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.
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.
Giving blood is the ultimate self-sacrifice. Donors give of themselves to us for us to feel better. Or is it? Is giving blood such a huge sacrifice? Stay with me here.
Many sanguines are troubled by a notion of hurting the donor. The fact that a donor has to be stuck, cut, or somehow ‘harmed’. I feel that the innate nature of sanguivores is the cause of that. We have urges. We want to bite. We hunger for that blood. We twoof. We then feel horrible for doing so. Some feel ashamed, guilty. Some, over time, have accepted that this is simply who they are. Some stay stuck in this negative feedback loop of self-loathing. But donors don’t often feel the same way about giving their blood. The two perspectives can be in juxtaposition.
[Guest re-post with permission from Giselle DeCavalier. Post is from 2015.]
In sharing this, I hope to shed some light from this Donor’s experiences and feelings for the benefit of others. I am a Sang Donor. I have to come to think of donating as “the Act.” There are no adequate words to describe how the Act feels. I know that if I do not participate in the Act every so often, I suffer for it. I don’t want to be turned and I’m not out for popularity. I know I am a Donor as surely as a Vampire knows that they have a need. My need is to give.
I must be clear on this point: I do NOT participate in the Act because I am crazy, depressed, or a cutter. I do NOT exchange money, sexual favors or anything else for that matter. It’s not dinner and a movie, it’s not a date. I sincerely want to help, and I need the exchange as well. I don’t expect to be treated like royalty, or to be asked to treat anyone else like it either. That being said, it cannot be ignored that there is a relationship that forms of a sort. At the very least, I think it’s kind of silly to try and give to someone I can’t at least call friend. It should be nearly impossible to stay impersonal with someone who has shared themselves with you so intimately. Now there are bad donors just like there are bad vampires. Just try your best to communicate what you expect. Then you and the donor are on the same page.
What makes me crazy? When I offer to a vampire and they spend all their time searching for an ulterior motive. It can be hurtful when a vamp treats the exchange as though nothing else about me is worth associating with excepting my blood. I do NOT have to be crazy to do what I do, and please keep in mind vamps, there is a bond that develops, like it or not. If you start taking from a Donor, you have to recognize that that bond is going to exist. It’s absolutely imperative that you talk with your Donor about boundaries and STAY HONEST.
There is nothing in the world like feeding one of you only to be thrown away like a piece of trash. Those wounds take a long, long time to heal. Take care with those that give to you, we may not be fragile, but our feelings can be bruised as quickly as anyone else’s.
What do I get out of donating? A relief of my burden, an opportunity to talk with someone whom I can befriend, who understands my need to donate; and a chance to help someone who I know is truly in need. The Act cannot be treated like a one night stand. For me to allow the kind of bond that exists after a donation, I have to at least know that I will hear from the person I gave to again, that they will take me as I am and expect nothing that wasn’t discussed.
I make sure to let any vamp I donate to know that I am an empath. This means that a certain amount of “drama” should be tolerated by them; they, of course, are free to choose not to feed from me if they can’t handle that. My emotions are not always mine, and I do not always deal with the backlash of that as well as I would like. That’s what makes it so easy for me to be understanding when a vamp comes to me hungry and moody. I can completely understand being a little out of control of one’s self.
Of course I strive to get a better grip, it’s no fun for me to bawl my eyes out when I’m deliriously happy. That “this is too good to be true suspicion vibe” that I get from many vamps on their first feeding is hard to shake off too. Being empathic, as many of you know, gives someone an awful lot to deal with.
It can be very rewarding to give, I do not want to discourage anyone who feels the need to give from doing so, but I do want to issue a caution. For Donors, be VERY clear on what you expect to your vamps. Vamps be VERY clear to your Donors as to what YOU expect. Honestly can save alot of hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and sometimes prevent some pretty dangerous situations. Be smart, care for one another, and most of all, look out for yourself. Don’t get into a relationship with a Donor just because you are hungry and you think it’s the only way they will feed you; or the other way around either.
I’ve made mistakes with this in the past and have suffered for it. It’s my hope that by sharing my experience, I can save someone else the pain I went through.
I will add this word of encouragement, donors. As the time goes by, it gets easier to “contain” the emotions from donating. It comes with maturity and practicing shielding. As always, I am around to lend an ear.
I am pleased to announce that The Red Cellar now has a donor-specific safe place; the Donor Sanctuary. Very little content or focus is given to donors, yet they sustain others and are crucial to someone else’s health and well-being. Donors have stories too, and the need for support in this very human experience. Donor content will also be part of my blog on this site. The group is also for friends and family of sanguivores.
To join, please click here.