Dear Patrick: I wish to be consecrated to the Vampire Lord who rules this city. By doing so, I would join a family of donors who keep their blood in a pure state so they can instantly gratify His needs. The blood is drawn with a sterile needle and tubing, then collected in a tumbler of brandy. There are other methods of taking the blood, but it is always consumed in alcohol. This is done for His safety. But I am concerned. This doesn’t seem to be enough to me. Should I break protocol and question My Lord’s procedures? If He should look askance at that and banish me, I would be devastated.–Nina
Dear Nina: Your letter raises a couple of questions. One has to do with the level of fantasy and self-promotion that your Vampire Lord seems to indulge in. The second has to do with whether there is a safe way to consume another person’s blood.
We all want a family that understands our deepest needs. If your family of origin was abusive or is intolerant of your adult identity, that makes the draw of a chosen family even stronger. But most of us have to construct a network like that slowly, one person at a time. We meet a compatible person, see if we can trust them, and begin a friendship that deepens over time. I am automatically suspect of people who offer ready-made families to vulnerable and desperate people. It can be very hard to tell, until you are in trouble, whether these groups are kind, healthy places to be or arbitrary and soul-destroying cults.
Rather than get hung up on the issue of whether the blood is used safely or not, I encourage you to look at who is in this family. I’m sure they are dressed flawlessly and talk a highfaluting game. But are they trustworthy? What would the rules be? How much power are you going to be asked to cede over your life? Why are people kicked out, and how often does that happen? Do they realize they are creating a complicated role-play of a forbidden fantasy, or are they oblivious to their own public relations? Do they have a sense of humor? Few cults do.
I would just like to be sure that if someone asks for your loyalty, he or she is willing to take good care of you, respect your autonomy and need for personal growth, and support you in becoming a richer, better person. Love ought to flow both ways. If you are being asked to sever connections with people outside of this family or let them take over your finances, run the other way. You will be better off with someone who adores vampire games who is less ambitious about creating an alternative reality that he or she can run in a tyrannical fashion.
Okay, on to the second point. You are correct to be concerned. Blood mixed with high-proof alcohol will be safe as far as HIV goes. But hepatitis viruses are harder to kill. It would take a series of tests to be sure a potential donor had not been exposed to hepatitis and was not incubating a case of it. There is a time period during which you’ve been exposed to many diseases, but there aren’t enough microorganisms in your blood to show up on a test. Having seen a new disease appear that killed millions of people, I am cautious about blood lest it contain disease-causing organisms that have not yet been identified.
I suggest that you do speak out about your concerns. See how they are handled. If the group or its leaders reaction is to scold you severely and excommunicate you, they will be doing you a favor. Don’t get involved with a group that won’t let you use your intelligence and speak up if you are worried. You deserve reassurance and further discussion—not censorship and rejection!
Patrick Califia is a therapist in private practice in Northern California. His practice includes internet consultations as well as face-to-face psychotherapy. He is a prolific author who has published widely about BDSM and sexual politics. Patrick’s books include Macho Sluts, Sensuous Magic, and Public Sex: The Politics of Radical Sex.
This column is not intended to offer medical or legal advice. It is for educational and entertainment purposes only. If you need medical or legal advice, see a doctor or lawyer!
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