How does Dracula portray sexual repression?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dracula was published during the Victorian Age when sexual repression was at its height. This was also an age which saw a tremendous rise in prostitution and pornography. The novel shows the this paradox and the consequences of sexual repression. Gentlewomen were supposed to be ladylike and were thought inferior to men. Lucy writes,"My dear Mina,why are men so noble when we women are so little worthy of them?" But then she is upset that she has to choose between three men. She adds, "Why can't they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her, and save all this trouble? But this is heresy, and I must not say it."

On the outside, men were supposed to respect women and never to see them undressed. But this perception is broken in "Dracula".
"The most frequently mentioned psychological aspect is the madonna/whore schism within Victorian perceptions of women, seen most clearly in Lucy's transformation from aristocratic female to vampire." This transformation is what fascinated Victorian readers, who could not read about sex, but could read about a vampire and his attack on women.