Dangerous Mods, Hidden Risks
"The world is but a canvas of the imagination."– Henry David Thoreau
When you look at photos on BME, especially in BME/extreme, you’ll see some remarkable things that people have done with their bodies. You’ll see people really living out their dreams by sculpting their bodies into their wildest fantasies. But don’t think it always turns out well. Below you see a recent photo I was sent of a home-done circumcision (it is an explicit photo that may be disturbing to some readers, please view it and the other photos in this article with caution if heavy mods aren’t your thing):
The body heals many remarkable things — given how rough many heavy mods (both in the “BME realm” and in plastic surgery) look fresh and healing, it wouldn’t be grasping at straws for a viewer to assume this procedure healed well and left the desired results. Unfortunately it did not. The exposed tissue became infected and hospitalisation was required. To make matters worse, the healing tissue scarred badly. Since scar tissue isn’t stretchy like normal skin, the end result was a badly scarred and dramatically shortened penis that was not able to achieve normal erection. Definitely not the desired result, and now only expensive plastic surgery can correct it.
I could write a lengthy article about the risks — a catalogue of horrific anecdotes — part of me wanted to. But if you’ll look on the main cover of BME, you’ll see there’s a link labelled “Risks”. I think it’s important not only that people read and educate themselves, but that they realize that these are not the only risks, and that they have to use common sense and perhaps do a little research of their own before undertaking body modifications of any seriousness.
One of the things that disturbs me in documenting risks is that if I say something like “if you get an implant on top of your hand, it will put pressure on the tendons and eventually lead to difficulty,” it’s like the old Far Side cartoon “what dogs hear”. To paraphrase,
Human says: “Hey Rover, come here, I have a cookie for you, cummeer Rover!”
Dog hears: “woof ROVER woof woof woof woof woof ROVER!”
So are you a dog or a person? When you read the risks, do you see the risks, or do you just see “blah blah blah IMPLANT blah blah blah”? Because the most common response I get to showing someone risks on a given mod is “Implants?! Cool! Where can I get them?”
Just be careful, and when looking at pictures on BME — or anywhere, including your piercer’s portfolio — view them with the following truths in mind:
- The mod you’re looking at may not have healed successfully. Even if it’s healed in the photo, it may have gone horribly wrong long afterwards (implants are a good example of this).
- The mod you’re looking at may have healed successfully on that person, but it may not heal as well on you (surface piercings and scarification are good examples of this).
I understand that people get very excited and tend to rush ahead without really thinking about it — given the life-long-dream-finally-being-realized nature of some of these activities, that’s no surprise. With piercings and tattoos, while that’s definitely not a good idea, the amount of irreversible damage you can do to yourself is relatively limited… But when you’re talking about mods that start moving into the surgical sphere, your potential damage goes way up. A good example that I’ve seen far, far too many times is mineral oil injection (sort of a poor man’s silicone). Now let me make this very clear: injecting mineral oil under the skin of your penis is a very bad idea.
Mineral oil is not absorbed by your body like saline is. Nor is it relatively inert like silicone is. You may have seen a fresh photo of a mineral oil injection like the one below. Sure, it looks good in that photo — but don’t make the mistake of being distracted from the bigger picture by that big fat meaty cock that you’ve been dreaming about. It’s not so fun if things go bad.
Now here’s the problem. As I said, the mineral oil is neither bio-compatible nor is it absorbable. Instead, the body attempts to encapsulate it with a gigantic cascading mess of internal scar tissue. Repair is extremely difficult. Take a look at the picture below and ask yourself, “wouldn’t my life be better if I did my research?”
If you want a heavy mod — hell, if you want a piercing, read the experiences, and don’t ignore the ones that describe problems. Talk to people, both practitioners and people who have the procedure. The longer ago it happened, the better, since it’ll offer a lot more perspective than you’ll get from someone who just got it a month ago. You may not be lucky — do consider the worst case scenario. Odds are it won’t happen to you, but statistically it does happen, even to people who do everything right.
There is one very uncomfortable fact I should bring up in conclusion, and that is that not all practitioners are either trustworthy or educated. This is an unregulated industry — any joker with a scalpel can pretend to be an expert. Unless you educate yourself fully, you won’t be able to tell if your practitioner is ignoring the risks, be it because they don’t know them, or they’re “getting off” on the procedure on some level (they might get turned on by it, or they might think they’ll have their name in lights for doing a “freaky” aka dangerous and ill-advised procedure). Never just blindly assume someone knows what they’re talking about.
I’m not saying don’t do these things: I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m in support of them. What I’m saying is do your research, be responsible, and make an informed decision. Your body is going to be with you until you leave it, and it can make you very happy if you treat it well.
Good luck and happy modding,
Next week: “Should freedom of expression be a right?”
BME/News and Modblog highlight only a small fraction of what BME has to offer. Take our free tour and subscribe to BME for access to over 3 million body modification related photos, videos, and stories.