Forbidden Fun – the fascination of erotic horror.
If you struggle to associate sex with fear you have probably forgotten what it was like to be a teenager. Horror, throughout history, has been strongly influenced by sex and sexuality. H.P. Lovecraft was a self-proclaimed asexual1, and yet many of the images throughout the Cthulhu Mythos, tentacles and monstrous genitalia, can be interpreted as a fear of losing one’s self and one’s sanity to the sexual urge. The mouths of Bram Stoker’s vampires, full of fangs that penetrate within sensually fleshy holes, can be seen as a pretty obvious metaphors for the vagina dentata. Clive Barker’s highly fetishized Cenobites offer pleasure through pain, and best-selling horror authors like Anne Rice and Graham Masterton have penned books in both horror and erotica genres.
A newly blossoming genre crossover includes scenes that titillate together with scenes that disgust – erotic horror. Of course these books need trigger warnings galore, but that’s sort of the point. Here are four of my favourite reads from this bold new genre.
The Venus Complex, Barbie Wilde
A prominent name in the world of erotic horror with short stories, such as Sister Celice, The Venus Complex, is Barbie Wilde’s first novel. It deals with a serial killer who obsesses about transforming women into goddesses through sex, death and art. It’s written as if by the main character, Michael, using journal entries, through which we are shown the development of Michael’s obsession in his dreams and detailed descriptions of the murders he commits. The story explores modern culture, art, alchemy and psychology from a Libertarian perspective. If you enjoy films like Maniac, or characters like Hannibal Lector, this book is as fulfilling as non-consensual sex gets.
Turned into a Succubus, Lily Fey
This amazing tale is very short, but don’t let that put you off. It will last longer than an artisan coffee of the same price tag. It’s about a sorcerer who wishes to serve Satan and agrees to do whatever is demanded of him. It explores sexual stereotypes, where male equals dominant and female equals submissive, and does so with glorious humour and a generous dose of schadenfreude within a mystical horror narrative of demons and heavy metal rock stars. The sex is sexy and the sorcerer’s reaction to his/her new form and role is very believable.
Lamia, Destiny West
A tale of a female vampire from the abusive moment of her becoming, through a life dominated by lust for sex and blood, to her tragic demise. There is a strong rhythm throughout the narrative which mirrors the ups and downs, ins and outs of fucking. It looks at the porn industry and snuff films and how being a part of that world might suit certain personality types. It touches on psychological triggers that send Lamia spiralling back to moments of helplessness and despair while, at the same time, handling the sex scenes in a very human and erotic way.
Bloody Sexy: The Dark Side of Desire, various.
This anthology includes 24 tales and poems of serial killers, zombies, vampires, demons and revenge. The balance between horror and erotica varies from story to story, e.g. the first is about a fire fighter struggling to survive a zombie apocalypse to return to her lover. Another explores sexual tension between two ghost hunters and how fear pushes them closer together. Yet another follows an attractive werewolf, searching for his perfect mate. The diversity and sensuality of these stories make it a good place to start a journey into the velvety embrace of erotic horror.
Carmilla Voiez is an author of erotic horror, including her debut novel Starblood; in it, among many scenes that combine sex and horror, Lilith demands that her would-be-rapist suck her sharp metal cock, and a human/demon hybrid hermaphrodite has a ménage a trois with the heroine. This book is also available as a graphic novel, illustrated by Anna Dmitrieva.
1Bobby Derie, Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos, Hippocampus Press, 2014