What Is Stigmatophilia: A Newbie’s Information


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For hundreds of years, individuals have gotten physique modifications like tattoos and piercings for a wide range of causes. Typically it’s tied to particular cultural practices, just like the face tattoos of the Maori and Inuit individuals. Different occasions, individuals use tattoos and piercings to share their private tales and experiences, like a semicolon tattoo for psychological well being consciousness or an engagement piercing.

All to say that tattoos are fairly widespread and have been for a very long time—as has being drawn to those that have them. Analysis has proven that cis girls, for instance, have a tendency to search out tattooed males more healthy and extra “masculine” than males with out physique modifications, and a 2017 survey performed by the UK courting app Sort reportedly discovered that two-thirds of feminine respondents have been drawn to males with tattoos.

Nonetheless, some people get sexual gratification from the tattoo (or piercing) itself. What is that this sexual curiosity, and what does it entail? Right here’s a glance into stigmatophilia and the best way to navigate this sexual curiosity in relationships.

What’s stigmatophilia?

In the event you get sexually aroused from physique modifications, you could have stigmatophilia. In accordance with Kendra Capalbo, LICSW, a licensed intercourse and {couples} therapist at Esclusiva {Couples} Retreats, stigmatophilia is “sexual paraphilia by which sexual pleasure and arousal [are] associated to a associate having tattoos, piercings or scars.” Paraphilias, in case you aren’t accustomed to the time period, are recurring and protracted sexual pursuits or behaviors which are thought-about “atypical” by societal requirements. They typically aren’t thought-about a psychological well being situation, with some exceptions if the paraphilia is distressing the one that has it, or if it requires harming one other particular person. (Not sometimes the case with stigmatophilia.)

An individual with stigmatophilia may be aroused by another person’s tattoos or scars, or will get aroused from getting tattooed themselves. “[Stigmatophilia] may be displayed by feeling turned on at, say, a tattoo store seeing individuals with tattoos or figuring out you’re about to get one,” says Lyndsey Murray, an AASECT-certified intercourse therapist at Relationship Issues Remedy.

“[A person with stigmatophilia] could also be somebody who solely chooses companions which have artwork—tattoos or piercings—on their physique, or they could be somebody who has quite a lot of artwork on their physique as a result of it turns them on if they appear that means,” Murray provides.

Stigmatophilia initially referred to individuals who have been aroused by scarification (intentional slicing to create patterns or totally different pores and skin textures) however has since been expanded. “Not too long ago, this definition [of stigmatophilia] has been expanded to account for individuals who are sexually aroused by tattoos, piercings, and every other physique modifications, particularly on the genitals and nipples,” says Rebecca Alvarez Story, an authorized sexologist and the CEO and co-founder of Bloomi.

How widespread is stigmatophilia?

There’s restricted analysis on stigmatophilia, however Story says that paraphilias typically are extra widespread amongst males than girls: “Since intercourse drive is on common increased in males, it may well gas the motivation to hunt out a better number of sexual actions, pursuits, and companions.” (Unclear how that performs out amongst trans and genderfluid people—there simply is not sufficient information to say.)

Nonetheless, some tattoo artists say they’ve encountered stigmatophilia in their very own outlets. John Johnson, the proprietor of New Flower Studio in Lengthy Seashore, California, and an internet training administrator for the Affiliation of Skilled Piercers, has had just a few situations the place his shoppers turned erect or made sexual feedback in the course of the piercing expertise. “I do not know if that is particularly a results of them being aroused or only a organic response to being dealt with, cleaned for the process, and being examined,” says Johnson.

“Totally different individuals take pleasure in and admire various things sexually, and I believe that is simply human.” —John Johnson, proprietor, New Flower Studio

Johnson additionally mentions that {couples} have kissed or had sexual conversations throughout a piercing appointment. Nonetheless, he’s okay with them making a sexual atmosphere if it doesn’t cross his boundaries. “I talk my boundaries very clearly, and like all piercers, I preserve management of the piercing room.”

Emmanuel Fortunato, a tattoo artist at Mad Rabbit in New York Metropolis, says he hasn’t had a consumer confess to changing into sexually aroused from getting a tattoo however understands {that a} tattoo “is one thing very private, the place you submit your belief and make a compromise for the remainder of your life, which is strictly why it could not shock me if somebody felt extra intense emotions.”

“I’d assume [stigmatophila] may be very regular,” says Johnson. “Totally different individuals take pleasure in and admire various things sexually, and I believe that is simply human.”

Can stigmatophilia ever be a trigger for concern?

Story reiterates that stigmatophilia “isn’t thought-about to be [a] perversion or psychological sickness” and isn’t “an uncontrollable need that may solely be glad by performing a sexual act.”

Nonetheless, Capalbo notes that if an individual requires steady physique modifications to really feel aroused, their stigmatophilia can “attain the extent of a dysfunction and thus [be] a authentic well being concern.”

For instance, Capalbo mentions that an individual with stigmatophilia could have the pressing and repetitive want to the touch or get a number of physique modifications. This compulsivity could result in an individual “risking getting infections and regretting a choice at a later stage,” says Capalbo. (If the tattoo artist doesn’t use sterile gear, there’s an elevated threat of growing infections like hepatitis C or HIV.)

“It’s okay if somebody desires to have their whole physique lined in physique artwork, simply make certain the needles and materials are clear, authentic, and never shared with others when you resolve to take action,” says Murray.

Moreover, if somebody is experiencing indicators of misery or discomfort from stigmatophilia, they need to search assist from a psychological well being skilled.

Navigating stigmatophilia in romantic and sexual relationships

In case you have stigmatophilia, being open about it along with your associate(s) can actually profit your romantic and sexual relationships. In accordance with Capalbo, it may well “add sexual pleasure and pleasure each for a person in addition to companions and ‘boost’ their intercourse lives, make you are feeling near different like-minded individuals, and permit them to discover your sexuality.” Sharing these wishes, and exploring them along with your associate(s), can even encourage self-confidence, she says.

“As with each relationship, it is necessary for all companions to be sincere with one another and talk their sexual desires and desires,” provides Story.

Having a dialog about sexual pursuits may be nerve-wracking, nevertheless it’s vital to be open and sincere. “Present some context to your associate as to what triggered this within the first place and what precisely you want or dislike,” Capalbo suggests. “A mutual understanding and direct and sincere dialog along with your associate will assist you in navigating by way of incorporating or not incorporating new parts into your relationship and intercourse lives.”

In case your associate(s) can not meet your sexual pursuits, Murray says you need to “discover different methods to satisfy your wants, maybe together with watching moral pornography collectively that includes people who do have tattoos and piercings.

The underside line: Stigmatophilia is a part of the huge mosaic of the human sexual expertise. If getting inked will get you off, then by all means discover it (safely).


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