A cultural obsession with vampires usually coincides with changing sexuality, writes Stephen Marche. The vampire is a realized sexual other—whether an aristocratic libertine or an AIDS victim—with the human characters representing the mainstream. Usually, the normals have killed the other, but our current vampire moment is different: Whether in Twilight or True Blood, the vampires are often the most normal characters.
True Blood makes an explicit link to homosexuality, but the larger point carries for any sexuality that has been in the past considered deviant. Sexuality is being divorced from notions of “decency” because “for most Americans, there is no longer any such thing as a shameful sexual act between consenting adults,” Marche writes for Esquire.