaving little doubt that Marius choose Lestat because of a sexual attraction. They remained companions for centuries. Yet when finding victims, neither one shows a preference from men over woman or vice versa.
So why is it that once a human becomes a creature of the night that it no longer matters who flesh is press between the vampire’s lips? Apparently any warm blood do.
I have written numerous vampire stories. Sin and Salvation, Winner Takes All, Walk Through Fire, Dark Side of the Moon, plus a few more short stories. The Lost Temple of Karttikeya, 2008 EPPIE winner for Best GLBT novel, has vampirism as a central element to the story. My writing all involved same-sex romantic pairings, but if they have the need to feed from someone other than each other, I can see all of my male characters easily charming and seducing a woman into their arms in order to feed from them. Although many see vampires as sexual beings, I don’t think feeding necessarily translates into sex.
But this opens up more questions for me as a writer. Does blood taste different in a male than a female? I know that what we eat taints the odor of our skin and sweat. Strong flavors like garlic and certain spices permeate our systems and are excreted in our waste like the sweat on our skin.
So what do these strong essences do to the taste of our blood, if anything? Like the smell of fresh baked bread, does that special appetitizing scent attract a vampire to a certain person?
You are what you eat?
Does O positive taste the same to vampires no matter who the donor is? If a strong, bold flavor is preferred does a vampire look for a male construction worker to be his dinner? If he is looking for a delicate, light taste does he look for a willow school girl?
Or maybe the degree of attractiveness of the donor is what makes the difference in the pleasure the vampire receives during feeding? I know I prefer a lean well-cooked steak to a grisly chunk of stew meat. Does presentation still matter?
Let’s face it, eating is a pleasure in life. Sometimes even a sensual pleasure full of sexual suggestions. Some foods are aphrodisiacs, some are even called sinfully wicked pleasures.
I wonder if these human sensitivities carry over into the realm of the dark world vampires inhabit. Does feeding remain a sinfully rich pleasure? Is it one of the few delights left to the vampire combining the rich taste of blood and the sensual power of a warm body in their arms with quenching the unholy thirst that drives them to drink from others? Is feeding the ultimate sexual experience? One that can be taken from or shared with any gender? Or is it just nourishment, a need to be taken care of? Eating for eatings sake alone?
We’ve all read or seen viciously fast vampire feedings in stories. What I remember most about those scenes is that if the victim was unattractive or ‘bad’ person, they were disposed of quickly, the pleasure in the act being in taking their life. But if the victim was handsome or beautiful, the act sensual, prolonged.
I’ve given myself more questions than insights with this discussion. It’s made writing the usual vampire tale fresh again in my head. The next vampire story or novel I write I’m going to explore the gender issue in more depth.
Now I’m curious if I can convincingly write a romance where the vampire leads finds equal pleasure in feeding from both sexes. I have a novel titled Monster I plan to write in late 2009 or early 2010. It features a rock band and their newly acquired dark and mysterious manager. I think I’ll play a little with the genders in that one. Explore some of the questions I’ve raised for myself here to see where they take my muse.
What do you think? Can vampires find pleasure in either sex? Do they all become bisexual feeders? Not caring if they take nourishment from the same sex victim as long as it sates their hunger? And if they take pleasure from feeding from that person, do they take other pleasures from them as well? Regardless of gender?