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No neck bite seduction…

September 2, 2009

Ever notice how Meyer’s vampire series is oddly missing one of the key vampiric acts – the neck bite? Yeah, me too.

This erasure of key vampire lore is not surprising given the way the series equates Edward’s heroism to his abstinence-tendencies. He may kiss you lightly, but you will have to turn into a statue for him to do so. He is certainly not going to bite your neck, penetrating your person with those shiny whites of his. No, he is far too chivalrous for that!

Yet, as the many t-shirts of the “Bite me Edward” variety reveal, fans desperately desire such toothy penetration.

Or, as the many blogs devoted to Edward (and his real life incarnation, Rob) reveal, the Twilight faithful strongly believe in the seductive powers of Edward’s potential ‘bites.’ Further, they want to “lickhimright.now” (as the name of one blogger reveals). Thus, while Edward’s ‘no-oral activity’ mantra permeates the texts, the fandom actively, enthusiastically demands activity of the mouthy variety.

Perhaps the lack or oral action in the series (there are very few kisses and the only thing Edward bites is a headboard) is informed by the Mormon “no oral sex” rule. Or, as Stephen King suggests in his treatise on horror fiction, Danse Macabre, perhaps this lack is related to the burgeoning adolescent sexuality the series circulates around. King argues that,

“This infantile, retentive attitude toward sex may be one reason why the vampire myth, which in Stoker’s hands seems to say ‘I will rape you with my mouth and you will love; instead of contributing potent fluid to your body, I will remove it,’ has always been so popular with adolescents still trying to come to grips with their own sexuality.” (75)

I would venture to say that the sex in Twilight is largely infantile, both in the gooey romanticizing of sex and in the lack of any concrete sexual descriptions. (Yup, when they finally are going to do it, what do we get, fade to black!)

Of course, the “fluid” that Edward injects Bella with is in fact very “potent” – so potent it seems that Bella is de-virginized and impregnated all with one bruise-inducing vampire penetration. That juice must be powerful stuff indeed.

Why, though, despite its lack of bitten necks, is the series so darn captivating?

Why, given that pregnancy is depicted as the desirous outcome of sexual encounters, do the books appeal to what King refers to as “adolescents still trying to come to grips with their own sexuality”?

Hmmm, can you say “abstinence only education”? How about “purity ball”?

The culture in which we swim teaches us to find these waters enticing – our cultural fixation on the cult  of virginity and fascination with purity aligns beautifully with Meyer’s message – love not sex,  marriage before sex, sex equals baby.

If any of you have seen the film Teeth, you are aware of the supposedly dangerous female genitals that will bite off a guy’s manhood in one fell swoop. (Something I am sure Victoria might do quite often.) However, Bella is decidedly toothless. And, while Edward wears the teeth, he won’t be doing anything ORAL with them – you don’t want your genitals to end up looking like that headboard do you?!?

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