I’ll say a phrase, and you tell me the first words that come to your mind.
Okay? Ready? Here we go:
“Lesbian vampire erotica.”
Even if you haven’t read any of this subgenre, you are probably coming up with words [in no particular order] like the following: women, gay, queer, homosexual, sex, sexy, sexuality, fangs, blood, bloodsucker, undead, porn, etc., etc., etc. You know, words related to the phrase in question.
The first word that comes to mind is not “vagina,” contrary to the belief espoused by Delilah Devlin, editor of Girls Who Bite: Lesbian Vamprie Erotica, which I had the misfortune of purchasing recently from my local Barnes & Noble. Why yes, the authors did indeed begin their intro with the claim that “vagina” is the first word that comes to mind upon hearing the phrase “lesbian vampire erotica.”
What the heck do vaginas have to do with lesbian vampire erotica? There’s nothing in the definitions of any of these terms that says anything about vaginas. I suppose there is a slight correlation, since some lesbians have them and may use them in erotic contexts. However, because a vagina is only one of many body parts that a lesbian can have and only one of many body parts that can be used in a sexual context, it connotes an extremely limited definition of the word “lesbian” and an extremely limited definition of the word “erotica.” Awesome — I just love being alienated and excluded from books for which I am probably the targeted audience.
In case you are not convinced that this book [despite multiple 5-star ratings on Amazon] is horrible, take a look at the cover. Hey look — 2 identical, skinny, white, naked women contemplating each other’s lips with a stoned expression. It’s the ol’ “lesbians are narcissists essentially in love with their own reflections” hoo-hah, as well as the “vampires are all perfect and pale and WHITE” racist bilge.
Even if you are looking for queer erotica and this is one of the only selections in your local bookstore’s abysmally small “women’s/gender/gay/lesbian/trans studies” section [yes, it was all smooshed into a single section], do not buy this book. Not only is it structurally unsound, but also all the stories are grindingly shallow, copycat and mediocre. Try Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica edited by Tristan Taormino, which has its own problems, but is also uniformly full of well-written, sexy stories [with plot! and character development!] and no stupid hangups like “vagina = woman.”