Can Sex with a Vampire Get You Pregnant? (Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series — Breaking Dawn)

Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as the vampire Edward Cullen in the December 12th film version of Twilight.

Shortly after midnight on August 2nd, 1.3 million readers, mostly young women, began reading Breaking Dawn, the fourth and final installment of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, a saga of romance and general sweatiness between the mortal Bella and the dreamily eternal Edward. Somewhere in the hours before dawn, a million women paused in shock and confusion. “Bella’s pregnant?” they asked in astonishment. “I thought sex with a vampire was… um… safe.”

Setting aside the obvious physical dangers of getting naked with vampires, sex with the dead seems like it shouldn’t require a condom. After all, if vampires are animated corpses, how can they have live seed? Bella’s pregnancy doesn’t feel logical. That said, is there any precedent for a human women finding herself in a family way after dallying with her dark prince? Believe it or not, there is.

The most infamous pregnancy in vampire literature (or perhaps I should say the most infamous up until now) occurred in Poppy Z. Brite’s 1992 novel Lost Souls. Side character Ann Bransby-Smith, tired of protagonist Steve Finn’s drinking, dumps him in favor of one of her college professors. Steve rapes Ann in drunken retaliation, a scene made all the more disturbing by Ann’s ambivalent reaction. She gets her own revenge through a one-night stand with Zillah, a green-eyed vampire with an axe to grind against Steve. Ann becomes pregnant. In desperation, she poisons her invalid father and flees to New Orleans. The remainder of the novel details the efforts of Steve and his childhood friend Ghost to find and save Ann. An attempt to induce a miscarriage finally kills her.

Critics and readers raked Brite over the coals, accusing her of hatred for her own sex. Few of them seemed to notice that Ann’s pregnancy is actually the second one in the book. The prologue tells the story of Jessy, who carries another of Zillah’s children. She dies giving birth, but her son survives. The child of a human mother and a vampire father is called a dhampir, a word and a concept that go all the way back to Slavic folklore. A dhampir has all the powers of a vampire with none of the disadvantages. Dhampir are the ultimate outcasts, reviled as monsters by humans and shunned as aberrations by vampires. Both traditionally and in literature, dhampir are vampire hunters.

Vampire Hunter D

Vampire Hunter D

While my favorite dhampir is the enigmatic Jen from Nancy Collins’ Sonja Blue novels, the most well known is surely Vampire Hunter D. Familiar to Americans as the central character in a pair of animated movies (thanks to poor translating, the word dhampir is consistently mispronounced in both films), the story of D began (and continues) in a series of novels by Hideyuki Kikuchi, ten of which are now available in English. D hunts vampires through the nightmare landscape of post-apocalyptic Earth. A heady mix of Lovecraft and Leone, D’s adventures bear more resemblance to early Clint Eastwood westerns than to traditional horror stories. Though convinced that his vampire kin deserve extermination, D often struggles against his own dark longings.

So, what can we take away from all this? One obvious conclusion would be that if you’re going to sleep with a vampire, you really should use birth control. Beyond that, what do the stories of Ann and Bella say about the women who read them? It’s a serious question, and I’m not at all sure I like the answer.

Lost Souls remains Brite’s most popular book, largely due to the ‘appeal’ of Steve Finn and the more compassionate Ghost. Despite their early outrage, fans still pester Brite (who has left horror and moved on to kitchen mysteries) for a sequel. I suspect alienated fans of Stephenie Meyer will do the same. Right now they feel hurt and betrayed, but like Bella herself they’ll stick around, despite the pain.

Dave Hurwitz

14 Responses to “Can Sex with a Vampire Get You Pregnant? (Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series — Breaking Dawn)”

  1. Dave, I think you missed an obvious one here. Blade both predates Vampire Hunter D, and, with the movies, I’d say he was more popular. Blade was created by comic veteran Marv Wolfman in Marvel Comics TOMB OF DRACULA #10 (July 1973). Although Blade doesn’t really fit your scenario. He was the son of a woman bitten by a vampire during pregnancy.

    I think you also missed the TV series Angel. Connor is the child of two vampires, Angel and Darla. Again, not strictly a Dhampir, as he is not the child of both a human and a vampire, he does display the strength and endurance of a vampire without the traditional weaknesses of one, much like a Dhampir.

  2. Kaname's Kitty Says:

    HELLO… you left out “Vampire Knight ” Kaname and Yuki lovers breed to marry and have young just like there parents and theres. And the only problem they had was bad people, bad over power sucking vamps and vampire hunters.

  3. Bethany Says:

    I’m so glad you mentioned D–he’s a particular favorite of mine. But if I’m not mistaken, I think dhampirs ARE actually supposed to have some of the same weaknesses vampires do, just to a lesser extent; for example, they still lust for blood and experience fatigue in sunlight.

  4. Kinsey Hummingbird Says:

    It’s great to see Brite’s “Lost Souls” being taken seriously in the genre, beyond fans who would typically be identified as “goths”. However, your parallel suffers from one very important flaw. The vampires in Brite’s novel weren’t previously human, they weren’t ever human, nor were they the un-dead. As one vampire reflects in the novel, “He could not turn the boy into one of his kind any more than the boy could have bitten him and turned him human. They were of separate races, races that were close enough to mate but still as far away from each other as dusk and dawn.”

    Calling Zillah a vampire is a misnomer, especially since you’re aware of the distinction in folklore between a vampire and a dhampir. Technically he and all the other “vampires” (except one) were dhampir, each generation’s further diluting their vampiric bloodline with humanity. As Brite notes, “they wished they had fangs but had to make do with teeth they filed sharp, and they could walk in sunlight as their great-grandfathers could not…”

    If Zillah wasn’t a true vampire, he got the better end of the deal since, as Meyer has convinced the world, real vampires are more than just the un-dead. They also sparkle and behave like some creepy middle-aged teacher obsessively stalking a clumsy, neurotic high school junior who ended up in his class.

  5. [...] Visit this related post by Dave: “Can Sex with a Vampire Get You Pregnant” [...]

  6. lilbunny3479 Says:

    lol this is a really big question that really bugs me

    • P.M. Moore Says:

      If they are the dead coming back as a vampire, whatever
      semen they had dried up a long time ago. You can’t get
      pregnant without semen. However, some humans call them-
      selves vampires as they drink blood, but as they are living
      humans, as long as they have semen, they can get someone
      pregnant.

  7. [...] is some precedence in film (“Grave of the Vampire”) and fiction, according to The Daily Rot. Aside from “Breaking Dawn,” in Poppy Z. Brite’s 1992 novel [...]

  8. [...] In the latest “Twilight” movie — and the book — the still-mortal Bella marries the immortal vampire Edward. And then … she gets pregnant. So Twi-hards would like to know whether this even makes sense. Not surprisingly, the blogosphere is abuzz with theories. [...]

  9. can a doctor or scientist ever explain bella’s pregnancy please? hehe but yeah, seriously :)

  10. Vampire bitch Says:

    Honestly it’s Stephanie Meyers book and if she wants Bella to get pregnant then Bella can get pregnant

  11. ok so i read in an interview with Stephanie Meyer that she got pregnant because the venom in edward takes over as various liquids in his body (such as his “blood” and “saliva”) and this also counts with his semen which still carries some traits of human semen therefore they are able to get humans pregnant. thank you and goodnight :)

  12. a vampire is dead. his blood wouldnt even pump around his body so he wouldnt be able get it up nevermind get someone pregnant lol

  13. emmanuel Says:

    that’s good movie

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