Sex in the Buffyverse: You Will Get Pregnant and Die
Welcome back to the Hellmouth, gentle viewers! It’s Friday, it’s a holiday weekend, and it’s time to get sexy.
This post contains spoilers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and may include spoilers for their comic book continuations.
It’s no secret that “sex has consequences” is one of the biggest themes of Joss Whedon’s Buffyverse. From mystical pregnancies to unleashing the real Angelus, the show is often more likely to show something awful happening after a character gets jiggy than not. Today we’re going to look at some of those consequences.
Lesson One: If You Have Sex, You Will Get Pregnant and Die.
…after spawning a horde of baby-demons, that is.
Cordelia goes out with a great guy, takes him home, and wakes up eight months pregnant with demon spawn. You can’t make a message much clearer than that. No sex on the first date, guys. Bad. Baddy-bad-bad-bad.
Is the message here that one night stands are bad? Be careful who you date? If it’s Xander we’re talking about, maybe you should give all your dates a full FBI background check just to make sure they’re not demons. And let’s not forget that Cordelia having sex with Connor is what prompted the birth of Jasmine. As much as I love Gina Torres, that maggoty face thing she had going on was rather…unsavory.
Lesson Two: Having Sex With Someone Might Make Them Turn Evil
Especially if you’re doing it for the first time ever.
Buffy and Angel do it? He becomes Angelus and goes on a killing spree across Sunnydale. Buffy has a one-night stand with Parker? He’s the quintessential player and tells her to hate the game. Xander does it with Faith? She conveniently forgets to employ a safe word and almost chokes him to death.
And let’s not forget how Willow kissing Kennedy literally turned her into Tara’s killer.
And in the comics when Buffy and Angel go at it? They spawn a whole other universe and unleash hell on earth. How’s that for a consequence? “You can stay here and bang…or you can go save humanity. Love and kisses!”
The point here is that you should be very, very careful who you sleep with. See above re: FBI background checks.
Lesson Three: Too Much Sex Feeds Poltergeists
So Buffy and Riley are in a nice, committed relationship. They’re happy, they’re frisky, and they start doing it and doing it and doing it well. (Sorry about that reference.)
The problem is, Riley’s Initiative frat house has a poltergeist made of the souls of a bunch of sexually repressed children who start tormenting the rest of the people in the house when they get a taste of Buffy and Riley’s sexy-time mojo, natch.
From making a girl cut off her beautiful auburn curls (I die a little each time I see that) to a spot on a wall that gives you an orgasm, the house starts going just a little bit bonkers. It feeds off of Buffy and Riley. If it weren’t for Xander and Anya wading through a literal sea of attack vines, they’d probably just bang themselves to death.
I suppose there are worse ways to go out.
Anyway. The point? Too much sex is bad. But also teaching kids to be ashamed of sex is bad, because they might become vengeful spirits and try to drown you in a bathtub.
Lesson Four: Using People is Bad
I’m at the front of the line of people who believe Spike and Buffy belong together. But I’ll also be the first to admit that their sexual relationship begins in a way that is less than healthy.
The biggest reason for that thought process in my mind is that Buffy chooses someone who represents everything she hates. Regardless of how her feelings for him change later, that’s not the best way to begin a relationship. The consequences here are mostly emotional, on the part of both characters. Buffy hates herself and takes it out on Spike. Spike conflates their sexual relationship for love. Everyone ends up a big, soggy mess.
All that said, there ARE a couple examples of sex gone right in Sunnydale and LA. So let’s look at those.
Example One: Committed Relationship + Love = Sexy Green Light
Willow and Oz are able to have sex without unleashing doom on Sunnydale. When they first do it, it’s a mutual decision with a lot of forethought (and one very awkward false start involving VHS tapes and Barry White). But they’re together. They’re committed. And they love each other. Somehow this equation allows them to bypass the curse of the Buffyverse sexy times.
In fact, Willow’s able to have two healthy sexual relationships on the show. She and Tara have a beautiful relationship together.
The other example of this equation for healthy sex is probably Xander and Anya. Even if they start out rather unconventionally, they stick together.
Doom Prophylactic #1: only have sex with committed partners.
Example Two: Same Species + Attraction = Safe
As a general rule, the couples on Buffy that are the same species are able to avoid major sexual consequences. Fred and Gunn, Spike and Drusilla, Buffy and Riley (as long as they come up for air now and then), Willow and Tara. I’ll let you decide if Oz is human or not.
Maybe the rule should be “don’t bang vampires,” or “test people for demony-vibes.” Either way, it’s pretty safe as long as you keep it in the realm of your own taxonomy.
Doom Prophylactic #2: date within your species.
The moral of these stories is that if you pick someone in your species and have a loving, committed relationship with them, you can pretty much have sex with impunity.
Well, whaddya know? That’s pretty much like the real world. As fun as one-nighters can be, I think we can all admit they pose a higher risk factor (though I can hear your thoughts right now: “But that’s part of the fun!”).
That’s about all I’ve got for now. As far as themes go on the show, this is always one of the more obvious, and one of the most fun to dissect. One of the best things about the Buffyverse is seeing human stories play out through the shows’ supernatural lens, and the portrayal of sex is no different. How many of us have experienced some sort of sexual doom, albeit not as severe as unleashing a serial killer? (I certainly hope, anyway.)
What are your favorite sexy dooms in the Buffyverse?
Posted on March 15, 2013, in 16th Buffyversary, Buffy, Themes in Buffy and tagged Angel, Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse, emmie mears, Joss Whedon, paranormal, sex, sex and consequences, Sexuality, Sunnydale, Television, themes, VHS, Xander Harris. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.