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  • Writer's pictureSusannah Powers Stengel

My Top Five Bisexual Blood Lusts on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

Or, How to Use TV Vampires to Unpack Your Fragile Sexual Selfhood, a Listicle


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Spoilers For: Late 90’s/Early Aughts Supernatural Comedo-operatic Genius in Sunnydale, CA

Sunnydale’s heroic most chosen one inspires a whole pantheon of sexual longing. Sarah Michelle Gellar, a queen.

Image 1 Credit: UK.Movies.Yahoo


The day I picked up the seven season box set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer changed me for the wicked good. Watching teen Buffy destroy evil in high school and quip something fierce with her ragtag band of misfits introduced to me a rousing truth about supernatural metaphors--any monster you can dream up is already inside of you.


Our forbidden hungers nestle within the horror of our own broken souls. So says the fanged Whedonverse. What happens when we engage the forbidden?

Good theatre, for a start.


Vampires, from Anne Rice to What We Do in the Shadows, embody queerness, otherness, and diversion from the sexual status quo. But when you watch Buffy, vampires have souls, witches are like moral layer cakes, and heroes sometimes kill the innocent as well as the damned. To quest in pursuit of your own desire (regardless of the categories pre-assigned by polite society) is to become a vampire. The Buffyverse is full of domination, submission, sublimation, and hot, hot, hot, boiling-panties hot sexy people. Joss Whedon’s seminal series subtly introduces a full spectrum of sensual repression and erotic release. It is through Buffy that I came to understand myself-- a powerful, compelling bisexual weirdo who gets off (just the right amount) on control.


5. Drusilla

I'm sorry. Before we start, I need a prayer break.

Image 2 Credit: DVD Bash


A-prophetic-saintly-nun-turned-turned-torture-happy-Gothic-villainess, Drusilla is worthy of full erotic novel in honor of her hypnotic intensities. It’s not her mortal fault she’s so bad. Angelus unleashed his blood lust on her entire family, killing them before her very eyes, and then damning her to immortal life colored by the insanity of grief. It happens to the best of us.


It could be the incredible corsets on Juliet Landau. But it’s mostly the sick, reckless pleasure Drusilla gets in the pain of others, and in controlling her two fanged bad boys (Angel and Spike). I want to be owned by Drusilla. She speaks in Ophelia-like non sequiturs of poetic dissonance, and yet commands like a queen. She is askew, askance, akimbo, off-her-rocker crazy. She has no moral connection to the law of our land. She is a landmine wrapped up like a helpless waif. There are daggers in the hollows of her eyes. The dark perversities within me spill out under her hypnosis.


4. Angel

So you know when you’re getting closer and closer to your new boyfriend, only to find out he is actually an immortal vampire condemned by a Romani curse to have a soul? I am 100% bi for Boreanaz (shoutout #biforboreanaz @AngelonTopPod), as our lead Angel is played by the stoney, layered, broody, goobey, spiky David Boreanaz with command and ease. He is a vampire (Angelus), but he is cursed with not only humanity but the moral fallout of 170+ vampiric years of murder and violence. So buried underneath the seeming invulnerability of his marbled physique is a fleshy, vulnerable heart, immortality beset by shame and guilt. The only thing that may threaten to end his curse and restore his soul would be a perfect moment of happiness. Ooops. Enter consensual sex with Buffy.


Angel titillates Buffy and me and you (admit it!) because he rides a razor’s edge between restraint and liberation, between abstemious goodness and lewd licentiousness. Dare his unfettered demon side leak out at any minute, uncontrollable, visceral, violent, overwhelming? Wild leaps of power fight with aching moments of insecure powerlessness. Mastering this rhythm is the ugly work of being alive, but David Boreanaz’s Angel makes that struggle look oh so good.


3. Willow


What really turns me on about Willow is that her intelligence knows no bounds. And that sweet face!

Image 3 Credit: DVD Bash


Willow’s that bitch. A tech-savvy, overall-clad ball of high school neuroses who evolves--explosive, acerbic, and in charge--as she becomes a confident, crackling witch before our eyes. Joss Whedon found in Willow’s arc, not only the most dynamic character in the Buffyverse (portrayed by Alyson Hannigan with grace, comedy, and claws), but an opportunity to open a revolutionary dialogue about being gay in the early aughts. What Willow created and creates, for hungry, horny viewers like myself, is a fem dom space of happy inner contention, self-assertion, and not-to-be-trifled-with power.


Tara and Willow’s tender love story ignited my imagination (and my Y2K lady bits).


Willow's Faustian curiosity to unpack the secrets of magic sends her on a full-throttled ascension to Dark Willow Wiccan brilliance, and ultimately villainy. She has to know more. Whether it’s plumbing the coma-tossed depths of Buffy’s mind at the end of season 5, or unpacking the mysteries of microfiche, Willow’s rabid love for knowledge often reads like a kink. She finds keys to doors the rest of us didn’t know existed. We first taste all the salacious possibilities in season 3’s “Wish”, where a parallel universe unlocks Vampire Willow, a blood-sucking, air-humping, and decidedly gay alter ego of Willow. The electric promise of spontaneity, change, excess, anger, and hope all live within Willow at once. Willow: I beg still to be your witchy pupil.


2. Cordelia


My first spin at the Buffyverse did not find me an overriding fan of Cordelia, whose mean girl antics reverberated a bit too close to home for some of my own high school trauma. My second, third, and I-lost-count watches of this franchise revealed an entirely different Cordelia. A Cordelia for whom my heart tenderly burns on the regular. An unrelentingly self-preserving queen of pointed jabs and layered reactions. A sweater set filled to the brim with the insecurity of a rich-girl-made-poor-girl-made-vision-having-prophetess-detective. I want to love like Cordelia Chase because I want to simultaneously take no prisoners while showing all the love I have to give. Brash, big, full, angry, mini-grudge-filled love with big payouts and high rewards. This is the love Cordy continues to model and embody for me. That’s why she’s number two on this wildly competitive list.


1. Spike


I get it. I’m basic. Spike is my number one.I think it’s the overriding confusion that we all have between life and death, creation and destruction, eros and thanatos that so propels me, even somewhat against my own will, towards this bleach-blonde Sex Pistols reject hottie. I want to climb inside of his leather jacket (of course obtained from one of his many Slayer killings) and let his dirty deeds wash over me. But let’s review the facts:


-That delicious (if mad inconsistent) accent of James Marsters. We’ve got rich, deep, posh, Cornish and Cockney impulses--a rainbow of dulcet delights.


-That backstory. William the Bloody, known as such for the terrifyingly bloody awful poetry upon which he tried to build his nineteenth century nerd career. These tender, creative, mewing William Blake layers hit my Gothic-lit-clit-heart hard.


-That tendency towards self-flagellation and abnegation. As a vampire with a chip placed in his head by The Initiative to experience explosive pain when hurting humans, much of Spike’s ferocity is muted in season 4. However, despite a lingering hunger for blood, this enforced pacifism initiates a pattern of thwarted, angst-riddled love for Buffy. A love detested, mocked, explosively, creatively forged between Marsters and the inimitable Sarah Michelle Gellar during seasons 5-7. It’s hot, it’s wrong, it’s wickedly, destructively hot, it’s deniable, and eventually, it is a site of polluted trust and partner violence.


Spike stings and ensnares me. The smug bastard.

Image 3 Credit: DVD Bash


To talk about Spike without talking about rape is impossible. It reminds us of that to touch another creature is to control them, fangs or no. Spike is a vampire par excellence, a poet with a fickle tongue and a competitive heart who makes reality in his own

image. He is a demon who says Buffy makes him feel like a man, and it is in this confused reality of broken self-image and shattered trust that I yearn to this day for an impossible Spike, a Spike not offered in the series proper, a Spike whose tough lacerating edges can be tamed. For now, I still pop like a champagne bottle at the mere thought of fingering those ramen noodle locks.


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To resist temptation, to not quite bite, invigorates the imagination with a world of parallel magic possibilities. Joss Whedon writes a world of dangers unexplored, near death experiences, and (un)fulfilled hungers. We watch, write, and clickbait the shit out of it still because we all seem to agree--we not only want our vampires slayed, we want them in bed with us.


(Shoutout to the seminal queer studies musical extravaganza podcast "Buffering the Vampire Slayer" and the poetess crew at podcast "Angel on Top" for erotic novels of consensual, flirtatious, understanding scholarship.)


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Who gets your cold, dead heart aflutter in the Buffyverse?

Speak your wicked truth below.


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