Bram Stoker’s famous novel Dracula, does not have the same effect on us 21st century readers, as it did the Victorians. This I feel is something that has to be kept in mind when reading the novel; and it has more to do with sex, than instilling blood-curdling fear.
The imagery captured by Stoker of a strange man entering a woman’s boudoir in the dead of night, would have been shock-value enough in the late 19th-early 20th century. If we then consider that he “penetrates” these women without their consent, and out of wed-lock, it is possible to see how the novel caused such a stir.
Dracula’s first victim in the novel is Lucy Westenra. Her ill health due to his slowly turning her in to a vampire and draining her blood, cause four men, one of whom is her fiancé, to infuse their blood in to Lucy’s body. Lucy has effectively shared fluids with four men. It is these four men who, following the necessitated slaying of vampire Lucy, endeavour to ensure her master reaches a similar end.
The novel is brimming with taboo images of the sexually repressed Victorian period. The attempted seduction of Jonathon Harker at Castle Dracula by the three, voluptuously lipped female vampires, being one of the more obvious examples in this classic gothic novel.