Tie Me Up/Tie Me Down Pain, Pleasure, and Sexual Dynamics in Fifty Shades, Twilight, True Blood, and the Sookie Books

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Tie Me Up/Tie Me Down Pain, Pleasure, and Sexual Dynamics in Fifty Shades, Twilight, True Blood, and the Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Sun Dec 02, 2012 6:40 pm

Tie Me Up/Tie Me Down
Pain, Pleasure, and Sexual Dynamics in
Fifty Shades, Twilight, True Blood, and the Sookie Books


Everyone has a prurient interest in sex in one way or another. We may not admit it to anyone, nor might we admit it to ourselves but we do. Even if you are not precisely interested in the type of sex you are reading about or looking at, there is something titillating about seeing or reading about sex between consenting adults, even if it just simulated sex like we see on True Blood. One man or woman’s soft core porn is another man or woman’s XXX.

Because the primary interest on this forum is the supernatural world of Vampires, one might ask what I am doing writing an analysis of a Young Adult Novel Series, an Adult Mystery Series, a Night time Fang Opera and a BDSM trilogy. My answer is Vampire is a metaphor for any sort of alternative lifestyle. Through the metaphor, we can examine safely the ins and outs of a lifestyle different from our own. They look like us, they talk like us, wear clothes (mostly) but they have that little quirk, fetish if you like, that is not like the “norm” whatever that means to you.

No one is alone in their uniqueness. The evidence for this simple statement is the fact there are support groups for every sort of alternate lifestyle. Even this forum is something of a support group, where like minded people come together to meet friends and indulge in our little quirk. In the words of Tony Bourdain: To us and others like us.

While we are used to words like Vampire, ghost, shifter and werewolf in the context of fiction and mythology we may be surprised to see these words used in a psychiatric context. Freud and Jung wrote extensively of Vampirism and Lycanthropy as a part of the subconscious or the id. One’s own private mythos, where we develop our identities, are part and parcel to the self.

Further, in the world of psychiatry, Vampire and Lycanthropy (werewolfism) is thought of as a form of Sadomasochism. Vampires have a sexual fetish for the drawing and consuming of blood. Lycanthropy is the withdrawal of the human personality and the surfacing of the bestial which has no constraints on what constitutes pleasure.

Sadists are those people who follow the sexual philosophies of the Marquis de Sade, the 18th century libertine and pornographer who believed sublime sexual pleasure would be reached through the dominating and inflicting of pain upon sexual partners. This interest or need for the infliction of pain is considered the reaction of the sadist to childhood trauma which renders them unable to love any other way and they use this extreme form of sexuality to hide and keep people at bay.

There was a time when Sadism and Vampirism and Lycanthropy were considered mental illnesses along side of homosexuality, transvestism, and gender non-identity (transgendered). Now, all of these “conditions” are considered lifestyles or biological factored conditions and while they are unique, they are not harmful and even sadism is acceptable in an adult partnership where participants are aware of the expectations and rules are observed to preserve the safety and health and welfare of both the Dominant and Submissive.

But, as a side note, it is interesting for the reader of the Fifty Shades books to know and understand the sex described in the books may be kinky, they are not true reflections of the BDSM lifestyle. It is rather a “good girl’s” notion of what a BDSM relationship would be like. So don’t be confused. Christian may be fifty shades of fucked up, but he is not a Dominant, and he is not actually in the lifestyle. He likes the trappings of it, and he likes to use elements of it to keep women at arm’s length, but he is not a true Dominant. In fact the BDSM community calls even the sexual scenes of spanking and whipping and flogging “vanilla”.

BDSM relationships are mainly about absolute control and the abdication of one’s will to a Dominant. Psychologically, this bolsters the Dominant’s image of self worth, superiority, and elevated sense of self in the world. That being said, let’s begin to delve into the four worlds where we see issues of control being challenged and personal beliefs about one’s self and one’s needs are redefined.

Hello, Is it me you’re looking for?

First of all, I have some folks I want you to meet. This is a superficial introduction. I just want you to meet these men and women and where they belong in the action. Allow me to begin with Christian Trevelyan-Grey. He is the main character from Fifty Shades of Grey (50) and he is handsome, wealthy and a Dominant. Bill Compton is a Vampire who was made during the Civil War and he is handsome, wealthy and he is one of the lead characters of the Sookie Books (SVM) and True Blood (TB). Eric Northman is a Vampire and he was made in the first millennia AD and he is handsome, wealthy and one of the lead characters of SVM and TB. And in light of the fact in the last book of the SVM, we have to introduce you to Sam Merlotte, bar owner, shape shifter, and Sookie’s boss in SVM and TB. Edward Cullen was made in the early 20th Century and he is a Vampire and he is handsome, wealthy and the lead character in the Twilight Books (T). Jacob is not really discussed in this article because he is not really one of Bella’s love interests, he is her friend and by the time we get to the end of the Twilight series, we know what was keeping Jacob so close to Bella and that was Renesmee, Bella’s half vampire child. The same is true of Quinn (SVM) and Alcide(SVM and TB).

Now for the ladies. Anastasia Steele is the virginal, working class, college educated heroine of 50. Sookie Stackhouse is the virginal, working class, self educated, part fairy, telepathic heroine of SVM and TB. Isabella Swan is the virginal, working class, self educated, shielding heroine of T. Class apparently does factor into the story because all of the women in these stories come from working class backgrounds.
The male characters all have mentors/makers who are responsible for who they are and why they are the way they are. Elena Lincoln introduced Christian to his life in 50. Lorena Ball/Krasinki made Bill Compton the person he is in SVM and TB. Eric Northman has the unique situation of having two different mentors in his lifestyle: Godric, the saint-like Vampire with a soul in TB and Appius Livinus Ocella in SVM. Sam is born a shape shifter and has no maker and though he tended to drift out of Sookie’s view as a possible mate and drifts in and out of disastrous relationships, it is as though he is waiting for her all along. Sam even mentions this hotly in TB when she tells Sookie in the second season he is tired of charring his ass on her back burner. Edward Cullen was given his life by Carlyle Cullen in T.

It is important you know these characters because they all play important roles in the story. Without one of them, the story is lost.

When You Walked in the Air Went Out

The next thing you should know is the characters are trapped in a web made of things they both can and cannot control. Like the character Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons, the affairs our heroes and heroines engage in are quite beyond their control. How they begin is they literally step through a door.

The first people we meet in all of our tales are the heroines. TB and SVM introduce us to Sookie and her “disability”. We learn right away that Sookie is telepathic. This of course affects the things which happen in the formation of her relationships with men. Since she can read the minds of other people, Sookie feels out of place. Suddenly, she meets a man whose mind she cannot read. She also meets Eric in a wrong footed sort of way when she goes to his bar to investigate a series of murders. Sookie is in a place where she does not know the rules and customs of a strange and extremely secretive group of people. And this is where her troubles begin.

Anastasia Steele literally falls through the door of her lover’s office. Like Sookie, she sees herself as less polished and completely out of place in her posh surroundings. She doubts she would ever be able to work in a place like this because she lacks the physical grace and the exterior coolness which seems to surround Christian Grey. And like Sookie, this is when her troubles begin.

Isabella Swan is the new girl at school and she is in a place she hates and then she sees the most beautiful person in the world. When she has to sit beside him in class, she feels embarrassed and unsure about herself when he openly scorns even her proximity to him. She doesn’t feel a part of any group and she is hopelessly unfashionable. There is no way that boy will ever look at her. And like Sookie and Ana, this is where her troubles begin.

The men don’t fare any better. In fact, if anything, they are just as doomed to their fates as Sookie, Ana, and Bella. Bill Compton senses her otherness right away and begins to ask her the question she gets sick and tired of answering: What are you? He is drawn to her, when he really should be leaving her alone. He can’t help but be intrigued.

Eric is the same way, but he reacts completely different. He meets Sookie at Fangtasia and though she is claimed in the age old Vampire tradition of the “Mine” rule, a rule which tells him and other Vampires this human belongs to me and no you may not bite or fornicate with her, he is interested in her. Particularly when she tells Eric she is a telepath.

Sam has always been in Sookie’s life as her boss. Sookie begins her introduction by saying that she never saw Sam as a potential partner because he is her boss. This small barrier to love and romance is defeated when she buys into the bar and becomes 1/3 owner of Merlotte’s and in the final book, she becomes a fairly well to do person so that changes the social and economic dynamic between Sookie and Sam.

Christian thinks he has met a real submissive because of Ana’s nervousness and shyness. Boy is he ever wrong. Her demeanor belies the fact she is a pretty tough person who enjoys her independence and will not submit without a fight. Because of this fact, Christian has to examine his life and how to fit her into his world.

Edward is confronted with two things: He cannot read her mind, which is her gift, and he is instantly addicted to her smell. She is intoxicating from the word go and he cannot stay away from her though he knows he should. He is breaking all his own rules and the rules of his family designed to keep Bella and his family safe.

In many ways this is a comedy of errors. None of the people involved are supposed to become attached and none are looking for the other. It is a train wreck from the word go.

Variations on a Theme

Once you cut out all of the details, the Vampirism, the BDSM, the supernatural and the history of abuse and lechery, what you have is a collection of stories about control. Controlling others, controlling one’s own destiny and controlling what each character deems valuable. What all of our characters eventually learn is there is only so much one can control. No matter our personalities, we all have something controlling us and we all have some things in our lives that cannot or refuse to be controlled.

Christian, by his own admission, is 50 shades of fucked up. He is this way because of his early childhood experiences. He remembers a time when he had no control over his life and even his physical well being. Because of this abuse, he is frozen in a state of adolescence emotionally, but intellectually, he is far more mature than his years and he immediately begins to build walls and create barriers that shield him from love. For him, sexual dominance and physical dominance and economic and psychological control are the constants for him. He believes this lifestyle he thinks he is living will protect him, much the way Anastasia believes having pig tails and looking very young will save her.

Bill is similar to Christian because he too has built a wall, but it is the wall all Vampires have built around themselves. He is Vampire and by virtue he is superior to the humans he has limited congress with. He and others like him have to be this way to protect his existence. At least until the Vampires come out of the coffin.

The public and political debate of any “hidden and secret” society or lifestyle creates a complex dynamic of rules meant to govern not only the individual but to protect the society. Any sort of sexual identity is usually protected because of the stigma attached to the identity. Even in so called enlightened times, there are those people who would be shocked, insulted, even frightened if the neighbor next door was gay, or a cross dresser, or a person who is a swinger (Remember Tara’s shock at the orgy unfolding in Maryanne’s garden and her questioning Eggs, “Are you in the lifestyle?” (Season Two)) or a Vampire. Bill knows there is only so much he can control for himself. In Dead Until Dark, after the Monroe nest is murdered, Sookie observes they could come to his house at dawn, and in the show, when they are lying in her bed, she asks him about sleeping in the ground and he says, “Well, it is not that comfortable but it is safe,”. But he can control humans when he is awake through sheer physical force and through his glamour, which does not affect Sookie. He still has his strength to use against her, but he cannot control her with his mind.

Conversely, Eric has a modicum of control over all the creatures within his purview. He is 1000 years old and thus has the force of will of his age. He holds an official title as Sheriff, giving him even more power, and he has minions under his control which do his bidding. He does not physically force Sookie to do anything, but his ability to control her lies in the fact that he is less emotionally connected to his humanity, he can use threats of violence he can follow up with immediate and profound action, and he has the force of his sexual and animal magnetism. And this is part of his sexuality and his emotional self. Being in control of himself and those around him and his sexual thrall are all tools of control. But, he does have a crack in his armor as he begins to have feelings and he even tells us in Club Dead, “I don’t like having feelings.”

Sam has always stood back and let Sookie make her own mistakes and offer protection for Sookie. He comes to her rescue when the Rattrays beat her up and he comes to her defense during the were wars and guards her as a lion and in the final book, he goes after her when she is kidnapped and in TB he chases after her when realizes who the murderer is and saves her and Bill.

Edward sees himself as not controlling but as protecting. And you could say that of all of the male characters in one way or another. They are all protecting what is “mine” in their minds. Edward does not have a true sexual self to define until he is married, so his sexual self comes out in a desire to protect and to keep other males away from her.

You. Are. Mine.

Staking one’s claim is the important part of the control of the men in these books. Ownership is a big deal to these men. Christian even draws up a contract, down to an owner’s manual of how he will use the said product, which is Anastasia Steele. He sees everything as a contract deal. Ana calls him the ultimate consumer.

Bill and Eric both like the claim of “mine” on Sookie. Bill makes his first “You are mine” statement to the Monroe Vampires and he still likes to consider her his. Even though they have been apart for a while in the books, he still considers her the love of his life. And it is the same in the show. He still feels her distress and he still goes to her to help her, even to his detriment. Eric presses his suit with Sookie and eventually creates the ‘blood bond’ with her and even marries her under Vampire tradition to secure his claim on her, and again to do the protection thing. In season four, Eric asks Sookie multiple times to be mine, which is different from Bill because he asks. Bill simply claimed her.

Sam is nothing like Bill and Eric. He does not want to claim her and treat her like she has no life beyond him, he wants her to be his as his lover. His being two natured is a plus because she can’t read his mind as easily.

Edward stakes his claim in more subtle ways and by being insanely jealous. He also has a great deal of money he has no problem spending. He likes the idea that at a moment’s notice and a peek at the weather, he can take off and jet to other places, he can take his lover to a private island, and he can buy her a car designed with protection in mind…if you are a Saudi Prince or a drug trafficker.

Wealth and power are necessary to the stories we are watching unfold.

Every breath you take, Every move you make, I’ll be watching you

Stalking is a part of every predator’s repertoire and in some circles, the chase is more interesting than the capture. In these stories, this level of control is part of the entire package.

This is because all the men are stalkers. Christian does background checks, puts GPS devices on cars, and has a team of security people meant to provide him with a network of professional stalkers. Bill and Eric both, by virtue of their own blood links to Sookie, can find her where ever she is. Sookie even asks in Season Three: “If I need you, you can feel it, can’t you?” and Eric says, “Yes, though I would likely be too late.” Edward can track Bella by her scent. She is his particular brand of heroin and she has a unique smell to him he could spot anywhere.

Like a Virgin, Touched for the very First Time

Sookie, Bella and Ana are all sexual virgins. They, for whatever reason, either their youth or some notion of what the first time should be like or some disability, are all virgins. Ana has of course formed all her notions about romantic love from Victorian Novels and she has basically considered the possibility there is no one out there for her who can live up to her ideal. Bella is just young, but that does not mean she doesn’t have desires. She is a girl who has pretty much taken the rag off the bush as far as her thoughts of marriage and relationships though she does enjoy reading the same sorts of literature as Ana. Sookie is a virgin because she can’t find a man worth her notice whose mind she cannot read. She is over educated about the carnal side of life because she works in a bar and she can hear the thoughts of men about her, about others. She is also a big reader but like Bella, she sort of has doubts about the way people carry on about sex. She even wonders if it is all it is cracked up to be.

The literary motif of the virgin and the monster is well known and is even found in the Bible. In the Book of Revelation the woman clothed with the sun and the crown of twelve stars and the moon under her feet is the Virgin Mary who runs away from a great and slavering Beast. There are stories of the monster being captured and lured by the virgin bait. The Greek legend of Perseus and Andromeda having to face up to the Kraken is a story which stipulates Andromeda be a virgin when she is presented to the Kraken.

Probably the two characters who feel the strongest about the state of the woman’s sexual status are Christian and Edward, though for very different reasons. Edward is concerned about hurting Bella physically. Though Edward’s sexual history is ambiguous, it would be safe and reasonable to say he may very well be as virginal as Bella. When he and Bella go away together for their honeymoon, after the first night, he says he consulted Carlyle and his Vampire brothers about sex and making love and the emotional bonds that creates. Christian is partly fascinated and partly shocked and partly confused . He can’t figure out how Ana has stayed a virgin as long as she has, and he has of course shown her the red room of pain, and suggested the type of relationship he wants to have with her. Finding out she is a virgin is the ultimate in both unknown territory and the final frontier. This is a woman who can be his in every way…as her first sexual partner and the first woman he feels that he simply can’t do without.
Bill, for all his courtly Ashley Wilkes manners in the beginning, has an ulterior motive. Sookie’s virginity is just a sweet treat. Remember “The best tasting blood is virgin’s blood” (season one) He is primarily interested in acquiring her for his queen, but then, like Christian, he falls in love with his conquest. Eric is just happy to be there. He is indifferent to the fact he didn’t get to her first, and he could care less why she would come to his bed so long as she does. He is like Christian…it cuts down on the complications. Eric is a firm believer in the hereafter, and as I have often said, you know what he is here after. Eventually though, both men do love Sookie, regardless of their more complex designs on her.

Sam just wants Sookie. He has made his desire known in various ways and have even had moments with her, like when he and Sookie get in a clinch in Dead as a Doornail when Bill interrupts and in Dead Ever After, they finally have sex.

I disappeared in you, You Disappeared from me

Abandonment is a key issue with all the characters involved. Though we will not know how the last Sookie Book will pan out, we have to deal with the fact that in some situation in the books and films, each of our characters deals with abandonment issues. Sookie has Bill disappearing from her in Club Dead, as does Edward who leaves Bella in New Moon. Sookie left Bill in Dallas after the Midnight Massacre in Living Dead in Dallas and Eric feels the bond let go in Dead Reckoning. One of Sookie’s peripheral love interests, Quinn, abandons her because of his obligations to his mother. In the show, Sookie’s grandfather abandons the family when he disappears into Faery and Eric feels he has been abandoned when Sookie tells Eric and Bill she can’t be torn between them and breaks up with the both of them and then when Bill falls for the Sanguinista movement, he abandons Sookie again to her fate as he has come to believe she is some sort of genetic abomination of fae and human.

Eric in Dead Ever After is forced to abandon Sookie to marry the Queen of Oklahoma. He does use this to his advantage to keep Sam from Sookie by offering to bail her out of jail if Sam stays away from her, which is a sort of forced abandonment by Sam trying to keep his word to Eric.

Edward abandons Bella to protect her from the Vampiric urges all Vampires feel when they smell human blood, but he plays it that his family has really lived there too long, and people are beginning to notice they don’t seem to age, and besides, Vampires are so easily distracted. Then Bella, like Sookie, is abandoned by Jacob for a short time when his werewolf self comes out on him with the threat of more Vampires coming to Forks.

Christian has the biggest abandonment issues of all. His mother more or less abandoned him to the abuse of her pimps and lovers and then abandons him in the most elemental way by dying. Then Christian, in love with Ana though he doesn’t understand he is, takes Ana into his red room of pain and at her behest, he punishes her in true Dominant style which sends her shrieking into the night, getting away from him. Then, Ana seems to abandon Christian when she has to deal with a man who has kidnapped Christian’s sister. Ana constantly deals with issues of abandonment as Christian continues to meet with his maker.

Who Made Who, Who Made You

Speaking of makers, we really have to investigate the fact of how these men were made the way they are. All of them have pasts which contributed to the way they conduct relationships. Vampire makers and sexual makers are really the same creature if you look at the Vampire lifestyle as a sexual fetish . Though the one exception is Carlyle, the other makers in this section is the one who sets their feet on the path they now tread and even helped them form their attitudes about love, sex and relationships.
First and foremost, all of our males either did not believe in love or they did not believe they were meant to fall in love. Christian, our lone human in the mix, has been taught by his maker, Elena to function in the world he wants to have. She seduced him at 15, pulling a troubled youth in to the world of control and sexuality. As Christian puts it, he was able to set aside all the bull shit he was dealing with as a troubled teen who was drinking and fighting and dealing with the huge hormones of being a teenager. Because Christian cannot stand to be touched though he needs and craves it, he allows himself to delve into the world of Bondage and Submission in the only way he sees will fit for him.

Edward was saved from death. He was made during the time of the Spanish Flu epidemic in the early 20th century. His father and mother had already died and Carlyle takes him away and makes him a vampire. Carlyle is already living his vegetarian lifestyle and wanted very much for Edward to live the same way, but he rebels and hunts humans though he hunts only bad people. Later he returns and takes up his vegetarian lifestyle.

Bill has something in common with both of these characters. Bill was made Vampire by a lady Vampire as he returned home from the war according to TB (A year or so after the war according to SVM) and he was compelled to leave his family. Lorena and Elena could very well have sat down and had a drink together and been best of friends had they met. Bill surrenders to Lorena’s violent hunting practices in an attempt to make her happy, but eventually, he goes his own way after being with her for an obscenely long time. Bill explained to Sookie that though he was a killer, he tried to be decent about it and only kill evil people, criminals after he left Lorena. Of course this was not true in his formative years, as he and Lorena hunted as a pair. What seemed to be interesting about this was Bill and Lorena ate people, but they seemed to reserve sex for each other.

Eric has two makers. In the show, it is an angelic Godric (who in the books was a pedophile) and in the books, Eric’s maker is Appius Livinus Ocella who took him in a trap he laid for the drunken Viking. This is a dichotomy for this paper because in the show we know very little about Godric except that he has become something rather good and wise though we can only imagine he was something else. In the SVM, Eric was made by a fellow fighter who compels Eric to be his lover and then releases him in a healthy time span for Vampires to go his own way. While Bill’s and Edward’s and Christian’s attitudes are built by their makers, Eric’s attitude seems to have been by time. After 1000 years, he is not incredibly impressed by humans and only after some time in a relationship with Sookie Stackhouse does he recover some interest in humans. But Eric is still very much a Vampire of tradition and in many ways, the way Charlaine Harris writes of the world of Vampire, it is a world he cannot share with her.

Since Sam is not a Vampire, he does not have a maker per se but he does have adventurous sexual interests because he did take up with a maenad and a psychotic werewolf.

King of Pain

Pain is the other face of the sensory coin and there is really very little difference organically in the two. The principle of pleasure pain is nothing new. For example, you may have had someone give you a massage but the masseur is so rough in the handling of you that the most pleasurable part of the massage is when they are finished and all of your muscles relax. For some people the pleasure is the pain and there are some small pains that are very pleasurable. That quick little slap on your behind during sex that changes the sensations of the skin, that pleasant fullness you feel when you are engaged in the act, that little nibble and nip you receive from a lover on the throat or some other prime part of your anatomy.

Of all of the characters, Christian of course is an exhaustive encyclopedia of pleasure pain. He knows the body is all nerve endings and live wires and the imagination is the biggest sex organ. He tells Ana: “Your imagination is your worst enemy in this,” as he shows her how sensory can be manipulated in a situation to increase pleasure. Blindfolding, sound deprivation, being restrained is a way of controlling what the partner feels. It also plays with trust. If you are tied up and blindfolded and you can’t hear anything you are telling the partner you trust them implicitly. Christian grew up without a lot of trust, even for himself, so when he puts his partners in a position where they have to absolutely trust him, he has to control not only what they are feeling, but what he is feeling and what he is doing. Ana of course is not always operating on the same page as Christian and she challenges not only his authority over her, but his trust in not just her but himself. The episode where he whips her with the belt, at her behest, he is making some assumptions that she is trusting him and ultimately herself.

Bill does not seek to actively hurt Sookie. His immortal strength is the thing here. He could hurt Sookie quite easily without meaning to but of all the things Sookie embraces about sex with Vampires is the biting. She differentiates between the biting of a desperate and hungry Vampire from the pleasures of being bitten during sex and incorporates it into her own sexuality. When Bill bites her the first time, she mentally accepts the “small pain” with pleasure. Like Ana, there are some facets of Vampire sexuality that she embraces as much as Ana embraces what she calls Christian’s kinky fuckery, milder bits of dominance and punishment and submission she can tolerate and even embrace and desire as a part of their intimacy.

Because Eric is really two characters, the book Eric and the show Eric (and though this can be argued about Bill and Edward too) there is really a more stark contrast between Eric in the books and Eric in the show. And I think it is because of the visuals. Book Eric is an accomplished lover, as most Vampires are. He has the benefits of having had sex for 1000 years. He knows the human body better than any human because he was a human, but also because he is a Vampire. But Eric is also a man. He has the same sexual stirrings and desires and lusts and perhaps even kinks. I think Eric, as a great deal of men and society do, has a certain way he classifies humans: Blood and Fuck buddies…Women he may have sex with at his bar (or in his case, in his dungeon) and women he admires. Of the two women in both the books and the show he admires, Sookie and Pam are definitely women he admires. But then we have an interesting thing with Eric in the show and that is the way he pulls double duty in his Vampire jail. In the same place where Eric had Lafayette chained up and where he ate Royce, he then power shags Yvetta until she is a piece of limp pasta. The trappings of a dungeon are important in that Eric can have Yvetta holding on to the chains and he has the illusion of something a bit more primitive, more medieval.

You could say the same thing about Christian. His “Red Room of Pain” is analogous of Eric’s Vampire jail. He has the bondage cross, the horse bench, a large bed, and a couch. He has his “toy” chest and his whips and canes and paddles, he has his straps and restraints. It is a stage, to fuel his energies. And just as he has his boat with the red sail to remind him of his secret sexual life….Eric has the car, a blood red Corvette with BLDSKR on the license plate, reminding him of who he is.

But Eric doesn’t have those designs on Sookie. He is not interested in the show in having sex with Sookie in the basement of his bar, though he does chain her up down there so he can go on with a later plan to kill Russell Edgington. In the books, Eric is more interested in just feasting himself sexually on Sookie (and Sookie is very interested in that). He likes sex that is classified as vanilla, he is heavily into oral, and not just the Vampire sort of oral, but the sexual sort of oral, though that is part of it too, and he like Bill ( and Christian) is a breast man. But I suppose you could say Eric is a bit more on the selfish side in light of how Charlaine Harris has made his character in Dead Ever After. He is selfish in that he wants to keep Sookie with him as his mistress even after he goes to Oklahoma and he even remarks that he should have made her Vampire, though this is something she never wanted and she even asks him if he would do that even though it is something she would be something she despises. If you think of Vampire as an alternate lifestyle like the BDSM world of Christian Grey, then you could say Eric does not really want compromise, he was willing to force Sookie into a world she had no interest in becoming a part of whereas Christian considered Ana’s love far more important than integrating her into a lifestyle where he was more comfortable.

And Sookie, unlike Ana, is not willing to compromise much to Eric, which makes her quite different from Bella who considers that she was actually born and better suited to Edward’s world than the world she was born into as a human. But even before she becomes Vampire, she embraces Edward’s world of the alternate lifestyle and the new wealth, like Ana does, incorporating what she deems as interesting and worthy of her participation into her life.

Edward is a man…I have no doubts about it. He has desires but he has been taught that Vampires can be too strong with a partner and he has only heard of Vampires being so lost in the moment that they “break “ their human partner. In fact, Edward tells Bella that he has to concentrate very hard when he reaches up to touch her face to be very careful because he could crush her skull just reaching up to stroke her face. So Edward may want to have sex with Bella, but he is not as confident as Bill and Eric that he can do it without hurting her.

In Season Three of TB, we have the moment when Bill is breaking up with Sookie. He says, “Yes, I am with Lorena, to whom I have just made love; We fucked as only two Vampires can and I didn’t not have hold back with her as I do with you for fear of hurting you.”

Edward and Bella do have sex as Vampire to human, but the next morning he is mortified at what he perceives as “wounds” to her. He asks her, “How badly are you hurt?” and Bella is at sea: She doesn’t feel hurt, she feels a little sore (and though Stephanie Meyers couches this in terms of her muscular pain and bruising, what Edward really wants to ask is how badly did I hurt you inside) and he swears off her for the time being.

Christian tells Ana, “I want you sore so that every time you move you feel where I have been.” How could you be any more plain and honest? Eric says: “I want to bite you and fuck you and rub myself all over you.” (Again, you have to love his honesty) and Bill actually heals Sookie after he takes her virginity so they can make love again. And Edward? He has to actually be seduced by his wife to get him to touch her again.

Topping From the Bottom or She only Comes when She’s on Top

So now I want to talk about that post virginal horniness. For women, there are different levels of this. But, for the sake of our discussion, all of our heroines have bad case of post virginity horniness. After all that time as virgins, worrying about sex and what it will be like, if it will hurt a lot or whatever, they have survived the initial encounter and they are ready for more. They are curious and excited about anything they might be getting into with their partners.

Sookie, after so many years of listening to the thoughts of others, sexual or otherwise, now has somewhere to stand on the question of sex. She has had sex with a gentle and understanding partner who is of course a Vampire and has all this experience. By Club Dead and she and Tara are recreating their MTV dance frugging to Love is a Battlefield moment, she tells us Bill has informed her body about good sex and she has confidence where she hadn’t before.

Then, when she about to have sex with the amnesiac Eric, she mulls over in her head that she should explain to Eric she has only been with one man and he should be careful. She doesn’t have to worry. Eric may have amnesia, but there are some things the Big Viking has not forgotten. He is passionate and erotic and intense and careful and the best back washer in Louisiana.

Edward, like I say, has to be coaxed back into the saddle. But that has actually been the way it has been for a while now. Bella is the sexual aggressor in this relationship from the beginning. She has wanted to make love with Edward from the beginning after being simply uninterested in the boys of her past.
Ana is the same way though she is more tentative. She knows after they have sex (He doesn’t make love, he fucks…hard) that his main goal is to get her into the red room of pain and give her a good going over in more than one way. This is of course the bone of contention for Ana and Christian. But there are times that Ana does take the initiative and pulls Christian into a middle ground where she gets what she wants and he gets what he wants in some semblance.

In the show TB, Sookie discovers her sexuality with Bill. She even makes demands on him, like in Season Two when they were in the Vampire Hotel and she could be with him all night and sleep next to him during the day for a while. She pushes Bill on the couch and runs her hands between his legs and makes it well known to Bill that she is the object of her desire. The next even, he offers the night off, that he would be happy to just hold her and she tells him that is not what would make her happy, that he wants him every which way and her Vampire is more than happy to oblige her.

I don’t think there is any real way you can top from the bottom with Eric. If you want to fuck, he will be happy to fuck you, if you want to make love, he will be happy to do this. But with Sookie, there is a scene which we have been willing to call a half assed and half hearted sex scene but Sookie’s interior monologue, like Ana, is one about the power women have when they perform oral sex. Sookie loves the idea that she can make Eric unravel by simply the pressure of her mouth on his penis. Ana is the same way. The morning after Christian has deflowered her, Ana and Christian are in the tub and she goes down on him and give him a righteous blow job.

Sookie is a strange reticent person. Not by any means a character who knows her own mind like Bella and Ana. She leaps before she looks and has sex with Sam before her heels have even cooled. She decides that using the Cluviel Dor changed not only Sam but the way she sees him and sees her relationship with Eric and she wants to take this relationship slowly. In many ways, Sookie may have been declaring her own independence by sleeping with Sam and making the last of her bonds with Eric severed if they were not already. This relationship with Sam is likely as normal as it gets for her.

There was a time when fellatio was considered taboo and even demeaning for women to perform but in the last twenty years ago, the blow job has become the empowering act. She can take the lead and guide the action by taking him instead of being the passive receptacle for the penis. Having sex on top is another revelation. Sookie and Bill have been apart for wee time and she is explaining to him that she has had to replenish her strength because he has been drinking her blood. Bill explains he can make love with her without biting but it simply is not as good without. She tells him that it would make her stronger if he can hold off and she climbs on top and makes love to him that way.

Ana is also a ride em cowboy type of gal. There are times when Christian allows Ana to take the top position and she likes this because like oral sex, she can control the action, how fast, how slow, how deep, and she can make him “come apart beneath her.”

In many ways this replays the Lilith/Adam conflict about who takes the superior position in sex and while we may be daughters of Eve, we are definitely the BFFs of Lilith, and we like to be on top and we like to take control in some ways that are an enigmatic beneficial effect for both partners involved.

And though the sex is not as obvious in Bella and Edward’s story, the first time she has sex with Edward after she is Vampire is one where she is no longer the weaker sex, in fact she stronger than Edward physically and she can hurt him. Edward even has to caution her from time to time about grabbing him too hard because she is stronger than him for the time being.

We know the end of the Twilight series and the Fifty books, but we don’t know the end of the Sookie Books or True Blood. What the end reveals will be interesting and exciting and how it effects the facets of this essay remains to be seen, but whatever the conclusion is, I will be there to see it.

Sources: The Twilight Saga, Fifty Shades Trilogy, The Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries 1-1-13, True Blood, The Complete Twilight Saga, Wikipedia, The Diagnostic Statistical Manual IV.

Last edited by Aslinn Dhan on Thu May 16, 2013 5:14 pm; edited 2 times in total

Aslinn Dhan

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Re: Tie Me Up/Tie Me Down Pain, Pleasure, and Sexual Dynamics in Fifty Shades, Twilight, True Blood, and the Sookie Books

Post  Guest on Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:56 pm

Very complete and well thought out. I have to agree with all the points you make. Great job.

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Re: Tie Me Up/Tie Me Down Pain, Pleasure, and Sexual Dynamics in Fifty Shades, Twilight, True Blood, and the Sookie Books

Post  Renee on Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:56 pm

A fascinating read Aslinn, you've certainly made some thought provoking connections I enjoyed it immensely.


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Re: Tie Me Up/Tie Me Down Pain, Pleasure, and Sexual Dynamics in Fifty Shades, Twilight, True Blood, and the Sookie Books

Post  Terry the Cop on Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:18 pm

Well done. You can tell Aslinn was a teacher at one point. I will have to read this a few times to really make a purposeful comment on it, but this was a paper I would never have thought could be written in any coherent fashion. Wonderful work on initial read
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Re: Tie Me Up/Tie Me Down Pain, Pleasure, and Sexual Dynamics in Fifty Shades, Twilight, True Blood, and the Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Thu May 16, 2013 5:15 pm

I have updated the essay on TB, SVM Twilight and 50. The stuff in blue is new stuff.

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Re: Tie Me Up/Tie Me Down Pain, Pleasure, and Sexual Dynamics in Fifty Shades, Twilight, True Blood, and the Sookie Books

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