How To Date A (Real-Life) Vampire

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YourTango goes inside real-life vampire relationships.

Real vampires don't believe they're immortal or that they can turn into bats. They don't usually sport fangs, although some wear prosthetic, pointed canines made by "fang-smiths" to establish their identity—but not to feed. By all accounts biting is the most painful and least sanitary way of drawing blood. Like Anshar, some vampires describe being photosensitive. Many also believe they have preternatural intuition or psychic abilities. They call themselves "vampires" because the vampire legend, they argue, is the simplest way to describe their condition.

The process of discovering that you have a vampiric nature is called "Awakening." Arentele, 25, of Danville, California, began experiencing fluctuating energy levels when he was 16. Contact with others left him either charged or drained. After waiting to "outgrow" this condition, he eventually found the vampire community through the internet and discovered he was not alone. For Arantele, Awakening has been "exhilarating," but also, "confusing, disorienting, and painful." His advice to others: "Take what you can from it…trying to fight it is useless."

No one knows exactly how big the vampire community is, but the Atlanta Vampire Alliance (AVA) estimates that there are thousands of vampires living in the United States and more around the world. The AVA completed The Vampirism and Energy Work Research Study (VEWRS), an extensive survey conducted from 2006 to 2009, and received survey responses from all fifty states and from forty different countries.

While you'll find vampire clubs complete with dark, industrial music in Los Angeles and New York, there are also vampires who live in the Midwest and go to church every Sunday. You could live next door to a vampire and never know it. Many vampires use aliases within their community, both to express themselves and to protect their identities. Their community exists both offline and online, and sites like meetup.com have made it much easier for vampires to find one another.

Dating A Vampire
It takes a great deal of trust before a vampire can be open about their identity with an "ordinary" person. Potential romantic partners sometimes dismiss their date's vampirism as "just a phase," or even a mental illness. 10 Questions To Ask Your Guy About His Past

If you're interested in courting a vampire you should know that there is no "typical" vampire sexuality. "I know vampires in wonderful long-term marriages, vampires who change partners almost every month, some in polyamorous relationships, and still others who simply are shut off from seemingly all sexual interest," says Merticus, 31, of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance. Because vampires frequently embrace alternative lifestyles and sexual practices, the only constant is that they rarely pass judgment on others.

The AVA found that approximately 40 percent of vampires have some interest in BDSM or kink. By comparison, studies place that number between 5 and 15 percent for the general population. While BDSM represents a distinct subculture, many vampires describe having "an inner predator" or a primal nature that comes out in BDSM play. Vampires are also quite accepting of the GLBT community. While researching this article, I spoke with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual vampires. In the VEWRS, only 55 percent of vampires identified as heterosexual. S&M For Beginners

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