Can Ghosts Scissor?

It all started with a simple premise, a curiosity really. Can ghosts fuck?

I’m feeling very Carrie Bradshaw (the original versionTM) as I write this, staring outside of my window on an overcast Spring evening, typing away on my laptop in an oversized sweatshirt and sitting crosslegged at my desk with my toes exposed to the still-too-cold air. A trusty hibiscus tea by side. And here is when Carrie would make an allusion of sorts, spinning a tale of how exes are most certainly the ghosts of Manhattan but the only thing that haunts her is the Chanel bag she lost in the back of her Uber Black coming home from brunch. She’d say, “I couldn’t help but wonder, were we the ghosts we were fucking all along?”

But I am a simple woman with more simple needs, so instead I took to Google.

If a person googles “can ghosts have sex” interestingly enough the first thing to pop up are stories of human people who have had sex with ghosts, and not the said ghosts having sex with each other. This is where we begin our tale.

Human People Who’ve Had Sex With Ghosts

A sexual attraction to ghosts is known as spectrophilia, which feels self-explanatory. In 2017, Glamour published an entire retrospective on 90s spectrophilia. According to their research, the 90s were the peak time to engage in spectrophilia due to the following heartthrobs: Devon Saw for the three minutes of Casper when he wasn’t a cartoon; the teen who played Thackery Binx in Hocus Pocus in the three minutes when he wasn’t a cat (in their research, he is dubbed very officially as “knockoff ghost Leo”); and also Patrick Swayze “makin’ horny spectral pottery with Demi Moore” in Ghost. It’s pretty hard not to notice that all three points on this starry constellation are also gay roots for a very specific subsect of millennial lesbians, though I do not personally count myself among them.

From here, I landed at an oft-cited article from Slate’s advice column that was first published the early months of the pandemic. Someone writes in because they are worried about their friend, who is having sex with a man named John, believed to have lived in her apartment building in the 1920s. John and this person have an ongoing sexual relationship of at least four months. This lead to a spin-off article from The Cut, which argues that ghosts make the ideal pandemic sex partner. And you know what? Points are made: “having a disembodied spirit as a sexual partner means you can carry on your affair from the comfort of your own home — ideal in a time of responsible social distancing — and you also don’t have to worry about COVID-19 transmission.” We stan a pandemic-safe queen.

Around this time, I also fell into a deep dive on the difference between an “incubus” and a “succubus.” According to the aptly named website “DifferenceBetween.com” (which I am sure is a peer-reviewed study), an incubus is a male demon that wants to have sex with women at night, and a succubus is a female demon that wants to have sex with men at night. Pretty straight forward stuff, pun not intended. However, I cut my teeth in the wars of online lesbian television fandoms, so I know for a fact that according to the Good Book of Lost Girl, at least some of those succubus (succubi?) are gay. Which casts doubt on this entire body of research.

After this I fell into the greatest rabbit hole yet, and so may I present to you:

Which Celebrities Have Had Sex With Ghosts

On the list of celebrities who have had sex with ghosts, none appear more frequently than Joy Behar, noted host of the daytime television show The View. In 2022, Behar proclaimed live on air, “I’ve had sex with a few ghosts and never got pregnant.” To which Whoopi Goldberg replied, “I’m just gonna let that ride.” (haha. “ride.”)

The earliest example of celebrity-ghost sex that I could find was Ana Nicole Smith, who once said in 1994 that she had “some amazing sex” with a ghost that haunted her old Texas apartment. In 1999, Lucy Liu described her ghost sex as “sheer bliss. I felt everything. I climaxed. And then he floated away.” This sounds so peaceful and pleasant, a ghost lover who knows when to leave after the job is done.

The most noted queer celebrity to have sex with a ghost is Ke$ha, who once said in an interview that she “went to the bone zone” with a ghost and also wrote an entire song about it (2012’s “Supernatural,” which includes the following lyrics: “Baby, when we’re touching in the dark/ Can you feel it?/ I can hear the pounding of my heart.”)

And while this all fun and good, it doesn’t answer the root question.

Can Ghosts Have Sex With Each Other?

It took some digging, but the answer here is a resounding: Yes.

In 2011 an Ohio woman captured what appears to be two ghosts in the middle of going to town on each other using what appears to be her camera phone. To quote the highly respectable Metro UK (where I found this article), “the female ghost seems to have grabbed her male partner by the ghouls and decided to give him a night he won’t forget.”

By. The. Ghouls.

The photographer in question told her local FOX news channel that “It looked like… like the ghosts having sex.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. I do believe, that is that on that. If ghosts can have (straight) sex, then queer ghosts can scissor. That is just plain ghost math.

And maybe Carrie Bradshaw is right, maybe “we were the ghosts we were fucking all along.”

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 700 articles for us.

10 Comments

  1. If gay people are more haunted by ghosts than straight people are, does that mean that ghosts could statistically be more likely to be gay than the living population? (Thus increasing their chances of scissoring.)

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