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 asexual (source – Bobby Derie, Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos, Hippocampus Press, 2014), 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 five of my recommended 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.
The Sadist’s Bible, Nicola Cushing
This intensely disturbing novella has three narrators each of whom are probably unreliable, but this does nothing to hamper Cushing’s vivid storytelling. From the first page we are taken on a journey that considers such themes as suicide, lust and evolution from a dark, sacrilegious perspective. The style builds from a dull hum of curiosity to a scream that evokes Barker’s Cenobites and Dante’s Inferno in equal measure as each chapter is masterfully handled to build tension. The Sadist’s Bible rewrites Scripture in the voice of a perverse God who adores his most broken and degraded creations and wishes only to watch them degenerate further through evolution and torture. De Sade is God and we his victims.
Consumed by Love, P.K. Tyler
This short story (46 pages) that looks at how a loving couple deal with the husband’s transition after the loss of his father. We don’t know what the husband is transitioning into exactly, but from telephone calls with his sister it appears to be something dangerous that only his family can help him with. Like Ruben’s painting “Cimon and Pero“, it depicts the act of giving of one’s self to save another. It is a love story, a fine piece of erotica and a very dark horror all wrapped into one powerful short story.
Carmilla Voiez is an author of erotic horror, including her novel Starblood to be released May 21; 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, release date TBC.