www.modernamerican.com. Why? Heres Why.

Are you one of those people who can't understand why anyone would mark their body with a Tattoo or a Piercing? Are you one of those people always asking "Why?"

Here's why...

From: cycloptres@aol.com (Cycloptres)

For as long as i can remember, I've wanted a tattoo. I've always considered tattoos to be a beautiful way to express ones inner self to the world at large. Two weeks before my 18th birthday i started checking out tattoo shops in my area, and found a design that i fell in love with, a small sun, that i decided to have put on my ankle.

It was one of the best things I've ever done for myself. Then about a month after i got my tattoo done, I started to consider piercing....years before I'd seen a few people with tongue piercings, and when ever they would talk i couldn't stop staring at their mouths...it was mesmerizing watching the light reflect off the barbell. At the time this piercing wasn't as popular as it is now, and i found these people intriguing, and that feeling just stuck. Thats why on July 27th I had my tongue pierced.

Keith, feel free to use my email address if you want. and please post the address of the site once its up... Jessie

From: altwit@aol.com (Altwit)

i got my nipple pierced about ten years ago because i wanted to have a ring, or a piece of jewelry hanging from my nipple. the thought tantalized me. i thought it would be way fun, and it is. i knew the experience would be very painful, but i figured it would be worth it. it is.

i got my eyebrow pierced about 4 yrs ago for many of the same reasons. but there were additional considerations with my eyebrow. i wanted to have some face jewelry, but i didn't want anything that would get in the way. it seemed to me that anything in my nose or mouth would be in the way, so i considered my eyebrow... i had seen a couple of women with rings in their eyebrows, and i liked it very much. that's why i chose my eyebrow. it also hurt a great deal, but i would do it again if i lost it for some reason. i love my eyebrow piercing, and wouldn't want to live without it.

respectfully submitted, alt

From: cuervo9936@aol.com (Cuervo9936)

The first piercing that I got was done in my bedroom with a dirty safety pin into the side of my nose. I was 15 and bored.

The second two (lip and eyebrow) were done a little (not much) safer with 16 gauge needles from Farm n Fleet that they have in stock for cows. I was 17 and wanted to feel someone _else_ pushing a needle thru my skin.

I won't go on and on about all of them (there's 22, including mall-done ears that have since been streched).

More recently, it's like a fix. For the past 2 or 3 years, I get one or two piercings every 6 months because I wake up with this feeling like.. "i need some endorphins and i need them now". Plus I think it's beautiful. And I also want to see how many I can get away with before my head (where the majority of them are) is heavier than it should be. ;)

Instead of including my email addy, I wouldn't mind if you include my website http://members.aol.com/cuervo9936. Thanks and please post the URL to the group when you get it done, I think it's a great idea.

-becky (remove "blah" from return address to reply) http://members.aol.com/cuervo9936"

From: "Don and Angie" donjoku@email.msn.com

Here ya go. Hope it is understandable... otherwise ask questions and maybe you could edit it... I am not too good at written communication..... And yes, you can include my email donjoku@email.msn.com and a link to pics of the tattoos if you want at http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Boardwalk/3806/Mytattoos.html I will be updating the pic of my right arm in a week or so... if i get the pic scanned...

My reasons for my tattoos started one night when a group of friends were in mourning over a fellow friend's loss of life. I had a bottle of India Ink... no money, but a safety pin... so... I made a total of 5 primitive looking jail-tat style markings on my body. One on each bicep, one on my ankle, and two on my left hand. After about 8 years I had the means to go to a professional... and had one redone... badly... then after I met my now husband , a tattoo enthusiast, he offered to pay to have one of them covered. From then it has been simple. Now my reasons are to perfect already existing tattoos. I am happy with them now as they are, as of December 26th 1998, but may add to them if a well- blending design comes to mind in the future that I think would intensify the symbolism or meaning of a tattoo itself, which is definitely harder to explain than my reasons for being tattooed in the first placed.


From: jason mcmillen laughman laughman@cis.ohio-state.edu

Because I am a fashion victim. --

one foot on the moon, one foot in the cave.

Hi Keith,

Here's one I made earlier, it's the opening paragraph of something I wrote for a UK BDSM site.

Love, Kate. kate@stair.demon.co.uk

Once upon a time there was a little girl who liked to read books... One day around the age of 15 or so, I was browsing in a bookshop, when I came across a copy of "The Story of O". I was actually looking for books on the Occult, which was my main pre-occupation at the time. I liked to read accounts of witch trials for the torture scenes. I'd never heard of "The Story of O", but it looked kind of interesting, so I bought it. I was entranced by what I read, and I was particularly struck by the scene where O gets her labia pierced. At the time I was horrified but fascinated, I couldn't get the image of pierced labia out of my head, although it never occurred to me that anyone would actually do that. The book informed all my fantasies for years, but of course I never mentioned any of this to anyone, I was too afraid of being thought weird or scary. 20 or so years later, I was married with children, and one evening my husband and I were watching a porn video together. One of the women in the video was wearing a labia ring. My partners reaction to the piercing was very positive, so I plucked up courage and said "Well actually I've always wanted to get that done..."

A couple of days later, it was done. I felt great. I was *so* pleased with myself. Since then I haven't looked back. My admission that I liked that sort of thing has opened the way for us to explore some of our other fantasies. We've discovered that we're not really into D/s, but I do like to "bottom" and he likes to "top", and we're both pretty keen on bondage. About 6 months after getting my labia pierced, I got both nipples done, and since then I have had a vertical and a horizontal clitoris hood piercing (both since abandoned), and have acquired a couple of tattoos. Plans for the future include more tattoos, getting the horizontal hood re-pierced, and one day I'd like to be branded, something which is also featured in "The Story of O", funnily enough....

Dave Smith mystic@indy.net www.gawth.com/~desolate

Why I am Modded...

The possibility of getting modified always intrigued me, and for a long time, it scared the hell out of me. I wanted mods, but I was afraid of the pain. Eventually, I got over the fear of the pain. I decided that all meaningful things in life are intense, and that this should be no different. My first mod was a simple lobe pierce. After that, I knew I had to have more. It gave me a feeling of power over my own body. What we look like is often beyond our own control, but not this.

I have also used my mods as markers of important events in my life. My ear cart symbolized my relationship with my BDSM partner. My first nipple was to celebrate my divorce from a bad marriage. My second nipple was to celebrate my finally learning how to live for myself. My tattoo symbolizes that I am a member of a Tribe. We all share a similar tattoo design, into which is incorporated our own personal design as well.

To sum it up, my main reasons for being pierced and tattooed are self-exploration, and to mark important occurrances in my life.

Dave Smith mystic@indy.net

From: knifegrl@newsguy.com (Knife Girl)

I got pierced for a few different reasons. I decorate my body when I feel good about it. There is also a sense of recovering ownership of my body that goes along with bodyart to me. But these things apply to my tattoos as well as my piercings, so beyond the reasons I enjoy bodyart in general, I enjoy piercings in particular for sex. Before my first piercing, my thoughts were not that a labia piercing would enhance sex, but that it would look so damn sexy. My first experience with body piercing (I'm not including ears here) was all about sex -- the planning of it, the experience of getting pierced, and the enjoyment afterwards.

I do have vanity piercings that are not functional, but overall, the piercing process and then the healed piercing and jewelry are very sexy to me.

Regards, Michelle

-- Contrary to American-culture-conditioning acting ignorant/stupid does not make you more attractive. -Brian Ast

From: Lfballard@aol.com

It was about 16 years ago and I wanted to so something for myself as a gay man that would enhance my body feelings about myself. I had read in the gay press about nipples being the new erogenous zone and about piercings. A friend also told me about his piercing experience. So I flew from Pueblo, CO to LA and my friend took me to the Gauntlet and I got the nipples done. Have had them in ever since. Was a museum director and couldn't do earrings or tats that would show (tats don't work with my skin conditions). But I wanted something private and personal and the titrings did it for me. Kept up grading from what ever ridiculously small ga bb I started with to 6 ga captive bead rings now. Did a prince Albert 3 years ago to have more to play with as I am primarily into solo sex living alone.

The ultimate reason was body spirit enhancement as a gay man who felt he had to hide his gayness at work and in small community -- and actually I was more quietly out than I ever realized at the time, but that is another story. At any rate it was wonderful to sit in boring meetings and play with my pen in my breast pocket -- fiddling with my "secret" rings reminded of my real self and

I enjoy that odd shifting of the rings and the weighted feeling that sneaks up on me to remind me I am a WONDERFUL GAY MAN!

Blessed be. Ford

From: "Martin Wenham" mwenham@silicon-village.co.uk

Why did I get Pierced?

Well, I had been wanting to get a tattoo for a wile and having gotten my self on the Internet I found the news group Rec.Arts.Bodyarts. While trying to get my self some what informed on tattooing I started to read the odd message about piercing and I got interested. I was stumped as far as the tattoo was conserned, nearly getting this, nearly getting that, all of the ideas were wrong and as soon as I would make up my mind it would change. I thought it would be safer to take my time with the tattoo and let what ever it would be evolve from my emagnination untill I was happy with it and most of all ready to live with the decition.

In this time I wanted to prove to my self that I was strong enough to confront any feirs I had about, Pain - being ridiculed - failing etc, and prove to my self that I have the courage to do what I wanted to do. My decition to get pierced was cind of a reaction to people taking the piss out of me for not getting tattooed yet. I had been quite vocal about getting tatttooed and for months no one saw any progrestion and I sapose they took me (as they usualy do in my village) as an ideot talking out of his arse again...

I saw a Pierce as not being such a comitment as a tattoo and there for I fealt a bit easer about getting it done. If I dident like it I could take it out and all that would be left would (if anything) be small marks were the entery and exit holes were. But the chalange of going and getting it done was still there and once the decition was made (for, looking back, bogus reasons) the hole 'thing' of getting pierced changed and became (and I hate to say it) almost a right of passage. It became much more personal and about me and my body. I think this point was alplified when my friend decided for what ever reason he couldent go (a very big disapointment and at the time made me quite angry) and I still went, very determind and got it done. A nice set of pierced Nipples.

So as a result of my mixed reasons for the Pierces I had a mixed reaction. I walked out of the studio very hi and dazed.. I was amased that I had gone threw with it and very proud of my self but at the same time very sad at the sercomstances that I had them done under. I think it would have been a more positive experance if my friend had been there and I felt less like I had to, but having said that being pierced was one of bigger experances of my life so far, when I look down to my chest I cant help but be prowed of my self. And they look great!

I think it is also worth pointing out that there was also alot more little things buzzing around that influanced my dection to get pierced and that I did plan the Piercings for at least two months befor getting them done. Nothing to rash hear!

The next Pierce I got (and the last one to date) was my ear cartilage and that was purly a good way to mark a good time (RABcon uk) and for astetics, I liked the Look of the pierce!

So there ya go, straight down the line!

From: Paul Fitzgibbons psf41@banet.net

I find it very interesting that this question is being asked now as I have, over the holiday's, discovered that my 27yr. old nephew has gotten a tattoo and is planning more. BTW, I had NO influence on him at all since he also did not know that I have tattoos or piercings. Of course now he does. I really got me thinking about my motivations as we were discussing his. My nephew and me are, in many ways, very much alike. We are both the last of 4 kids, both adopted and both foreign born. We come from a family of very successful siblings and were/are somewhat lost in the family unit. We are very good at what we chose to do in life, him in the Army and myself in retail but, at least speaking for myself, a we both feel like "black sheep" and different. A little lost in my case as compared to a doctor, a career high ranking government bureaucrat and an airline pilot. That is however where my nephew and me part. His motivations for getting tattooed are very simple and consise----"I've always wanted to" while mine seem to be multi faceted and on many levels.

There are many reasons why I have I got my piercings and tattoos. There are spiritual and physical, emotional and philosophical. To me it's a journey of self exploration and testing of my psyche and becoming outwardly what I had always thought inwardly. I've used both venues to heighten my senses such as sound, feel and sight. I have also used them to help break a cycle of shyness and to try to gain some self confidence. BTW, there is still along way to go in this area but if you knew before----well then (hopefully) you would see a difference.

Each tattoo that I got has much meaning and celebrates a part of my life. Whether it's the Celtic work that represents my families heritage or the shield and tribal work that celebrates my heritage and place of birth or my back piece that shows the duality of my life. There will be more and each will be as meaningful as all the rest. As far as piercing is concerned, I use them to enhance my sensory perceptions and probably as stress relief. My cutting while it started as strictly an enhancement to a tattoo, the process became far far more spiritual for me. I don't really know why. I guess there will be questions never truly answered. Maybe it was the feel of the blade or the flowing of blood----I really don't know. It is funny, that with everything that I have, if you were to see me on the street you would never know. I kinda like that however with the additional tattooing that has been planned that will be harder to maintain.

I have enjoyed meeting new people who have been a tremendous help to me. Keith at MAB and Tom and Chris at New View plus the too numerous to mention RABits whom I would like to count as friends. Their aid and comradeship are beyond words.

I am writing this on the last day of 1998 and it was a very active year with 17 piercings (16 active) and 4 to 6 tattoos depending on how you want to count them. Where 1999 leads, I have some things in the works as for the rest I am gonna wing it.

There is the probably one of the biggest reasons for what I am doing is that I like it. I like how it looks and I like how it feels.

I think too much. Paul PS---Keith if this is too long, edit as you will or if you don't want to use that is fine also. If there are glaring spelling or grammar mistakes, please correct. Thanks for the opportunity to write about this---it was fun

From: Plogsloth@aol.com

I have always been drawn to the fringe, I can not remember a time that the norm looked attractive in any way. For this reason my performing progressed from juggling birthday clown, to Mardi Gras fire eater, to full out sideshow geek. Along the way I picked up an interest in some of the classic self made freaks, such as Mortadado, or the Great Omi. This led to piercing and tattooing for the sake of performance. While I have not been able to justify full body tattooing ala' Omi or the more current Enigma, piercing both temp and perm have played major roles in my evil clown persona. There's something about a 6'3", bald, white face clown, with septum spikes and a 00 grommet that just works.

While experimenting with performance piercings I began to find that I enjoyed the process, not the pain but the actual process. I am and always have been a needle phobe. By voluntarily being pierced, or piercing myself I challenged this fear and even conquered it. I can now give blood without going into shock, for years I couldn't say that. I also discovered a sense of pleasure from the pierces. There is something to be said for knowing that under the normal business attire is a set of nipple rings and couple of hafadas. It seems the more metal you have the more often you're reminded of it's presence, this alone is enough to keep me seeking more. Finally, there is the Ampallang, this had multiple motivations. I seldom can settle with a second hand account to quench my thirst for knowledge. After reading Fakir's account in Modern Primitive, I had to experience this for myself.

My self done Amp was successful, but I had to give it up due to poor jewelry selection. A year later I had it redone professionally on stage, both for myself and for the sake of my at that time current girl friend. Let's just say she had a thing about watching metal go through my body, and I was happy to oblige. I guess if I had to boil it down to one statement I would say I have been pierced as both an expression of individuality, and as means of exploring my limits both physically and mentally.


From: "'Torea" babalon@buffnet.net

Because I ~needed~ to :-)?

I'm a 35 year old female, I look "fairly normal" when I'm at work. My hair covers my ear, which has had at least 6 piercings in it since I was 13. Most of my other piercings are on non-public body parts.

Why the genital piercings...? I own my body, it's not for a man or society to tell me what I can do with it. The inner labia piercings are decorative, and they jingle when I walk naked ;-). The triangle is functional, it makes sex more... reliable ;-)~.

I'm not into pain, the pain is brief and after the healing is over it's gone. I don't hate myself and I wasn't abused as a child. Piercing does have a kind of spiritual release to it for me, though. It helps me focus and feel in control. Having my hidden piercings and tattoos helps me to feel that I'm still myself even though I have to work in a ~normal~ job.

'Torea Babalon@buffnet.net

From: turbodog rings23@hotmail.com

Why I got Pierced I have been getting pierced for about 10 years now I guess. Been into mods for sometime. I got pierced, at first for sexual reasons I guess you could say.My nipples got it done and it felt great.Changed me at the same time too.From that day on, I was a different person.I now have 14 piercings.I Have had more at one time or another but they are no longer with me.

I get pierced now because I like the way it looks and feels. Some of my piercings I have done a little research on, and then decided to get.Like the septum and labret.Also get "poked" as a way to express myself.Show I am my own person,in control of my own body/decisions. This is the main reason I figure.I will continue to get more holes as I get older.

I too get the questions,"Why did you do that?"

One response I give is I am just drawn to it.Or, I don't know I just felt like it should be there.(ring).

I guess that's all for now. Use it if you can Keith.It's not much.You can include my E-Mail:turbodog@bme.freeq.com turbodog


Of the four piercings and two brands that I have, all of them were the result of a desire to do something for myself.

I was searching for something that I could do to reestablish my sense of self and self-identity. Not necessarily reestablish my "self worth," nor my "individuality"--I wanted to do something for me. Something significant, something permenant, but not something that would affect anyone but me.

When people ask me why I did the things I did, I tend to avoid answering their question. If I had to articulate an answer, that answer would be to say that "I got pierced because I had to." That answer would probably scare a lot of people, but I know it's the truth. J

The Johns Hopkins University: CTY 1991, AS 1998, EN 1998

From: M Blaze Miskulin brblaze@chorus.net

Essay: "Territories"

I am inked. Currently I have four separate designs consisting of over 40 hours of work. I have also recently had my left nipple pierced. I am both proud and conscientious of my ink. The designs are my own, and will eventually, I hope, be unified into a single tribal suit covering a significant portion of my body. Inevitably, I am asked "Why?" Until recently, I haven't known. At first there was the curiosity. But after 40 hours under the needle, there is no mystery to what will happen or what it will look like. It is now an addiction. But still, what is the driving force behind it? The answer has come to be a simple matter of boundaries. My boundaries. And the boundaries of what is me.

Several years ago I wrote in my journals that "I am the only art which can truly embrace the Void". Unknown to me at that time, that describes my fascination with ink, and the modification of my body. As a creative intellectual who is fascinated with both the artistic and the logical, I have been an outsider for all my life. I have made my attempts to fit in, and my attempts to break completely from it all, but in the end, I have returned to simply going my own way--a path which encompasses both paths, and neither path. I am my own path.

With no external boundaries to mark who I am, I have resorted to internal ones; codes, ideas, ideals, and visions. With the introduction of Ink, I have identified the physical boundaries of myself. The Ink becomes a cloak, a fence which keeps me in and keeps others out. More than that, however it becomes a simple marking. "This is me. This is mine." My life is art. As stated in that earlier quote, I *am* art.

Art--or at least my art--comes through experience. Most of that experience is pain. For me, peace and joy do not inspire beauty. Pain and endurance create beauty. This is not to say that it is beautiful to inflict pain, or even that it is beautiful to endure pain. Rather it is beauty which has endured pain and still remains beautiful. Pain--be it physical, emotional, or mental--is the temper which takes the pretty or the interesting and makes them truly beautiful. That which is lovely but has not endured pain, is incomplete. It is fragile and too easily lost.

My ink is beautiful. It was acquired through pain. It is permanent. The thick black lines and strokes which are slowly covering my body are a representation of what is inside me. They are me. By both their presence and their style, they identify that I exist, and to what extent.

As the amount of ink slowly grows, less and less of me is recognizable as normal. The mental boundaries of my "otherness" are blatantly displayed for others to see. And yet, the extent of my ink will never go beyond the areas that can be covered by a common T-shirt and pair of jeans. While I may be different, I don't always wish to show it. While I may be "other", there are still times that I feel the need or desire to blend into the accepted appearances of society. But no matter what clothes I may wear, what social mask I may display, there is always a permanent reminder scarred into my skin that I am not what they may perceive me to be. I am only what I define myself to be--a definition I wear in my skin as well as in my mind and spirit.

Brother Blaze The Unintentional Monk


From: "S and S"

"I Got My TATS Because I Want To Be Cooler Than You"


From: "anon.e.mouse" SPAMmailclive@bigfoot.com

Why did I get pierced? I didn't know. I just felt like the right thing to do.

On reflection (it's taken 3 drafts/4 days to work this out) ....

All of my life I have concentrated almost exclusively on using my mind for both work and pleasure, and pretty much ignored my body and my sexuality.

I needed a powerful way to make me aware of my body and my sexuality.

Piercing provided me with the following ....

a. A sense of ceremony, anticipation and strong emotion (fear!) to underline the importance of the decision and the commitment.

b. Pain which is a symbolic and real barrier that has to be overcome, and makes the mind very aware of the body!

c. The piercing site is a physical, emotional and symbolic focus point.

d. The retained jewelry provides a visual and sensory reminder of the commitment.

e. An emotional "feel good" high and a better self-image were unexpected bonuses.

It was the right thing for me to do.

Was that my last piercing?

No. Thinking this through has shown that there is still some emotional issues that I need to overcome. A second piercing/re-piercing is being planned to resolve these remaining issues, and should also reinforce the original decision and commitment.

It is worth noting that, in most cases, the piercee still retains the option of easily removing much of the evidence of the experience. This option may not be available for the alternatives (tattoos, scarring, cutting, branding, etc.).

You can rest in peace Dr. Freud - and all because you never met me!

****Note**** If you distribute/publish any of the above, please remove any references that will enable it to be traced back to me. I have a feeling that I may regret having said the above in the future, and I am not sure that some of it isn't a little egotistic! Thanx -- Clive a.k.a. anon.e.mouse

From: "Lucia" luciaa@phoenix.Princeton.EDU

Beginning with a tangential story:

When I was three or four my grandmother (an M.D.) had a laboratory that did all kinds of blood/urine/etc. analysis. The first time I remember having blood drawn was by my grandmother in her lab. My grandmother had the gentlest touch. As I watched the needle slide into my arm, she explained the techniques of drawing blood. She made slides of blood drops and placed them under a microscope. She taught me how to focus the microscope. I was fascinated.

I grew up liking needles and blood. I never engaged in self-mutilation. When I was upset, I'd run outside, hug my dog and cry.

I did take a lot of pleasure in performing "surgeries." Splinters, cuts and scrapes, old scars, etc. were perfect excuses to raid my parent's medicine cabinet. Supplies included iodine solution, a razor blade, a needle, tweezers, cotton balls, my pocket knife, a set of matches, sometimes those little scissors used to cut fingernails. Everything was meticulously planned. I'd carefully cut out a splinter, or reshape an old scar. It was fun. I wanted to be a surgeon.

Sometime after somewhat growing up, I realized these small rituals had little to do with medicine and a lot more to do with aesthetics and pleasure.

Piercing occupies a similar realm. It's beautiful, pleasurable, erotic, entrancing... multi-dimensional; it means different things on different days. I like the anticipation, confronting pain, the sensations from tugging on jewelry- like my roommie would say, "It's all good fun."

I must confess I find scarification and tattooing more aesthetic than wearing jewelry. But what do I know? I plan on getting a few more piercings.


From: Spidergod5@aol.com

I get tattoo'd, pierced, and/or modified because I love to tell people why I do it.

There are some other reasons too...

1) I have certain inclinations and fetishes which are appeased and aroused by these things

2) A somewhat wise man once said of certain piercings "They make fucking better"

3) I am better realizing my own understanding of who and what I am through using these and other available methods to become a human lizard.

4) Some people live such pedestrian lives that will actually be so drawn to see someone like me that I can exploit that desire for profit (money or other)

5) There had to be at least 5 reasons

Erik Sprague / Spidergod5@aol.com



From: Bonita80@webtv.net (Bonita80)

***How I started to get into bodyart:*** Quite simply, to attract a male :-) Seriously, that's exactly how it began, as pathetic as it may sound. A quick warning: this little 'essay' is not very PC so if that'll bother you, either get over it, or don't read it.

I spent a year in depression after the breakup of a long term relationship. I never felt very 'womanly' or 'feminine' so the loss of my then boyfriend further reinforced these feelings.

Then I met someone who caught my eye and I began to lift from the self pity. I began to flirt a bit and dress a little more sexy. But that wasn't enough . I decided to do something that at the time I though was crazy, which was to get my navel pierced. I saw this as a very feminine thing to do, and as a perfect way to enhance my flirting with this guy ;-)

So I got it done and I felt great. I showed it off to him and anyone else that was interested. I got over the self consciousness I felt about my pot belly and I also liked the power I felt trying to 'seduce' this guy with my femine wiles :-)

I thought, well if the navel pierce did all that for me, then how about getting a nipple pierced... I was very self conscious about the size and shape of my breasts. And I thought about what a cool conversation piece a nipple piercing would be with this guy . So I did it and again I felt great. Now the addiction started setting in.

Still nothing was really happening with this guy. So I decided to get my tongue pierced. Now. _that_ led to hours of flirting and suggestive talk, which eventually led to something else. I finally seduced someone ! Things wound up not going well with this guy in the long run, but that was okay, since I think for whatever reason he was brought into my life, he served his purpose.

*** Why I continued and went even further***

My next pierce was my other nipple. By this point I met Keith and was impressed by him and his shop. What made this pierce different from the other three was that by this point I made the connection that getting pierced put me in a better mood and since I was bummed out I wanted a new one . It wasn't to flirt with this guy or for any other reason but for myself.

I've got a ton of other piercings now, including genital. I think I was able to move into that area since I found someone (Keith) that I could trust and respect. I will admit that I did try to use these pierces to flirt with this guy again, but honestly that wasn't my main motivation to get them. And actually, it would have backfired anyway since those 'down there' pierces made me too "freaky" for him.

Getting these pierces made me feel in comtrol of my body for a change. I felt my attitude change and my outlook become more postive. I felt more loving of my body and I wasn't ashamed of it. I also began to get over the guilt brought on by my Catholic upbringing concerning myself as a sexual being. I was taking steps to improve my sex life and I felt real good about that. Also, being involved with bodyart, I met some of the most interesting and greatest people anyone could aver ask to meet. The influence these people have had on me has been enormous and positive. They have helped me find who I really am and to live the life I want to. They are there to inspire me, help me, encourage me, and push me when I need it. They also have opened my eyes to new things and this exposure to other things has helped me grow so much over the past year.

My tattoos are a source of strength for me. When I even think about them, I can't describe what I feel. And my cuttings mean a lot to me too. Basically what they did for me was help me realize that I finally blossomed into a fragrant, colorful flower , metamorphisized into a beautiful butterfly, I think you get the point I'm trying to make ;-) . These tattoos and cuttiings are a reminder of the challenges I've faced ,fears I've overcome and barriers I've crushed. They give me strength, inspiration and hope for the future . And I also think they look very good on me too :-)

Basically, when I began to get into bodyart, I actually began _living_ my life, instead of letting life pass me by. Christine



From: "zookster" zookster@sprynet.com

Where to start......I have been getting tattoos for the last 15 years, piercings for the last 7 years. Even as a child I always admired people with tattoos, I thought tattoos were beautiful. I have always considered myself outside of mainstream society ( although I work and live among "mainstreamers"). Getting tattooed was a way of expressing my feelings, of identifying with those I felt closest to, of marking myself as a non-conformist. My tattoos are for me, but I admit part of the reason (a small part, but it is there) for getting tattooed was the effect they have on uptight society types. My tattoos serve as a filter too, keeping undesirable elements away. I like the way tattoos make me look and feel. Each tattoo I get is chosen carefully and from within. I can look at blank spots on my canvas and already see what will someday be inked there. Although I am not into pain, I enjoy the ritual of getting tattooed, the smell of the green soap, the setting up, the sting of the needle, they all are part of an uplifting experience. The end result far outweighs any discomfort endured in getting inked. I would feel naked and incomplete without my tattoos. I have never regretted getting tattoos and cannot imagine life without them.

My journey into the world of piercing was a completely different story. Up until a year and a half ago the only piercings I had were two left earlobe CBR's in 14ga. For many years I maintained that those were enough for me and I would not be getting any additional holes!! All that changed dramatically (really overnight) when I happened to be in New Orleans, LA in late 1995. I ended up with some time to kill one evening before meeting some friends in the French Quarter. I was wandering through Riverwalk Mall and went into a bookstore. I asked about books on tattoos. The clerk produced 2 books from behind the counter ( wonder why they were kept there?), I don't remember the first one but second one was Re:Search #12, Modern Primitives. One look inside and I bought it. Started looking through it and was so captivated and spellbound by the powerful images contained therein that I didn't make it to Bourbon Street that night. Went straight back to the hotel room and spent the evening reading. It may sound corny and cliched, but I was enthralled by the articles in that book, particularly those on Fakir and Jim Ward. The more I looked at the book the more I wanted a piercing. I don't do things hastily ( well not most of the time) so I let the idea percolate for awhile. I finally decided I was going to go for it. My first non-earlobe piercing was an Ampallang, followed by a single Frenum, and then a Prince Albert. In the next month or so I will add a Labret, Septum and Tongue. Future plans include both nipples and perhaps a pair of Hafadas. I also will continue to get tattooed.

Where will it all end? I do not know. The journey is far from over. It has been a wonderful and sometimes strange one so far, and I really look forward to continuing the exploration of my body and the adornment of my temple.


Beautify America...........get a TATTOO

From: Sooze sooze@rocketmail.com

Here's my little contribution, if you're interested. I'm not heavily pierced and don't plan to be--ears done (3 in left, 2 in right), captive bead in navel, and plans under way for labia, but here it is anyway:

"When I got to college, I initially decided to get pierced because I just loved the way it looked. It took me a while to actually get it done (I come from a conservative background, I had to get up the nerve!), but when I got around to it, it instantly made me feel aware of myself, and it made me feel WONDERFUL! It surprised me to look down at my flat little belly and seeing that glittery jewellry hanging there. It makes me feel beautiful, unique, sexy, and exotic. I can't imagine myself today without my pierce. I would probably get more piercings in more visible places if it were not for the fact that I have a job in a fairly conservative field (teacher in an elementary school)."

You may quote me, and you may post my e-mail address as well. I hope this helps you

Sincerely, Suzanne J. S. Romano - www.kalnyc.org

Come on, be brave! This time a ripple, This time a wave!

From: kjp viperkjp@glue.umd.edu

Hey Keith! Decided I'd give you an answer to that question, because maybe if I can get it out on "paper" to you, I can try to explain it to my [quite unapproving] parents better...feel free to edit as necessary...

I s'pose I am one of the least moded people who frequents the newsgroups, but that's okay. As it stands right now, I've got 2 lobe holes in each ear, my tongue, and my left nip.

My first lobe holes came when I was seven. I got them done because my mom made me. I was an even bigger tomboy then than I am now, and didn't want to look "feminine" or "cute" like my mom said the earrings would make me. To top it all off, I went to this jewelry place in the center of Larel Mall where the woman was an abnoxious jerk and didn't tell me what she was doing. She wound up doing the first one and I kicked and screamed and didn't want her to touch my other ear. Half an hour later and out of energy to fight, I got the other ear done.

Fast forward about 11 years in my life. I've been pressing my mother for 3 years to let me get *just* another set of lobe holes. She's been coming back saying that she doesn't want her oldest daughter to look like a pirate. College, ah, college, time of freedom from overprotective mothers. Mostly because I liked the looks of a second hole, but also partly to spite my mother, I went to Claire's one afternoon and got my second lobe holes. These weren't half as bad as my first experience, though the gun was still rather annoying. My mom was frustrated that I did it, but admitted that it didn't look too bad, so things were still okay. I, on the other hand, loved the way they looked...and started to wonder what other kinds of piercings I could get.

My next piercing was a cartilage pierce with a gun from the mall. I knew my mom would hate it, because we'd talked about what other piercings I wanted when I got my second lobe holes done. She was adamant in objecting to a cart piercing. Unfortunately for her, I really liked how it looked, and did it anyway. Wound up hiding it from her for about six months, then she found it accidentally (I was dressed all formal like and pushed my hair back behind my ear, when she noticed). She hated it, and I suppose lucky for her, it wound up getting a keloid. I took it out and haven't redone it--yet.

Soon I discovered RAB and toyed with the idea of other piercings. I liked the idea of having a helix pierce, so did that myself with a safety pin...bad idea. It is now gone.

Next I wanted my navel done...a pierce I could hide from my mom, but one that still looked neat. I took a big step in this one, seeking out piercing places through RAB and word of mouth and finally decided on Perforations in DC. This was my big deal pierce, my way of finally shedding the "good little girl" image to some of the people around me, and a sign that I really wasn't going to let my mother control my life. Fortunately, it didn't quite work out as expected. Turns out I have a non-piercing-friendly navel, and the piercer didn't want to do it (no lip). I opted, instead, to get my tongue done. I had planned on getting it done for my 19th birthday, and had "researched" it, waited my customary month or so. This piercing was a new experience. For the first time, I felt *connected* to the pierer, because of the matching breathing styles, and got a big adrenaline rush out of it...ooh. Even better, it was something I couldn't hide as well, and to me felt like a big deal, like me showing my mother and the world that I could make my decisions on my own, I didn't need parental approval. It was a growing up sign to me, a pierce signifying my change from child to semi-adult.

I'll admit, my next and final pierce came because I was curious. It was also a sign of my wanting to explore other areas of my body, more growing up, but this time, more sexually. I got my nipple pierced about a month ago. It was a big decision, but probably one of the most fun I've made in awhile. The piercing itself was great, an aggregation of my energy, my piercer's, and my handholder's energy. But you can read about that in BME ("Innocent Girl Down the Hall Gets Her Nip Done" or something like that). The nipple is a sensitive area, and it's sensitivity has been increased. I just think it's another side of my growing, learning, and exploring...

My next pierce is going to be my other nipple, with the reason being that I would like a matching set and I really ENJOYED the energy and feeling of my last two pierces. I'm also working on getting a tattoo, but am still doing my drawing for it. The drawing is a reflection of things important in my life...my religion, my family, my energy. So, until then...have a good day.

peace and take care, ~kristin

Look into my eyes and tell me this isn't real


From: "David" david@crown-cottage.demon.co.uk

This is my side of our story,

This was about 12-14 years ago. I got married late, after a good bachelor life and comfortable flat, sports car etc, but in three years we had a family, things changed, our loving was more difficult, my wife's nipples were almost impossible to arouse after feeding two babies, very hard to satisfy at all, and I desperately wanted to improve and regenerate our love life. I got hold of a very early copy of UK 'Body Art' Magazine published by Lynn and Henry Ferguson and browsed and dreamed a bit.

We had played around with home-modified push-on nipple rings, mainly adapted earrings, and my wife was sufficiently interested for me to open the topic of body jewellery I had discovered a few years earlier.

I'd mentioned it before and got a really scorned WHAT!, but this time it became a 'well I will if you will', so trembling all over I set out to see Mr Sebastian, the originator of Uk piercing, in London with the idea of getting some dydoes. He persuaded me against those, but I settled for a barbell in a frenum and he did it there and then. I was extremely turned on, so much so that for about 10 days it was unbearable - I couldn't do anything to ease it because it was so new! Anyway, that went down really well with my other half, so the ball was in her court now to get something done - we had sort of agreed on nipples.

However, it was also understood that nothing like ordinary steel or plastic (which I had had, both) was in anyway acceptable, so I got Vic Carter to make gold ends for some PTFE barbells at 1.6 gauge on Mr S's advice. They looked great and were accepted!

So down to London again, to a dingy little studio hidden in a 5 storey block in a rough area behind Kings Cross railway station - it was a very unusual thing to be doing in UK in the late 80's early 90's I can tell you, and needed a lot of courage for a very apparently normal couple to be seen in there at all!! We weren't even sure if it was legal, far worse than tattooing.

My wife was really nervous, the area didn't help much, and when I nearly got lost that almost did it! However, I found the *completely unmarked* studio and was recognised. As soon as we went in, Mr Sebastian took over, with a really kind gentle and soothing manner, and listened to what we wanted, showed him the tiny thin barbells with the gold ends, and then I was told by my quite calm wife- 'You can go now, see you later' so off I had to go. When I came back half an hour later there was my other half, with a smug expression on her face, and me all confused and wondering what had gone on or not gone on - I had to ask if she had had it done -'Yes' - but then had to wait the hours journey back home on the train before I could see what had been done.

Well, after a lot of care during healing, looking and not touching, things improved not only visually but her sensitivity returned plus some, mine was off the clock anyway. We went on to have another four for me - one pubic (lost), two hafadas, and finally a PA - plus two horizontal hood rings for her. Best thing we ever did.

Since then we've stretched a bit here and there, nothing extraordinary, but bigger by two gauges than when they started. And we've collected a lot of different jewellery, mainly gold 9ct custom made by Vic who is a real star. And now we don't mind chatting about it, its become a conversation piece almost, though many of our friends don't know and would be very shocked, some do know and think we're quite adventurous!


From: "Amy" wolfsong@salsgiver.com

Why I got pierced? I got my navel done cause my friend had her navel pierced, and I saw this piercing in alot of tattoo magazines and thought it looked cool. But the question I think I need to answer is why I keep getting pierced.

I got my nipples pierced because my hubby wanted me to and I also like the way it looks but I love them and it was well worth the moment of pain. Then I just felt better about myself. Sexier or more sensual in a way. I don't notice alot more sensitivity because of them, but there are moments.......

I got my labret done last night and I love it. This is my first visible piercing other than my ears. I'm planning on getting my hood pierced within the next couple months. I have always been a quiet and shy person and I feel that piercings have given me a way to really express myself and to be me. And, I get tattoos cause I like them.....lol

I also think big, tattooed guys are sexier ;o)

Amy "Nothing is Trivial"

Check out my homepage


From: "Atalanta Pendragonne" atalanta@hotmail.com


The Top Ten Reasons Why I, Atalanta Pendragonne, Chose to Get Tattooed and Pierced

  • 10. Extra places to put shiny things!
  • 9. I needed more strangers to ask rude, intrusive personal questions
  • 8. To prove to myself that I *could*
  • 7. Came to me in a dream
  • 6. There is no #6
  • 5. To assert ownership of my body by making it more *mine*
  • 4. Feeling defensive about hitting the 'big 2-5' and being married to a BMW-driving yuppie
  • 3. Because you're never fully dressed without a labret
  • 2. D/s act
  • 1. To deflect attention from my breasts!

Atalanta Pendragonne

http://www.flash.net/~susan0/-Atalanta's Bookshelf *

From: "Golgotha" golgotha@www.bmeworld.com


My initial reason for getting modded was fairly simple...shock value. I have always been an 'attention getter', a ham, a class clown, a person that was unique and a person that always left an imprint in peoples minds when they met me. And I would take any risk to do so - take any risk to get a laugh from someone or to get a 'oh my god' reaction from someone...and mods help me do that. It was a conversation starter, an ice breaker...I was/am great at parties. I started getting pierced and tattooed well before any of my friends were doing it - so the shock value was something I really enjoyed.

It wasn't until later that I started to realize the beuty and meaning that mods can and do have for me. Once the popularity grew and the shock value really stopped, I kept getting modded and still get modded. Now it is for different reasons, personal reasons, achievments or rewards for me. Now the question, 'Why?' usually doesn't get an answer from me because I am not willing to share these meanings with everyone. It tends to cheapen it when I try and explain it to someone that is only asking so they can run home and tell the family they met a weirdo at the airport, etc. And alot of times I feel as if the old saying 'If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand' holds very true. All of my mods are something that I hold dear and that are a part of me...without 'em...I feel nude.



From: "Sally Goins" oriel_@hotmail.com

Why I got pierced and tattooed......I guess it all started when I was a little kid. I would see people who were tattooed, and although my mom always said that these people were freaks, I knew I would have a few pieces of my own someday. My first tat came 1 week after my 18th birthday. I had wanted a tat of a flower for a couple of years, so I went to a parlor with a few friends and did the deed. I was happy, and I knew I had to have more. My second (and latest) was 6 months later, and it is a tribal piece on my ankle. It really doesn't have any particular meaning other than I think it is beautiful and shows off my legs. ;) As far as pierces, i had my lobes triple pierced and my cartilage done once by the time I was 16. My first "body" piercing was my navel, to inspire me to get back into shape. Since then, I've gotten my rook, both nipples, and my favorite, my tongue. I LOVE MY TONGUE PIERCE! So, in conclusion, I'd have to say that my mods help me to see the beauty in ALL of my body, to assert myself as an individual, to help me have control over what happens to my body, to look pretty, and to some degree, help open (and shock)the minds of my very conservative family.


From: "Me" saobodda@Princeton.edu

Why I got pierced:

I guess it might have been the desire to decorate my body with something more than temporary and less than permanent.

I also think it's a way to remind myself who I am.

It reminds me that I must have had some courage to take the pain, so I should use it in everyday life and not be afraid to take some risks. A more shallow reason: I love the awesome jewelry that is out there.



From: "Kevin Cook" kevincook@att.net

Why I got pierced ...

1) So I would have a reason to keep maintaining the list ... no just kidding

2) It's because I get a thrill out of being different from the way I came into this world ... NOT to stick out or call attention to myself (which is a plus at times)

Why I got tattooed ...

1) I just wanted to know what it was like

2) I wanted a pair of dice that people could not steal (my other collection 1500+)

Kevin Cook http://www.piercinglinks.com

From: "KARI" luvabeat@aol.com

To my brother Keith....

I know I never told you but my first tattoo that I got was for the most part to be more like you. I always loved they way they looked on you. I looked up to you so much that in my own small way I thought you would think I was cool. I wanted something to share with you. I also happened to love the drawing mom had done for me and wanted it for myself to see always.

Half way through the first one I was thinking about getting another one. I have 5 now and look forward to my next.

Thank you for sitting with me for my very first. As for my nipple Piercing.....I love it. Everyone always says "Your brother did it?" and as I always explain there is nobody in this world I would trust more. It gives me pleasure and it has given me many laughs watching the faces of those who see it.

Keith, Thank you for opening up my eyes to your world. I love you and I am proud of you for all your accomplishments....I'm proud to call you MY brother.


This document is a mirror of Keith Alexander's Why? page. You can email him with questions or submissions.