Most of my inked friends will admit that getting tattoos can be addictive, but for some, that addictiveness turns to obsession and then to a fetish, part of so-called stigmatophilia. Some tattoo lovers even find physical pleasure in being inked. But why is this?
More than half the people I know have tattoos. They range in size and style, location and detail. Each tattoo is a reflection of who the person is and often in ways that words may not express as instantly as a symbol or image could. While this certainly explains the draw of self-expression in this manner, it doesn't explain why getting a tattoo can suddenly develop into a tattoo fetish.
Being turned-on by getting a tattoo is part of stigmatophilia. This is a paraphilia in which someone gets sexual pleasure and/or arousal from being marked or from a partner being marked in some way.
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Some of the first definitions of stigmatophilia pointed to individuals being sexually aroused by scarring, but more recent meanings of stigmatophilia includes those who are sexually aroused by body modifications such as tattoos and piercings. As mentioned, stigmatophilia also refers to a reciprocal nature, whereby someone is excited by the person who has the tattoos, piercings, scars, etc.
Under the needle: does being tattooed turn you on?
A friend loves getting a tattoo so much that she's developed a particular obsession with the smell of the antibacterial spray. Just walking into a tattoo parlor turns her on. Moreover, she admitted that she often goes into the inking parlor to pretend to look at pictures of tattoos just so that she can smell the antibacterial spray and feel that arousal. From this, her stigmatophilia developed.
Another friend's stigmatophilia started with the sound of the tattoo needle gun. The needles move at such a fast pace, penetrating the skin. For him, being under the tattooist's gun is handing power over. As a result, the process of getting a new tat becomes a turn-on.
For me, I know what it's like to fantasize about being inked by my Dom. There's something hot about knowing he can tell me to sit, blindfold me, and brand me with an image or words. Maybe something he creates or something he finds in a book.
“Being turned-on by getting a tattoo is part of stigmatophilia. This is a paraphilia in which someone gets sexual pleasure and/or arousal from being marked or from a partner being marked in some way.”
And this happens all with me helplessly sitting there, unable to see what's being marked on my body. What makes it hot is the same thing that makes submission hot for me. Like my friend who gets excited by the tattoo needle gun, it's the giving up of my power. This process requires a great deal of trust.
Kink for ink: a tattoo fetish is part of stigmatophilia
Aside from the smells, sounds, and the handing over of power, there's another reason some subs love getting inked. Tiny needles (the amount varies depending on the detail and type of work) hit the skin anywhere from 50 to 3,000 times per minute. While this might be enough to scare some folks away, for a pain slut that likes needle play, this is like being in the candy shop.
Stigmatophilia isn't just for subs either. My husband doesn't care about the pain aspect and isn't submissive, but he loves the high that comes with the endorphin release. So even Doms can find pleasure in being tattooed, not just in marking their little slut for life. No matter what your particular flavor of fetish is, don't leave out tattoos as an option! Like tattoos them, a tattoo fetish and stigmatophilia will last a lifetime. •
Sienna Saint-Cyr writes erotica and blogs about kink, poly, body image, and most things related.
Do you have a tattoo fetish or kink for stigmatophilia? What is it about tattoos that get you going? Join other kinksters talking about tats below or in the Fetish.com forum.
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