As mentioned in a previous blog, a succubus is a demon who takes the form of a woman in order to seduce men while they sleep, usually through sexual activity. She is often depicted as a highly attractive enchantress. At times, a succubus is pictured as wearing wings, fangs, hooves or snake-like eyes. The male equivalent of a succubus is an incubus. Incubi will be considered in a future blog. Figure B-1 is an image of a Succubus taken from folklore.

Fig B-1. Sucubus image

Figure B-1. Succubus from folklore. Public Domain image.

The presences of succubi or Incubi are often experienced in waking dreams, by sleep paralysis or during hallucinogenic experiences. Although often forgotten on waking, most people remember feeling intense emotions of fear or euphoria, of orgasmic feelings or the presence of animal figures. In some cases the succubus only attack men who have committed adultery. They were therefore busy. In later folklore, a succubus took the form of a siren”Sleep,” Wikipedia, accessed 14 April 2018, Variations of the definition of the succubus have been adopted by different cultures. In Hawaiian mythology, the succubus is said to sneak into men’s tents at night and steal their virginity. It is said that the only way to stop this demon is to wear a loincloth made of the Hawaiian “snowbush plant”. I think you can buy these on-line. In Arabian mythology, succubi are said to be invisible. Only a person with “second sight” can see them. I do not think this is available on-line. People that are possessed cannot marry without harm to them selves.

Throughout history, priests and rabbis, have tried to curb the power of succubi over man. I have not heard of a similar curb for incubi. It is not uncommon to equate the prostitute or courtesan with the succubi or incubi. Through out history, man and women have bartered for sensual pleasure. Some things do not change.

Figure B-3, is an example of this need. Phryne was possibly the richest self-made woman of her time. She offered to fund the rebuilding of the walls of Thebes. She also demanded that the words “Destroyed by Alexander, restored by Phryne the courtesan” be inscribed on the walls. We have yet to recognize male brothels for women. She also was a model, posing for various painters and sculptors. As might be expected, these demon women are the stuff for artistic expression, especially for those artists who have experienced or envisioned them.


Figure B-2. Phryne at the Poseidonia in Eleusis, Henryk Siemiradzki, 1889. Public domain.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tonie says:

    Dr Sage,

    Interesting topic this week. I think the idea of succubi can be tracked closely with literature symbols, such as mermaids and mermen ( which are not discussed as much). Some such symbols probably can be tracked to oral stores.


    1. jdsage12 says:

      thanks for your comments. I discussed mermaids and mermen in the earlier blogs featured in October 2017, “Pirens” and “Hooked on Sirens”. Unfortunately the original blogs are no longer available in their original content, having each been reduced to a few sentences. Oral stories are a good source of info, the problem being that they generally exclude stories by women.


Leave a Reply ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.