How To Date A (Real-Life) Vampire

vampire dating
Love, Self

These days, it seems, everyone wants to bed a vampire. Forget Bram Stoker's Count Dracula, a hideous foreigner intent on taking the life and the virtue of nineteenth-century English ladies. Today's vampires, like True Blood's Bill Compton and Twilight's Edward Cullen, are portrayed as crush-worthy hunks. Their combination of unearthly beauty, perfect chivalry and dangerous nature make them irresistible to women.

Bill, Edward and co. are the stuff of fiction, but there is, in fact, a community of people who identify as vampires and existed long before the current pop culture craze. So what's it like to date a real-life vampire? To talk about that, first you have to know a little about vampires.

Understanding Vampires
Most real vampires believe they were born with a "vampiric nature," meaning they have to feed in order to maintain their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. There are two main types of vampires: sanguinarians, who feed on actual blood, and psychic vampires, who feed on energy.

Sanguinarians consume the blood of other vampires, the blood of regular people (called "mundanes" in the vampire community) and sometimes animal blood (usually cow blood). Sanguinarian vampires distinguish themselves from "blood fetishists"—those who are aroused simply by seeing, touching, and smelling blood. Vampires define their feeding as a health requirement, distinct from sexual pleasure. (On the other hand, blood fetishists occasionally make good donors!)

Psychic vampires feed on the vital energy of others, either through physical contact or by soaking it up like a sponge. Ordinary people will do, but some seek out "spiritual types," artists, or other vampires. Psychic vampires describe feeding on each other as a "cycle" that refines and purifies their personal energy. Spiritual Sex: 10 Erotic Commandments

Anshar, a 29-year-old psychic vampire from Truckee, California says, "If I don't feed I get terrible migraines, dizziness and nausea. With the migraines comes terrible photosensitivity and irritability." These symptoms completely disappear after feeding, either from a donor or his partner Shade (also a vampire). "I feel warm, content," explains Anshar, "At times I break out into laughter depending on the amount of energy I've taken." 

The vampire community emphasizes ethical feeding. Sanguinarians, as well as many psychic vampires, only feed on consenting donors. In fact, the community has created a donor's bill of rights along with other ethical guidelines.

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

The Donor-Vampire Relationship
Feeding is not inherently sexual, but it can certainly have an erotic element. The VEWRS found that while many vampires have a romantic or sexual relationship with their donor (or donors), even more find donors among trusted friends or social networks. Donor-vampire bonds often reside somewhere between platonic friendship and romantic relationship.

Crystalis, 32, from Phoenix, describes herself as a "hybrid" vampire, meaning that she can feed on either blood or energy. According to her there are, "a surprisingly high number of people that are enthralled by the concept of being fed from." Vampires do not take on new donors lightly. Blood feeding, in particular, requires a great deal of trust, and donors must first get screened for diseases.

Diss, 35, is a blood donor from Switzerland who shares a romantic relationship with her vampire. She explained how the vampire/donor relationship creates vulnerability for both parties. "The vampire trusts the donor with sensitive knowledge about them, and the donor trusts the vampire to injure their body with blades or needles."

Diss became interested in sharing blood with vampires while reading Anne Rice. She later found out about real vampires through a television documentary. Diss found her way to the community and became Cynsanity's lover—even though she never expected to be anything more than a donor. She described blood as the most carnal—literally of the flesh—of gifts. Cynsanity, 25, from Austria said of their relationship, "It is very weird to be with someone who actually wants to be cut and fed from. Honestly, it's freaking me out a bit." 

According to Diss, taking blood can run the gamut from essentially a medical procedure to a profoundly erotic experience. Vampire/donor couples use knives or razors for a more sensual experience, while less personal methods of feeding involve little physical contact and may include medical equipment such as lancets or syringes. Some vampires believe vital fluids such as semen, menstrual blood and breast milk can serve as a substitute for blood. Vampires that feed in this fashion rarely have a detached relationship with their donors.

Unlike sanguinarians, psychic vampires can feed without the donor ever realizing it. Through a technique called "ambient feeding," psychic vampires simply soak up energy from the environment. Even ordinary people experience a buzz of collective energy at social events like parties, concerts, and some religious services—for psychic vampires, these are ideal locales for ambient feeding.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

Most psychic vampires feel it is unethical to take energy without the donor's consent. Consensual psychic feeding can include physical contact similar to a sensual massage. Sex is also an good source of psychic energy. Many vampires describe this as "tantric feeding," because the union it creates is seen as mystical. Tantric Sex 101

Romance with donors can often lead to complications. Although she's currently involved in a romantic relationship with her donor, Cynsanity commented, "Frankly, the best donors I ever had were those who were in no way sexually or romantically interested in me." Heather Corus, 26, from Pittsburgh, is an energy donor who believes she has an overabundance vital energy. She made a similar comment about the vampire/donor relationship. "My personal rule," she said, "is Don't Date The Vamps, especially if you're feeding them."

I also spoke with Enafae, 54, a Wiccan from Michigan. She was married to a sanguinarian vampire and was his donor for several years. Her marriage ended in part because she learned her husband had other donors she didn't know about. "My husband was not an honorable man," says Enafae. Despite this, Enafae maintains strong friendships in the vampire community. "I have dated other vampires," she says, "But I also date mundanes, witches…you get the idea."

Vampires also date one another. Cynsanity suggested this could be a risky undertaking, as vampires tend to be territorial and hierarchical. "Dating another vampire is like putting two kegs full of TNT next to one another," she said. On the other hand, Crystalis is dating a hybrid vampire named Sabastian DeCavalier, 43, and they seem to be enjoying their vampire/vampire romance, particularly because they sustain each other through tantric feeding. "At the deepest level during such a feed," Crystalis explained, "it becomes difficult to tell where your own soul ends and your partner's soul begins."

Some vampires believe vampirism is genetic. There are families of vampires with vampiric children and even grandchildren. Many vampires have traditional weddings, but some prefer Pagan rituals known as handfastings, a ceremony that can include classic marriage elements like an exchange of rings, and less traditional ones like jumping over a broom. "Vampire ceremonies" involving drinking one another's blood from a chalice are not unheard of. There are even vampires who are licensed ministers.

Those seeking the love of a vampire should remember that they are people first and vampires second. Diss encouraged those entering this community to "lay aside all that they think they know about vampires or donors, and remember that they, that we, are first of all people." Enafae reinforced this, adding, "a relationship with a vampire takes communication, work and love, just like with any relationship." This is sound advice for anyone who imagines that their problems can be escaped by running away with the tall, dark, and fangsome.

Written by Joseph Laycock with YourTango. Buy his book, Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampirism, at Amazon.com.

YourTango may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through links featured in this article.