Tim Curry plays the Darkness in Legend, looking sexy as hell.

This Study Delving Into Monster Attraction Is Asking All the Right Questions

My what big teeth you have ...

If the internet has done one thing, it has brought people together. Folks who had niche interests have formed online communities. It is a place where monster lovers can come out of the shadows and celebrate their unorthodox tastes. The popularity of monsters as love interests has risen so much that it’s become prevalent in mainstream romances. One of the most discussed and loved romances on the internet is the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas. Anyone familiar with the series, even if it’s just through the barrage of fan art and thirsty Instagram posts, ACOTAR features sexy fae males with monstrous features. Most people who read the series fall for one of the “bat boys” who have “impressive wingspans.”

Recommended Videos

Yet monster kinks aren’t anything new. From art to literature, monsters have long served as a symbol of forbidden sexuality. Sometimes, these creatures were supposed to scare us away from certain sexual activities. Anyone who’s read the historical witch-hunting manuals, like Malleus Maleficarum (1487) and the Compendium Maleficarum (1608), knows about the “unholy” sexual acts that supposedly took place at Black Masses. However, many times, it just drew people in. Just look at Dracula. What many viewed as a scary horror story transformed into a tale of a villainous sex symbol. Since then, hot vampires have exploded in Western culture. But just how deep does our monster attraction go? One researcher is trying to find out more about the people attracted to monsters and what makes monsters so appealing.

The Monstrous Desire Study

After watching The Lighthouse (a film that features a steamy scene between Robert Pattinson and a mermaid), researcher/writer Ella Gallego started investigating erotic monsters used in media. “I was left with an insatiable obsession about all things erotic monsters and how they are utilized in media and culture to provoke a myriad of emotions within us: lust, disgust, excitement, terror, confusion,” Gallego told The Mary Sue in an email. Thus, the Monstrous Desire Study was born. Gallego compiled a list of questions and petitioned BookTok/Instagram accounts, subreddits, and other websites to post her survey. With their help, she ended up with over 2,000 respondents.

Although the survey had a large sample group, Gallego pointed out that most sites that featured the survey were based in North America. This skews the results more toward people in that region, as 70% of respondents were in North America. Also, many people who classically read romance novels are white women. The study results also reflect that, with 70% of respondents being women, as well as 76.5% being white. Most respondents fell into the 21–29 and 30–39 age groups. An interesting data result was that relationship status didn’t seem to matter much when it came to monster attraction, as the respondents were almost equal in that regard—49% were single and 43% were married.

What do people find sexy about monsters?

Questions on the survey included first monster crush, most recent monster attraction, how open they are about their monster attractions, and what aspects of monsters they find attractive. Most of the first monster crushes were for Beast from Beauty and the Beast (this included the 1987 TV show, 1991 animated movie, and 2007 live-action film). I remember watching Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as a kid and no longer liking the Beast when he turned back into a human. The magic cheated Belle out of a hot monster guy. Tim Curry also changed lives as Darkness (Legend), Hexxus (FernGully), and Frank-N-Furter (Rocky Horror Picture Show).

There are various things people find hot about monsters. The top 5 attributes people said they found attractive in the study were monstrous physical features, power, exaggerated physical features, supernatural powers, and their domineering ways. People also preferred their monsters to be morally grey and be some kind of human/monster hybrid or shifter. The most popular monster features were wings, fangs, fur, and tentacles/gills/scales. Interestingly, 78% of respondents were likely or very likely to be attracted to threatening monsters, yet 72% were likely or very likely to be attracted to non-threatening monsters. I guess we just like monsters.

From the raw data, it is difficult to determine what exactly draws us so heavily to erotic monsters. It could be the mix of fear and arousal encountering a powerful creature; Gallego used the term “scroused.” Or it could be a response to the oppressive patriarchal society we live in. Our society trains women to fear men. Monsters can look scary, yet subvert those expectations by being gentle or caring. In addition to all that, I think horns and wings just look hot. Gallego plans to expand her research and sample group in the future and is hoping to publish her findings in a book. Visit the Monstrous Desire website to read Gallego’s research more thoroughly.

(featured image: 20th Century Studios)

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.