The following information is based on what Sanguinarians say about themselves on their own websites and forums. Some recommended links are found at the end of the article.
Sanguinarians describe themselves as human beings with a compulsion, or need, to consume blood for reasons other than erotic (see Blood Fetishists) or emotional satisfaction. Sanguinarians define their condition as an objective, if unrecognized, medical syndrome, entirely biological in nature. They are hostile toward "spiritual" explanations for their blood craving, and don't believe that it has anything to do with "energy." Most Sanguinarians crave human blood exclusively, and many of them have arranged for human "donors" who voluntarily supply them with fresh blood. Some Sanguinarians describe a life-long fascination with blood and blood-drinking, while others experienced an abrupt awakening of blood-craving which they may or may not be able to trace to a certain event.
Since the late 1990s, the Sanguinarian community has become much more dogmatic in their self-definition. Many define themselves as the only "real vampires," and further insist that a person is a "real" Sanguinarian (and by extension, a "real" vampire) only if he or she suffers actual physical illness without regular blood intake. Many Sanguinarians now report a family history of Sanguinarian symptoms, which ten years ago was reported only rarely, and suggest a genetic basis for the condition. Symptoms of blood deprivation, according to Sanguinarians, include extreme fatigue, autoimmune deficiencies, headaches, frequent illness, muscle and joint pain, emotional distress, uncontrollable rages, and other problems that cannot be traced to any known disease. Some Sanguinarians report that they suffered for years with such symptoms, baffling conventional medical professionals, and achieved almost instant relief when they began drinking blood.
The amount of blood consumed, and the frequency of consumption, varies highly among Sanguinarians, but few consume more than tiny amounts at a time, usually obtained through slight cuts or punctures made by lancets or razor blades on their willing human "donors." The "donors" themselves usually make all cuts or wounds. Many Sanguinarians insist that "donors" undergo testing for blood-borne diseases, including HIV and hepatitis. Some Sanguinarians consume animal blood, but most consider it an inferior (or unacceptable) substitute for human blood.
Because of the obvious difficulties in finding trustworthy or consistent "donors," or other sources of fresh blood, many Sanguinarians are highly concerned with the problem of "blood famine" or blood deprivation. Online Vampire Community discussion fora often address the issue of blood deprivation and ways of alleviating symptoms. Some substitutes for blood that are reported to be effective include "blood" drained from raw meat, rare meat itself, milk and dairy products, and even chocolate.
Sanguinarians differ in the intensity of their need for regular blood consumption.
Severe or "bloodlusting" Sanguinarians experience the most critical and physically debilitating blood cravings. They report a need for larger amounts of blood than most Sanguinarians consume at one time, and require it more often. They also report the strongest feelings of physical "withdrawal" when prevented from consuming blood, sometimes so extreme as to resemble narcotics withdrawal. Some severe Sanguinarians believe that blood consumption may in itself be addictive, with higher amounts consumed resulting in an irreversible higher degree of need.
Some severe Sanguinarians talk about the strength of their inner compulsion to obtain blood by any means possible, and the difficulty of keeping such antisocial impulses in check. The phrase "The Beast" has been used to describe this almost overwhelming "shadow self" that threatens to take over when a severe Sanguinarian is suffering from blood deprivation, or when he or she has a source and that source is threatened. While I have not yet heard any of these Sanguinarians describe giving into "The Beast," they seem to agree that it requires their constant vigilance to keep under control. The word "twoofing" has also been used to refer to the state of being overwhelmed by blood deprivation to the point of losing control.
Moderate or "blood-craving" Sanguinarians are satisfied with smaller amounts of blood from "donors" and do not report the same intensity of withdrawal symptoms, or inner compulsion as severe Sanguinarians. They may be satisfied for far longer periods of time with various substitutes, and their need for blood may be more intertwined with complex emotional and sexual feelings. However, they are not merely blood fetishists, because they do report a physical need to drink blood.
About a decade ago, some individuals circulated among the Online Vampire Community claiming to be "extreme sanguinarians" who required--and got--a pint or more of human blood per day in order to survive. I have not encountered this category of Sanguinarian, or references to them, recently.
Sanguinarians consider their condition to be an unclassified chronic disability requiring constant vigilance, effort and stamina to endure. They rarely, if ever, claim that their vampiric state confers any advantages. Their websites and fora are devoted to articles about managing and coping with such stressful symptoms as blood deprivation, extreme photosensitivity, nocturnal biological schedules, migraine headaches, "blood rages," "awakening" (coming to terms with being a Sanguinarian) and numerous associated social and psychological issues. Sanguinarian fora are similar to support fora for other severe chronic syndromes and illnesses.
Sanguinarians are the most likely Vampire-Identified People to explain, at length, to newcomers why "no one really wants to be a vampire," and to describe their condition as a tragic misfortune. There are a very few Sanguinarians who discuss what they see as vampiric powers (such as charisma, keener than average senses, enhanced physical strength, or faster healing), or who say that they don't believe they're truly human beings. These individuals are the minority, however. Most Sanguinarians are downright aggressive in their insistance that they're human beings, and many will further assert that "we're all human" and no non-humans really exist.
Some of these attitudes may be reactions to the explosive growth of the "Psivamp" and Otherkin communities. Sanguinarians often complain bitterly that they have felt shunted aside and invalidated by these two sectors, who have rapidly grown to outnumber the Sanguinarians.
Considerable tension was generated in the late 90s when self-defined "Psivamps" who didn't want to drink blood themselves began to universalize their own prejudices and insist that no one really needed to drink blood, and Sanguinarians "just need to learn how to psi-feed." The opinion among some other Vampire-Identified People that Sanguinarians are "less evolved" than "Psivamps" has continued to upset the Sanguinarian community. (See "The 'Psivamp Revolution' and Its Fallout".) Some Sanguinarians are extremely defensive and will break into rants about "everyone" supposedly believing that "Sanguinarians get energy from blood" at the slightest provocation (or no provocation at all).
In general, Sanguinarians claim no unusual psychic or energy-working abilities that are directly related to their vampiric condition. Some Sanguinarians are Pagans or Witches, and many fora include topics on magick, Wicca, spell-casting, and so on. But again, only a small minority of Sanguinarians have interests that overlap into these areas, and these topics are found mostly on the "Psivamp" or community-inclusive fora.
For more information about Sanguinarians, see the following websites:
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