“So what is my assignment, then?”
Abbie blinked slowly at her, certain that she must have misheard. “Excuse me?”
“Succubus,” Renata repeated, her voice becoming clinical again as she continued. “A being that draws energy from sexual activity or impulses. Every being here gathers energy in one way or another—well, except for ghosts, they tend to siphon it more than anything, but…” She paused, resting a hand on her shoulder, her expression growing concerned when Abbie shrugged away. “Are you all right?”
“I cannot be a succubus. Would you look at what I died in?”
Renata read her shirt, which had a giant pirate ship on it with the caption Asexual Pirate Doesn’t Want Your Booty. She raised her eyes to Abbie’s face again, looking vaguely confused. “So you’re…”
“I’m ace, yeah.”
– “Welcome to Your Afterlife” by Stephanie Rabig
Earlier, we looked at what happens when “Ace Meets Incubus”. But what about when the succubus/incubus/etc. is ace?
Technically, this falls under the broader trope of ace-as-nonhuman/inhuman since succubi/incubi/etc. are nonhuman. But I feel that the effect of “The Asexual Succubus” is very different from what most people talk about when they talk about the ace-as-nonhuman/inhuman trope. The types of nonhumans which aces are usually associated with are robots, extraterrestrial aliens, and others which stereotypically lack emotions or are nonsexual (at least, when they are not female – female extraterrestrial aliens tend to be very sexualized, and I do not know of any example of a female extraterrestrial alien being labeled as asexual). By contrast, succubi and their equivalents are generally hypersexual. (Non-female) robots and aliens being marked as ace is congruent with their general stereotypes, whereas a succubus marked as ace goes against the stereotype.
Okay, so two things which are generally considered to be opposites – hypersexual succubi (or equivalents) and aces – are combined into a single character. What then?
This trope is like “Ace Meets Incubus” in that it tends to be played for humor. Who would ever expect a succubus to be asexual, LOL? The humor, however, tends to be thin veneer for a pile of angst. Even in the shortest, fluffiest example of this trope that I know of (Minority Monsters) there are hints of angst.
A theme common to all examples of “The Asexual Succubus” I know of is that the asexual succubus (or equivalent) resents the compulsory sexuality thrust upon them. That is understandable, especially since compulsory sexuality seems to be even more intense for succubi and their equivalents than for ordinary humans. In “Welcome to Your Afterlife” Abbie is forced to turn into a succubus because someone in the underworld is trying to ‘correct’ her asexuality. Abbie has to gather energy, and because she has turned into a succubus, she has to gather energy by seducing humans. In “Lost and Found,” Nerissa, a selkie, lives in fear that her magical thrall (which she cannot entirely control) will inadvertently seduce a human and then that human will capture her (to be fair, she would probably be scared of that even if she were not ace, but being ace does not improve the situation).
Now, one might notice that people may be sexually attracted to aces even if those aces do not have magical thralls, and that this sexual attraction might motivate them to do things which create problems for the aces they are attracted to. Though there may be examples of this trope involving male ace characters, I do not think it is a coincidence that every example I’ve encountered of this trope involves a female ace character. People who are perceived to be female are more likely to be sexually objectified, whether they want it or not.
I think this trope takes the real life experience of aces being expected to sexually perform and having their inner feelings dismissed because ‘all people are sexual beings’ or something, and dramatizes the experience with the metaphor of making the ace character a succubus.
1) How do you think this trope compares to other depictions of nonhuman aces?
2) Is there anything to be gained by having a story about an asexual succubus, rather than just having a story about an ordinary ace who is sexualized by others?
3) Would you rather read/watch stories in which aces meet incubi/succubi, or stories about incubi/succubi who are ace?