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Flipside of the Coin, A Donor's Guide to Sang Donating
or, "Distilled Wisdom from a Decade of Donating"
A more-or-less practical guide to bloodletting and bloodfeeding from the point of view of a donor.
Contents are as follows:
Section 1: Foreword and Introduction
Section 2: Prep Work (cleaning, Sterilisation of the Tools, Etc.)
Section 3: Feeding and the Tools of the Trade
Section 4: Aftercare and Aftermath
Section 5: The Important Dos and Don'ts
Section 6: Taking Care of Your Vampire ;)
Section 1: Foreword and Introduction
I'm not very good at writing "articles" per se. I have a certain train-of-thought style of writing, and my most well-written "articles" over the years have come as responses to forum posts and e-mails on mailing lists. As a result, this is not going to be as "professional" as many other guides, and certainly not on par with actual books. However, if you can bear with my less-than-perfect arrangement of thoughts, this little compilation of facts, opinions, and personal experiences might be of use.
Firstly: I am not a vampire, nor do I play one on television. I'm a donor, a masochist, and these articles are very much written with that in mind -- this is really for donors, or for those who are thinking about becoming donors, or for blood-feeding vamps (Sanguinarians).
Secondly: This text has absolutely no theories on the origin of vampirism, why certain people require blood (or energy), and absolutely nothing to do with psi-vamps. Nor does it cover awakenings, dealing with being vampiric, how to meet donors, or anything of the sort. For that sort of information, there are a wealth of books and articles that go into such things comprehensively.
Bearing both of those points in mind, what you will find here are various thoughts born of years of experience, some amount of research, and hopefully a deal of common sense. :) By the way, some parts of this have appeared before online as I'm recycling some old stuff I've written, so you might recognise various parts of the articles.
Personally I don't consider myself a very good person to give advice but I admire the work of people such as Sanguinarius, Sphynxcat, Lady CG, and numerous others in spreading information and advice to the community as a whole and so do what little I can to support it, including typing this.
What you will find here: information about the three fundamental parts of feeding itself from the point of view of someone who's actually going to be losing blood, and then a few points of special consideration, as well as some dos and don'ts and a few extra bits not often found in articles written by vamps.
Hope you enjoy reading this and that you find at least one useful thing in here.
Danny (aka shortgoth)
Section 2: Prep work
There are two very well known sayings:
"If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail" and of course "The Seven P's -- Prior Preperation and Planning Prevent Piss-Poor Performance". These clichés apply very well to blood feeding. There are quite a few bits of prep work to be done before bleeding, and here's a short guide to the important parts.
Firstly, both of you must be comfortable and relaxed with what's about to happen.
Nervousness on the donor's part can result in jumpiness/sudden reaction to the blade, resulting in a deeper cut than you might be desiring.
Feeding will take minutes at the very least, so you don't want to be in an uncomfortable position -- I generally recommend sofas or beds since they allow the donor to lie down.
Coldness will result in less blood flowing to the extremities, again making it harder to get a good feed. A special note here on gender differences -- believe it or not, there are differences in the circulatory systems between the two. Women, in general, will tend to have warmer bellies and colder feet. Men, in general, tend to have colder hands. This is noticeable in cool conditions, when the body expels more energy keeping the core warm and less on the extremities -- in a nice warm room it's not as noticeable, and if the donor takes a nice, hot relaxing bath this will have an excellent side-effect of not just relaxing them but also getting them warm (and making their skin a bit more supple).
A first-aid kit should be on hand -- accidents happen, overeagerness happens, "biting off more than you can chew" isn't just a tired old cliché. ;) If things go wrong, you will, at the very least, need a medium-size wound dressing, a few wipes, and something you don't mind getting soaked in blood to press over the wound to stop the bleeding (this will be covered in more detail later).
Then there are the 3 aspects of hygiene and infection prevention that come into prep:
The vamp's mouth is, in all honesty, the biggest chance of infection there is. If they're using hypodermics or butterfly IVs or similar it won't be an issue, but if they're feeding directly from the skin it can be a concern. Anti-bacterial mouthwashes are available and it's recommended they use them (follow the instructions on the label) a few minutes before feeding. the human mouth is a veritable breeding ground for bacteria and many nasty things can be passed on -- don't forget it's *your* body the vamp's going to be drinking from, it's your right to insist they do this.
Your skin -- obviously you're about to be bled so there's a potential for contamination there especially as the vamp's saliva whilst feeding can pick up anything on your skin and pass it to the wound, as well as the potential to pass nasty things onto your vamp. Obviously you'll be keeping yourself clean anyway but there's a lot to be said for some extra prep work on the area about to be bled -- alcohol-free antibacterial wipes are a long-standing favourite, but various "hand sanitiser" gels are available and are excellent simply because they create zero additional mess -- they evaporate right off the skin. Bear in mind the element of taste though, these things can leave quite a nasty taste on your skin for the vamp's initial contact.
And last but by no means least -- the tool itself. I have quite a few things to say about the various tools available but the part relevant to this section is the sterilisation process.
There are a number of ways to sterilise cutting implements. Some of them can be done easily at home, some can't.
Often assumed to be good for sterilisation. In reality, it kills some bacteria. But it isn't particularly effective against virii and there are a fair number of hardy bacteria that alcohol doesn't kill. Plus to be effective, it has to be a minimum of 60% ABV (120 proof) to be of any use, with 75% ABV (150 proof) or more preferred. It also should be applied for a min of 15 seconds. Even so, after centuries of use, many virii and some bacteria are far more resistant than they used to be.
Can't be done at home, 'nuff said. Well, OK, it *could* be done at home, but the equipment's a wee bit pricey.
Minimum 6% concentration, soak the blade in it for 6 hours. Clean with sterile (boiled and allowed to cool) water.
The same stuff you put in your swimming pool. Chlorine Dioxide works well when it comes to chemical sterilisation, again immersion for 6 hours is minimum. Again, clean with sterile water.
Heat applied to the blade:
Some people are concerned (especially if using a favourite knife or similar for their cutting) about wrecking the temper of the steel and possibly making their blade/scalpel/razor worthless for bloodletting -- I have 2 things to say about that: The tempering issue is more to do with long-term usability, edge holding, and resharpening properties than the actual edge sharpness itself. The other thing is that tempering is done at temps. above 300 degrees F/148 degrees C or thereabouts) for the most common of "stainless" steels (alloy 440C) and better quality non-stainless carbon steels are done at much higher temperatures.
So losing the temper isn't really that much of a concern. Heating the blade can be done with:
- direct flame, the classic
- boiled water immersion (212degF/100degC)
- steam in an autoclave/high pressure environment.
- Baby Bottle sterilisers, I'm told, can also work perfectly well for this.
This will kill off the vast majority of bacteria spores and virii. Just remember that the blade must be fully cooled before use (allow a good few hours) and bear in mind that it might *possibly* mess with the tempering of a knife's blade.
These are often used to clean the wound itself, but you can of course use them to wipe a tool down. The reason they're used on skin is that you can't pour strong bleach, heat up/boil, or irradiate human tissue without negative effects, so as far as cleaning the wounds go, they're as good as you can get but aren't good enough to truly sterilise a blade/needle/lancet/anything else.
There are a couple other points that could drift into this area, but they'll be covered in a later section.
Section 3: Feeding and the Tools of the Trade
Finally, the fun part!
The basics are pretty simple really, there are a number of tools available to you but they generally fall into three categories: Lancets and other safe poking implements, razors, scalpels, and other bladed implements, and hypodermics/butterfly IVs.
Simply put, you shouldn't allow anyone to use them on you unless they're a trained doctor/nurse/phlebotomist. Truth be told, I've known nurses with 20+ years of experience who had difficulty hitting a vein first time -- you think an amateur will be able to take blood with a vein perfectly well every time? As long as you know what you're doing it's pretty safe, but I'd strongly recommend erring on the side of caution with this one.
However, should you and your vamp be comfortable taking this route, it does allow for the greatest amount of control. You can draw very specific amounts, and can even use the data to provide a better-than-average-accurate "feeding schedule". Some vamps want/need more blood in a sitting than others, some want/need to feed more often than others. Hypos allow to you accurately track exactly how much the vamp is taking every time, whereas other bloodletting techniques only really allow for a "best guess" at how much the vamp is consuming.
The other upside to hypos is that there's no wastage. ;)
Purely poking implements -- you will hardly feel a thing (good if you don't like pain), but you won't get much blood either. They're pretty much foolproof, especially the modern "auto" variety (uses the same technology as automatic injector "EpiPens" for allergy sufferers), I used one once and was very impressed at how simply they work -- literally just push against the skin. Downside being the vamp gets very, very little blood out of them so you'll end up getting poked multiple times. Very, very low chance of scarring.
This is often the method of choice for the more covert vamps. Lancets are readily available and no one ever asks questions due to their widespread use by diabetics.
My preferred form of blood extraction, and many others' as well. There are some myths about the use of blades, such as "Surgical Scalpels are the best", "Regular knives aren't sharp enough", "You're more likely to get infected if you don't use scalpels", and so on, and this is my best attempt to dispel some of these myths:
"Surgically sharp" and "surgical steel" are both, in a word, bollocks. Do you know how they make scalpels? They're pressed out of a stainless steel alloy called 420J2 or 420H (pretty much the same alloy, variances in makeup I won't go into here), the blade is then polished on a buffer, inspected, packed, and irradiated. Like all mass-produced blades, they're much poorer quality than the salesmen would have you believe -- in reality they're very cheaply made out of the lowest quality grade steel with minimal attention to detail. The reason for their sharpness is due to the thin cross-sectional geometry and nothing else.
"Classic" disposable razor blades and industrial razor blades are made in exactly the same way. Same process, same steel, same amount of quality control. The only difference is the lack of sterilisation, which you can do yourself the old fashioned low-tech way (see the "prep work" section).
Knife blades (and straight razors) however, can be sharpened to exactly the same degree of sharpness if you know what you're doing, are made out of much better steel if you know what you're buying, are far more aesthetically pleasing and of course can be used for other purposes than blood letting.
As for "less scarring": The sharpness of the knife has virtually nothing to do with scarring. It's a fact that a less than adequately sharpened knife can have "micro-serrations", but those can not be seen without the aid of a microscope and the actual difference between a cut with a polished blade and an unpolished blade as far as "ragged edges" of the wound itself goes is so small you can't tell the difference.
Scarring is created by (or influenced by) other factors: length of the cut. Depth of the cut. Placement of the cut. And to a lesser extent, genetics and aftercare. With most people, a light scratch with any instrument whether it be a cat's claw, a surgical scalpel, or a good old pocket knife, will not result in scarring. A cut that goes down to the bone, whether it's made by a (big) cat's scratch, a surgical scalpel, a hunting knife, or a broadsword, will have a much higher chance of scarring. Some people are genetically predisposed to scar more easily than others. What heals perfectly for one person may leave a small scar for others. What leaves a small scar for one person may keloid another. And of course aftercare. Is the wound just left alone? Then if it's a deep one, the chances are it'll scar, how badly depends on length, depth, and genetics. If it's patched up, that'll reduce the chances of it scarring. If it's stitched up, that'll reduce the chances of it scarring even more. I've heard Vitamin E applied to the wound as part of the healing process also reduces the chances, but I've never tried it myself.
So let's talk personal numbers here. I've been cut so many times I couldn't count. Over a thousand times, without a doubt (this figure includes everything apart from paper cuts which I've never heard of scarring). Conversely, I have less than a hundred scars on my body, and these were caused by everything from "surgically sharp scalpels", various types of pocket and sheath knives (steel blades, ceramic blades, titanium/steel alloy blades) industrial razor blades, old fashioned disposable razor blades, a serrated kitchen knife, and a chainsaw blade (fortunately, the chainsaw wasn't running at the time ;) ). You know why they scarred? Length and depth of cut. Genetics (I scar pretty easily, to be honest). Aftercare (or lack thereof: I generally don't even use antibacterial wipes or patch the wound up. Just let it scab over and/or scar as it will).
Any cut made with any blade can scar in theory. Using a "surgically sharp scalpel" has *zero* impact on whether it scars or not.
Bloodletting is dangerous obviously, but the tools you use can increase or descrease the risk rather a lot. Your technique also will influence it.
So let's move on to "technique".
The basic rules are pretty simply:
Cut (or pierce if using lancets) somewhere over a muscle group. I tend to recommend the chest or shoulder blades, some prefer thighs, some arms, pretty much anywhere works so long as there's a muscle under it. The reason I suggest cutting over muscle groups is for better blood flow.
Avoid arteries at all costs -- believe me when I say you'll know if you hit an artery because, as the saying goes, "Arteries decorate walls". Fortunately most of them are buried pretty deep so if you cut lightly you won't have a problem with them.
You'll want to avoid veins too -- although they're not quite as bad as hitting arteries, they're still not something you want to be cutting into -- I've had a vein hit in the past, and so speaking from personal experience I'll tell you it's not something you want to happen.
Both of these can be avoided by -- as rule #1 states -- cutting over a large muscle group.
Groin and neck area -- again I'd say to avoid these, some might think it erotic/sensual to feed from here but seriously, bad idea. there's not a lot of flesh in between the skin and the arteries here and they're two very dangerous areas.
As a general rule of thumb, cut lightly at first -- you're looking for a shaving nick/cat scratch kind of depth to begin with. Personally I prefer deeper cuts (as do many vamps) but it's not something you should jump straight into. The sharper the implement, the easiest it is to control the cut. Swift but light strokes will do the trick.
If the vamp isn't getting enough blood, there are a few options (in no particular order):
Make another cut/puncture: the most obvious one and generally the most used one.
Cut deeper: the deeper the cut, the more blood you'll get -- pretty obvious. However, the deeper you go, the higher chance of scarring, the longer it'll take to heal. Also if you go deep enough, you will start to get into the veins/arteries/subcutaneous fat/bone areas (depending on where you're cutting and just how deep you're going) -- none of these are good for you.
Make X-shaped cuts -- they clot and close slower than a simple slice and as a result you can get more blood -- although bear in mind the simple rule of "fastest closed is smallest scar" -- the longer it takes for the wound to close, the higher the likelihood of scarring.
Re-cutting the wound -- personally I don't recommend this -- it is pretty much impossible to control the depth of the cut if you're re-cutting a wound that's only just clotted up. But it does work.
"Massaging" the area around the wound -- encourages blood flow, useful to squeeze a few extra drops out of a closing wound.
Tearing the wound open -- one of my personal favourites, but not recommended unless the donor is masochistic. You can use teeth or nails for this, literally a case of digging into the wound and ripping at it. This is rather painful and causes far more damage a clean cut, again increasing the risk of scarring -- bloody fun though. ;)
There are other options: some people try to open wounds with their teeth -- it's pretty damn painful though and t'be honest both lancets and blades are a damn sight easier. There's whipping, tattoo guns (awesomely fun), and a few others but I won't go into them as volumes have been written (primarily by those in the S&M/BDSM culture) and general I only advise two things:
Lancets for the squeamish/want to avoid pain/have a vamp that doesn't require much blood.
Blades (be they scalpels, razor blades, straight razors, or others) for the rest.
Experimentation can be fun of course -- but try to keep it within safe(ish) limits and make sure that both the donor and vamp know what they're getting into. :) In the BDSM scene there's a mantra of "Safe, Sane, Consensual" -- personally I tend to think that bloodplay (of which feeding is a part) clearly breaches the "safe" aspect of that but it's not a bad phrase to remember.
Section 4: Aftercare and Aftermath
Pretty much in 2 parts: basic aftercare and a short guide to those "oh shit" moments that can sometimes happen. Hopefully you'll never need to worry about that but it never hurts to have a litte information should anything go wrong.
Antibacterial wipes (I like the alcohol-free ones; some prefer the alcohol base ones), and something to cover the wound are what you need as a basic. Once the wound has clotted and stopped bleeding (or you have stopped the bleeding if somehow the vamp was sated before the wound closed itself), give it a quick wipe and cover the wound.
Sometimes a band-aid will do the trick but for larger wounds you might want to consider Steri-strips/butterfly stitches and a proper wound dessing or, if you're like me and not too fussy about such things, a bit of surgical tape will do the trick to hold a wound closed (N.B. -- I have used masking tape in the past but I certainly wouldn't recommend it).
Again, remembering the adage of "soonest closed is smallest scar", if you want to avoid scarring you're better off using several light cuts than a single deep one, ensuring to clean, cover, and close, the cuts once the vamp's finished with them.
A brief(ish) note here about infection:
As stated in a previous section, I've had a great many cuts (and have a great many scars too) You know how many infected cuts I've had? None. I've bled so badly at times that I've a) Been unable to walk unaided, b) Ruined a sofa and three matresses plus uncounted sheets/clothing items c) Could see my ribcage once I'd stopped the bleeding and had a look.
Infection comes from contaminants in the wound. The reason the platelets flock to the wound is to seal it off from possible infections. The reason scabs are formed are twofold -- firstly they seal the wound from infection, secondly they cover the wound with a solid surface to allow the skin to repair itself. As long as you don't let contaminants into the wound, and allow the scab to form (without picking it off), you won't get infections. Simple as that really.
You're more likely to get an infection after surgery in a hospital than you are to get an infection from a blood letting session. What does that tell you about "surgical cleanliness"? Yes, I know that's a slightly disingenuous arguement due to the relative complexity of surgery as compared to blood letting. But OTOH, the most basic difference between cuts made in surgical procedures and ones made at home are? Length of cut. Depth of cut. Those two same basic things again. The aftercare is also an important point. Hospitals are well-known breeding grounds for all sorts of really nasty bacteria.
There are some other things handy to have post-feeding: something high in protein as a snack -- this could be some cheese, some nuts, or a protein drink, or any of a number of other foodstuffs -- the body requires protein to build tissue and you'll want some protein afterwards for the same reason that people recommend protein after a work-out. Vitamin C is also very handy for the donor, and Vitamin E can be used to help prevent/minimize scarring.
A sports drink to replenish glucose is also handy to have -- the cutting and feeding process will kick in your body's "fight or flight" response, which tends to include an adrenal dump, and will deplete your body's blood sugar levels. Sports drinks are excellent for replenishing these, although some donors might prefer chocolate. ;) Other sources abound of course, I know a lot of sports people and diabetics that swear by glucose tablets for example.
A quick tip on sports drinks -- Lucozade is a popular brand in the UK and I believe Gatoraid is popular in the States however you can make a cheaper (and just as effective) version yourself: simply get a 1 litre bottle and fill it with half Orange Juice, half Lemonade, and a pinch of everyday table salt -- it sounds strange I know but lots of people swear by it and it is pretty effective.
General non-wound aftercare:
Obviously this changes heavily depending on the donor and the sort of relationship the two of you have. Some donors might want to lie down and enjoy post-feed afterglow, some might even fall asleep (I know I'm terrible for this, whether it be with a vamp, a sadist, or when getting tattooed), if perhaps the feeding was part of an SM scene you may well continue, or if you have a sexual relationship with the donor then you might continue in that direction.
On the vamp's part, it's been my experience that most fall into one of two modes: contented and sated like a well-fed cat, or as hyperactive as a suger-filled 5 year old. Fortunately most have the former reaction. ;)
Exactly what happens post-feed is something you have to discuss beforehand, but one thing you should always check is that both parties feel the feed went well.
This is a term I shamelessly stole from the BDSM community, but it's something to consider. No matter how gentle the vamp may be, or how willing the donor is, the fact is that skin is being broken and blood is being lost and the body *will* treat this as a dangerous situation.
Specifically, the act of feeding will trigger the release of endorphins and kick the Adrenal glands into action. The primary effects of endorphins is as a natural pain killer, an anti-stress hormone, and they will enduce a slight sense of euphoria -- the "warm fuzzy glow" a donor will get during/afer feeding is a classic sympton of endorphin activation. The adrenal glands release a number of different hormones that I won't go into but the saliant point is that it's part of the body's "fight or flight" reaction to pain and/or injury.
As much fun as the warm fuzzies are, the fact is that the body cannot sustain high output levels and endorphins mess with the body's serotonin levels. Seratonin can affect things such as appetite, sleep, memory, learning, temperature regulation, mood, sexual behavior, cardiovascular function, muscle contraction, endocrine regulation, and, of course, depression. In addition to this, the adrenal dump leaves the body dehydrated and starved of things such as potassium and sodium.
The combination of these effects is what creates "sub drop" -- reduced or inhibited serotonin levels, lowered blood sugar, potassium and sodium levels, lowered body fluids. This causes (depending on the depletion levels) lethargy, depression, muscle weakness and/or cramps, nausea, headaches, dizziness, irregular body temperature, lack of mental focus, irritability, and can lead to unconsiousness and even more severe problems.
To counter-balance this is tricky -- there's no real way of completely stopping it from happening. However, as I stated above rehydrating and having a snack are two of the best ways to replenish what is lost during feeding -- bananas and strawberries are excellent sources of potassium BTW -- and of course there's nature's best cure: sleep.
The main thing to remember about "sub drop" is that it can occur hours after a session or as much as 11 days later. It's unlikely to be as big a deal with Sang donors as it is with BDSM subs/bottoms, but it is something to watch out for and be aware of.
If it all goes wrong:
Note -- this section will not replace a proper first aid course, and first aid courses are both widely available in most country and look good on your resume as well as being useful in many situations. Depending on what country you're in, your employer may well have a legal obligation to have a certain number of qualified first aiders per number of employees, in which case you might even be able to get your employer to pay for your training course. :)
Rule number 1:
Don't panic! Panicking is bad for both parties here: For the donor, it might make them hyperventilate, it will increase the heart rate (and thereby make them lose even more blood even more quickly), and may push them into shock even if they weren't going into shock to begin with. For the vampire, panicking means you'll not be able to provide the best of care and will have a harder time dealing with the emergency services if required.
With the "not panicking" bit under control, it's time to do some emergency aid. Your absolute top priority is to slow/stop the bleeding.
First, apply direct pressure to the wound -- do NOT use a tourniquet -- just get a wound dressing/similar (a clean cloth could work if for some reason you forgot your first aid kit) and apply as much pressure to the wound as you can.
Tourniquets used to be taught as part of First Aid but are not any more -- essentially they were found to be very effective in saving the lives of amputation victims back in the Napoleonic Wars and stayed as part of standard practice ever since. However, the reason they work so well is that they completely cut off the blood supply. On the one hand it's certain to stop the bleeding but on the other hand, the fact that the blood on the non-heart side of the tourniquet isn't being circulated means that toxins will build up in it, causing a potentially FATAL case of toxic shock when the tourniquet is removed and the (now toxic) blood returns to the rest of the body. More modern first aid courses never recommend the use of tourniquets for this reason -- you will prevent the bleeding, but what use is that if they die from toxic blood once it's removed? Healthcare professionals still use tourniquets because they can pump the victim full of antibiotics etc before releasing the tourniquet to prevent/minimize toxic shock -- but YOU don't have these drugs available.
Secondly, elevate the wound above the heart. I'm not going to explain in words why you do this; instead I'm going to give you a physical demonstration. What you need to do is raise one hand high up in the air (as high as you comfortably can), and let the other hand hang directly down. You only need to hold this pose for 1 minute (count one-thousand-1-one-thousand-2, all the way up to 60 in your head). I could go into paragraphs of descriptions about the circulatory system but this physical demonstration is vastly superior to any amount of theory. Once you've reached the 1 minute mark, put both hands out in front and look at them .You'll notice that the one that was up in the air is paler than usual, and the one hanging down is flushed and full of blood. That's the best way to demonstrate the importance of raising the wound above the heart that there is. ;)
Thirdly, if the donor isn't already lying down, get them to lie down, preferably with their feet elevated -- this is the classic "shock position" and will help them immensely.
Fourthly, if it is a serious wound, call the Emergency Services.
Yes, it's embarrassing. Yes, you quite rightly want to avoid any sort of official contact regarding your bloodletting. However, this is about getting your donor patched up and keeping them as healthy as possible after something goes wrong. Swallow your embarrassment and make that phone call.
There are 3 things that they will ask you:
1) What is the injury
These are the three questions any First Responder/Paramedic/EM Tech/whatever they're called will need to have answered before they can care for the donor. It is VITAL that they have as much information as possible.
Note that for number 2, you can bend the truth a little -- perhaps you don't want to be describing your vampiric tendancies for obvious reasons, but you could say that you were engaging in S&M and an accident occured -- the Emergency Services are not going to launch a Witch Hunt here; they get thousands of stranger call-outs, and although you might get a lecture on the dangers of bloodletting, they aren't likely to actually give a shit other than for the donor. Another good ruse, if you live somewhere that has a large student population, is that the donor is an art student and had an accident with a scalpel whilst scuplting. Or perhaps the donor was doing some sort of DIY project? Use your imagination, obviously depending on the exact situation (and the location of the injury) some things are more believable than others.
What it is important that you NOT do -- say that the donor tripped and fell onto a blade you happened to be carrying, it's an obvious lie and they might well believe that you're tying to cover up a physical assault -- this is a BAD thing.
At the end of the day, some version of the truth is always going to be more believable than an outright lie, regardless of how convincing you think said lie is.
It is also important that you give as accurate and complete an answer to questions 1 and 3 as you possibly can -- if your donor has been drinking alcohol, has taken anything at all (even someone as simple as an Aspirin), has any medical conditions (including allergies and such common things as Asthma, etc.), they are going to need to know this.
If the donor has any medical conditions, is on any prescription medication, then the Vamp has a right to know about it anyway, and the Emergency Services, should the worst occur, absoluty MUST know because it will affect the treatment they can safely give. Even knowledge of illegal drugs (did they have a joint that morning? do a line of something?) should be given -- obviously don't tell them you've taken if you have, but let them know that the donor took them. Personally I don't take recreationals anymore and would certainly not recommend them to anyone, but I know some people are into them -- and again if the Emergency Services don't know the donor has partaken, it can cause complications should they need to treat them.
A certain amount of honesty is required should the shit hit the fan -- worry about possible legal repurcussions (either for the vamp or the donor) later. The Emergency Services aren't there to start legal investigations or hound you for anything you might be getting up to in the privacy of your own home; they're there to help should help be required and believe me when I say that they see far stranger things on a daily basis than your feeding session. ;)
Section 5: Dos and Don'ts
It's a hard section to write, and basically covers things that could/should already be in other sections, or are and I just think it's important enough to make the point again.
DO get to know the vamp reasonably well before agreeing to donate. It's a rule I've broken before, but it's not one I'd recommend ignoring.
This doesn't necessarily mean knowing their whole life story, but does include: How much the vamp expects to drink, how often they expect to drink, their preferred methodology for bloodletting. Knowing that they're clean of communicable diseases. Ensuring (as well as possible) that they're reasonably sane and aren't an axe-wielding lunatic (although they can be fun, too ;) ).
DO take appropriate precautions when it comes to the first meeting if you've made first contact with each other over the internet.
This includes meeting in a neutral, preferably public, place; either bringing one or more friends along or arranging a "safety call" (a call to a friend that must be made by the pre-arranged time or they'll alert the authorities); getting a photograph (and giving this to your "safety call" friend if applicable), and so on -- personally I tend to ignore this very sensible bit of advice because I'm more than capable of taking care of myself and have sufficient self-confidence that it often steps over the line into arrogance, but I strongly recommend you make sensible arrangements before you meet someone you've only spoken to online/over the telephone. Safety should always be paramount.
DO your research first. The fact that you've read this far is a good start, but there may be other considerations and it's certainly possible to do a great deal more research on the topic than simply skimming this. As I said previously, I recommend anyone/everyone considering engaging in any form of bloodplay at the very least takes a first aid course for example.
DO remember to bring implements/first aid kit if you're going to use them, and DO remember to have it close to hand during the act.
DO get the relevant bloodwork done.
DO remember that as a donor, it's ultimately YOUR call as to what happens. If you're feeling ill, or tired, or are a first-timer and decide you don't want to go through with it after all, or any other reason you may have for not wishing to donate at that particular time, break it to the vamp gently and honestly, but don't feel pressured into donating anyway.
DO ask the vamp if there's anything in particular they might want you to do. Some vamps have a preference for certain flavourings in the blood (apparently, the taste of your blood is affected by what you eat) so if you're particularly nice, you might alter your diet to accomodate. Some vamps feed in a somewhat ritualistic fashion specific to them. Some vamps have specific allergies. There are a host of things that should be discussed. I'm not saying you should bend over backwards for them, but give them every bit of consideration and expect, nay, demand, the same in return.
DO consider long-term implications. I'm not going to go into great details here, but cuts and scars can raise questions from family, friends, co-workers, and lovers. Many vamps and donors will mention a bond forming between them. If you're a vamp's friend or lover who's brought up the topic of feeding them, I have to point out that the issue of feeding is a fertile breeding ground for arguments and stress on the pre-existing relationship.
DON'T tease the Vamp. Now I know anyone reading this that knows me knows this is a hypocritical statement. However I like pain and I collect scars. For those of you who aren't in the same situation, this CANNOT be stressed enough. Their hunger can spur them to extreme desires, often unthinking, and sometimes overwhelming. Deliberately teasing a hungry vamp is not going to end well. At best, you can expect them to be very angry with you. At worst, they could lose control completely and do hospitalistion-required levels of damage.
DON'T go jumping in feet first. This is really just a reminder of all the "DO"s.
DON'T think, even for a moment, that they're going to "turn" you in any way, shape, or form. Even if such a thing were possible, I doubt any vamp would actually inflict this curse upon someone.
DON'T expect to leave anything (other than the actual feeding) up to the vamp. Yes, most of them will ensure you're alright. Most of them will offer some kind of aftercare. Some of them will offer some sort of snack afterward. But don't leave it to their discretion. "Pro-active" is the key here. It's your body, always be prepared to take personal responsibility for it.
DON'T be guilt-tripped, manipulated, bribed, cajoled, or threatened into overstepping your own boundaries. For example: If the vamp wishes to feed more often than you can provide them with, discuss it with them. Perhaps they could look into getting additional blood sources, perhaps they could try substitues, or perhaps you should part ways entirely. If you're adamantly against using cutting methods that could leave permanent scars, again, discussion and if need be, parting company, is better than going along with it only to regret it later.
Section 6: Taking Care of Your Vampire
The previous sections were dry, and written with very much a "look out for number one" perspective. Although I have written this from a donor's perspective and thus do consider a donor's safety and concerns as paramount, there are two people (or sometimes more) in every relationship.
Firstly and most importantly, you must always bear in mind that this isn't a lifestyle choice for the vamp. Ok, there are some in the community for whom it is just just a lifestyle choice: there are blood fetishists, there are those who are doing it for kicks, there are those that just love the vampire image, there are those who quite frankly should be locked up in a padded cell, but in the main, it's a deep-seated *need* for them, not just a casual thing.
So don't enter into the relationship casually. Remember that every time you say "not today, I'm not in the mood" is another day they suffer health degradation, increasing pain, and a number of other side-effects.
If you are only interested in donating as a one-time thing, to see how it feels, or on a very casual basis, make that *very* clear to the vamp in advance. For some it's better to not feed at all than to feed once or twice and then go through the process of acclimatising themselves to not feeding again for a lengthy period of time.
If you're already in a donoring or sexual relationship with someone else, again you must ensure the vamp knows that. Apart from the risk of disease there are various interpersonal/emotional/scheduling conflicts that can easily arise.
As mentioned earlier, some vamps have allergies, specific tastes, spiritual beliefs, and a host of other considerations. These are areas that will likely come up in conversation when the topic of donating is broached but if they don't: ask. Ask, and discuss. Accomodation of their particular quirks goes a long way to building a good relationship with anyone as a general rule of thumb, and vamps especially tend to come with plenty of quirks.
Remember that the vamp is likely to be just as nervous as you for the first feed, if not more. Shaking hands can make for a nasty cut, so do what you can to help them relax and feel at ease. :)
Ask them how they are after the feed itself. Do they think they had enough blood? Do they think they had too much (rare, but it could happen!)? Did they feel comfortable with you, with the situation? Is there anything that heppened they would prefer to try differently next time? Will there even be a next time? I'm not suggestion play 20 questions (nobody expects, or wants, the Spanish Inquisition), but an open, honest discussion goes a long way to forming a solid relationship.
Keep yourself healthy. This one probably should go without saying, but you don't want to pass on anything nasty to your vamp. Apart from illness, the healthier you are the quicker you will recover from feeding them, and the better quality your blood will be.
Take an interest in them as a person. Of course if you're already in some sort of relationship with the vamp, be they a relative, a friend, or a lover, this is already established. But if it's purely a vamp/donor relationship, show some sort of interest in them, their life, and how they are. Go out some time for a meal, or a night on the town, or stay in and watch films. Vamps have feelings too and just turning up, feeding them, and leaving leads for a very cold experience. Some vamps may prefer a colder approach of course, but if that's the case they'll be sure to tell you.
Eerie America TV Series
Eerie America could very well be called The Fodors Travel Guidebook for The Addams Family. I read some in-depth information about the show and saw the promo, and from what I can tell, this will be an absolutely AWESOME series if they can get it off the ground. (I'm actually praying they will.) Let others know and see who can help. This is something that should happen! Let's pull together and make it so!
New Orleans Vampire Association
NOVA is a State Recognized Non-Profit Organization geared toward helping the homeless in the New Orleans area and working towards its greater goals, including a homeless shelter in the Greater New Orleans area.
If you would like to donate money, food, or supplies toward the cause, please click here for more info or to donate.
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