I’m writing this article to answer some of the basic questions sanguinarians get on a regular basis. I do this in the hopes that it will answer questions that some may have about us, but have been uncomfortable in asking or haven’t had the opportunity to ask; also to dispel some of the myths surrounding us. I’m including questions that have come from sanguinarians, regular folk, donors… anyone. This is also a work in progress and I will continue to update with new questions as I get them. Again, this is reflective of my opinions and experiences, and I speak on behalf of myself and my knowledge of sanguinarians as a whole. I do not claim to speak FOR anyone. If you have any questions or comments you’d like to add, please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.
Are vampires real?
That would depend on your definition of ‘real’. Vampires like in the movies do not exist; the undead, fangs, rising from the dead to feast on the living at night. However, there are many who use the term ‘real vampire’ nowadays and many things fall under that umbrella. Sanguinarians are the blood drinkers. We consume blood because without it, our health suffers. We experience digestive issues (to the point where you can only hold down a rare steak without running to the toilet), weakness, fatigue, emotional instability, depression, heart palpitations. It varies from person to person, but these are the most common symptoms. So to answer that question – undead fangers like in the movies? No. People who need to drink blood? Yes.
Would you bite me?
No. Biting is unsanitary and unsafe. Human teeth are not sharp enough to pierce skin, and attempting to draw blood through a bite would be extremely dangerous and liable to do serious damage to your blood donor. We do not have fangs. Even fake fangs aren’t sharp enough to do it safely. “We don’t bite, we cut” 😉 (or use an IV)
Do you consume blood? Real human blood?
Yes. Sanguinarians consume blood. Some do not have access to human donors, and so drink animal blood purchased from a local butcher. Blood is taken from consensual donors and there is a large focus on health and safety in the community as a whole.
Will you turn me? Do you know anyone who will turn me?
No. Even if I were certain it was possible, I wouldn’t. It’s not an easy life. You don’t have to be a sang to be involved in the community. There are donors, supporters. We could always use people who are supportive of us and want to help in some way. If you want to be a vampire, then revolve your lifestyle around it. Chances are you’d be a lot more like the ‘vampire’ you had in mind, anyway.
Do you consume regular food?
Of course. We’re still human. We need to eat, sleep, drink like everyone else. We just need to drink a little something ‘extra’ sometimes to keep our bodies functioning correctly.
Twilight wasn’t enough for you? I sell stakes at work, watch out.
Of course, because threatening another person with violence is always something fun to do. Firstly, I’ve never watched the Twilight movies. I have no attachment to the term ‘vampire’, nor vampire movies or the aesthetic. A lot don’t. Some do, that’s their personal choice, and could be done for a variety of reasons – self expression, marketing. There is often a big confusion that sanguinarians are obsessed with vampires or roleplayers, that our fascination with vampires is so intense that we’ve escalated to drinking blood to fulfill a lifestyle. It isn’t a lifestyle. Without blood, my health suffers significantly. A lot of us don’t know much more about vampire movies than regular folk. I’ve never had attachment to fictional vampires; I prefer zombies and science-fiction. Aliens. I’ve never even worn fake fangs. Everyone is different, every person is an individual and has the right to dress how they choose, but it isn’t a lifestyle or intense fandom. Personally, I actually dislike most vampire fiction. The only thing I do really like is American Horror Story. If you saw me in a restaurant, the last thing you’d think is I’m a ‘vampire’. I don’t look like a vampire in the slightest.
Do different blood types taste different? Does it matter which type you drink?
Nope. It’s all broken down in the digestive tract, blood type doesn’t matter. Taste depends more on what the donor’s diet, as opposed to blood type.
First off I am curious about worries with disease contaminating the blood you feed from. How do you circumvent that, even with a constant partner? And I am curious about your thoughts on the almost fetish vampires have become (romantic archetype specifically).
Great question! Firstly, I am well aware of the risk that comes with consuming blood. Blood tests are an absolute must – regular blood tests to make sure the blood you’re consuming is safe and doesn’t carry blood borne disease is essential. My thoughts on the fetish vampires have become.. I think it’s difficult because the separation from the ‘vampire’ term is almost impossible to get rid of, given that we drink blood. As such, what is shown in movies is often what the outside world thinks is representative of us which just isn’t true. It makes it hard to be taken seriously or for serious research to be done, because it’s simply “spooky”. It can be fun to camp it up sometimes, and sometimes yes, the archetype can help to get donors. But there are also times where you’re sick, in pain and need blood to feel better, yet people only see the condition as a fetish and want something out of you in order to provide it. It is frustrating sometimes to have something which a lot of the world sees as a fetish. Those special people who want to donate just to help and to make someone feel better are rare. They exist, but they are rare, awesome people.
Do you feel objectified in a sense?
At times, yes. Like the way I am is something people just use to get their rocks off. Then I feel the whole “I am not a Halloween costume!” thing. Ultimately though, fictional vampires have been around forever and that’s not going to change anytime soon; then I just remember not to take myself too seriously, camp it up and even parody myself.
Do you ever get the urge to suck blood from a human body the way it is shown in the movies? Preferred body part?
Feeding methods vary from person to person and an important factor is what the donor is comfortable with. It’s personal preference. No one bites like in the movies (if they’re safe and responsible, that is). Making small cuts and sucking from the skin is common, though. I’ve done both that and by IV. I prefer IV, because it yields a much larger volume of blood with minimal risk to the donor – but training is recommended for that. It can be dangerous if done incorrectly. I draw into red capped vacutainers with no additives and drink directly from the tubes most of the time. Green capped vacutainers with sodium heparin can be used if the blood is going to be stored a little longer. Sodium citrate is fine as well. Sucking from the skin is often referred to as ‘contact feeding’. In that case, it’s about using the correct tools that will minimize risk to the donor, cutting somewhere that is safe (such as shoulder, thigh, places where no major arteries or anything could be hit) and making sure the area and your mouth are as clean as possible beforehand.
Have you ever killed anyone for blood? Or attempted to?
NO. Noooo no no no. I would never attempt anything of the sort. No one of sound mind would. Consent and ethics are a HUGE pillar in the community and something we can all agree on. A lot of the ‘vampire killings’ you see in the news are people who are unfortunately very sick from the beginning. Every individual is responsible for their own actions and we are no different. We do not need to kill for blood. We’re usually well-adjusted people, and are incredibly diverse with different religious, political, ethnic backgrounds. I’ve known lawyers, doctors. Young, old, from most corners of the world. If anything, I’d say the way we are is more likely to make us accepting and tolerant of differences in the outside world. We know what it’s like to be different and having to exercise discretion about a major part of your life. A lot of people I know are very liberal and fun, creative.
When did you know you wanted to do this?
Firstly, it isn’t a want. It’s a need. I become sick without doing it. I don’t know why I get sick, only that I do. The time when symptoms first start to develop is usually referred to as ‘Awakening’ inside the community. It began for me at the age of 12/13. I first tasted blood at 15. I’m now in my mid-20s. Some have been around much longer than I. It usually begins during puberty, for some reason.
Do sanguinarians have a blood fetish?
No. Blood fetishism is something completely separate. We consume for health reasons, not for sexual reasons. Feeding, a lot of the time, can be very impersonal, clinical. Extracting via. a needle, drinking. If someone wanted to involve sexual activity into it, that’s their business, but I would say that the arousal would come from someone sucking on another’s skin to draw out bodily fluids as opposed to the blood itself. If you look at blood fetishism, it’s arousal with the blood itself and some would pour it on themselves, things like that. Sangs don’t waste blood like that, it’s too important to us. Honestly, sometimes you can feel so bummed or down that you don’t even feel like feeding, or the draw itself can feel like a hassle and stressful. Another theory is that it’s an adrenaline hit for us. I disagree with that. I don’t feel adrenaline, jacked up or high when I drink blood. If anything, it’s relief – like how someone would feel having a bad infection and then taking some antibiotics. You know you’re not going to feel like crap for the next however many days. If there’s contact feeding, there could be an adrenaline rush if it’s accompanied with other things.. but I would say that’s dependent on those other things.
Do you sleep in a coffin? Do you sleep during the day? Do you burn in the sun?
No. Coffins would be far too restrictive for me and my answer to that would be – do you sleep in a coffin? If you wouldn’t want to, why would I? 😉 That’s a lifestyle thing more than anything else. I prefer memory foam and black out curtains. I also don’t burst into flames at the sight of sun, like on True Blood. To quote American Horror Story – “the sun won’t kill you, but it should be avoided. It will sap your vitality” ;). I’m pale, and burn easily. I have a low tolerance for heat, sunlight and feel drained very quickly. Is it related? Who knows. I know sangs who report the same issues, along with light sensitivity overall. I unfortunately cannot sleep during the day, as I work a 9-5. We still have to put food on the table. However, I have been diagnosed with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, which means my circadian rhythm is naturally out of whack with everyone else and releases melotonin too late. So, I’m naturally nocturnal and when I’m not forced to be at work, my sleeping pattern naturally shifts back to its regular nocturnal routine. I have to take medication at times to force myself to sleep on a regular schedule, including melotonin or stronger prescription medication. Again, related or not? Coincidence? You tell me.
And lastly, I want to end with this very thoughtful statement made by someone earlier today, who before speaking with me, had never heard of sanguinarians in their life. People like this give me hope for the future.
“I suppose they [the media, outside world] think it’s pretty spooky. Still, it’s important to educate people, right? Understanding is important to acceptance, and if you understand a condition then you’re better equipped to accommodate it.”