Lost Girl has reawakened my interest in the succubus and her myths. While the main character of Lost Girl is bisexual, the succubus of myth is strictly heterosexual. I will also make an attempt to follow the logic that identifies the succubus with the female prostitute. First, we need to start with some definitions.
Virile/virility refers to a man’s strength, especially his sex drive; virtue, his honor and quality. Both words share the Latin root “vir” meaning “man”. Indeed, men were previously thought to be the sole possessors of virtue due to their virility; a virtuous woman was a virgin or chaste woman and even she was not above suspicion.
A succubus, by her very nature, mocks this virility and virtue. Medieval Latin translates succubus as “prostitute”, Late Latin (3rd-6th century CE) translates the word meaning “strumpet” (synonym for prostitute) and the ancient Latin translates the words as “one who lies under”: sub “under” and cubare “to lie”. Of course, we don’t always do missionary position with clients but often, yes. Moreover, it is the position that women traditionally had sex in (or supposed to), underneath the man. In myth, a succubus was a female demon who visited men in their dreams, making them spill their semen in their sleep. In the view of some religious tradition, this nightly emissions which is perfectly normal in small amounts, is a waste or is considered spiritually unpure. For that alone, the succubus and the wet dreams she inspires, are demonized. Furthermore, succubae sap the strength of men, their virility and virtue, during their encounters.
By contrast, the succubus’ male counterpart is the incubus. Similarly, heterosexual and its name denotes the traditional position of the male during heterosexual relations: ancient Latin form is incubare, which means “lie on”. Middle English and Late Latin also make incubus a synonym of “nightmare”, making him a…son (?) of the Night Hag or the Night Mare.
Succubae are stunningly beautiful, erotic, and though not strictly depicted as a wanton, which is considered a sexually insatiable woman who is indiscriminate in her choice of lovers that conforms to a male ideal more than female reality. I suppose this is the origin of succubus=prostitute, the belief that prostitutes are indiscriminate in their choice of clients. One the one hand, the prostitute can be beautiful and is the object of desire for many men (whether it is admitted or not); yet, the prostitute can also be intimidating as a sexual persona.
The most important trait of a succubus is the ability to, essentially, fuck a man until he’s spent from pleasure and transferring his sexual energy to herself; that is to say, she has a heightened energetic state post-coital. This can be seen in the cliche of a man rolling over to go to sleep while the woman is wide awake, usually sulking at the fact that he doesn’t want to cuddle. Though cuddling doesn’t require nearly as much energy as full-on intercourse, it does require some energy.
I believe there are quite a few women who absorb, if you will, sexual energy, lending credence to the ancient belief in the succubus. The fact that many prostitutes often have multiple partners within a single day (even if that number is only two) most likely further strengthens the tie between the idea and translation of prostitute and succubus in the minds of those who created and later added to this myth over the years. The idea being that prostitutes, as succubae, “feed” off the sexual energy they incite in men in order to have sex more than once a day with however many clients they receive. Of course, instead of a positive view of sexual energy being something that is exchanged, granted, given, or needed for the vitality of life, anhedonic, sex-negative, (usually) patriarchal cultures turn this practice into a demonic practice. I will also say that this idea does not take into account other factors that influence the ability to have multiple sexual encounters in one day: it is merely one of many possibilities and will vary drastically with the woman in question.
I would venture a guess that other non-sex professionals who nonetheless provide an intimate service to their clients or patients also gain energy from positive intimate encounters. The converse will also be true: negative encounters deplete whatever energy reserves they have and that can definitely affect subsequent encounters.
When I read about the succubus absorbing the sexual energy from her target, I immediately recognized the parallel in my own personal sex life. I have never been worn out by sex, not even by boring sex. Annoyed, yes, but tired, no. After particularly good sex I’m either ready to go again or in search of expelling all of the energy I have built up in some physical way: running, dancing, something. Professionally is a different story and a difficult, trying, or annoying client saps any energy that might have been gained by that intimate encounter. But this is the importance in being able to attract good clients and to guide and mould the encounter to the best benefit of all involved; this process is can be severely impeded in a criminalised system and is the source of many problems.