terror is a real and powerful thing. A monster is ever-so-slightly scarier if it violates you in some way. there have been many of these types of creatures seen in myths and fairy tales. This goes beyond the cliche succubus concept, and includes monsters such as the liderc and the pobobawa. Many of these monsters are far more terrifying in origin myths, and a call to remain steadfast in society's values and traditions. Whether it's warning against sex with loose men or women, or cautioning against the spread of diseases, there is often a morality tale behind them.

These kind of creatures are sometimes used today with various results. Manga like Berserk or warhammer go out of their way to show the gritty details and get very visual. Since sexual assault is a serious and sensitive issue in today's world, how should these creatures be portrayed? Should they be used to add shock value or add to the grimdarkiness of a world? Should they be portrayed differently ?

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    My gut, as a reader, not a writer, is if I see elements which were clearly added for shock value or grimdarkiness, is I stop reading and recycle the book in the hopes the paper can be used to write something better. It feels artificial, lazy, and adolescent. It breaks me out of the story. But maybe I’m just a curmudgeon.
    – Dan Bron
    Nov 18, 2018 at 14:12
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    For my money, nobody does sexually deviant monsters like Piers Anthony.
    – nunya
    Nov 18, 2018 at 20:14

3 Answers 3


Like all things in writing you write for an audience. There is no direct answer because each audience will have different tastes. If you're trying to scare your audience there are lots of ways to do this including or excluding a sexual monster. You need to answer the question why before you write one in. Why does this monster matter to the world, characters, and story. What is it a foil for? What does it say? Why is it interesting?

You can write whatever, so long as it is engaging. There is no native should. Should requires a moral architecture to create the emperitive. If you have such a moral architecture, or there is one you want to examine, then proceed.

If you write without reason, it will show.

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    +1 just for “if you write without reason, it will show”.
    – Dan Bron
    Nov 18, 2018 at 14:37

So much of this depends on your ability as a writer. In the hands of one author, a monster like this could enhance the story, with a different author, it could cause people to throw the book across the room. The idea, in and of itself, can work, but it's tricky.

What I think makes the biggest difference is the underlying morality tale. Sure, they're for both men and women, but in different ways.

For men, it's about being careful who you choose as a sexual partner, because women can steal your power or are monsters in disguise or will drag you down.

But for women, the message is, don't have sexual urges at all. Don't disobey your father or husband. And don't spend any time with outside men. A man might be in danger from a monster, but a women is no longer worthy of protection from monsters if she "strays."

Even the most modern works often draw on these reservoirs of sexism. And authors who write about periods or invented worlds where such sexism was indeed rampant, will fall into the trap of believing they must mirror it (racism gets the same treatment, but those are different sorts of monsters).

So decide what your underlying message is. Do you want a monster that reinforces it? Or one that reinforces the prevailing morality that your characters chafe against? Does your monster punish those who freely enter into sexual relationships or perhaps is it a monster who punishes those who violate consent?


Deviant in reproduction

One of the better uses of a deviant monster is in Alien. A male crew member is "impregnated" orally. The resulting baby is described as something that "shouldn't exist", grows full-sized in hours, has acid for blood, etc. The monster is deviant from conception and defies all of nature's laws.

The sexual violation is all metaphor – if you don't recognize the rape subtext you can still empathize with the body anxiety and Kane's vulnerability. If you do recognize the subtext your sense of dread is elevated and the setup pays off.

Deviant in pleasure

The Cenobites from Hellraiser are expected to be beautiful women who are skilled in the sexy arts, but turn out to be sadomasochistic flesh monsters that want to peal off your skin. Their sexual deviancy is a promise that is taken to the unwelcome extreme.

Both blur sexual imagery and universal body anxiety. The first victims are male, making them instantly scarier and stronger. Arguably, the body violation would not have the same impact if the monsters were selectively hetero-normalized.

Actually just sex, but unpleasant and one-sided

As Kirk so wonderfully said in his answer "If you write without reason, it will show."

I'll paraphrase: if your monsters are just a thinly disguised sexploitation fantasy, no one will be fooled into thinking it is something dark and angsty.

Monsters of the flesh have to be monsters of the mind too. If the idea scares/threatens/violates you personally it is worth exploring. If it is there just to shock and titillate with power fantasies against "empty skirts", it will deservingly get eyerolls from anyone who doesn't share that fantasy, and sees it as a Mars Needs Women trope.

Worst case scenario the rape-y space slug scene backfires and becomes a legendary bad joke.

  • No one without the right priming sees the scene in Alien as sexual. That interpretation is one by psychoanalytically prejudiced viewers, usually professional viewers that have to write something clever and witty. That's like seeing penises in everything slim and longish object that to other people is simply what it is.
    – user34178
    Nov 21, 2018 at 14:41

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