'Twilight Saga': Selling Sex or Pushing Chastity?

"The Twilight Saga: New Moon" features long, steamy, smoldering gazes by handsome, shirtless young men who are vampires or werewolves. Despite those lingering, lustful looks the film includes only four kisses and not a single sex scene.

Women and girls, who made up 80 percent of the opening weekend audience, said that is one reason "The Twilight Saga" appeals to them.

"I actually like that, the fact that they don't have bedroom scenes or anything," Gabrielle Rivera, 15, said.

VIDEO: Despite the steamy ads, the new vampire flick is more about romance than sex.
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Lisa Gradie, who has read all of the "Twilight" books, said she loves it "because the movie is so much about tension, and so much about Bella and Edward and they can't get together, so the kind of downplayed sexual tension definitely adds to the movie because you're just waiting for something to happen."

"The Twilight Saga" stands in stark contrast to other vampire movies or series. From Bela Lugosi to HBO's "True Blood," vampires are most often associated with the libido.

"Because you select your prey …i t's almost like a romantic notion in that respect. … It's not like you are going to be killed, it's like you are going to be dated," Joe Garden, author of "The New Vampire's Handbook," said.

Clearly the storyline is working. In the first three days, t the box office raked in $140.7 million, according to studio estimates. That places "New Moon" third behind "The Dark Knight" and "Spider-Man 3" on the highest-earning films for an opening weekend on the domestic charts.

The movies are based on the "Twilight" books, written by Stephanie Meyer. Meyer, a Mormon, wrote her lead character, Edward, to be a chaste and noble protector of his love interest, Bella.

'Twilight Moms'

This may explain why the movie is a hit among so-called "Twilight Moms" who have described Edward as "the perfect man."

There is a "Twilight Mom" Web site complete with an online store where moms across the country can buy "Twilight Mom" shirts, bags or aprons.

"Hollywood had no idea they were roping in the older gals when they were aiming for the younger ones," Tom O'Neil, a senior editor at In Touch Weekly, said. "The reason they are getting this response is that all these 'Twilight Moms' are yearning for love they are not getting at home, so 'Twilight Dads' out there, pay attention."

For the next "Twilight" installment, if moviemakers want to attract "Twilight Dads" and "Twilight Boys," they may have to revert to the more lusty vampires.

But after raking in more than $69.6 million last year and $140 million over its opening weekend this year, they might not want to change the storyline at all.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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