On the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series

Bon Rapports

By Marella Sands

It’s an old and well-used maxim that you gotta start with a joke. With that in mind, I’d like to tell you about the time Ms. Hamilton announced that she would never, ever write a sex scene. It was an ironclad rule: No Sex On Stage.

That’s right. No sex for Anita. Ever. At least, not in front of her readers.

Stop laughing. I can hear you from here, you know. Honest, she really said that. And with a long tradition of sexy but not sexual vampires in the literature, there was no reason to suspect at the time that Anita would ever be sleeping with the undead, except possibly in a purely literal fashion.

Sure, the phrase sleep with to mean sexual intercourse has been servicing the law, and authors, since at least the tenth century. But as late as the nineteenth century, while everyone and his dog were probably humping everything in sight (though, we hope, not each other), no one was going to talk about it. Even though humping as an alternative to sleep with had evolved by the late 1700s (servicing was even older than that) and was clearly available, titillating readers rather than thrusting sex in their faces was the order of the day.

Call it the age of coyness, at least ideally. John Polidori, the first to mingle vampires and noblemen, wrote that his vampire, Lord Ruthven, in the story “The Vampyre: A Tale,” seduced women so that they were “hurled from the pinnacle of unsullied virtue, down  …

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