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The following is based on a series of messages I posted on Sanguinarius's message board in December 1997.

[Note: sites with an (x) after them cannot be reached. -- Sanguinarius]


Finding donors in the BDSM scene

by Amy Krieytaz


Last updated 4/12/98. Copyright © 1998 Amy Krieytaz. All rights reserved.


Although I would not call myself a vampire, I have gone through blood-fetishistic phases at various times in my life. Based on my experience, I may be able to offer some useful info to more serious blood-drinkers who are having difficulty finding willing suppliers.

Specifically, I can offer some advice on how to find them in the BDSM scene, with which I've had years of experience. I live in New York and can give extensive advice about the New York BDSM scene in particular, as well as more general advice about the BDSM scene elsewhere. Alas, most of the advice I can offer is more applicable to female blood-drinkers than to males. (I would imagine that male blood-drinkers would have a harder time than female blood-drinkers out in the straight/vanilla world, as well as in the BDSM scene -- is that correct? If so, perhaps someone else can offer advice to males in particular on how to find suppliers?)

One point I'll assure you of right away: You would not be obliged to have sex with people you meet in the BDSM scene. It is a common pattern for people in the BDSM scene to have sex with only one primary partner, but to engage in more casual BDSM play with various other people.

At the same time, finding willing suppliers in the BDSM scene isn't quite as trivially easy as some may assume, since there are lots of people in the BDSM scene who disapprove of blood play on "safety" grounds (though one can argue that blood play isn't really much more dangerous than sex, provided you take similar sensible precautions re: AIDS testing, etc.). Nevertheless, people willing to be bled ARE much easier to find in the BDSM scene than elsewhere, and I can suggest ways to get around the barriers/pitfalls. Also, because blood play is already an established part -- albeit a controversial part -- of the BDSM scene, you are more likely to find acceptance among BDSM people than just about anywhere else -- and without being put on a superhuman pedestal, either. (Actually, in some circles, you are may find yourself being put on a superhumen pedestal just for being a nonprofessional dominant woman rather than for being a vampire, but that's another story....)

  1. Intro to S/M itself
  2. The BDSM subculture
  3. A few words about the New York scene


1. Intro to S/M itself

If you are going to seek out masochists as willing suppliers, it would obviously be helpful to know a little about S/M first. Here is a primer.

Masochists are not into just any old pain. I never heard of anyone going to the dentist for thrills. Rather, masochists are into pain in contexts that they find erotic. What it takes for the context to be erotic varies widely from one masochist to another. Also, masochists vary greatly in the kind and degree of pain that they can find erotic.

Masochism often, but not always, goes hand in hand with erotic submissiveness, which also varies widely in kind and degree. Some "submissives" are so focussed on the acting out of a particular fantasy that they cannot genuinely give up control; they dictate the scene completely. At the other extreme, there are those who will want you to do to them "anything YOU want" (within reasonable limits of safety, etc.). Most submissives are somewhere in between. Also, some are submissive (to whatever degree) only in sex play, while others want to be submissive in the entire relationship.

Because everyone in the BDSM scene is so very different in their tastes and requirements, you'll need to spend some time negotiating with a new submissive partner before you actually begin "dominating" them. This may take some getting used to, if you aren't accustomed to explicit negotiation as part of courtship. Note: by "negotiation," I do NOT mean haggling, or asking for more than you want, or pretending you don't want what you want. I mean honest, straightforward, lay-your-cards-on-the-table communication, without the kinds of social game-playing that are a common part of courtship in the straight/vanilla world.

When you begin playing with someone, start out slow and easy, and gradually build up -- both in the course of a single session and over the long term, on both the physical and psychological levels.

An example of such build-up is the technique of sensual whipping: Start with very light strokes, and gradually hit harder. After every several strokes, caress the area and drape and drag the whip over it, producing additional sensations which help the person go into an endorphin high. (Note, however, that sensual whipping isn't _ALWAYS_ appropriate. There are a few heavy-pain masochists whith whom it is appropriate to start out moderately heavy from the get-go. Also, when you "punish" someone, you don't generally build up to it, you just do it.)

Before you do anything with anybody, LEARN HOW TO DO IT SAFELY! You can buy books on S/M safety and technique at an erotic boutique (note: upscale erotic boutique, not sleazy adult bookstore). Following are a few basic pointers, but please understand that this is only the beginning. Buy the books for more details, and attend workshops at your local nonprofit BDSM group. (Be advised, however, that some books may be a bit overly paranoid about safety. Use common sense in evaluating the recommended cautions and techniques.)

WHIPPING: Make sure you know how to aim the thing. Practice first on a pillow, then on yourself, before using it on anyone else. Aim for fleshy areas. Really severe whipping should be confined to the buttocks and thighs. Lighter whipping can be done elsewhere, avoiding obviously delicate areas like the face. Be careful of wraparound. Remember that the whip hits with greatest force at the TIP; and, as it wraps around someone's thigh, it speeds up. This effect may or may not be desirable, depending on how heavy a scene you're doing. But do avoid having the whip wrap around someone's buttocks and hit the bony area at the side of the hip. Also, when whipping hard, be careful to avoid the kidneys, on the back above the hips. Your first whip should be a short, soft leather cat o'nine tails. You can obtain nastier whips later.

BONDAGE: It is important to avoid cutting off circulation. If you use ropes, buy a book on knots, to learn how to tie knots that will hold fast but will not tighten down around the person's wrists or ankles. For example, a bowline knot is good, a square knot isn't. Also, make sure you can untie the knots in a hurry, if necessary, e.g. in the event of a fire or medical emergency. If you use chains instead of ropes, make sure you can unchain the person in a hurry, too. If you attach chains to leather cuffs using padlocks, get a set of six or so KEY-ALIKE padlocks, so you won't have to hunt for individual keys. Even safer, if it is not vitally important to you that the bondage be inescapable, use boathooks instead of padlocks.

FANTASY VS. REALITY: We have a saying in the BESM world, "fantasies are hungrier than bodies." Many of us get off on fantasies far more extreme than anything we would want to do in reality. Often, inexperienced S/M people do not yet know what they would enjoy in reality, as opposed to fantasy. If you're dealing with a novice submissive, warn him to be careful what he asks for -- he just might get it! Also, with a novice, be extra careful to start out slow and easy and gradually build up.

SAFEWORDS: Many, but not all, S/M people use "safewords" as a way for the submissive to signal unambiguously to the dominant that s/he needs to end the scene or slow down. Because some submissives enjoy pretending to resist, "Please stop!" may actually mean "More please!" Hence, many S/M people will agree to use some totally out-of-context word, like "Orange!", to mean "I really need to stop, and I mean it." Other S/M people don't like safewords but prefer to rely on body-language cues, or will develop ways to communicate without stepping out of role. (Attitudes regarding safewords vary from one part of the country to another. In some places, the use of safewords is almost mandatory, whereas in other places, such as New York, attitudes tend to be more flexible.) In any case, you need to discuss with your partner, in advance, how you will communicate during a scene.

For more information: An excellent newsletter called the Sandmutopian Guardian is available from The Utopian Network, which also sells whips and toys. A catalog of high-quality S/M books and magazines is available from QSM (x).

2. The BDSM subculture

Following is some advice on how to enter the BDSM scene and make a good impression there.

First, don't confine yourself to cruising your local Goth club's fetish night. Do go there, but you will likely find relatively few real S/M people there. A better place to look is your local nonprofit BDSM social and educational group. Most major cities have one. You can find listings of BDSM groups on the web (sorry, I don't have a list or URL handy), or you can inquire at your local upscale erotic boutique. Besides being a better place to meet people, a nonprofit BDSM group is also an excellent place to learn BDSM technique; there will be frequent workshops on safe and effective bondage, whipping, etc. So, you should still join the nonprofit group even if you get lucky at the Goth club fetish night.

Outside New York, most nonprofit BDSM groups are private, for members only, and you will need to write a letter applying to join. Do NOT mention the V word or blood in your introductory letter. Instead, just say (if you're female) that you're a nonprofessional novice dominant woman who wants to learn about BDSM technique.

Here in New York, there ARE some self-described vampires in the BDSM scene, some of whom may even be the real thing. Matter of fact, quite a few years ago, I briefly dated someone who, now that I think about it, may well have been a sanguinarian (blood-needer). She announced in the Eulenspiegel Circle that she was a vampire and displayed a hypodermic needle that she used to extract blood. No one batted an eye at this. I, and probably nearly everyone else, assumed that she was just an unusually voracious blood fetishist.

However, in a lot of places outside New York, attitudes toward blood play are more uptight, mainly on "safety" grounds. Once you're an accepted member of a BDSM group and have attended a few meetings, you might be able educate people out of this prejudice by gentle rational argument. One point in your favor is that nonprofessional dominant women are still somewhat of a rare and valued commodity in the BDSM scene. But still, before you've joined the group and made a few friends there, don't risk making anyone afraid to let you join. Once you do get to know people, use your judgment as to how open you can safely be. You may decide that you are best off recruiting sources outside the group, e.g. via BDSM personal ads, while using the group as a place to learn about general BDSM technique.

Before you attend your first meeting of the nonprofit BDSM group, begin educating yourself about S/M technique and safety by purchasing introductory books at an upscale erotic boutique. Even if you already know techniques of safe bloodletting, you might not know techniques of safe bondage, whipping, etc. And you should learn a little about the psychology of masochists and submissives before you start meeting them.

Be advised that the idea of you drinking another person's blood will raise a lot more eyebrows than "blood play" or "blood sports" in general. See, for example the question on blood sports in the soc.subculture.bondage-BDSM FAQ; note that the listed activities do not include the consumption of another person's blood. Expect to have to explain, for example, that you and your partner will both get tested for AIDS, etc.

3. A few words about the New York scene

Above, I wrote: "Here in New York, there ARE some self-described vampires in the BDSM scene, some of whom may even be the real thing. Matter of fact, quite a few years ago, I briefly dated someone who, now that I think about it, may well have been a sanguinarian (blood needer). She announced in the Eulenspiegel Circle that she was a vampire and displayed a hypodermic needle that she used to extract blood. No one batted an eye at this. (I, and probably nearly everyone else, assumed that she was just an unusually voracious blood fetishist.)"

This does not mean there is no prejudice against blood play in the New York BDSM scene. It depends who you're with and where you go. The above episode took place back in 1982, just before the AIDS crisis hit the public in a big way. Prejudice against blood play increased after that point. Blood play is either forbidden or strongly discouraged at most New York S/M clubs, on "safe sex" grounds and/or because it would gross out a lot of the other clientele.

Still, there are both blood fetishists and self-described vampires (such as V.M. Johnson, author of Dhampir: Child of the Blood) who are a more-or-less accepted part of the New York BDSM scene. For the most part, they are welcome at S/M clubs provided they do their blood play in private and confine their club play to more standard S/M activities.

Even so, if you're a total newcomer, it might be best to wait with announcing that you're into blood play until you've made at least a few friends.

Feel free to E-mail me with any further questions you may have, either about BDSM in general or the New York scene in particular.

Amy Krieytaz, c/o Sanguinarius, AKrieytaz@sanguinarius.org

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