Greg Cox wrote:
Hmm. While there's no denying that there's often been an erotic element to vampire fiction, I wouldn't go so far as to say that it only appeals to conservative, anti-sex prudes. (I suspect there are plenty of Goth types who would argue strenuously with that proposition.) I think vampires are basically a potent combination of blood, sex, death, immortality, morbidity, and mythology that's proven remarkably versatile for nearly two centuries now.
The equation sex=death is remarkably popular but I'm sure it's not versatile. It is always profoundly conservative. While there may be people who fancy they themselves are being transgressive in identifying with vampires, they are not, because they are buying into that nonsense. There are indeed thieves who agree that stealing is wrong but enjoy the empowerment of doing wrong. Society can always deal with people who are hypocritical, so long as they give lip service to the ruling ideas.
Vampires (like space aliens) are all-purpose metaphors for anything you care to think of: capitalism, tyranny, predatory relationships, addiction, disease, etc. And, as a genre, it embraces everything from traditional Gothic horror (which can be fun if you're into that kind of thing) to pseudo-scientific stuff like I AM LEGEND, psychological character studies like Sturgeon's SOME OF YOUR BLOOD, action flicks like the UNDERWORLD series, and, yes, florid romance stories and kinky erotica. (Which some "awful, no-class people" actually enjoy.)
Vampires are an old superstition and a modern trope, not a genre, to get picky about it. I can't agree that they have been successfully used as metaphors for anything else. A movie with Lili Fini Taylor tried hard, but its obscurity shows how successfully that
metaphorical use was.
And the kinky erotica people may enjoy it but one aspect is the displacement of sexual guilt into the trappings and rituals. If you really have no problem with semen you don't need blood=semen. At least that's my best judgment, keeping in mind I'm no expert on erotica, even if I have seen every episode of True Blood.