Study Guide

Dracula Sex

By Bram Stoker

Sex

Chapter 3
Jonathan Harker

There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips. It is not good to note this down, lest some day it should meet Mina's eyes and cause her pain; but it is the truth. (3.29)

Jonathan's repressed sexual desire comes bubbling to the surface when he sees the sexy vampire ladies in Castle Dracula. He's both attracted to them and repulsed by them, and ashamed to admit that he kind of wants them to kiss him.

Lucy Westenra

The fair girl went on her knees, and bent over me, fairly gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth. (3.32)

The vampire's kiss is described in very sexual terms. And the traditional power dynamic is reversed—the woman is the sexual aggressor, and Jonathan is the passive one.

Chapter 16
Lucy Westenra

She still advanced, however, and with a languorous, voluptuous grace, said:—

"Come to me Arthur. Leave these others and come to me. My arms are hungry for you. Come, and we can rest together. Come, my husband, come!" (16.20-21)

Again, vampire Lucy is too sexually aggressive. In the world of Victorian England, that sexuality needs to be repressed!

Arthur placed the point over the heart, and as I looked I could see its dint in the white flesh. Then he struck with all his might. (16.44)

A lot of critics like to read this scene in Freudian terms as a kind of sex scene. Because Arthur is Lucy's fiancé, and he gets dibs on staking her, these critics interpret the stake as a stand-in for Arthur's penis. What do you think?

The Thing in the coffin writhed; and a hideous, blood-curdling screech came from the opened red lips. The body shook and quivered and twisted in wild contortions; the sharp white teeth champed together till the lips were cut, and the mouth was smeared with a crimson foam. But Arthur never faltered […] as his untrembling arm rose and fell, driving deeper and deeper the mercy-bearing stake. (16.45)

Whether or not you want to read the stake as phallic symbol, this scene is pretty sexual.

Dr. John Seward

[…] we recognized the features of Lucy Westenra. Lucy Westenra, but yet how changed. The sweetness was turned to adamantine, heartless cruelty, and the purity to voluptuous wantonness. (16.17)

Jack Seward can't believe how much "Lucy Westenra" has changed—he keeps repeating her full name, emphasizing that it's now just an empty label. "Lucy Westenra" is no longer herself; this over-sexed she-demon is not the girl he fell in love with. This vampire lady might be sexy, but she's sexy in a totally freaky way.

Chapter 21

With his left hand he held both Mrs Harker's hands, keeping them away with her arms at full tension; his right hand gripped her by the back of the neck, forcing her face down on his bosom. Her white nightdress was smeared with blood, and a thin stream trickled down the man's bare breast which was shown by his torn-open dress. (21.42)

Poor Mina! She gets victimized right on the edge of her marriage bed, with her husband powerless to step in and save her. The posture of Mina and Dracula here, with him holding the back of her neck and forcing her to, um, imbibe his body fluids, is often read as a kind of rape.

Chapter 27
Dr. Abraham Van Helsing

Then the beautiful eyes of the fair woman open and look love, and the voluptuous mouth present to a kiss—and man is weak. (27.29)

Van Helsing explains why the Brides of Dracula at the Castle have to be dealt with—they're just too sexy! They can seduce any man. In his opinion, no woman should have that kind of power, so he's going to step up and kill them for everyone's good.

Yes, I was moved—I, Van Helsing, with all my purpose and with my motive for hate—I was moved to a yearning for delay which seemed to paralyse my faculties and to clog my very soul. (27.30)

Even the great Van Helsing felt the sexy power of the "weird sisters." Of course, he gets over it, and stakes all three of them.

In a sort of sleep-waking, vague, unconscious way she opened her eyes, which were now dull and hard at once, and said in a soft, voluptuous voice, such as I had never heard from her lips:—

"Arthur! Oh, my love, I am so glad you have come! Kiss me!" (12.70-71)

As Lucy becomes a vampire, she becomes increasingly sexualized. Like the vampire ladies of Castle Dracula, her repressed sexuality comes to the surface, and she becomes the sexual aggressor—women in 1897 weren't supposed to be the ones to ask for kisses; they were supposed to be kissed.