Why do you want to drink blood?
After my recent post about safety with blood feeding, I had the opportunity to answer some questions from one of our readers. I found this conversation valuable, and so have decided to share it below (with permission). It is a long one, but I think it’s worth it.
The Interview with a V….ery Fabulous British Lady
Andy: I think a more reasonable question is: why would you / do you want to do this and how else could that desire or need be satisfied?
Okay, so before you jump in and be all “live and let live”, let me explain:
I have problems with anxiety and depression. I go to my GP. She offers me pills. I can get therapy but there’s a 3 month waiting list and then I only get to talk to somebody for a few weeks. I can get pills now, today, forever. I also have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and for whatever reason (there are no specialists in Manchester whom I can ask) alcohol wakes me up. Cheers me up too. But I can’t get a prescription for that. Pills: yes. Beer: no. Therapy: no.
Now let’s also consider sexual urges. At one time homosexuality was illegal. Now it’s okay. Pedophilia is illegal, and always should be because children are NOT capable of making the rational judgements it would take for them to responsibly engage in sexual activity… just as they don’t have the wherewithal to make their own decisions about what to eat or control their own finances. But how very hard life must be must it be for people who find children sexually attractive and have to restrain it?
Okay, so, before we start waving our arms about and labelling people as monsters and/or citing “The Golden Rule”, my point here is that some things are okay, fine, no problem. Others are definitely not okay, no way, never. And other things are tolerated so long as all parties consent.
The latter is an especially difficult area because there are some things to which a person might consent (being killed and eaten for example – it’s happened) about which pretty much any rational person would say: that person needs therapy.
There is also, and we’re returning slowly to the subject of the opening post here, advice out there on how to take heroin “safely” i.e. all the stuff about not sharing needles etc. But we all know that although it make sense for this advice to be out there, heroin use is a risky business and it’s better not to do it at all. Happy, fulfilled, people do NOT take heroin. They don’t have any use for it. Heroin is taken by people who have a problem. A problem that they would probably do better to see about fixing rather than using heroin as a distration from it. That’s why my GP won’t give me a prescription for beer (although why the pills, her pills, are apparently okay, is a whole other topic).
Cutting yourself and/or drinking blood: let’s be serious guys: this is not a sensible thing to do… and it comes down to one thing: wanting to feel special.
Our relationship is special because we do this weird thing together.
I’m special because I do this weird thing.
The proof of that it in the fact that it is recognised as weird by the people who do it. If it were as normal as baking cookies, on your own or together with another person, it would no longer appeal.
The bottom line on what I’m saying here is that if cutting yourself, or someone else, or drinking blood, has an appeal to you, then you really ought to think long and hard about WHY it appeals to you, and maybe find some other way to satisfy it. Recognise that:
a) NOBODY is special in the context of the cosmos and very few are even recognised outside of their locale. And yet EVERYBODY is special to themselves, their family, and their friends. If those people ONLY appreciate you because of some weird thing you do, then you maybe ought to reconsider who you hang out with.
b) No relationship is truly special in a cosmic or global context, and not even particularly special in the context of a persons past relationships… except that a current relationship IS special because you choose to be with that person NOW. Not because he buys flowers, she cooks great lasagne (sorry for the stereotypes), or because you do some weird thing together.
Alexia: Andy, would it surprise you to know I’ve shared those similar sentiments at several points or another?
The key misconception here is that some people do it for desire. Now, I’m not denying people do it for desire. Some do. Some do desire to feel different, special. There are a lot of complex psychological mechanisms that I can’t even begin to cover in this response. Some people feel empowered by the vampire archetype and thus drink blood to cement their relationship to that archetype.
That is not everyone. For example, I haven’t taken blood in nearly 6 weeks currently. Since then, my immune system has started to fail with me catching various illnesses, pneumonia, and developing a stomach ulcer. I HAVE to do this for my health. I’ve gone through longer periods without it before, and was catching viruses almost weekly because my immune system was non-existent. With blood, I’ve not caught illnesses consistently for years at a time.
I work a full-time corporate job, wearing suits daily, and I’m studying a law degree. I do not adopt vampire aesthetic, nor do I really care for vampire pop culture or fiction. Yet, if I’m to provide for my family and optimize my life/health to a point where I’m able to continue to develop my career and skill set, drinking blood is something I need to do to remain at a certain level of functioning.
I think everyone should be introspective as to why they drink blood. I think people should be introspective as to why they do anything, to be honest. I have ADHD. I see a doctor regularly and take medication. I have seen a doctor for all of my other ailments, yet nothing works; medications are sometimes prescribed with a plethora of side effects. I absolutely recommend people see their doctors for any problem they experience. I’ve been concerned in the past with how many people make the logical leap from feeling bad > get maybe one or two tests > vampire. I’ve continued to investigate and follow up with medical professionals for 15 years. Alas, blood does help incredibly when little else does.
I have absolutely no desire to feel special. That is not the reason I write or participate in these respective communities. I use an alias and do not use photos, and that is because very few people actually know what I do. If I wanted to feel special, I would advertise myself. I had an opportunity to reveal myself to the BBC several years back and could have had ‘vampire fame’, but that isn’t something I want for my life. I’m quite happy working hard to find success in every traditional way; my career, entrepreneurship, being a published author.
My relationship to my donor isn’t special either. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. I buy him a McDonald’s, he donates blood. He cares for me and can physically see the difference when I go without. That is all. Is it weird? Yes, but it’s necessary and it has to be accepted to a degree so someone doesn’t go through their life questioning and resenting themselves.
And, people are going to do this, and do actively do this. Without essential safety information, people make all kinds of dangerous, risky mistakes and do not know where to access information or correct equipment, and risk doing serious harm to innocent people who want to help. Having basic safety information available is an important step to ensuring risk is minimized. I would ask only that you do further research on the people you are casting judgement on before being set in tying everyone with the same brush.
Andy: Thanks for your considered response Alexia. I found it really interesting and read the article to which you linked… and where I was greatly amused by the “Captain Morgan stereotype” as it pretty much sums up the whole of my previous experience in relation to people who have claimed a need to consume blood, and who were the inspiration for my initial response.
I’ll do some further research as I find this really interesting and there is clearly more information available than when I first researched it 19 years ago for the purpose of writing a book, though clearly I’m skeptical. There is, as far as I’m aware no known mechanism by which consuming blood would, for example, boost ones immune system in ways which would not also be satisfied by other foodstuffs. But I’m willing to accept that just because it isn’t know, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Nobody knows why I have CFS and I damned well know that’s a real thing. 😉
Two additional points:
1. Blood IS consumed in Western society in red meat and more so in things such as black pudding. Perhaps not in the quantities required by sanguivores (though I am yet to find specifics on that) but certainly in greater quantities than the “Captain Morgans” claim to need.
2. We ALL (with perhaps the exception of those with some forms of autism) desire to be special… and perhaps more so than ever in this modern age when we are not only acutely aware of how insignificant we are in the global and cosmic schemes of things, but when we are also bombarded by advertising telling us not to accept the ordinary and to strive for the extraordinary because any one of us could be the next <insert name of superstar> if we <insert attribute to be gained> by subscribing to <insert name of product>.
Even without the advertising hype: children desire the attention of the parents. Adults desire the attention of their peers and more so of their partners. We all want to count for something. To be special. It doesn’t mean it’s WHY we do every single thing be do, but that need is in pretty much all of us.
Alexia: Thanks for taking the time to respond. I’m glad you found it interesting. I’ve had my fair share of run ins with people who claim to need blood, but they can be extremely flaky. By definition, ‘sanguinarian’ simply refers to someone who ‘needs to drink blood’. That need is never further elaborated on or defined. That need could be anything. It could be an emotional or psychological need. It could be, as I mentioned, a way of cementing someone’s relationship to the vampire archetype. This is one reason I felt it necessary to add a degree of separation between myself and those like me, and a large part of the Greater Vampire Community, particularly those who are more focused on games, theatrics and roleplaying and whom have nothing in common with me and my life.
I would be interested in hearing more about your book. I’m in the process of writing one myself. Though there is still much to learn and much we don’t know, there is definitely more information available than there was almost 20 years ago. While I don’t know *why* blood works for me the way it does, I know it does, and I know I’ve a responsibility to myself and my family to maintain my health. In that way, it is like other idiopathic conditions like fibromyalgia, CFS, etc. My only difference is that with blood, my immune system tends to be a lot stronger than ‘normal’ (i.e. not getting sick for years). Blood is a highly nutritious substance, which is likely why a lot of cultures still ingest it. Some of these components can be found at the link below. Human blood drinking has never been scientifically studied, and from what I’ve been told by researchers, it likely won’t be (or at least not for a considerable amount of time). Other conditions take precedence that are far more detrimental and debilitating to human life and do not have a solution, such as, again, CFS, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, etc.
Who knows what regularly taking in those nutrients regularly can do for a person.
1. There isn’t actually ‘real’ blood in red meats. This is actually a protein called myoglobin and is not the same as blood. Someone trying to drink this won’t get a lot from it. Vamped blogger and ‘real vampire’ skeptic Erin Chapman wrote about this on her site:
Actual animal blood can be obtained from most Asian grocers, or even purchased online from places like PhilAmFoods. Some also have arrangements with local farmers or butchers to take animal blood. It just takes a little creativity. I’m allergic to animal protein so I can’t actually take in animal blood, but many drink quite a lot of the stuff. Pints (or even a quart) in one sitting is not uncommon. Safety is paramount here because this blood is consumed raw (processed/cooked blood doesn’t do anything) and parasites and other nasties can be present. It just takes a little creativity. Black pudding, blood cakes, and so on are so processed that all nutrients are cooked out. As I mentioned, I love business and related pursuits. One of which is sustainability. Sustainability means buying local and from farms, which then means around harvest time, I get messages offering me quarts of fresh animal blood for dirt cheap. My partner is a sanguivore so I keep an eye on sources for her. My source is human and we use venipuncture, vacutainers and blood bags. I’ve several other options for donors locally as well.
2. I agree with this, but I think that if someone takes time to pursue self-worth, introspection among other things, that can be overcome. Mindlessly watching television, consuming all advertisement and believing everything you see always leads to being told you’re not good enough, not thin enough, not successful enough, not smart enough. I think people more want recognition than to feel special. To feel successful, to feel loved. After what I’ve seen in the Vampire Community, I can’t say this isn’t the case with self-identified vampires. Many do use it as a point of difference. Some identify as vampires and pursue nightlife and clubbing as a way to empower a ‘dark side’, a ‘taboo’ of sorts. There are a considerable number, though, who simply need to drink blood to function and to feel okay. These kinds of people don’t tend to participate much in any ‘vampire’ sphere, because that type of fang and cloak theater makes them feel alienated and down. That this is how the rest of the world sees them/us. That it harms any credibility we could hope to achieve. It is an incredibly complex subject and despite it being personal to me, the psychology of self-identified vampires is fascinating. You’ll see this a lot, especially with younger people. It’s scary sometimes. Young, easily influenced people come to vampire groups, wanting to know if real vampires exist and a bunch of people are usually willing to come forward so they can be awed at by them. Said person realizes they can say “I need blood for X reason” and poof – vampire. They’re suddenly different to everyone around them. Another thing is the us vs. them mentality. Many are quick to jump to the defense of any other self-identified vampire simply because of perceived shared experiences, regardless of what the situation is. I could write about this all day, but you get the idea.
I always enjoy answering questions from our readers. I understand this is a very unusual subject to most people, despite being completely normal for me. It can often lead to new understandings and learning. If you have any questions or you would like to reach out, please feel free to reach out to me on Facebook, via. e-mail, or via. this site.
I assume I need no introduction.
Sorry, I had to. 😉