‘Scary just got sexy’ is the tagline for the show, “Supernatural”, but certain monsters have always had an erotic side. From Dracula onwards, vampires have often been as sexy as they were dangerous. Werewolves, too, have a similar ethos, with early versions of the Red Riding Hood tale – such as Charles Perrault’s 17th century story ‘Le Petit Chaperon Rouge’ – having the wolf represent the Seducer who will lead sexually innocent girls astray.
In the M/M world the supernatural creature is often one – or more – of the protagonists. Jordan L Hawk’s SPECTR series has a demon as a central character. Gray is powerful and dangerous but also irresistibly attractive to exorcist John Starkweather, the twist being that Gray exists in the body of a third protagonist, Caleb, so sometimes Gray has takes control of the body and the rest of the time he lies dormant with Caleb in control.
In other M/M novels, the supernatural creature or monster is the obstacle stopping the heroes have their happy ending. In Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner books Alec and Seregil have to do battle with necromancers and a resurrected god. In “Melusine”, the first book in the series by Sarah Monette, Felix has dark magic performed on him that makes him see ghosts others can’t.
Monsters are also a theme in my Human Hybrids books: the cannibal wendigoes are the obvious monsters, but there are also hidden monsters pretending to be good people and those, like werewolf Brand, who have faced so much prejudice that they feel like monsters.
So why is it sexy to be afraid? Perhaps it has something to do with confronting the fear of being vulnerable during sex or, in first time sex, a fear of the unknown. Maybe we like to imagine ourselves having supernatural powers that help make us desirable to others. Perhaps it’s just an inexplicable allure of danger. Whatever the reason, novels that let us explore these contrasting feelings have an enduring appeal and I look forward to reading many more.