[This is strictly from my perspective. It does not intend to speak for all who may identify with any of these terms.]
Terminology is a necessary staple for me when describing one’s experiences, especially when they differ from a significant demographic. I’ve identified as many things over the years. First, of course, I identified as a vampire. I needed to drink blood. I mean, who wouldn’t? Over time, I learned of the word ‘sanguinarian’. At the time, it seemed to make the most sense in the absence of anything else. People who needed to drink blood. Yep. That was me.
A lot of terms are used to describe what I actually am nowadays, or what I identify as. The most commonly known term is ‘med sang’. This term originally started out as shorthand for ‘medical sanguinarian’. As more people of a similar viewpoint began to become public and outspoken, something was needed to differentiate those from one specific viewpoint and experience from another. Med sangs typically required more blood, exercised skepticism, and viewed their conditions from a strictly material, scientific point of view. Some symptoms seemed to overlap too – particularly digestive problems. Over time, more complications arose when I realized not every sanguinarian had the same lived experiences or need, and some self-identified sanguinarians drank blood for wholly different reasons. Even the sanguinarian aspect could be confusing.
Then we come to sanguivores. I first discovered this term in early 2016 when coming across a site with very different beliefs, and it was explained to me that sanguivore denotes a more obligate feeder, as opposed to -arian seeming like an option (like a vegetarian). That made sense to me, so internally I started to use that. If I must, this is the term I use to identify myself now. This became all the more imperative to me when it became clear that not every sanguivore with the same perceived biological reality holds the ‘med sang’ point of view. Not every ‘med sang’ may necessarily have the same lived experiences as a sanguivore. Therefore, it was necessary in my mind to delineate the two terms. One, a viewpoint, and the other, the condition.
So, here is how I sort out the big ‘ole sang pile. It’s important to note that I don’t attempt to segregate or to place anyone into boxes. That said, for me, I find it important to be able to gauge what someone’s experiences actually are. It helps me to know. Having these terms adds clarity, and it has added value to my life and I would like to hope to that of others. It has allowed a collective of people with similar viewpoints and experiences to find circles in which they actually fit where before they had none. It allows me to tailor my advice depending on person, and content specific to that person. How someone defines the below may differ, but the terms are there all the same. My view is as follows:
Blood-drinkers who are perceived to be biologically alike. They may identify as med sang, vampire, sanguinarian, or anything in between which makes it somewhat confusing. Sanguivores need a significant quantity of blood. They may require at least one pint of fresh blood per month, often more. Sanguivores often become very sick with prolonged exposure to heat and sun, with vomiting and loss of consciousness not uncommon. Fatigue and a weakened immune system following sun exposure has been reported. Nocturnal sleep cycles are not uncommon either (I personally was diagnosed with ‘delayed sleep phase syndrome’). Sanguivores have also been reported to have a very strong immune system with many rarely catching infectious diseases; this flips and the immune system crashes without blood for a very long time. High muscle density is found in some sanguivores. Anecdotes also show that saliva of a sanguivore on an open wound during feeding can delay clotting time. Accelerated wound healing and a colder, logical personality is something I’ve witnessed/experienced in addition to the above. Digestion of regular food can be difficult for some, particularly if adequate blood intake is not maintained. A sanguivore may view their condition in any number of ways, including some not commonly known identities choosing to publicly identity as ‘sanguivore’ for convenience’s sake.
Blood-drinkers who view their condition strictly from a physiological/biological standpoint. Med sangs do not attribute energy or spirituality to their condition. Viewpoints can differ drastically, and they may or may not have commonalities with sanguivores. Some see their condition as an affliction that they want to be rid of and that has caused a lot of difficulty in their lives. Others see it as a fundamental part of who they are, they thrive and wouldn’t change it if they had the option. This can often be confused with ‘going the medical route’. First, I would encourage absolutely everyone to go the medical route. If you’re experiencing all of those symptoms and haven’t been to a doctor yet, that is dangerous. I’ve been greatly concerned when I’ve seen some say that they had fatigue, malaise, etc and ‘went to a doctor and had tests run’ and nothing came up, so poof; vampire. Medical inquiry takes a significant amount of time and effort. Is it going to diagnose you as a vampire? Of course not. But many real, well-known conditions can take years and extensive testing for a diagnosis. Things such as fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis are known for under-diagnosis, particularly with women. If you’re in severe distress, don’t stop after a few tests and decide that vampirism is it. You most likely won’t find anything after a few tests, and you owe it to yourself to find out if you have a chronic illness.
Contrary to just going to the doctor (which everyone should do regardless of how they view themselves), the med sang perspective is about how one views their condition in its entirety. This doesn’t mean one is necessarily devoid of spirituality; just that no frills and no metaphysics are applied to the condition itself. This isn’t a cold, clinical approach in my view. Med sangs have engaging conversations, and due to the frequent high need with med sangs, my experience is that they are very resourceful, fun, and I can ‘exercise my predatory nature’ with them. Med sangs have a wealth of different lived experiences and opinions, but many choose not to engage publicly. Blood is a highly nutritious substance and some med sangs may not share the lived experience of a sanguivore, but blood does help real, physical health issues.
An umbrella term that can be used to describe blood-drinkers who partake for a great number of reasons. The only real qualifier for a sanguinarian for a long time has been “I need blood because of X”. X can be what the person perceives as energy deficiency, a strong ‘pull’ toward blood and craving for it, or what is perceived as a biological, physical need for blood much like the above. Due to the length of time this term has been used, any of the above individuals may still use ‘sanguinarian’. It’s an open ended term and thus does a hard job of specifying what someone’s experiences are. This causes unnecessary fighting because two people are trying to discuss one term when experiences differ drastically. Again, with blood being such a nutritious substance and the elusive nature of some illnesses, it’s possible that it may be applicable here that some may need blood and it heals an undiagnosed chronic health issue.
Terms for blood-drinkers are so diverse that I feel it is important to delineate based on someone’s actual experiences. I do not think all blood-drinkers are the same, and we should respect and celebrate that. This is not an attempt to play ‘more vampire than thou’, or to try to ‘separate’ anyone from any community in which they feel they belong. My view is that being specific helps to provide comfort and inclusion for everyone. To thrive is to look forward and adapt to what is needed at that time.
From these definitions I would definitely identify as more of a sanguivore. I physically need blood or I get very sick. However I also embrace certain metaphysical elements of vampirism as well. Very interesting read, thank you.
by these definitions, I too identify as a Sanguivore. that said.. I embrace the metaphysical not as a Vampire but as a Witch. Sometimes its hard to separate the two, as they are both so much a part of my nature.
This popped up in my email-follows this morning and I read it with the greatest of interest.
n 1979-1980 those of us who were consuming human blood called ourselves, well… nothing really. We didn’t call ourselves Vampires, we didn’t call ourselves fetishists, we were just… well… us, a group of friends who shared a love for a particular aesthetic in appearance, demeanour and blood.
it has always been something a little bemusing to me that there are, or appear to be, several names for the same thing but this article in particular has finally cleared up that mystery for me and done it in a simple and easy way to understand. Who says the old dogs can’t learn new tricks???
Top marks to Lady Alexia and The Red Cellar.
"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream" ~ E.A. Poe
Thank you Tim, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I know a lot of terms have been thrown around, and I wanted to provide further information and clarity to anyone interested.
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