Was Voldemort a Virgin?

Ralph Fiennes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010).
Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

This question originally appeared on Quora.

Answer by Sandhya Ramesh:

My first instinct was to laugh at this question, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how very valid this question is. It begs us to explore into Voldemort’s character.

Did Voldemort ever have sex? We don’t explicitly know, but it’s easy to guess. Voldemort is a very unifaceted, one-dimensional character. He’s evil, and that’s about all. There are no layers of complexity to his persona, unlike Dumbledore or even Draco Malfoy. We know that Voldemort was incapable of love. He did not love anyone, and did not care to be loved. He felt nothing for his family, and only wanted his friends in school to rally around him because he wanted to hold power over them. Bellatrix Lestrange was obviously in love with him and worshiped him, but he only cared for her servitude, not her. We know that he did not date anyone, even when at Hogwarts.

But sex is different from love. While love often accompanies sexual desires, it’s perfectly possible for a person to have sex independent of emotions, or to use it as a weapon to exert power and machismo. We see it around us in the media all the time: a prime example being James Bond. Sex is instinctive and offers one of the highest forms of pleasure. To most people, that is. Voldemort, in my opinion, was above that. He would have looked at sexual desire as a weakness—something that could be exploited and used against him, something that would distract him from his goal of immortality. Sex is a basic human need, and Voldemort wanted to distance himself from being human as much as possible. He would abhor the physical union of a man and a woman’s body (or a man and a man’s). In fact, I believe he was too consumed by megalomania to share his body with anyone else at all. To him, his body was his own, and was made to experiment with.

Voldemort was also a psychopath, and psychopaths have a very deviant sexuality (in most cases of real life examples). If anything at all got Voldemort sexually excited, it was the prospect of power—power to kill, not power to rape. Anywhere we find sexual undertones to his character, it has been just before a display of power and has also been homoerotic—when Harry and Riddle meet at the Chamber of Secrets, when Voldemort is about to get his body back in the graveyard, when he and Harry are in the cage, etc. J.K. Rowling’s language is very vivid when she describes these scenes. The words are soft, slippery, dangerous, and filled with sexual connotations. She especially describes Voldemort’s long fingers, his silky voice, his nostrils flaring up in excitement, his heavy breathing, his gently caressing his wand. She uses words like penetrate, forcibly taken, and many other euphemisms for rape. However, in my opinion, these lines of text written with the sole purpose of making the reader aware of Lord Voldemort’s perversion (and for us to be disgusted by him), and to possibly hint that power to kill is the only thing that got him sexually excited. Whether Rowling really intended for her words to have erotic connotations is almost irrelevant as she achieved the sole purpose of using them—to make our skin crawl, to make us understand that Voldemort is perverse, loves danger, and is to be feared.

Sex also has a evolutionary purpose, but Voldemort didn’t care for his bloodline. He never expressed any kind of desire to have progeny, because, I’m sure, he didn’t think there was any woman who was worth carrying his child. Voldemort is very dismissive of women in general. I’m not equating my previous homoeroticism point with misogyny here, but his dealings with female characters have been very indicative of how less he accepts and values members of the female gender. He finds Ginny boring, he demeans Lily Potter’s love (including his infamous “Stand aside, girl!” line—he doesn’t want to bother with her), he uses disturbingly casual language when talking about how he violated Bertha Jorkins, he is disinterestedly sadistic about the female teacher he tortures in Malfoy’s house. Reiterating, I don’t think he was misogynistic. He just didn’t bother to think women important and didn’t find them interesting, even as victims. The sole exception was Bellatrix Lestrange, and again, for her unwavering loyalty. When he talked about one of the characters being pregnant, he uses the word mated. That’s how impersonal fornication and reproduction with women is to him.

However, despite his own views about himself engaging in a sexual act, I do believe he knew exactly how much other people valued sex, attraction, and love. He is often described as being irresistibly handsome as Tom Riddle, and he is sure to have known that. With people like Hepzibah Smith, he played her attraction toward him to achieve his means. When he became Lord Voldemort, he had reached a stage where he had a faithful base and didn’t need to charm anyone to get his way. Even more so because he had lost so much of humanity in his transformations, he had only the basic human need for survival: food. By the time he was Lord Voldemort (despite what I said earlier about the graveyard scene), Tom Riddle had become fully and completely asexual.

So my answer to the question is yes, Lord Voldemort was a virgin.

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