Sex Monsters: Why Are Demons a Queer Fantasy?

October 30 7 min read

Monsters are sexy. Whether it’s burly werewolf men, seductive vampire women, or androgynous ghosts that know how to touch you in all the right places, monster creatures seem to unlock parts of our erotic desires that few other fictional beings can reach.

I’ve felt that first-hand myself. As the pandemic has lingered on, I’ve increasingly gravitated toward monster creatures to explore my sexual desires. When I close the door, slip on the sheets, reach for my Hitachi, and put on my alone-time playlist (usually The Weeknd), my fantasies always turn to the same place: succubi, werewolves, vampires, giantesses. I think about myself turning into a demonic dominant and seducing other women. I imagine what it would be like for a long-haired soft femme to press her body against me and pin me down as she transforms into her wereform. And I think longingly about being taken in by a queer vampire covered in tatts and curves, fixating on just how beautiful it would feel for her to bury her fangs into my skin and taste my blood.

As a lesbian, I’m not alone in having these fantasies. Just a few months before the COVID-19 lockdown began, I discovered monster porn has a widespread appeal among queer folks. This partially has its roots in the gothic. As Laura Westengard argues in her book Gothic Queer Culture, Gothicism is a core thematic aesthetic for queer experiences in the West, because the gothic has roots in expressing and exploring queer trauma. The gothic becomes queer and the queer becomes gothic.

When I spoke with her in more detail for the Daily Dot, she explained how queer artists "gravitate toward those Gothicisms that reflect their experiences and that best generate the interventions they are hoping to achieve."

“Further, people’s experience of gender and sexuality are shaped by other intersecting factors such as race, class, and ability,” Westengard told me. “These elements all come together in unique and complicated ways, meaning different individuals will likely resonate with different forms of monstrosity.”

Monstrosity and gothicism are how queer artists “refuse to be reduced to the object of the viewers’ gaze,” Westengard said, and instead “return the gaze and hold up mirrors to force audiences to grapple with their own complicity in structures of oppression.” Gothic monsters in particular strike fear into audiences because they “collapse distinctions between self and other and challenge the assumption that the body is discrete and controllable.” That collapse can be erotic too.

“In erotica, the monstrous can open up a world that exists outside of limiting structures and beliefs. It can be very difficult to create imaginative scenarios outside of assumptions internalized from the heteronormative, transantagonist, white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy we all live in,” Westengard said. “Monsters allow us to start fresh and build a world in which norms around power and sexuality are not taken for granted but are always already strange and new. The possibilities proliferate when readers can fantasize outside of the bounds of humanity itself.”

art by Ggggrimes

Granted, not every queer has the same relationship with monsters. And yet, I can’t help but think about how Westengard’s thoughts on Gothicism, monstrosity, and the erotic mirror my own experiences. It’s a running theme across my apartment’s walls, for one: cyborg femmes, leather-clad demons, horny vampires, topless witches, and succubi in shibari bondage surround me like vignettes from a queer wet dream. In these monstrous girls and gays, I find both creatures to fear and beings to envy and desire.

There’s no better example than my personal favorite: an illustration of a miniature soft femme covered in drool, pleading for help, about to be swallowed whole by a giantess wearing black lipstick. That piece hangs above my desk as I write this essay, and it’s very personal for me. The illustration, done by Spanish tattoo artist Greta Debelius, accompanied a piece I wrote for DaemonumX’s leatherdyke zine Fist on cruising for queer giantess vore content online (a personal favourite kink of mine). Nothing represents queer monstrosity’s appeal better than that image, so perfectly haunting, so menacingly attractive, so destructively sexy in a way that fundamentally represents how queer Gothicism can “collapse distinctions between self and other” and “challenge the assumption that the body is discrete and controllable,” to quote Westengard. The only thing better than fucking another woman is becoming one with her, as any Uhaul lesbian will tell you.

These fantasies may sound somewhat intimidating to some, but it seems likely that our kinky fantasies as a whole are becoming more intense. In early September, BDSM dating app KinkD contacted me with some interesting news: kink was on the rise during quarantine. Since lockdown began for COVID-19, the site had seen a 39.2 percent rise in average monthly active users and over 50 percent daily usage overall. Major cities like New York and Los Angeles were hotspots for new users. The site's explanation? "Feelings of stress and loneliness" during the pandemic. People longed for connection, intimacy, engagement, and BDSM was an outlet for that (and for many, a new one too). When I covered the news for the Daily Dot, I spoke with New York City-based dominatrix Shayla Lange, who had her own thoughts to share about BDSM fantasies’ quarantine-induced appeal. More specifically, quarantine stress brought out far “much more extreme” desires that manifested in both what her clients asked for, and what she experienced in her own life too, she told me.

art by Ggggrimes

“The entire fucking world experienced a massive, massive, massive shift in power dynamics. And when people are feeling like they have no control, they start doing ‘desperate measures,’” dominatrix told me. “And that’s not to say that BDSM is a desperate escape […] but you see that peoples’ behaviour, in general, is like, ‘I need to regain some semblance of control in my life, and this is a really healthy way to do it.’”

In the kink community, we have a saying for desires that you may not personally enjoy: “don’t yuck my yum.” Monstrosity may not be part of your queer sexual palette. But we can all relate to sexual exploration, stress’ impact on our sex drives, and the erotic fantasies that emerge when our desires become more urgent than ever. For me, that’s monster women. Whether becoming a monster, being seduced by one, or both, I feel at home with demons, werewolves, vampires, and otherworldly Old Gods eager for feminine flesh.

These gothic fantasies were there before COVID-19, and they probably will be afterwards too. But then again, who cares where they came from or why? They comfort me in the sanctity of my own bedroom, curling my toes, making my eyes roll back, wishing for all that power pressed into my hands – or taken away from me by force, by another woman, by another monster, by another queer pervert like me.

art by Ggggrimes

Ana Valens
« Ana Valens is a reporter for the Daily Dot specializing in online adult content. She also develops erotica video games for queer women in her spare time. » All posts →