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Public Health Backgrounder #713

Sun 7 Oct 2001 by mskala Tags used: ,

So your lover is an undead creature?

At one time, sexual relations between the living and the undead were considered taboo. But in more recent times, such couplings have gained social acceptance as just another colour band in the great rainbow of sexuality. If you are a human contemplating sex with an undead partner, there are some facts you need to be aware of concerning health and safety, specific to your partner's undead heritage. Besides the information given here, you should also be aware of the risk of sexually transmitted diseases; most of the same cautions that would apply with a human partner are also of concern with your undead lover. Inform yourself about safe sex in general as well as reading this document.

This Public Health Backgrounder is intended to assist you if your partner is a vampire, a zombie, or a demon. If your partner is a werewolf, (not technically an undead species but often considered as such), contact your local SPCA for a copy of their pamphlet on puppy love. For information about sex with any other undead species, or if you have further questions not answered here, consult your family doctor or call our confidential 24-hour hotline at 1-800-551-3666.

Vampires

Your primary concern when engaging in sexual activity with a vampire should be to avoid becoming a vampire yourself. Do not allow your partner to drink your blood. Sex and blood-drinking are closely linked in vampire psychology, and many vampires enjoy playing the role of predator in both the literal and sexual sense. Nonetheless, this is a point upon which you must draw a clear line. Do not endanger your immortal soul for the sake of a few minutes' pleasure. Even apparently-innocuous activities, such as drawing your blood and then allowing the vampire to drink it without ever biting, may spread vampirism. That is because vampirism is a mystical condition rather than an ordinary disease; it is spread by the act of drinking blood, not by a virus or bacterium like those that can cause sexually-transmitted diseases.

One feature which makes vampirism especially dangerous is that you may not know you have contracted it until long after the fact. The symptoms will not normally appear until after you have already died of some other cause, at which point only the most extreme therapeutic measures are effective. The only consistent pattern in vampirism is that on those rare occasions when a human's death is actually caused by a vampire bite, he or she almost always becomes a vampire.

Among humans who do not directly die of vampire bites, many contract vampirism from their very first bite, contrary to the popular superstition that the first one doesn't count. Others may be preyed upon regularly by an entire family of vampires over the course of many years, and yet never become vampires themselves. It is not safe to depend on being one of those cases; the only safe assumption is that if your vampire lover drinks your blood even once, you will be damned. Being pure at heart, or saying your prayers by night, although possibly worthwhile for other reasons, are not effective techniques for warding off the curse of the vampire.

If you are concerned that you may already be damned, there is a reliable blood test for the condition; ask your doctor. The test is based on measuring the response of your white blood cells to a passage of Holy Scripture encoded in an artificially-constructed DNA fragment. If you should test positive for vampirism, no truly effective treatments exist at present; but management of vampirism cases is a subject for ongoing research. It is entirely possible that a cure may be discovered before a patient alive today will die and begin the agonizing ordeal of undeath. Of course, this possibility should not be seen as lessening the need for a prevention strategy. The prevention strategy for vampirism is to abstain entirely from blood exchange.

Remember, death can eventually deliver you from even the most unpleasant and incurable sexually-transmitted diseases. A person afflicted with vampirism, however, will have their tortured existence drawn out into an endless and infinitely thin thread of suffering. Do not let your affection and sympathy for your partner blind you to his or her accursed spiritual status. Don't let it happen to you!

Sexually transmitted diseases are also a serious concern. Drinking of human blood is considered a "high risk" activity, comparable to sharing needles during intravenous drug use. Many vampires do not take any precautions against disease transmission - being already dead, they have nothing to fear personally from HIV, hepatitis B or C, and similar infections. Even if your partner is attempting to remain "clean" (some clans of vampires take elaborate precautions because of a moral code forbidding them from doing excessive damage to the human population), it may be difficult to verify this; most laboratory tests require a blood sample, and vampires have no blood of their own. Thus, the strictest of standard human "safe sex" procedures are recommended whenever humans have sex with vampires.

It is reasonably safe for humans to perform oral sex on vampires if a condom or dental dam is used, but vampires should not perform oral sex on humans - the temptation to bite could prove irresistible, and fangs are not compatible with latex. Even kissing requires a strong bond of trust between the partners. Do not allow a vampire to kiss you on the neck.

Zombies

There are two kinds of zombies and it is important to know which kind is in your bed. Some zombies are produced from fresh human corpses by the ministrations of a Voodoo priest. These creatures are called Haitian-type zombies (sometimes spelled "zombis"), because the process originated in the jungles of Haiti. Nowadays, not all Haitian-type zombies actually come from Haiti themselves. The other kind of zombie is called the cinematic type; these zombies are created under any of a variety of circumstances from already-decayed human corpses. Cinematic-type zombies get their name because in recent years, many if not all of these disgusting creatures have found employment in the motion picture industry. Zombies starred in the classic _Night of the Living Dead_ documentary films; many others work for major movie studios as intellectual property lawyers.

If your zombie lover speaks French, then he or she is almost certainly a Haitian-type zombie. It is a little-known fact that French people don't watch zombie movies, so there are almost no French-speaking cinematic-type zombies. (Except in Quebec.) Many Haitian-type zombies come from Louisiana; they speak Creole and can also be recognized by their fondness for gumbo.

The power that animates Haitian-type zombies also protects them from many health problems; sex with these creatures is usually about as safe as with another human being. Of course, as with a human partner, you should be aware that your partner may be carrying a contagious disease, especially if he or she has had other partners recently. You may also wish to inquire discreetly what your partner died of before becoming a zombie. Finally, you and your partner should both be aware that Haitian-type zombies often possess superhuman strength; so take appropriate care. Do not attempt excessively acrobatic or vigorous sexual activity.

A cinematic-type zombie consists of little more than a walking semi-sentient mass of disease organisms. It is extremely difficult to have safe sex with such a creature; but safety is important! Mere contact, much less intercourse, with your partner's decaying remains can cause a dangerous and disfiguring infection. Of course, a human must already be pretty sick to be sexually attracted to a shambling horror that makes the air heavy with the stench of the crypt while leaving a trail of slimy and gooey chunks of itself from a seemingly inexhaustible supply everywhere it goes in its insatiable quest for fresh brains to eat, but we won't get into that. Some human/zombie couples try to "make do" with multiple layers of condoms, dental dams, and rubber gloves; but many couples find that the resulting experience does not provide a satisfying level of intimacy. Do not attempt to use a plastic garbage bag as a full-body condom. Although there is no suffocation risk, because your partner has no need to breathe, the plastic used in such bags will not withstand the friction and other stresses involved in vigorous intercourse. Saran Wrap is also a no-no.

The latex bedsheets sold for managing nighttime incontinence problems are likely the best solution. You will also need an industrial autoclave for laundry purposes. These sheets, like other latex products, can be weakened or dissolved by oil-based lubricants such as petroleum jelly. Only water-based lubricants should be used.

You and your partner may also wish to explore other intimacy options. Modern electronic communication media provide many creative opportunities. Classic "phone sex" may be difficult for a partially-animate monster if his or her lips and tongue often fall off and have to be carefully fitted back into place, but you and your partner may enjoy logging into a Usenet chat room together or exchanging erotic email - preferably from opposite ends of a thousand-mile optical fiber. Some humans have entered into online relationships with rotted corpses without even knowing it! The Net can also be a great way to get in touch with other couples who share your interests.

Your cinematic-zombie partner may invite you to share his or her meals of rotting flesh. Although not technically a form of sex, this is also a very dangerous practice and should be avoided. Brains, in particular, can spread diseases such as "kuru", a degenerative "prion" disease once commonly found in certain cannibal tribes but now almost eradicated by the World Health Organization's textured vegetable protein mock brain distribution campaign. Your partner has the appropriate immunities to resist or enjoy kuru; you do not.

Demons

Unlike vampires and zombies, which are biologically similar to humans, demons are completely alien in nature. Some experts even classify these creatures as not truly undead at all, but rather a race of "unliving" beings. They are included here because they show many of the same characteristics as undead - for instance, the aversion to holy objects. Humans and demons wishing to make love must find ways to reconcile totally incompatible body temperatures, pH levels, and ethical systems. What is good for you may not be good for your partner, nor vice versa. In general, the advice of most experts to humans who are considering sexual activity with demons is "Don't."

There are products marketed for assisting human/demon sexual activity, but most such products are themselves almost as dangerous as the hazards they claim to protect against. For instance, asbestos condoms may be effective heat insulators, but have been shown carcinogenic in laboratory studies. Such products are usually designed by and for demons, for their own evil purposes; not particularly with the human partner's comfort or safety in mind. Makeshift household remedies can be dangerous too. Your partner may tell you that "lye" (sodium hydroxide) can neutralize his or her acid sweat; this is literally true, but lye causes painful caustic burns and is not recommended.

Male demons ejaculate all manner of disgusting substances, and they ejaculate in buckets - when they cannot find tender innocent human virgins of both sexes upon whom to inflict their vile pleasure. The prospect of having your vagina or rectum filled to bursting and beyond with gallons of flaming molten sulphur, rusty nails, live centipedes, concentrated nitric acid, dry ice, or a mixture of all of these injected under high pressure, should give you pause. Rest assured that it will not kill you or knock you unconscious; rather, you will find your life and your body horribly dilated to suffer excruciatingly every pulse and spurt of your partner's seemingly-endless diabolical climax.

The situation with a female demon is only slightly better. Many of the Ladies of Hell have extra mouths, in unexpected places and full of extremely sharp teeth; whatever orifice you are thinking of penetrating might not really be an erogenous zone at all, and inserting your penis, finger, or tongue there may be pleasurable for neither you nor her. Many apparently female demons are actually males in drag anyway. Since all demons are sadistic pathological liars utterly incapable of forming a loving mutual trust-based relationship with anyone, even the most strongly-worded discussions with your partner may be unhelpful in setting boundaries for safe sex.

Of course, it's not like you'll be given any choice about it anyway.

Pregnancy

Female vampires do not bleed, of course, but may suffer some symptoms of premenstrual tension for a few years out of every 28. This, and its easily-imagined effect on male vampires, may itself be a sufficient argument for why humans should avoid contact with vampires.

Matters of contraception and pregnancy are mostly of concern where the human partner is female; human men and female undead are almost never fertile together. There are a few bloodlines of vampires where the females are an exception to this rule, and can become pregnant during one phase in a 28-year hormonal cycle. If your partner is from one of these bloodlines and you conceive a child during her fertile time, the child will probably grow up to be a normal vampire with no visible evidence of human ancestry. Like any other vampire, such a child will be doomed to an eternal life walking the shadowy spaces between the worlds of the living and the dead, with half a soul forever tormented by unholy blood lust; but presumably that's okay with you. You're the one who wanted to sleep with the child's mother, you perverted fool.

A child born to a human woman with a vampire father will generally also grow up to be a normal vampire; but here the situation is more difficult for a simple practical reason. How will you feed your baby? Breastfeeding is right out. Female vampires, having no blood of their own, can store blood from their victims to be later dispensed to their babies; but human women lack the necessary organs for this. See the section above on sex with the baby's father for a discussion of why it's a bad idea to feed vampires with your own blood. Bottle-feeding may be possible, but as well as all the health issues that apply to bottle-feeding of human babies, you will also face the issue of what to put in the bottle. Tomato juice will not do! It lacks essential nutrients for a growing baby vampire. Human women who marry into a powerful vampire clan may sometimes have the opportunity to employ vampire wet-nurses, probably the ideal solution to the feeding problem. But you may be charged a terrible price for this service.

Haitian-type zombies, being essentially preserved corpses, are as fertile as most other dead humans - in other words, not at all. There are no known cases of children fathered by such creatures, although a few recently-dead individuals may show non-zero sperm counts, indicating a tiny chance of fertility. If you are concerned, use a condom or other contraceptive measure. Most doctors believe that a child fathered by a Haitian-type zombie, if such a thing were possible at all, would be a normal human; the Voodoo power is not transmitted in semen.

Cinematic-type zombies are also biologically human and, having a more robust semblance of life, may be fertile; but the hazards of unprotected sex with these creatures make conception and childbirth problematic. The human mother could easily become infected with a flesh-eating disease during conception, rendering her zombie-like herself; then deterioration of her body structure as a result of the spreading corruption could complicate delivery. The baby could spontaneously abort after a few weeks of pregnancy but continue growing anyway, to be born undead (horrible) or really dead (somewhat less horrible). The mother could die of blood poisoning at any time during gestation.

Worst of all, the baby could decide, when nearing term, to eat its way out instead of waiting to be born. Such a baby would then seek out the nearest center of population density and go on a rampage, crawling up trees, into windows, and through heating ducts, and dropping onto unsuspecting persons, thence to gum toothlessly through their skulls and slake its unnatural hunger on their still-quivering brains. Women who conceive babies with cinematic-type zombie fathers seldom live to raise their children, so the practice is not recommended.

Children begotten by demons upon human receptacles pose a threat to the entire fate of the world. The power of demonspawn varies according to the nature of the diabolical parent, but is always awesome in its intensity and terrible in its malice. The birth of such a child may be accompanied by a plague of locusts, a plague of brimstone, or a plague of plague. Once born, he or she may grow to maturity in a matter of months, in a ferocious hurry to attain his or her destiny as a sower of destruction. As an adult, your child may raise armies of cinematic-type zombies, or call forth the legions of Hell, to spread violence across the land. Most experts suggest that this should be avoided. Unfortunately, conventional contraceptive measures have been shown ineffective against the horrific potency of demon seed. It is virtually certain that a woman who mates with a demon will conceive and eventually bear the child, dying agonizingly in the process, her soul immediately seized to be tortured for eternity in the pits. Attempts at abortion only encourage the thing.

In summary, the prospect of children conceived between human and undead parents fills most medical authorities with disgust. We suggest that because of the health and sanity risks involved, most mixed-vitality couples should consider adoption instead of conceiving children themselves.

Protecting your partner

The most serious health risks in human/undead relationships are certainly those affecting the human partner, and this document concentrates on those. But you should also be aware of your undead partner's needs and take those into account. Before initiating sexual activity, discuss any concerns either of you may have. Your partner may wish to seek out publications similar to this one but written for his or her own species on the necessary precautions for sex with human beings. The appropriate place to obtain such publications will vary depending on your partner's specific undead heritage; check the blue pages of your telephone book for the number of the local Public Unhealth Service office.

One general issue that should be considered is that many undead can be harmed by exposure to religious objects. (One exception is some Haitian-type zombies who are psychologically dependent on the Voodoo charms that maintain their animation.) If you are contemplating sexual relations with an undead creature, it can reasonably be assumed that you have already chosen to ignore the stern injunctions of most faiths against congress with the dead; so you probably don't have valid crucifixes, unlabelled bottles of holy water, and other dangerous objects lying around your home anyway. But one can never be too careful about this. A bit of religious jewelry carelessly revealed at the wrong time will probably not cause any permanent injury but can certainly ruin your night's lovemaking. You should also watch your tongue - a cry of "Oh God!" or similar, at a critical moment, will not endear you to your undead partner.

The guidelines for writers of educational material on safe sex always state that we should be careful to avoid any value judgments or implications that the reader's desires are bad or unwholesome. In the case of sex with the undead, that is a difficult policy to follow. Sex between human beings and undead creatures really is an horrific and ghastly prospect. We are aware, however, that writing that here is unlikely to stop you. As public health professionals, all we can do is give you these safety tips and then try desperately and unsuccessfully to forget that you ever asked.

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