Horny devils: the rise of Satanic thirst traps

From Beelzebub with a barrel chest and cherry-red bubble-butt to kinksters engaging in blasphemous porn – meet the online Satanic community.

Ah, Satan. It’s been a long and complicated relationship for him and humanity. As far as millennia-old cultural mainstays go, Old Nick is a remarkably elastic figure. He goes by many names – the Devil, the Antichrist, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Boris – and our collective understanding of him has been moulded over time by some of the strongest forces on earth: guilt, shame and, ultimately, fear.

But of late he’s been having a rebrand. In 2019 Hulu doc Hail Satan? he’s an aspirational, left-field figure. He’s a sexed-up dom daddy in Lil Nas Xs Montero video. He’s a sort-of sneakerhead in the rapper’s devilish and appropriately transgressive Satan Shoes”, a pair of Nikes (non-affiliated, insist Nike) which contain a drop of human blood. He’s also become a thirst-trap: a red-hot stud.

We’ve long been taught to fear Satan. But we’re also taught that Satan is tempting, alluring and even beautiful. His fearsome otherness is part and parcel of his conventional hotness, for lack of a better term. Lil Nas X twerking on a red demon figure? Hot. Even the name Lucifer implies a kind of physical attraction: it means bearer of light”. And in Milton’s Paradise Lost, he was the most beautiful” of all God’s angels. At the other, rather hellish end of the cultural extreme, the 2000 film Bedazzled, he’s portrayed by regulation hottie Elizabeth Hurley.

Of course, most of this representational history teaches the dangers in succumbing to Satan’s beauty. But Lil Nas X’s music video suggests a shift, one that may go beyond popular reproductions of Satanic symbolism. In our fast-evolving, often doomsday-like moment, it seems the sexual-religious tension around Satan is more than a breeding ground for artistic playfulness.

As depicted on various online forums and platforms, Satan is a hot, lusty object of desire. The devil doesn’t just have all the best tunes – he also has all the best sex moves. But does the Satanic thirst trap” function as more than a way of getting our infernal rocks off? Might it also be a defiantly unsaintly tool with which to rebel against political and societal norms?

The latter certainly rings true for the anonymous user behind Instagram account GayHorror666*. As suggested by the recent suspension of their original account, their taste for beefcake erotica and outright blasphemy (sometimes combined in the same post) builds on the Satanist tradition of Establishment-frightening cultural transgression. But to this fan, Satan is more an agent of authentic expression than an amoral shit-stirrer.

What I want is to make people smile,” they tell me over DM. While the user says the account winks” at but does not have a close link to Satanism”, they’ve found Satan to be a sympathetic ally” in that mission for laughs. Still, the user does characterise their IG as politically motivated, albeit loosely.

I decided to add 666’ in order to alienate mainstream gays… To play on the mouldy labels [we often subscribe to], such as masculine’, feminine’, passive’…” They add that combining shady political direction” with goth-meets-camp aesthetics became a hit during the pandemic. Equally, I think this account is popular because followers don’t know my identity, and it’s sexy and fun.”

Some might call the mixture of the spiritual and the erotic religious kink” or religious play” – which is actually a thing, not some recent trend or naughty hypothetical. While sex is certainly a below-the-surface through-line in religious history, religious play refers to the use [of] religious iconography in sexual behaviour or role-playing religious scenarios in a sexualised manner,” says Dr. Eric Sprankle. He’s a professor of clinical psychology and sexuality studies at Minnesota State University, as well as a card-carrying Satanist. It’s a fairly common kink.”

If religious belief has been a source of oppression, sexual blasphemy allows the person to begin shedding the power those beliefs held”

DR ERIC SPRANKLE, PROFESSOR OF CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY AND SEXUAL STUDIES AT MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITY

If religious belief has been a source of oppression, sexual blasphemy allows the person to begin shedding the power those beliefs held, or still hold,” Dr. Sprankle continues. But if religious kink” necessarily involves a kind of reverse-psychological immersion play, it doesn’t altogether connect with online expressions of satanic” (lower case) fervour like @GayHorror666, or similar profiles I’ve come across.

During the pandemic, I reopened my Tumblr app out of boredom, expecting my feed’s usual array of shadow-banned erotica. If it weren’t for the superimposed pentagrams and upside-down crucifixes, I might have scrolled right past a novel strain of male pin-ups – one I might in hindsight call the Satanic thirst trap”.

Clicking related tags revealed more queer-Satanic content. Among these bottomless silos were running themes, ranging from pagan iconography and spiritual aphorisms to barrel chests, licentious grins and dom/​sub dynamics. Confused at first, I soon found myself hitting like” on a bunch of mostly NSFW stuff. There was something to admire in the Cock Destroyers-level recklessness of it all.

Still, I was curious. Do these sexy, Satanic memes have a real link to Satanism at all, or are they just provocative? For Mark, a fortysomething writer and blogger based in Vancouver, it’s a bit of both.

Image courtesy of Brother Beastus

By casting his online persona, Brother Beastus, in the image of a beefcake‑y male pinup, Mark hopes to provide followers with not only a virtual gay leather bar” but also a closed forum for truth-seeking and soul-searching.

When Brothers and I chat or flirt online,” Mark says, referring to said followers, I’ll improvise and exchange prayers on the spot, [in hopes that] they genuinely feel Satan’s presence. For me, it’s about welcoming seekers, discussing philosophy, sharing worship – and ultimately connecting people with Satan, if they want to be.”

Like many Satanists – from the fully-signed-up to the curious and questioning – Mark doesn’t believe in an actual antichrist. But his practice is unique, in that it seems more grounded in corporeal imagery and sensory response than old-fashioned mysticism.

For sure, [Satan] is hot!” says the blogger. Satanic imagery appeals to the truly unbridled in each of us. It says yes’ when others say no.’”

In a broader sense, Mark sees sex and spirituality as part of a single numinous dialogue. Sexual carnality and spiritual growth can both be paths to a kind of transcendence,” he says. They show us life’s possibilities – if only momentarily.”

Perhaps seeking a real-life Satanic thirst trap, I chat up Brian* who goes by @ObeyTheBeast666 [name and username changed for story] on the LGBTQ+ hook-up app Scruff. On a follow-up call, I ask the user about the implications of his username.

A lot of people [find me] on Scruff by searching my [user]name,” he says. Like this one French guy I’m talking to now… It’s mostly submissive [men] that are into the whole sadomasochist obedience thing.”

Does Brian assume the role of the Devil, in turn? Not exactly. Other than the 666” in his Scruff profile, he tells me his Satanist views don’t concretely figure into his personal life. But he at least indirectly seems to fulfil a role-play trope I’d seen reflected in the Satanic-kink memes. I like to flip tops,” he says. As in, I don’t bottom; they, [other tops], bottom. That’s a turn-on for me,” he says.

I did a little bit of sex magick when I was really into witchcraft. It didn’t really go anywhere, other than a little bit of blood, candles. I was gullible”

*Brian

Recalling the scraps of Satanic tantra I’d surfaced via Tumblr – Let go and let HIM take charge… HAIL SATAN!” – I probe the subject of top-flipping and any role-play and/​or wish-fulfilment dynamics therein. Was upsetting the natural dom-sub order like doing Satan’s bidding, if only momentarily?

Brian says he identifies as a dom-top Satanist,” but that those labels don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. He adds that sex magick”, or any type of sexual ritual for religious or spiritual pursuits, isn’t his thing. I did a little bit of [that] when I was really into witchcraft. It didn’t really go anywhere, other than a little bit of blood, candles…” He laughs. I was gullible.”

It doesn’t surprise me that Brian would invoke sex magick” – the loosely defined practice of incorporating dark” magic or Satanic ritual in sex, sometimes attributed to 20th century occultist Aleister Crowley – only to distance himself from the term. Like many modern Satanists, Crowley’s link to an established organisation was tenuous or non-existent. But he is still remembered today as a thought-leader, perhaps mostly due to the Satanic Panic of the late 80s.

What religious or spiritual group hasn’t had cause to offload some of its own history? But thanks to online life becoming a fluid reality unto itself – what Mark calls a tectonic shift” – some Satanists don’t feel the need.

To me, the form sex magick’ takes doesn’t matter as much – just that it leaves you in a deeply blissed-out state,” Mark says. Just as integrating mind, body and spirit is essential to all spiritual practices, sex magick [coupled with] spiritual intention can play a huge role in that lifelong process of self-discovery.”

Image courtesy of Hannah Hellcat

Mark isn’t the only one. It’s simultaneously about subversion and acceptance of the self,” says Hannah Hellcat, a Satanist active in San Francisco’s Bay Area and online kink scenes. You’re supposed to subvert societal expectations and, in a more fun vein, [subvert them] sexually, while also accepting and expressing yourself… In some ways, the overlap between the two [scenes] is very nearly a circle.”

Hellcat found her in-person kink community by way of Reddit in 2012, on an 18+ subreddit centred on audio porn. I came across it randomly. I loved the possibility [of it]. One of the first pornos I made was at my night job… I [made sound effects] by jangling my keys and pretended to get a semen sample from someone. Cause that makes sense, right?”

When her marriage ended, she sought out the Bay Area’s kink and Satanist communities in tandem. My first Black Mass was at this dungeon I’d been to before for a kink party, so immediately I felt really comfortable,” she recalls. The truth is, only certain spaces will take us… Us’ meaning Satanists or kinksters.”

Despite the easy but still-sometimes-tenuous access allowed by Hellcat’s San Francisco base, her at-home, sexual-spiritual practice has flourished.

I have a soundscape of cave ambience, [one of] hellscape screams – just all sorts of fun,” she says of her audio-porn set-up. One narration features Hellcat, an ex-Southern Baptist in real life, as a religious figure face-fucking a neophyte. In another she’s Cerberus, the Hound of Hell, at one point verbally sodomising the listener with a knotted butt plug.

What I love about Satanism and kink is that they enable you to take the concept of ritual and use it to ground yourself”

HANNAH HELLCAT

Hellcat’s multi-hyphenate, queer-Satanist side-hustle may disturb the 28 per cent of Gen‑X adults and 32 per cent of Baby Boomer adults who believe there is a hell. But as far as Hellcat is concerned, her reality is just as real” as theirs.

What I love about Satanism, and kink to an extent, is that they enable you to take the concept of ritual and use it to ground yourself,” she concludes. To connect yourself to others, to have a palpable line of communication. It’s just such an enveloping feeling… And it feels very real.”

The world of Satanic thirst traps, then, is as fiery and fired-up as Old Nick’s supposed dwelling – and, given the boundless reach of online worship, kink and perversion, possibly as eternal. But let’s not forget: the Devil was always all about temptation. What if all this is the infernal work of the Dark Lord himself, working to corrupt humanity through our basest desires… for red-hot dick pics? Now that would be hellish.

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