Lust in demonsLust in demons is a controversial theme for Christian demonology. As usual, scholars disagree on the subject.
On one hand, it is considered that demons can feel sexual desire, experiment pleasure, fall in love, be jealous and passionate, hate, and lust is an inherent quality of their nature. On the other hand, other demonologists consider that demons cannot feel desire or love, less jealousy or passion, and use lust as a means to induce people to sin.
Augustine (5th century), Hincmar (early French theologian, archbishop of Rheims, 9th century), Michael Psellos (11th century), William of Auvergne (bishop of Paris, 13th century), Johannes Tauler (14th century), and Ludovico Maria Sinistrari (17th century), among others, supported the idea that demons were lustful and lascivious beings.
Plutarch (1st and 2nd centuries), Thomas Aquinas (13th century), Nicholas Remy (16th century), and Henri Boguet (16th and 17th centuries), among others, disagreed, saying that demons did not know lust or desire and cannot have good feelings like love; as jealousy would be a consequence of love, they could not be jealous. Ambrogio de Vignati agreed with them.
Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger (15th century), authors of the Malleus Maleficarum, adopted an intermediate position. According to their book, demons did not feel love for warlocks or witches, because sexual relationships with them were a part of the compromise these men and women made together with the diabolical pact to honour them by humiliating themselves conceding what demons could sexually ask from them, but that demons acting as incubi and succubae with common people were passionate lovers that felt the desire of being with their beloved person and have sexual intercourse with him/her.
Augustine, Hincmar and Psellos thought that lust was what led demons to have sexual relationships with humans. William of Auvergne, conceived the idea that demons felt a particular and morbid attraction by long and beautiful female hair, and thus women had to follow the Christian use of covering it to avoid exciting desire in them. Tauler had the opinion that demons were lascivious and thus they wanted to have sexual intercourse with humans to satisfy their lewdness. Sinistrari supported the idea that demons felt sexual desire, but satisfaction and pleasure were not the only motivation to have sexual relationships with humans, being another reason that of fecundating women.
Plutarch wrote that demons could not feel sexual desire because they did not need to procreate, his work inspiring later Remy's opinion. Thomas Aquinas asserted that demons could not experiment voluptuousness or desire, and they only wanted to seduce humans with the purpose of inducing them to commit "terrible" sexual sins. Remy wrote that demons do not feel sexual desire inspired by beauty, because they do not need it to procreate, having being created since the beginning in a predetermined number. Boguet said that demons did not know lust or voluptuousness because they are immortal and do not need to have descendants, and so they also do not need to have sexual organs, so demons could make imagine people that they were having sexual relationships, but that actually did not occur. Vignati agreed with Boguet saying that sexual relationships with demons were imaginary, a mere hallucination provoked by them, and Johann Meyfarth agreed too.
Plutarch, Remy and Boguet do not seem to have explained what they wanted to but the need of demons for procreation, what seems to be a different subject. Christian theologians associated the coitus with procreation and not pleasure, but this do not seem to be valid for demons, who might be supposed to want all pleasures that Christian religion denied to humans. Christianity considers sexual pleasure inappropriate and sinful, so it should be appropriate for demons, especially if it is contrary to what allegedly is "God's will".
Pierre de Rostegny supported the idea that Satan preferred to have sexual intercourse with married women to add adultery to other sins like lust, but told nothing about his lust or that of his companions.
Supporting the idea that demons had feelings of love and hate, and were voluptuous, there are several stories about their jealousy.
The first story of this type is narrated in the Book of Tobit (included in the Apocrypha, the Vulgate, and its subsequent Catholic translations). This story tells that the demon Asmodai either fell in love with Sarah and/or felt sexual desire for her, and jealous for she got married killed seven of her husbands before the first coitus could be consummated. Asmodai never had sexual intercourse with Sarah, but he also intened to kill Tobias, her eighth husband, but was foiled by the angel Raphael.
Another of these stories about demonic lewdness and passionate love is told in The Life of Saint Bernard, written by a monk, and said that during the 11th century a demon fell in love with a woman, and when her husband was asleep he visited her, awoke the woman and began to do with her as if he were her husband, committing every type of voluptuous acts during several years, and inflaming her passion.
And a story referring to demonic jealousy was told by Erasmus (16th century), who blamed a demon for the fire that destroyed a village in Germany in 1533, saying that a demon loved deeply a young woman, but discovered that she had also sexual relationships with a man. Full of wrath, the demon started the fire.
If we consider that demons are angels for Christian theology, never mind if fallen, it can be supposed that the feeling of love is possible in them, and taking into account that Christianity blame demons for all sins and lust is one of the seven deadly sins, it would be appropriate that they were lustful, and their love passionate and full of sensuality and voluptuousness.