'Oh spike you're covered in sexy wounds!' The erotic significance of wounding and torture in buffy the vampire slayer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BtVS) ran for seven seasons (1997–2003) and was broadcast in the USA, the UK and other European countries and Australasia, acquiring an enthusiastic and dedicated fan base which gave it cult status. In addition to generating much fan activity, it has attracted considerable academic attention.1 For the purposes of examining the relations of sex, violence and the body, it may be argued that BtVS is a particularly rich source. It is a show with a hybrid generic make-up, combining elements of gothic/horror, teen drama and soap opera; as a show aimed principally at a teen audience (but in fact drawing viewers from a much wider demographic range), a central focus has been personal relationships and sexuality. But its gothic/horror elements mean that these issues are frequently played out within narratives that involve violence. When the violence is meted out to vampire characters, the indestructible nature of their bodies (with the exceptions of stakes through the heart, decapitation and fire) means that injuries that would kill a human can be sustained and recovered from. BtVS therefore provides narratively and generically legitimate opportunities for viewing acts of wounding and torture, and the possibilities for an erotic reading of these are enhanced by frequent implicit and sometimes explicit references to BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Sadism, Masochism) practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSex, Violence and the Body
Subtitle of host publicationThe Erotics of Wounding
EditorsViv Burr, Jeff Hearn
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Chapter9
Pages137-156
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780230228399
ISBN (Print)9780230549340
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2008

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    Burr, V. (2008). 'Oh spike you're covered in sexy wounds!' The erotic significance of wounding and torture in buffy the vampire slayer. In V. Burr, & J. Hearn (Eds.), Sex, Violence and the Body: The Erotics of Wounding (pp. 137-156). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230228399