Barry White: I love the sexy slither of a lady snake. Oh, baby.
Simply put, there is something about snakes that inspires our worst fears and greatest dreams. Maybe it's their graceful way of moving, their cool, dispassionate gaze, the smoothness of their scales. Maybe it's the fangs, the way they flick their tongues, or the way they wrap tightly around you in a kind of slinky hug. Maybe it's their suggestive shape, or the fact that they're inherently dangerous, even if they can't actually hurt you.
Whatever the reason, in any situation not emphasizing Snakes Are Sinister or Smug Snake, snakes are used as a symbol of Evil Is Sexy.
Depending on the Mythology you reference, the Lamia or Naga are pretty much the epitome of this. The Lamia is often described as a creature with the body of a snake, and the head, arms, and torso of a human, and are rarely depicted as anything other than incredibly attractive, if not naturally malevolent. The Naga also fits the former's description, but is otherwise depicted as having the entire body of a snake, with the head taking on a human-like face.note Often they are shape-shifters, capable of taking a human or serpentine form.
Western reinterpretations of these monsters are likely to make them a Gorgeous Gorgon with serpentine qualities rendered more alluring than monstrous. They might also be decorated with fetishized "exotic" elements of the Middle-Eastern and Indian cultures from which they are appropriated: don't be surprised to see a serpentine seductress wearing a veil and doing a belly dance holding a scimitar.
See also Feather Boa Constrictor for snakes worn draped over the shoulders, which often overlaps with this trope, Flexibility Equals Sex Ability for when a serpent's flexibility is a part of their sexual allure and Non-Mammal Mammaries for when female snakes possess large humanoid breasts for the sex appeal. Its Sister Tropes are Sexy Cat Person, Foxy Vixen, and Seductive Spider.
Could potentially overlap with Wise Serpent if you're into that sort of thing, especially if the snakes are a Scenery Censor or it's combined with Snake Peoplenote .
- Princess Snake, one-shot villain from a filler episode of Dragon Ball Z, is a beautiful green-skinned woman with a snake motif who tries to seduce Goku. When that fails, she drops this trope and reveals her true form as just a plain old giant snake.
- Fairy Tail has Cobra and his snake Cubellios. Cobra himself is a muscular, good-looking man, and Cubellios, while not exactly sexy as a snake, is actually a girl named Kinana who becomes quite the knockout after the timeskip.
- In Felarya, Nagas are one of the main races. Disturbingly, they are very humanlike, tend to have a carefree disposition, and eat humans.
- Mizuki from Kamisama Kiss is a white-haired Bishōnen who can turn into a snake.
- Lucoa/Quetzalcoatl and Elma from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. Both are snake-like dragons who can take the form of a well-endowed human woman.
- Miia the Lamia in Monster Musume is a well endowed snake-girl who's head over (metaphoric) heels for her "Darling" Kimihito. Unfortunately for her so are all the other monster girls.
- Orochimaru has a ridiculous amount of snake symbolism, summons snakes to fight for him, and turns into a giant snake made of smaller snakes. He slithered off the Slippery Slope long before the story began, and yet he has a huge fan-following.
- In one of the openings to Shippuden, Sasuke is nude and wrapped up in snakes.
- Benisato from Ninja Scroll is a seductress who uses snakes to kill her victims. She also has snake tattoos all over her body, which we know because she spends most of her scenes totally nude. And then there's her last-ditch snake...
- Boa Hancock from One Piece is drop-dead gorgeous. No man (except Luffy) can resist her beauty. She has the power to turn them to stone as a result of this and has a giant snake as her 24/7 personal attendant. Her sisters, on the other hand, subvert this trope.
- Uwabami from Oumagadoki Doubutsuen is three snakes who can transform into a notably beautiful woman with snake hair. When she was transplanted to My Hero Academia, she became a pro hero with a "snake hair" Quirk. She retained her beauty, though, as she is a famous model in her off time.
- Hilma from Overlord is the leader of the drug trade division the sprawling criminal organization Eight Fingers, and a former High-Class Call Girl who is still not above using her charms to get her way. Fittingly, she has an enchanted tattoo on her wrist in the shape of a snake, from which she can summon a deadly venomous serpent.
- Echidna from Queen's Blade has a snake motif and her pet snake, Keltan, is her underwear.
- In Rosario + Vampire, Hitomi Ishigami and Kagome Ririko are both snake monsters. Hitomi is a Gorgeous Gorgon, a monster with hair made out of snakes, yet she's got a decently sexy body. Ririko is a lamia, and her true form has a human upper half and snake lower half. Despite the sheer monstrosity of her true form, she's still just as beautiful and sexy as in her human form, especially since she only takes her true form while in her dominatrix-style outfit.
- Shaina from Saint Seiya is the saint of Ophiuchus, who is heavily associated with snakes. Both in and out of universe she's considered one of the toughest and most beautiful female saints.
- Medusa Gorgon, one of the primary antagonists of Soul Eater, definitely plays this up when she's not actively distorting her features for the hell of it or riding around in a 5-year-old girl's body as a method of cheating death.
- Adiane in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is a scorpion-woman, but she also has some elements of this, mostly flicking her tongue out like a snake.
- In Wolf's Rain, Hub talks to a woman wearing revealing lingerie and a snake around her neck while investigating. He seemed less distracted by her sexiness and more distracted by his allergies to snakes.
- Boris Vallejo has, naturally, drawn some very sexy Snake Women, like in this painting. (Warning, very NSFW.)
- The serpent from the Garden of Eden is surprisingly depicted as such sometimes, usually as a sort of half-snake half-woman creature.
- The painting Lilith, by John Collier, depicting a beautiful nude woman wrapped suggestively in a pair of snakes.
- In one flashback in Ironwood a young mage student tried giving a love potion to a cold older student whom he loved. It didn't work quite as expected — she instead had sex with her half-snake female roommate. Because "this body of yours is very phallic" and "size does matter".
- Legion of Super-Heroes: Sensor (Princess Projectra), depending on which retcon is valid, might count as inversion, since she is a snake (or a naga) hiding behind the illusion of a human woman.
- Loki has some historical associations with snakes and since 2014 a Pretty Boy redesign. So who is surprised that covers like this◊ exist?
- Marvel Comics has an Amazon Brigade of snake-themed assassin villainess in the Serpent Society made up of Black Mamba, Asp and Diamondback◊ who are all Head Turning Beauties and known seductresses. Black Mamba is particularly famous for her generous bust always accompanied by a Navel-Deep Neckline in her skintight Spy Catsuit.
- Wonder Woman (1987): Circe likes to hang about in slinky dresses with Navel-Deep Neckline and slits up the sides draped in venomous snakes who were once men before she transformed them into her devoted minions.
- Stacy X / Miranda Leevald is a mutant with a snake motif, having scaly skin and snake eyes and is one of the most infamous minor X-Men members for using her powers to be a prostitute, manipulating her clients' Pheromones to give them great pleasure, which made her a famous Sex Goddess.
- The mutie biker Harley from the Dredd fanfic Highway Don't Care is described as curvaceous and attractive — despite her scales, slit-pupilled eyes and unhinging jaw. Her partner, Indian, has a helpless crush on her. She doesn't like being described as a snake, threatening to cold-cock anyone who describes her as such.
- The Jungle Book (1967): There's an entire fetish related to Disney's Kaa (or some expy thereof) hypnotizing and/or coiling people (Mowgli, the author/artist's favorite fictional character, or even the reader her/himself) and either eating them, keeping them as pets/slaves or... whatever.
- In the Discworld fics of A.A. Pessimal, in this case Why and were, Johanna Smith-Rhodes is seen handling a pet python with nonchalance and looking as if, in different clothing, she could be seen moonlighting as an exotic dancer rather than a zoologist.note She also wrangles poisonous snakes in the course of a day's work, making post boxes safe again for the city.
- Zhora in Blade Runner is working as an exotic dancer using a robot snake as a prop.
"Ladies and gentlemen... Taffey Lewis presents... Miss Salome and the snake. Watch her take the pleasures from the serpent... that once corrupted man."
- Bram Stoker's Dracula gives Lucy a snake-themed dress for the party where her three suitors are introduced. Her hairstyle for the scene is also done to resemble coiled serpents.
- In the film of Cole Porter's Musical Can-Can, in the "Adam and Eve" ballet, the Snake in the Garden of Eden is played as a very sexy woman.
- Medusa from Clash of the Titans remake is half-woman, half-snake, all sexy.
- Thulsa Doom, the Big Bad from the Conan the Barbarian (1982) movie. He turns into a snake during the orgy, one assumes for some fun.
- Originally planned for The Evil Dead (1981) where Linda - the protagonist's girlfriend - was going to have demon make-up that looked like a snake. They changed their minds to have her resemble a Creepy Doll, but the snake make-up is still visible for the scene where Ash drags her out of the cabin (which was filmed first).
- Salma Hayek's snake dance in From Dusk Till Dawn. When she goes monster, it resembles a snake form, even initially having a cobra head.
- Green Snake is about two shapeshifting snakes who, in human form, look like beautiful maidens. One of them is played by Maggie Cheung.
- The Protagonist of Bollywood film Hisss is a Nagini, a shapeshifting cobra that can turn into a Head-Turning Beauty human form (played by Mallika Sherawat) with many of her scenes being played for Fanservice, with her being Naked on Arrival,sleeping naked, wearing Stripperiffic clothing and going Skinny Dipping complete with Sexy Surfacing Shots. note
- In the Fritz Lang movie The Indian Tomb (1959) a woman is being sacrificed to the snake goddess, so she throws off her robe to reveal a Theiss Titillation Theory bikini and dances to mesmerize the cobra which is her means of execution. It works until she stumbles and the cobra rears to strike, but fortunately a watching Indian prince had been quite mesmerized by her performance as well, and saves her life.
- Kaa is a female in The Jungle Book (2016) and is voiced by Scarlett Johansson, sounding seductive and deadly at the same time. She's also much less comical than her 1967 Sterling Holloway counterpart.
- The Lair of the White Worm. The sexy Big Bad Lady Marsh (Amanda Donohoe) acts in a snakelike manner (including dancing and swaying to music), can change into a partially snake-like form and has a giant snake as her deity.
- Night Angel: The succubus villainess, after bewitching the staff of a glamour magazine to fawn over her, takes part in a photoshoot where she's cradling a snake while wearing make-up that makes half of her face look snake-like.
- Predating the Nollywood below, the Indonesian Nyi Blorong based on a local myth.
- The Nollywood Snake Girl saga. The actress plays a cobra/human shapeshifter, and she is sexy, scary and verrrry snakish (even without any SFX) at the same time.
- Space Jam: A New Legacy: White Mamba is quite seductive and flirtatious. Especially with her snake-like appearance and this helps too since she is voiced by Diana Taurasi.
- In the Chronicles of Narnia novel The Silver Chair, the Emerald Witch transforms into a poisonous serpent. After she tried to corrupt the protagonists into shunning Aslan...
- A Merritt's novel The Face in the Abyss has Ananda the Snake Mother, a beautiful silver-haired naga with pearly, heart-shaped scales.
- One minor character in the Incarnations of Immortality series is a dancer named Pythia, whose act involves dancing suggestively with a snake before letting it swallow her whole (she makes sure to use an ointment that'll keep her from being digested or suffocated).
- In John Keats' Lamia poem, Lamia is a beautiful snake, being a "rainbow" of lovely colors. When she turns into a woman, she becomes The Vamp.
- In Making Money Moist thinks that his girlfriend can sashay in a way that could put snakes to shame.
- A variation in the Xanth novels is the Python of Mount Parnassus, an immense snake capable of swallowing live humans whole (with ease), who also has the ability to control any woman through the power of sexiness... which makes no sense, but hey, it's Xanth.
- When Emma Peel of The Avengers (1960s) debuted in the Hellfire Club as the Queen of Sin, she had a live snake wrapped around her arm.
- Ruthie, the snake charmer from Carnivāle. She's not evil, but she is an Old Maid who Really Gets Around.
- Crowley from Good Omens (2019) was the serpent who tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden and spends most of his time looking like a handsome man with golden snake eyes and a slithery gait.
- Most obviously, explicitly Freudian example ever: "Here Comes the Snake" by Cherry Poppin' Daddies.
Here comes the snake and he circles your leg.
He's come to play and make your body parts shake.
- The Lamia from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis.
- Monster Magnet has a song called Snake Dance on one of their earlier albums, Spine of God.
- The music video "Engel" by Rammstein has a dancer who uses a snake as a prop- the whole video is a reference/homage to From Dusk Till Dawn.
- One of the strippers in the Music Video for "How Do U Want It?" by Tupac Shakur is seen with a python.
- Wagyl from Noongar mythology is a Fertility God and as such portrayed as intersex and with pronounced sexual characteristics. As they are one of the many gods blended into the cultural appropriation abomination that is "Rainbow Serpent" this becomes a trait associated with various other deities that originally weren't supposed to be sexy (like Garriya from Gamilaraay folklore, a generic water snake monster).
- The Snake in the Chinese zodiac is associated with sexuality, to the point where calling a woman "a snake" in China is a compliment. "Madame White Snake" is also one of the best-known folk tales in China, a fantasy tale revolving around a young scholar who marries an incredibly beautiful woman named "Madame White", only to find out that she and her maidservant are snakes in human form. See the other wiki article here for more details.
- Early versions of the tale of Melusine revealed her to be a Naga. Later versions changed this to a mermaid.
- In Indian mythologies, the Naga (the snake people) were described as extremely beautiful, both male and female, in their human forms.
- "Nyi Blorong" based on Indonesian mythology, has been often described as a beautiful, yet deadly, temptress who temps unwary and lost males with sexual advances and wealth, and eventually the lives of the males relatives (or the male itself).
- Depending on the source, Medusa of the Greek Mythology can count. Instead of being horrifyingly butt-ugly, some stories depict Medusa to be extremely beautiful regardless of the snake hair, so beautiful that people turn to stone anyway out of the sheer beauty.
- Averted by Bill Engvall in his album Here's Your Sign. He's scared to death of snakes and when one girlfriend tried to invoke this (with a boa constrictor named "Fluffy"), he suddenly sobered up and left her house.
Girlfriend [breathy]: No. Wait, Bill... Fluffy can wrap around us while we make love.
Bill [mockingly breathy]: No he can't... cause I'll kill him.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Maraliths are powerful demons that combine this Trope with Evil Is Sexy, being tall with long, snaky tails and the upper bodies of six-armed women. They're usually depicted as being extremely attractive (a few rare pictures have depicted them as being ugly and bestial). One Planescape short story told in comic book form features a cambion trying to win the love of one of them, only to get his wish in the worst way possible.
- Also in D&D are the Lillands, who are Chaotic Good Celestials with the upper body of a beautiful winged woman and the lower body of a large snake. They're extremely social and known for their musical skills, which they use to inspire heroes.
- Magic: The Gathering's original artist rendering of Lord of Atlantis is largely based on a sea snake, but with a muscular humanoid upper body, and also fishlike fins in several places; notably one that resembles a mohawk hairstyle. To seal the deal, he has a powerful look on his face.
- The snake-women (and notorious party-killers) known as Lamia Matriarchs are usually depicted as fairly attractive.
- The Euryale, a much more powerful version of the medusa, is also quite attractive. Too bad about the petrifying gaze and super-virulent poison...
- The vishkanya are a playable race of exotically beautiful Little Bit Beastly serpentine humanoids with a knack for poison and intrigue, inspired by tales of Poisonous Person Femme Fatale assassins from ancient India.
- Silessa◊ in Ravenloft was quite literally this trope being an asp familiar that was magically turned into a busty blonde elven maiden that wears strategically placed snake jewelry and worked as exotic dancer for the Carnival. She still possesses many snake-like traits such as shedding her skin, spitting poison and being able to communicate with snakes.
- In Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 had Slaanesh, Chaos God of Lust and Perversion, that was heavily associated with serpents with one of its many names being "the Great Serpent". At least two of its followers: Dechala the Denied One in Warhammer Fantasy and the Daemon Primarch Fulgrim in 40K were converted into snake-like Greater Daemons.
- In Arknights, several operators belong to the Pythia (Snake people) race, and a few of them are quite attractive:
- Eunectes is a a Wrench Wench Nubile Savage from Acahualla who doesn't wear very much, sporting rather scant black wraps in her default costume, and her Bloodline of Combat skin has her wearing a skimpy tank top over cargo pants.
- Indigo is a very pretty lighthouse keeper, whom Blue Poison canonically tranquilizes and then persuades to join Rhodes Island after meeting her in an abandoned Iberian lighthouse. Her free skin has her wearing a very flattering Yan-style dress.
- The Breath of Fire series features a recurring playable character named Deis (Bleu in the localization). She is an ageless, godlike Naga creature — and she's really stacked. In the third game, it's even possible (and important) to compliment her on her looks as a serpent.
- Daily Life With Monster Girl Online has Hydra the Hydra as a romance option. Her care event has her getting out of the shower wearing just a Modesty Towel around her waist, with only snake-hair to cover her chest.
- In Darkest Dungeon, the Shieldbreaker invokes this, as she is a highly beautiful dancer with a snake motif, and many of her attacks either summon or invoke snakes. Her backstory even involves her being Made a Slave because of her beauty and serpentine dancing skill.
- Devil May Cry 4 has a boss called Echidna the She-Viper, which is loosely based on the serpent woman from Classical Mythology. She appears as an attractive humanoid woman protruding from the venus flytrap-shaped mouth of a huge flying demonic serpent thing. Echidna can birth other demons and control plants, which is probably inspired by the fact that serpents are seen as symbols of fertility in certain cultures. While it could be a coincidence, Dante acquires a cool weapon called Gilgamesh after defeating her, which is a reference to the serpent sent by Ishtar which stole the divine immortality herb.
- The Avenger-class Medusa in Fate/Grand Order is much more serpentine than her counterpart in the original Fate/stay night, having a long tail, scaly limbs and snake hair. She's also much bustier, more scantily-clad, and generally a bigger Ms. Fanservice than the original—who was already the Ms. Fanservice of the original VN.
- Cloud of Darkness from Dissidia Final Fantasy. Although they are called tentacles, they have a clear snake-like appearance and even have eyes and mouths resembling snakes. The tentacles just add to CoD's allure. Other (and older) examples would Marilith, the multi-armed Fiend of Fire from the first game, and the Lamia Queen from II.
- Final Fantasy XIV:
- The Ananta are a One-Gender Race of beautiful snake women with a Hindi/Indian aesthetic. Their Ethnic God is the primal Sri Lakshmi, the "Lady of Bliss", who is likewise one of the most alluring and attractive of the primals. Her theme tune is even named "Beauty's Wicked Wiles".
- Seiryu, one of the Four Lords of the Ruby Sea, was originally a serpent who lived long enough to become a wise, magical "Auspice" and became worshipped as a god. He also gains a human-like form, with a lower half comprised of multiple serpent- and lizard-like creatures, but with a torso of a extremely beautiful and elegant man with Pointy Ears and a lean, somewhat effeminate figure.
- Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers features Voodoo practitioners as its villains, and the head of a local cult is witnessed dancing in erotic fashion and with minimal clothing with a green boa during a ritual in Bayou St. John.
- Medusa, the Big Bad of Kid Icarus, as seen in◊ Uprising. It's heavily implied that this was Medusa's original form before Palutena, Goddess of Light cursed her for tormenting humans, as seen when Medusa dies in the original game. Overlaps with Hot Goddess, as Medusa was the Goddess of Darkness.
- Current page image provider Cassiopeia the Serpent's Embracenote , one of the champions from League of Legends, was formerly a beautiful woman and temptress who was cursed into a lamialike form after falling prey to a trap in an ancient Shuriman crypt. Despite considering herself hideously monstrous (in barefaced defiance of her character design), she still acts in a seductive manner.
- One of the female costume options in Rock Band 2 is a top that consists of a large snake that covers the character's breasts and nothing else.
- Shantae: Tuki the Merchant, who is an alluring dancing naga or lamia, sells dances to Shantae in Half-Genie Hero.
- Tiny Tina's Wonderlands has The Coiled, a mixture of Snake People and Mermaids that are all female.
- Warcraft III:
- Naga Sirens are four-armed snake-women whose quotes show them as the "seducing sailors off boats" type.
- Other variants of naga are included in the Frozen Throne expansion, and in World of Warcraft. The females of the species are quite attractive...the males less so, since they do not retain many humanoid characteristics (unless you're into that sort of thing). The use of this trope in this context is somewhat more justified than usual though: the naga were once night elves (and thus already attractive, before they became serpentine). These games also ditch the Indo-Arab aesthetic often associated with the trope. The naga use a sea-based variant of the night elf aesthetic, which is vaguely Greco-Roman.
- XCOM 2 has the Viper, a quite visibly female-only species of humanoid alien cobras who are surprisingly seductive, given that their role in the game is killing your agents with blasts of plasma rifle fire or by crushing them in their coils. They've made a huge positive impact on the fandom, to the point they're often cited (if jokingly) as one of the reasons for fans to be Rooting for the Empire. The alleged "poison glands" in their chests probably didn't have to resemble human anatomy in that very specific way, so it's entirely possible the invaders genetically engineered these particular Slave Mooks to look that way specifically to mess with people's heads.
- The spinoff game XCOM: Chimera Squad references this, with some available maps being set in Viper hostess clubs.
- Kin from Goblins falls into this. She's a yuan-ti, so she looks human from the waist up, but has a snake tail. In her early appearances, she's essentially wearing a bikini top, which is revealed to be a case of Go-Go Enslavement, and she quickly changes into something more modest when the opportunity arises.
- Nobody Scores!: Jane Doe gets a pet snake and plays this trope to the hilt, wearing him like a scarf and reveling in the suggestiveness of going around with a giant phallic symbol draped around her body. She doesn't go as far as to name him after genitals, but only because her roommate wouldn't let her.
It is as if I have draped myself in penis!
- Oglaf: Parodied with the "sexy snake dance", which consists of lying on the floor, swallowing a large egg whole, and then curling up to sleep.
- In Beavis And Butthead, when the duo go to the snake house in the zoo, Butt-Head claims that chicks must get really excited looking at the snakes in it, especially if one gets out of its cage. When the visitors think a snake escaped, they all start panicking...all except one woman who giddily exclaims: "Oooooh, an escaped snake!"
- An episode of HouseBroken had the male animals throw a bachelor party, with entertainment that included a female snake stripper named Amberconda, who at one point molts and throws her shed skin into the crowd like discarded clothing.
- The "Whacking Day" episode of The Simpsons, which deconstructs the Reptiles Are Abhorrent trope, has guest star Barry White invoking this trope in the animals' defense.
Bart: You like snakes, don't you, Mr. White?
Barry White: I love the sexy slither of a lady snake. Oooooooh baby.
- Played with Karai in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), She is very privy on using her feminine wiles to get what she wants, especially from males like Leo and Casey Jones who find her attractive. When she undergoes her mutation, she also uses her mutant serpent form combined with The Vamp to seduce males into getting her whatever she wants, and even kisses Casey to poison him just for kicks.
- Belly Dancers sometimes use snakes as props during their shows. Though they should be careful at that, or else the trope would be quite squicktastically subverted. What do you think happens to somebody who gets swung around too much? Exactly, they get sick.
- The undulating motion of a snake itself can be rather sexy—think of all those dances where women basically do the same thing (but standing).
- Snake references, like "the one-eyed trouser snake," are often used as penis euphemisms. Sir Mix-A-Lot referenced this in his famous song "Baby Got Back" (as did Nicki Minaj in "Anaconda," a remix of "Baby Got Back"): My anaconda don't want none unless you got buns, hun!
- For many, seeing someone draped or wrapped in the coils of a snake is very provocative.
- Vorarephilia is a paraphilia where pleasure is derived from the concept of being Swallowed Whole and often utilises Getting Eaten Is Harmless... Naturally, thanks to snakes' real-life ability to swallow large creatures, they appear in a lot of vorarephilic art and stories (as do Snake People!).
- The Chinese equivalent of the term "Femme Fatale" is 蛇蠍美人, or "beauty of snake and scorpion".