We at ShadowSage decided to do a more peer type review on the Eros Vampire Survey with the three people behind it. We sent them some tough no holds barred questions on the study and what they hoped to accomplish with it. I very much enjoyed their well thought out responses and look even more forward to their study and its data now. The survey can be found Here
A less formal but more get to know you interview on the Eros Vampire Survey folk done by Nyx can be found Here
We here enjoyed doing this immensely and hope to continue getting information on it from them as well as working with them more in the future. Without further wait here it is!:
Interview of Suzanne Carré, Hesperus, and Deacon Gray.
Hello there! So we won’t really go over much that Nyx did in her interview but a few base questions to start.
SS: What do you hope to accomplish from this survey and how are you three all working together to accomplish that?
DG: Honestly I didn’t really plan to much more than be a resource. When I started looking into the sexual vampire several years ago, there simply wasn’t enough information to work with. So I dug into it quite a bit, with the idea of producing a book on the subject. The book idea is still fermenting, and I think more information is needed. Still what I had I thought might be of some use to Suzanne.
SC: We are hoping to learn more about the sexual habits of sexual feeding vampires. What these real vampires do sexually to feed is where we are with this survey. Other aspects of sexual vampires will be necessary for a complete picture, but this is a start. As a team, we each have our skills and bring these to the table when working together. Hesperus of CLAVIS is collecting the data and will process it for the discussion. Deacon has the experience within the vampire community to ensure what is written will be accurate when describing real vampires.
H: The primary goal of this research study is to compile data on sexual vampirism directly from the source: actual self-identifying vampires who utilize sex in some way as an extension of their vampiric identities. Because no comprehensive study on sexual vampires has yet taken place, we hope to gather optimally unbiased data on the behaviors and experiences of sexual vampires with the aim of directing future research. My main contribution was in helping to compose the survey itself and, once the results are in, I’ll analyze them statistically. Deacon’s insights, as a well-established sexual vampire who has worked for many years with others so identifying, are invaluable in assuring that Suzanne and I ask meaningful questions. Suzanne also brings personal connections to others in the academic field to the project.
SS: Upon accomplishing what you want to, how will you use it and the data from the survey?
DG: My hope is to find some commonalities and perhaps a focus point for a more indepth study. For all we know the sexual element in feeding is some kind of a psychological crutch and perhaps with some understanding it could be eliminated with the right psychological therapy. I’m not saying it is, just that such things need honestly considered. Most of the sexual vampires I know won’t even openly admit that they are sexual vampires unless asked directly or if they are in some private venue, it’s too easy to be ridiculed. So perhaps if they can learn a little more and people can be more aware of their realities, they would feel as isolated, or the need to be obfuscated in their own community.
SC: When the data collection is complete, the next step is to answer our questions by looking at what the data tell us about the sexual habits we are interested in. I believe we will all learn something we didn’t know and that’s the exciting part of research. After correlating the data, we begin the process of discussing what the data means in the form of a scientific article following the guidelines of the journal we hope will be interested in our work. Once published, this study will form part of the knowledge base about real vampires, which is scant at best. This information will benefit not just sexual vampires but all real vampires.
H: Once the survey results are all in, I’ll go over the data and summarize the findings as well as look for any statistically significant patterns. All of us will work together to contextualize and present those findings in a paper that will be made available both to the vampire community and to academic researchers who also have an interest in the results. Depending upon the findings of this study, CLAVIS may then follow up on any deeper questions raised by this research with additional study.
SS: I’ve seen you mention your area of study is sex, and you write novels. Do you think those will hinder your perceptions regarding this survey? Do you think it helps you knowledge wise or actually hurts you from being unbiased? Do you think those areas may actually hurt you in a peer review if they use it to try and scrutinize you with it?
SC: There are three of us collaborating on this survey, and I’m not the only one who writes erotic fiction in the group. I personally feel the fiction craft is a benefit in the writing for psychology journals, because there is a humanist approach to the construction of these types of articles. The journals I’m interested in publishing with focus on sex research, and it was my interest in sex that started the whole process of constructing the survey and making this study possible. The interest in sex is obviously a plus when working in the area of sex research but bias is an important factor, and it is a requirement for all scientific studies for the authors to declare any bias. There are rules for the writing of scientific articles, and these must be followed, otherwise the papers we present will be rejected. In peer review, it is the way you present your argument that dictates whether the paper will be accepted or rejected. Do I feel my fiction will disadvantage me? Not when the journals I’m interested in approaching publish works of poetry and fiction in the study of psychological rehabilitation. The arts have a place in science, it is a matter of making sure the boundaries of both professions are respected.
DG: I think that Suzanne answered this one as completely as it can be.
SS: Why did you choose those specific questions for the survey and how do they give you information you need in a scientific perspective?
DG: Well, this is a group effort, and we wanted to get as full of a picture as we could. Like I mentioned before there really isn’t a lot of information on sexual vampires, so know exactly what to ask was a difficult process. Just trying to discern the proper demographic was difficult.
SC: This is a novel piece of research because the scientific world has little knowledge of vampires, and to my knowledge no information on sexual vampires. As Deacon said, the extent of information, even within the vampire community, suffers by being incomplete and is certainly not comprehensive, so any data gathering is an improvement on having nothing to begin with. We are starting our research on sexul motivation, which is a subject fraught with assumptions about sexual desire, so we focused on the question of whether sexual vampires need or want sex, and the way you do that is to eliminate other possible causes. The survey is constructed to provide the information we require to test our question.
H: The questions selected for the survey are designed to shed some light on how vampirism impacts the lives of sexual vampires. Questions about sexual relationships and practices seemed a natural starting place. Analyzing the responses could indicate possible relationships between superficially unrelated traits, the discovery of which could inspire future research.
SS: Do you think questions on relationships and bdsm are relevant to eros vampires and why do you think so?
DG: We are talking about a group of people whose feeding type is based on sexual activity. The stereotype of being sexually promiscuous is an obvious jump. Still I think that by looking at their relationship we might find that most are not as promiscuous as it might seem. Of course we might find out they are more so, until we get more information that is yet to be seen.
SC: Relationships also give a perspective on how a vampire sees themselves. This data is expected for any serious research on sexual habits and motivation. What kind of relationship a person has and how they perceive its importance, in their sexual attitude, forms a basis for the emotional content of any sexual experience, and emotional drive is a want more than a need for sex.
DG: BDSM is a highly sexually charged interaction, and those communities seem like they might be hotbeds for sexual vampires. In looking for patterns we hope to see what is commonplace opposed to the perceptions, and I think we will see that once in a relationship that such activities decline as far as both promiscuity and interactions like BDSM adventuring, but again we will have to wait and see.
H: Hopefully the results of the survey will answer that question more definitively, but I expect that there may be some interesting connections between sexual vampirism and interpersonal relationships as well as BDSM. Dating at least as far back as the Long Black Veil events in New York, the history of the vampire community has been interwoven with fetish subcultures which provided an invaluable entry-point to the community for many vampires in search of connections with others with similar experiences. Surveys in the past have suggested that self-identifying vampires–whether eros or not–are more likely than non-vampires to engage in BDSM activities. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this connection is even more pronounced amongst sexual vampires than vampires generally. For clarity, though, this research isn’t comparing sexual vampires with any other group, so I’m afraid that hypothesis of mine will have to wait for a future study.
SS: The focus seems to be more on sex and less on the feeding per se, why is that?
SC: For this particular study, we are concentrating on the why of sex more than the how of sex, so our questions ask about the sources of sex energy rather than how such energy is derived from any given source. The feeding itself would encompass a study on its own, and yes I believe this is something worth studying in the future.
H: The focus of this study is on sexual feeding practices, so questions about the sexual behaviors of sexual vampires and how those behaviors relate to their identities as sexual vampires make up the majority of the survey. If vampires who sexually feed also feed by other methods, we’re definitely interested in those experiences as well, particularly as they relate to experiences of sexual feeding, but at this early stage we’re concentrating specifically on how identifying as a vampire who feeds sexually impacts sexual behavior and interpersonal relationships generally.
SS: What are your personal thoughts on the Eros Vampire?
DG: Well when I coined the term I thought it sounded romantic, rather than dirty. My basic idea wasn’t to call all sexual vampires an Eros vampire, it was actually a broad label that encompassed several types of sexual feeding. I believed that if people could greater isolate their feeding type, it might lend itself to better self acceptance and understanding. Instead what I found was that the labels themselves became problematic in the same way that the word vampire has become so, thus the reason you haven’t really heard of them, I dropped the reference early on. The term Eros, however, stuck and I can see why, but I no longer use it as a common reference.
H: Deacon is certainly the authority here on this subject. I would add that, in regards to those who feed on sexual energy in general, regardless of their specific identity label, that sexual vampires are underrepresented in the greater vampire community. We’ve all seen the glossy images of gorgeous goth models baring their necks for their lovers with a flirty caption, but first-person narratives by actual sexual vampires paint a picture that’s often far less glamorous. I expect that this research will reveal that sexual vampirism isn’t just “liking sex more than most people” but rather a major component of sexual vampires’ general experience that can complicate an already culturally complex facet of their lives. Personally, I think sexual vampirism is widely misunderstood even within the broader community of self-identifying vampires, and I’m excited about this opportunity to come to a deeper, more definitive understanding of this group.
SS: How will you ascertain that non eros vampires will not take this survey?
DG: Unfortunately because the term is subjective, and we can’t exactly lift their tail to check, we are somewhat at the mercy of the good intentions of those willing to take the survey. Will some people be intellectually dishonest and take it knowing it does not apply to them? Well, perhaps, but there really isn’t a lot we can do about that.
H: Deacon is absolutely correct. If people mistakenly start the survey but don’t qualify for inclusion in the data, early questions in the survey will reveal that they’re not really who we’re looking for and they’ll be directed out of the survey and their answers won’t be included. There’s not much we can do to guarantee that no respondents will misrepresent themselves, however. Prior research has determined that anonymity helps to prevent dishonesty in surveys on sensitive topics like this one, so that should help, but if someone wanted to skew the results for some reason, they could respond with answers that don’t truly reflect their experiences. Of course, if that does happen and the end results are significantly impacted by false data, then the conclusions would fail to accurately represent the population of sexual vampires and their feedback would indicate that something went wrong.
SS: The definition for the survey on what an eros vampire/sex feeder is seems pretty simple, however folks still seem to be confused on if it pertains to them or not. Is there a reason for it? Will that hurt the data in the end?
DG: I think it has to be vague because the question is subjective. We know we have an uphill road to climb here, and a lot of people over time have muddied the waters by including terms that don’t really apply. One person might call himself a Tantric Vampire when he really means sexual vampire, not even knowing what the hell Tantric is, and why it’s use is so confusing to someone else who might. Imagine a sexual feeder being asked if they’re a Tantric vampire, knowing what Tantra is all about. Let me put it this way instead, if someone came and asked you if you were a Buddhist vampire, you would think it silly right? I suppose we will be stuck with “Eros” because it doesn’t sound as raw, or intimidating as “Sexual Vampire” but I wish I hadn’t coined the term, even if it did help to kill off the even more ridiculous Tantric, or Pranic vampire.
Ultimately no matter what you call yourself, if you feel that in order to feed sexual activity or energy is needed, than this is the survey for you.
H: If anyone who ultimately doesn’t meet the study’s criteria for a sexual vampire submits a response anyway, their answers will indicate that almost immediately and they’ll end up submitting a mostly blank form that will automatically be omitted from analysis, so it shouldn’t negatively impact the data. As far as why some aren’t sure if they qualify, I imagine that’s at least partially because so many terms and definitions for the various identities within the vampire community have floated around for so long that it’s second nature to have doubts about whether or not someone else will invalidate your experiences or how you incorporate them into your overall identity. As Deacon said, we want to avoid the confusion and alienation caused by overly specific or poorly chosen terminology. For this study, if you identify as a vampire for any reason and sex is a part of how you meet the needs you associate with your vampiric identity in any way, then your input is what we’re looking for. We want to better understand sexual vampires as they are, not necessarily as we expect them to be or as one clique or another insists that they are.
SS: How will this help in a scientific perspective for the eros vampires?
DG: I don’t know that it will, but it might help to see the data so others might be able to move forward in a more scientific way. We might not like the results, because such data could indicate that the subjective experience doesn’t actually possess any testable clinical aspects. However, it can show correlating data from a group that really hasn’t shared as much experience as other vampires. I know just by forming a group for sexual vampires I have found that some of the things I thought common experiences really weren’t.
Having the opportunity to see what people think without a lot of wide spread and accepted beliefs might show us that practices, experiences and beliefs are far more, or less, individualistic. With Sanguine or Psychic vampires they have had a lot of time and conversation about what IS or ISN’T acceptable beliefs, and many have take on those experiences as a way to validate their own subjective disposition. We are not dealing with that as much here.
H: We can’t really predict exactly how the results might affect sexual vampires until the data is collected and interpreted, but, in my experience, making reliable information available leads to progress. As Deacon mentioned, these results are likely to inspire more focused research in the future and those future projects could address particular needs indicated by the responses to this survey. More than anything, I see this research project as foundational.
SS: How will you ensure that the data will stand up to professional scrutiny?
DG: I think initially this survey will assist us in identifying trends, help us to find areas to focus on, and help determine our focus. From there we can start looking at a more comprehensive data collection process that will lead to some sound information about what this group is experiencing. Personally, I believe that like Williams and Laycock, our study will not be as scientific as it is a subjective inquiry, but I am not the head of the study, and as such I can’t really say.
H: A thorough summary of the data as well as a complete record of every statistical test and its result will be included as appendices, whether or not the authors find any particular tests worth including in the main body of the paper. Any reader–professional or otherwise–who wants to double-check our results is, of course, welcome to do so.
SC: Beyond how the data is interpreted and included within the study, there is also the way the data will be presented. I feel that if we follow the tried and established methodology for a scientific article, we will fulfill the academic requirements, and thereby provide a solid defense of our research.