A private vent from a friend of many donors who have been abused by self-proclaimed “vampires” inspired this article. Many med sangs are loathe to acknowledge the existence of the “vampire community.” In the long run, active connections to the community may hurt our campaigns toward medical studies to find what may be behind our perceive need for blood, as evidenced through Dr. Tomas Ganz dinging Alexia stating that calling herself “Countess Alexia” resonates fantasy rather than actual need, despite the name being a nod to her Lady Gaga fandom rather than her sanguivory. Right now, providing practical support for blood drinkers with perceived physiological needs and donors without fantastic pretense is our priority and this necessitates some interaction with the vampire community. Many blood drinkers, donors, and even some metaphysically oriented people have found sanctuary in our community as an escape valve from the cults of personality and abuses of authority which permeate the vampire community.
[Interview request is from Cory Kai Draken, agreed to by Alexia for posting on TRC’s website]
First off please allow me the express my sincere appreciation for you taking the time to enlighten us about the donor and med sang relationship. You have a wonderful website, www.theredcellar.com where they can read blog posts that go more in-depth on the views of med sangs/donors and the world you call home.
1. So the first question has to be what is the difference between a vampire and a med sang?
Med sang stands for ‘medical sanguivore’. A med sang is a person who perceives a need to drink blood to maintain their physical health and to offset health deterioration; and perceives this to be entirely physiological, absent any metaphysical connotations to the condition. Typically, med sangs are skeptics and atheists, though some may have different beliefs. We drink blood in large quantities. ‘Vampire’ is a creature of folkloric myth and it is an identity I do not subscribe to. It’s an umbrella term and catch-all that many people identify with for various reasons. For the purposes of scientific inquiry, that all is undesirable baggage and we do not perceive ourselves to be vampires. Med sangs encourage introspection, asking questions, and the pursuit of ‘why’.
Many sangs require blood in a certain volume. Many stay underfed because they don’t know how to take what they need safely, or even that they need such an amount. As med sang ‘feeding’ methods have become more mainstream, a lot of curiosity has erupted about our practices. Some query how they can safely do the same things so they can get the volume they need.
The problem with this is that it’s impossible to write a guide for this, not only due to potential liability, but because it is such a complex, technical procedure. I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. Venipuncture is actually a minimally invasive surgical procedure technically. People go to school for it for a long time. It does carry serious risk and consequences if performed negligently which I’ve covered in previous articles.
I have kindly been given permission by Erin Chapman of popular vampire website Vamped.Org to share her latest excellent interview with Dr. Tomas Ganz, covering an in-depth discussion on blood drinking, sanguinarianism, and his perspective on the persistent myth of hemachromatosis with blood drinking.
Check out the interview here.
The Red Cellar now has a Discord server focused on practical, physiological blood drinking and support for med sangs and sanguivores. Blood donors are also welcome.
Cover art: Garth Knight
We have long espoused that blood drinkers do not have rules. There is no governing body. We have no laws other than those set by society at large. Laws are rules enforceable by an authority/the state which we are all expected to follow. Blood drinkers do not have any such authority, nor (I believe) would we ever. However, blood drinkers do not operate in a vacuum. As with all gatherings of people around a commonality, there are unspoken ‘rules’ or courtesies that we all follow. Cutting in line won’t end you up in Court (a real Court, not one of those vampire ones), but it will get you some serious side-eye. This is just one example. We are all, to a greater or lesser extent, expected to follow common sense boundaries set by society.
The blood drinker community is no different. There are unspoken courtesies that, over the years, have come to be properly expected of those involved in a topic so sensitive as blood drinking. Some people could lose their livelihood if ‘outed’. These can include things like discretion, trust, integrity. Not sharing confidential information, not blabbing or bragging about things that should remain private/between personal conversations. Talking about ‘the hunger’ and shameful feelings in the confidence that it will stay within that conversation. Use common sense. Be safe. Be trained. Don’t make the rest of us look bad through inappropriate or dangerous behaviour. There are little regional things I’ve noticed too – even so far as one sang offering another their donor, sharing sources or offering some vials of blood as one would offer a beer; a sign of generosity. There are obvious safety concerns with that with blood testing, but that is outside the scope of this article.
Due to the nature of blood drinking and the vampire archetype, it goes without saying that sanguivores will be perceived/related with the whole ‘vampire’ bit. Some circles handle things in their own way. If an individual is particularly dangerous, ‘community warnings’ or ‘excommunications’ can be posted.
Despite no ‘legal’ binding beyond the actual laws we are all expected to follow, how leaders respond to situations does set a precedent. We have to be extremely careful in how we handle situations as they arise. People watch, people remember, and people expect consistency with someone’s principles. We set for ourselves a margin of acceptance within which we manoeuvre. As with law, each case is unique and facts change; but if we flip flop from one stance to another, our integrity and conviction will not be taken seriously.
I rarely defend people in situations. I defend my principles and what I think is right. Sanguivores are my first priority. That includes them, their donors and overall well-being. We make mistakes and what is important is that we learn from them. The precedent we set lays the groundwork for what kind of community culture is to follow. It is the responsibility of leaders to cultivate a culture that is conducive to the growth of its people (i.e. sanguivores). An example of this is with a dear friend of mine whom, several years back, accidentally botched the slaughter of a rabbit for blood. Another sang made this public. Despite becoming highly proficient at the skill, she was vilified and called ‘bunny butcher’. I have always been of the opinion that it was breaking an unspoken, almost sacrosanct, rule to not sell out another sang with something highly confidential discussed in trust. If she were still alive, and if the community culture is one of learning, she could have been able to educate someone to avoid her mistakes. My stance on such things has never changed. Of course, if someone is breaking ACTUAL serious laws, they should be reported to the authorities accordingly.
As always, the precedent I want to set for sanguivores is one of openness, learning, guidance, and support. I will always stand by my convictions in that regard and openly oppose anything which I feel creates, or could create, a hostile environment for sanguivores. We walk a difficult path with few who understand, and deserve safe spaces with those of like-kind.
[Guest post by ‘Z’]
Sangs write about what it is like for them so I thought I would do something similar from my perspective. I have a main sang, but I do also donate to others. With my partner, my primary means of donating involves razor blades and direct feeding, and with others it will be with needles.
Every time I do either, I know the risks and even though they are low and I do as much as I can to lessen the risks, it’s still there, I am quite fortunate to of not experienced any of the worse potential side effects; but it doesn’t change the fact that I have hundreds of scars from donating. It might not seem like a big deal, but it really does add up… Using needles is much better because it means you don’t have as many scars, but it comes with more risks and sometimes with me it’s not even worth the reward, which is both extremely frustrating for all involved and drives me to take even more risks because of that. Which I know I shouldn’t, but it’s hard not to when you know people are relying on you.
After donating you’re left with your cuts and marks, which can make things kind of awkward as you have to hide them from pretty much everyone else, which isn’t always easy. It kind of makes you paranoid and feel pretty shitty at the same time, you feel bad because you are hiding things and lying to people who wouldn’t understand and paranoid because you don’t what what would happen if they found out.
Being a donor isn’t just about donating though, not many would really see it, but for me, what I do and what happens to me directly effects someone else and that is a big deal – if I am unwell, need to take medications, accidentally injure myself or have trouble sleeping for a while, it pretty much puts a halt on me being able to donate. There wouldn’t really be much point as not only would it make me feel worse, but it wouldn’t be as helpful. So, I do my best to look after myself, but a lot of things are totally outside of my control.
Overall, being a donor is pretty shitty, but knowing that you can at least help other people you care about feel better does go a long way to making it worth it.
I’ve made a lot of posts about donors lately, so I wanted to address something on the sang side of the coin. Now, my opinion is firmly that donors are amazing people who deserve our respect. However, it would be negligent of me to not address the impulses and tendencies that sanguivores can have and how it can influence our thoughts towards people. It is a source of guilt for us, and I think some light needs to be shed on the hunter within us.
The hunger is something present in every sanguivore in some form. Often, when it starts to flare up, it is referred to as ‘twoofing’. I wrestled with this for many years. It was the first thing to make me think I was crazy. But it’s alright. We need to accept this part of ourselves. A beast locked in a cage will fight harder than one who is allowed to walk on a leash.
There has been a trend lately that has been bothering me. The talk of donors as cattle. Some of it is subtle, but it is there. It is the same insidious condescension and oppression that other minorities experience, and as feeders, we should know better.
Donors aren’t things to be ‘farmed’. We should not objectify our donors. Donors are autonomous human beings, and we have a symbiotic relationship. In fact.. we need donors. Donors don’t need us. Wanting our donors to be healthy should be common decency as a human being, not viewing them as an object of use.
I have as much of a predatory nature as anyone else. Mine is intense and I had to practice daily meditation to control myself for years. That doesn’t mean we are okay to treat other people as food. Some may say the blood itself is objectified and not the person. When someone objectifies a woman for sex, they are still objectifying her as a person.
We have a responsibility to encourage the right attitudes towards the very people who help us stay healthy and sane. If I was a blood donor and was spoken of in that way, I’d walk right off. It alienates people. There aren’t enough visible donors as it is. We are all human beings, and we should care for one another regardless. Donors have autonomy. They cannot be farmed. If you treat them poorly, they will leave and there’s not a thing you can do about it. It’s that simple.
Every sanguivore is responsible for:
- Managing expectations with their donor, and being clear what the nature of their relationship will be from the start;
- Making sure their donor is tested and keeping current with paperwork, taking into account any recent risk exposure such as sex. HIV takes weeks to show up on a test;
- Having thorough and complete knowledge of how to draw blood safely and best practice. This involves more than YouTube videos. Take a course (you can buy a venipuncture one online for $70), read books. Build on your knowledge. I’ve done a course and have practiced venipuncture for years, and I still read books on it to develop my knowledge and keep it fresh. There are several available on Kindle. Learn about the human circulatory system and sites to avoid, regardless of how blood is drawn.
- Make sure the donor is safe to donate. Ensure they are not malnourished and do not take too much blood. Be mindful of things like a self-harming history if drawing blood through cutting.
- Practice after-care with your donor. Dress the site appropriately, whether with cuts or needles.
- Treating your donor with respect. They are not food. They’re doing this to care for you. They deserve nothing less than your respect and appreciation.
There are more things, but this is a start. Be safe, be mindful and be CAREFUL. Know that how you talk about donors reflects on you and also influences how others see them.
A toast to blood donors
Blood donors are great. Seriously. Let’s raise a glass and give a hand to all of our blood donors.
No, this is not another April Fool’s article, by the way.
I was surprised at the response to my article about the nurture of blood donors. The number of donors who commented about sang abandonment was interesting indeed. It saddened me to see that people who understand something which is, let’s face it, pretty weird to the outside world had their heart broken for caring enough to give.
Now, I know there are two sides to every story. I will attempt to cover some of these points here. Still, I wanted to write this piece to share my personal appreciation of donors and share some thoughts about blood donation.