Divine Villainous Sex
I judge a good villain by how badly I want to fuck him … or her and how serious the consequences would be if I did. I think bad boy antiheros are as popular as they are because they’re the next best thing to fucking the villain. Sort of villain lite, if you will. The consequences of sex with the bad boys aren’t as severe.
With Blindsided about to be released and Buried Pleasures not far behind, I’ve been spending a lot of quality time with my villains and thinking a lot about … well …sex with them. Sex with villains has been an ongoing theme in my novels almost from the beginning. Wouldn’t Freud have a field day with that?
Fucking a villain is only slightly less dangerous than fucking a god, though I would argue that in some cases there really isn’t much of a distinction. If sex with a baddie or a god were a doctor’s prescription, the listed possible side effects would include addiction, death, and major changes in personality, ability and worldviews. With those side effects clearly listed on the label, why would anyone even consider taking the risk? For a writer, sex with the villain offers a whole treasure trove of plot complications and chaos. Will the character who takes the risk survive, become a worthless addict if they do, or be transformed into something greater, possibly even more terrible, than themselves? What writer or reader, wouldn’t want to find out what happens when a character fucks the villain or the god?
I’ve often speculated what might have happened if Daphne wouldn’t have been so hell bent on preserving her innocence that she allowed herself to be turned into a tree. What would have happened if she had simply turned to Apollo and said, “take me, I’m yours.” Would she have died? Would she have become a worthless groupie or would she have been given a gift worth the risk? How many of us cheered when Buffy and Spike finally did the deed? But Spike didn’t stay the villain. How could he after sex with Buffy? That’s another fascinating element of getting it on with villain. Sometimes it’s the villain who is transformed, which raises a whole other world of psychological issues. Do we really want Spike defanged? Do we really want the villain tamed?
For me that’s another reason why Medusa’s story is so fascinating. When Poseidon rapes her and Athena curses her, she’s transformed with hideous power. The story of what she does with that power and the end result is pretty typical of myths from a male dominated, Bronze Age culture. If Medusa’s story were rewritten for the modern age, we might very well take a different view on who the villain is.
Fucking the villain is the ultimate in transgressive sex. It’s the ultimate wanting what we shouldn’t want and, most of the time, wouldn’t dare take if the opportunity presented itself. Warnings on the label tell us this is not a good idea. However, fantasizing about doing the dirty with the villain, imagining what it would be like to submit to a god, reading stories about what might happen when one takes in all that power at the point of le petit mort is risk free and hotter than hell.
Most of the time the fantasy doesn’t involve falling in love with the villain or becoming his colleague. The hero is always the better man, the love choice at the end of the day. Most of the time the dalliances with the villain are just an irresistible erotic encounter spurred on only by attraction. Mythology is full of such encounters. So is fiction in general. This is the other side of the coin. Who doesn’t want to be irresistible to the villain? Who doesn’t want to be the object of a god’s lust, the obsession that drives him to distraction. The conquest of the good girl, the virgin in white, the leaving of his mark on her, the sullying of her, is as repellant as it is attractive. I would suggest that this is why there are so many dream sequences in which the villain and the good girl, or boy, get it on. We want them to do it … but we don’t, because … well, the hero, and good and evil and stuff. I would also suggest that in the cases in which they really do have sex, the writers often go out of their way to redeem the villain or to at least make him not quite so villainous. After all, he’s literally been inside what’s good and light and pure. How can that not rub off? How can that not change him?
But do we want the villain redeemed? Do we want the good girl sullied? In fiction, that sexual encounter is often a way of reaching some sort of equilibrium, a way for both characters to see the world as less black and white. It’s a way to make the villain more human, more likeable to the reader. On the other hand, it’s also a way of muddying the plot, adding to the chaos with guilt and internal battles over inappropriate responses to inappropriate desires. Anyway you look at it, sex with the villain is a plot changer. It’s a story that titillates and intrigues, even as readers shout at their Kindles, “No! Don’t do it!” All the while they’re still thinking to themselves with all the bravado only a reader can muster, “Oh go on then. Let’s see what happens, cuz I’d do him if I were you.”