DIY Finger Amputation

Alex is a voluntary LAK, RAK, and RBE amputee* and is now also stubbing the fingers on his right hand (I mentioned the interviews a few days ago but if you want to know more, for starters read this interview with my late friend Chaz about voluntary amputationyou may also want to read this to see what kind of guy he was before you judge him and other voluntary amputees). He used ice to do the initial DIY anesthesia and then cleanly chopped it off. There was almost no bleeding, but definitely lots of pain. Click on through if you want to see the remainders.

That reminds me, if you want to see a free video of a DIY amputation, view the final Uvatiarru trailer (yeah, the movie is still in its ultra-extended production cycle, sorry).

* Left above the knee, right above the knee, and right below the elbow.

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

218 thoughts on “DIY Finger Amputation

  1. I know you are posting a lot of this content because you are attempting to create a discussion on the subject but it’s really going to end up in the same way. This behavior should not be encouraged. I know it may be the most offensive thing to say to a body modder, but some things you do to yourself are unhealthy! Don’t pretend like you haven’t freely criticized people for eating big macs at some point in your life!

  2. I’ve been following Modblog for a long time. Although I have zero body modifications myself (not even a piercing) and don’t plan to, I’m intensely interested in it. Generally I have a very open mind about all mods – I love the explicit tattoos and genital piercing, etc but voluntary amputation makes me really uncomfortable.

    In my mind I ask why anyone would want to do that? I realised today that it’s something I never ask about any other type of mod. Why do people get piercings or tattoos? I can’t really answer that either. The difference with amputation is that it limits your body’s ability to function freely – tattoos don’t.

  3. how do one chop of their finger without using another hand? i’m not saying it’s not possible, just curious.

    i think the whole thing about “why would anyone want to do that to themselves” is just pointless.

  4. well it looks interesting – Amputation in itself is interesting…
    I myself couldn’t even pick a body part to amputate since i love every body part (or at least find it useful)
    About what Fred said that “This behavior should not be encouraged” for health reasons – it is a problem because i’m sure that people who are intersted in having amputatinn done for reasons which are not medical face a hard and mostly impossible time finding a professional who would agree to do this (at least that’s what i think)
    and for some reason i’m sure a person would research and study the subject and process for a while before having this done to him/herself.
    it is risky, i am sure, but what are the options for people who really want to have it done?

  5. 1) I read that interview a few days ago – what happened to Chaz?

    2) I have no body mods other than the earrings I got in 4th grade and a couple of DIY holes in the lobe. I am still a BME addict and admire most of the artwork and piercings I’ve seen on the site.

    But I have to say, I do not understand the amputations. The risk of infection and the entire idea of lopping off a perfectly healthy and functional body part makes no sense to me. How is this art? I think this crosses the line from art to destructive self-mutilation.

  6. If he has no legs and only his right arm, how did he cut off his right ring finger?

  7. Also, does the phrase “almost no bleeding” seem woefully out of place to anyone else?

  8. This man has disabled himself deliberately – which is his prerogative, certainly. But now who supports him while he enjoys continuing to disable himself further? Is he on some sort of social welfare, or does he have a job?

    Gotta wonder what other parts he is willing to chop off next. Say, how DO you cut off a finger on the only hand you have remaining?

  9. We’ve all heard our mothers tell us to eat our vegetables because there are kids in Africa starving, so we should appreciate what we have. Well, that analogy pretty much covers my views of DIY amputation. There are kids in Africa stepping on land mines that would love to be able to walk and run and play like a normal child, but because of the malicious intentions of other people, they don’t get to do those things. They don’t get to have normal lives. And then we see these people, practically throwing their bodies away for no legitimate reason I have come across yet. And I don’t think there will ever be a legitimate reason to remove a body part unless the person life is in danger. But what, you don’t want your arm because of the way it looks? Well, too bad. Its your arm, learn to love it.

    I’m not going to call this sick, disgusting, twisted, or anything outlandish like that. It is their choice, and I do believe in a person’s freedom to do what they please. But I also believe in having limits and thinking before acting.

    I would really just like to know if when he wakes up in the morning and struggles to do simple, everyday tasks, is he really happy with what he made his life to be?

  10. Matt, one thing that you must remember is that a person who amputates himself voluntary does it not for the way it looks but for the aftercare and lifestyle that will follow the amputation.

  11. I recommend that you guys read the interview that Shannon linked – it has a great deal of information and I’m sure many of you who struggle to understand will have more insight.

  12. All of these negative people need to releize that its not your, mine, or anyone elses place to tell anouther person what to do with their body. BME at lest I feel is here to document the world of body modification in all it’s forms. I personally support people that feel amputation is a body modification they want to explore. It’s their bodys, and if that will make them feel whole. Then thats a choice they must make. As long as all of the responsibilities of it. I would just hope the person thought about this long and hard before hand.

  13. Pol, I’ve read that and the whole “it’s my body, I can do what I want with it” thing only goes so far. Suppose someone took it to the next level and wrote, in a suicide note, “it’s my life, I can do what I want with it.” In 99 cases out of 100, shouldn’t the paramedics intervene?

  14. >>13
    I don’t know how this guy did it (didn’t click through yet either) but off the top of my head, I’d think some sort of homemade mini-guillotine that only takes a push to fire. Use your teeth to put the rubber band on the first joint, put finger in the path of the blade, punch the guillotine release mechanism with your stump, and there ya go.

    The whole “wanting the lifestyle afterward” quite frankly boggles my mind more. I’ve read some interviews where people have said they like the idea of overcoming limits, but I can’t help but wonder what involuntary amputees would say, meeting the voluntary ones. It’s not the same, if you made the limit yourself, I would imagine.

    In a far paler version there are people who angst over not having come from broken homes or poor homes, thinking they can’t be artists or have true street cred if they were brought up too comfortably, but you certainly see the conflict between the people taking up the bohemian lifestyle in college or whatever and those from non-chosen meager circumstances, often leads to a lot of drama.

    Apart from all that, I did read one case of Oliver Sacks where a guy woke up and his leg “wasn’t his.” He somehow didn’t feel it belonged, it felt like meat sewn onto him. So surely there’s a variety of circumstances…

    I won’t be cutting off any bits, myself, but… interesting articles that make me think, anyway.

  15. Well said Heretic!

    Though, I do admit that I did briefly chuckle at the irony of your sentence “…make then feel whole”, given the circumstance.

    But seriously, I don’t understand why people are so quick to judge voluntary amputation just because it is SUCH a permanent mod. I don’t see anywhere near this many people freaking out over skin removal… That’s a permanent removal of tissue, but most people seem to be ok with it… It doesn’t make sense.

  16. I read the interview. NoHand stated that people people become voluntary amputees for two reasons. The first is the “look.” And they are usually minor limb amputations. People that really supposedly “need” to become amputees, generally become major limb amputees. Alex here has both major and minor limb amputations. So where does he fall? Is he doing it for the look or the lifestyle? Or both? Of course, with something as extreme as this there is no clear formula or criteria to follow to define such people and their actions, so on a case by case basis it will always be different.

    NoHand as an artist and kept his drawing hand, I presume. He was mostly self-employed and he said he was happy for the most part. Which is great. But he did also complain about things that made life difficult for him. Things like getting out of the shower, changing his pants, etc. etc. Essentially, what I’m saying is was that there was an element of regret, or maybe just doubt.

    I simply can’t understand how a prosthesis can be more satisfying to use then a normal limb, and I probably never will.

  17. I’m curious, though, how did he do his larger amputations? Fake accidents? Just run ‘em through with a chainsaw?

    Thing is, someone I know did cut his arm off with a chainsaw. An accident, I guess, but the guy is heavily heavily modded, and I gotta say, now having read all these kinda articles, I wonder, but it’s not the kinda thing I can just ask…

  18. Personally, I would never do an amputation willingly. However, every persons body is their own. #14 up there, Matt, obviously doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of body modification in the slightest. Like Pol said, people don’t just amputate themselves, generally, just because they dislike a certain limb or appendage of theirs. It’s the lifestyle that follows. While it might be to a higher degree, the desire for an amputation doesn’t differ from the desire a person has for a tattoo, piercing, scarification, tongue splitting, etc. “We’ve all heard our mothers tell us to eat our vegetables because there are kids in Africa starving, so we should appreciate what we have.” – I’m sorry, but that doesn’t carry over to this. Fuck, I open a can of soup, don’t like it, and throw it away – I could have just as easily sent that can of soup to Africa. However, I cut off an arm or a leg, well, I’m pretty sure that limb wouldn’t make it to Africa. Actually, who the hell would ship it? I’m pretty sure UPS, USPS, or Fed Ex wouldn’t (for some reason I think DHL might).

  19. And to respond to number 20, skin removal and amputations are apples and oranges (well, really probably more like apples and orangutans). Skin removal doesn’t impair your ability to function as a normal member of society. The issue isn’t the permanency of the mod, its the degree of extremity.

  20. >>20
    It’s not just the permanence, it’s the functional aspect. I can’t see how people insist there’s no line there.

    How one wants to approach the line, if you should cross it or not, of course, is a completely different discussion, but to wonder why people might find something different between permanent design scarring or tattoos, and amputating a limb, just seems willfully obtuse, to me.

  21. I also have questions about how he is going to support himself as he runs out of limbs and digits. As long as he can remain independent, I can’t really object to his choice.

  22. Heretic, I totally agree with you. To all the naysayers- you’ll never hope to understand what he is going through, most people won’t, and there is no reason to put a practice down because of this. It may be unhealthy in the eyes of the majority, but so is smoking, and would you speak negatively towards someone with lung cancer caused by an unhealthy habit, who needs professional care because of something they did to themselves?

  23. I was just reading an article in Psychology Today this afternoon that discussed BIID (Body Integrity Identity Disorder) where the diagnosed harbor great desire to amputate certain body parts (especially above the left knee). High correlation was found between BIID and meeting an amputee as a child (since children don’t develop acknowledgment of all their body parts until around 4-5, as the article stated). I find this extremely interesting, and as for this particular mod, I’m curious as to the background and reasoning for the most recent amputation.

  24. Wow. The pictures of the amputated finger are very interesting. It doesn’t look like I would have expected. I don’t know WHAT I would have expected, but that’s not quite it.

  25. oh god the click thru looks fuckin sweet as hell, i say it take some big balls to do that one pun intended,

    man reminds me when i accidently hacked half way thru my fingr with a cat food can yum that shit hurt for a year anyway toatly fuckin rocks i dont have the balls unless the was alot of money involved

  26. Flesh removal seems more accepted because the function of the removed tissue returns with time. With a leg… when it’s gone, it’s gone. A foot isn’t going to pop out of your hip four to six weeks later.

  27. #20-my problem with amputation has NOTHING to do with the permanence of it. It’s the fact that functioning is limited.

    And honestly, the extremes this guy has gone to seem selfish to me. What’s going to happen when he lops off this whole hand? How is he going to be able to function on his own? He isn’t. I find it amazing that some people do this for the “lifestyle.” What lifestyle? Sitting in a wheelchair and rolling around controlling it with your mouth? This guy is already very limited in what he can do on his own, and if he keeps it up, he’s going to be completely dependent on someone else. It’s selfish. Who’s going to take care of him? Family? Way to go, take up the unnecessary time of your loved one. Or maybe a nurse? Never mind all those people who REALLY need a nurse to help them out, because of some accident. Never mind that there are people who have lost limbs and would give anything to have them back.

    This is pure selfishness. His actions do NOT affect only him. Unlike a tattoo or skin removal, what he’s done affects other people as well. I wonder if he even stopped to think about how much he’s going to be affecting someone else’s life when he has to have a full-time nurse come live with him just to fucking feed him and give him a bath.

    I have zero problem with almost any body mod, no matter how extreme. I wouldn’t do them all, but I get most of them. I get castration-I understand why they do it. I even get minor amputations–things that don’t limit functionality. If you want to cut off one finger, fine. One leg, fine. Whatever, as long as you can still function.

    But this is beyond me. There’s no point. Ok, sure, it makes you feel “whole” as someone said. Whatever. How “whole” does it make you feel to not even be able to wipe your own ass anymore? How “whole” does it make you feel to be taking away help from someone who might REALLY need it?

  28. #23 and to the topic of skin removal vs amputee’s

    Just to correct the statement: “Skin removal doesn’t impair your ability to function as a normal member of society.”

    depending on the skin removal size, which we’ve seen many with HUGE removal pieces, the body CAN be impaired.

    Take for example the guy who had the vertical scars down his chest that needed to be removed…He had trouble standing properly.

    As for me…My arm was simply cut, not removed…and on certain days I have a hard time bending my arm.

    Its not as visually impairing as say missing a foot or half of your leg…But mobility CAN be impaired with scarification.

    Also with flesh removal/cutting by removing the largest organism on your body…When the scars form, it doesn’t return in time or back to normal…As scar tissue is much different then regular tissue.

  29. I dunno, I am sick of seeing fingers being chopped off, that’s for damn sure.

    I don’t care what their reason is, I don’t even care why they do it – I just don’t care.

  30. Anyone else read Stephen Kings short story in Skeleton Crew about the guy stuck on an island with a huge bag of coke, and no food? He got hight and chopped off body parts bit by bit and ate himself, until he just had one hand left to eat….
    So, bearing that story in mind, what does this guy do with his amputated body parts? Feed them to his dog? Put them out for trash collection? Honestly – theres hazardous waste/body part disposal issues for hospitals, whats the protocol for whopping off your limbs at home?

  31. Incidentally for those in the UK it will soon be illegal to view images such as these and those on BMEHard if section 6 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill goes through.

    I call upon all UK peeps to sign the online petition against the criminalising of “extreme images” and visit Backlash for further information.

    The grey area of the bill would make it a punishable offence to view internet sites where extreme images were present where there is harm (real or not) involved.

  32. 38, I was wondering the same thing myself.

    His idea in the interview about the guillotine was actually very interesting to me. For some reason I only thought of someone using an axe, saw, or knife for this kind of thing.

    I’ve been interested in amputations for quite some time, and I think the only thing that keeps me from doing them is because I need all the skin I can get for tattoos!

  33. I don’t want to judge, it’s not my (can’t think of the word) to say he’s right or wrong, I just want to say those pictures are amazing. The human body is amazing.

  34. I wrote this on another amputation entry on modblog and it sums up my view perfectly.

    If someone suffers from extreme mental illness and fixate themselves on removing a limb because it is “evil” and having their arm/leg/finger removed will solve everything, should we support his actions for removal or help him seek a mental health professional? The man is clearly disturbed but his actions include something that could fall under the realm of body modification. Do we support anything and everything that someone does to modify themselves, even if it is harmful and only a product on mental defect?

    Just like we shouldn’t say that all willing amputees are sick, we can’t say that some aren’t.

  35. “Just like we shouldn’t say that all willing amputees are sick, we can’t say that some aren’t.” perfectly said Jessica.

  36. that’s not something to say “oh, pretty interesting”…
    you may hate me, but this is just wrong. i don’t believe in god, but in nature. an amputation is just so unnatural. piercings, tattoos and some other mods are jewelry, but chopping off a finger sucks. seriously.

  37. I have some piercings and tattoos and stuff
    and i remember once that a friend of mine and i were talking about de limits of the body mod (he has some implants, and microdermals)
    and that day i realized that anything that you wanna do with your body you are the only one to decide to do it or not
    and that probably my gramma thinks the same about my lobes than what i think about amputation, it depends on the point of view

    PS: thx a lot for making this site and hello from spain

  38. I don’t care either one way or the other really–nor have I particularly given the topic the thought required to judge whether or not the person should rather have psychological treatment or such.. This does sound negative, but I also would like to know what the person does for a living or such. Because if he can continue to support himself, or via family, I’m all for it, but I would be rather bummed to know that society or such is really paying for him to be able to voluntarily “impair himself” (in the eyes of the vast majority of people–even not to him or like mined people).

  39. I’m with the state of mind that there are certain lines that are unhealthy to cross, when modification becomes almost a sickness.

  40. Re: #4, Jim: I feel the same way. I love them, love to look at them, don’t have any (yet – maybe a tattoo eventually?) and even though I clicked through and I’m … fascinated, I guess, by this, I simply can’t appreciate what DIY amputees think about while going through this process. I like to believe that I’m a very understanding, sympathetic kind of person who can put herself in a lot of different shoes, but I guess these shoes just won’t fit (maybe it’s the lack of toes).

  41. Re: The silly comment earlier about people “disabling” themselves and being generally deviant, here is Chaz’s obituary from the NY Times. He died of natural causes, and even though he was a serious multi-limb voluntary amputee, I’d wager to say that he contributed more to society than any of the folks slagging voluntary amputees here… [Edited into entry]

  42. Yeah, and most tattooed/pierced people are criminals so we should ignore the ones that graduate.

    Got any more cliches to hand out?

    As if you have any idea what you’re talking about…

  43. Shannon, you’re joking right?

    Puh-lease. The obituary you linked says that he was a disabled rights advocate. That’s crap. Seriously. Yes, people who are disabled deserve equal rights. You chop the crap off yourself and it’s a whole different story.

    As for him inventing prosthetics. Good for him. But why chop off his fucking legs VOLUNTARILY if he’s not willing to live without them and feels the need for prosthetics? I know a guy who lost his right leg ACCIDENTALLY and can’t afford a prosthetic. But this idiot goes and chops off his own legs and gets to wear them. In what world is that fair? Seriously, explain that to me.

    I like how that obituary makes him out to be a saint but fails to mention he CHOSE to lop off his own limbs. It says “he lost his legs.” Bullshit. He didn’t lose anything. He willfully gave them up and then apparently decided he couldn’t live like that since he felt the need to wear prosthetic legs.

    And by stating that none of us commenting have contributed anything to society, you’re being just as judgmental as we are. No, scratch that, you’re being worse. You know NOTHING about those of us making these comments, but we know MORE than enough about this guy you’ve featured to form an opinion. I’ve contributed plenty to society and I sure as hell didn’t do it for my own selfish reasons, like this guy obviously did. Of course he invented new prosthetics–he fucking needed them because he was too pathetic to live with his own idiotic decision to chop off his legs. Oh, and let’s not forget he won 50,000 dollars for his new design. Pure selfishness.

    If I kill my child and then form a non-profit group to help people who’ve lost their children deal with their grief, are you going to stand up for me and make me out to be a saint? Of course you’re not! It’s the same principle here.

    This idiot did NOT deserve equal rights. He’s not “disabled.” You don’t get special treatment for CHOOSING something. If that was the case, my green hair wouldn’t keep me from getting a job. But people say to that, “Well unlike skin color or sexual orientation, hair color is a choice, and they have the right to tell you how to look at work.” Right, well, this guy’s amputations were a CHOICE. So he falls in the same category.

    And how DARE he align himself with people who really have LOST their limbs! How DARE he even remotely compare himself to these people in any way. It makes me sick.

    The people who lose their limbs ACCIDENTALLY and still manage to function in society are the true heroes, not this guy.

  44. Well, I won’t deny that I haven’t ever wanted to see the inside of a finger (mostly from curiosity about how the nail bed looks). But I think I’ll steer clear away from the debate. ;)

  45. I find this strange and it makes me uncomfortable because losing a limb strikes fear into my tattoo’d hide…

  46. Truthpassion – Perfectly put.

    Shannon is seemingly blind when it comes to situations like this. Must be the fall-out from sticking a tattoo needle in his eye.

    Face it Shannon when it comes to trying to defend or explain modifications such as these you tend to fall flat on your arse with silly comparisons to clay and wild generalisations.

    Self amputees share very common psychological criteria, all of which need addressing verbally first.

    Chaz is a perfect example of someone who once he did his first amputation failed to stop as it did not address his needs.

    Rarely do self amputees stop after one.

  47. truthpassion – He had some amputations that were on purpose, and some were not (car accident). He WAS an advocate, and he was responsible for significant advancements in prosthetic technology (and your friend not being able afford them is completely irrelevant to Chaz’s story), and part of that was due to the fact that he sacrificed his own limbs/digits for that passion.

    Feel free to keep on assuming that you know Chaz personally and can make these statements.

    And in answer to your straw man “what if I kill my child” argument, in fact, sometimes people who have killed or hurt their children due to postpartum depression/psychosis are the strongest advocates.

    Giles – Again, you’re simply incorrect. Amputees, as with eunuchs, generally have an end goal and stop at that end goal. On that level their body modification paths are far more targeted than pierced or tattooed folks who do tend to escalate their actions over time without a clear end goal at the beginning. In part this is because amputees spend so much time thinking about it in advance before actually doing it.

  48. Hi, I myself can’t imagine myself being an amputee and I don’t find amputations very aesthetic (even tough they don’t bother me).

    I seriously think people here should stop thinking about ‘loving your body’ a love for it’s integrity.

    (I’m so sorry to quote nip tuck for this) “See the beauty in what’s missing”, see how far you can go with some limbs you might have considered unuseful…

    I can’t see how people can find this repelling or amoral.

    I once read on bme a quote that became soon famous “The body belongs to the spirit that lives inside, and to no one else”.

    I think the people here forgot the meaning of this.

  49. #44 – that’s exactly what I think of whenever I read about amputation mods!! What a creepy story… *shudder*

    As for the actual amputation – I really don’t agree with it, but I can’t stop people.

  50. Shannon – There is empirical evidence that shows that those who practice self harm (of which amputeeism is officially classified as) do not usually stop at the removal of one digit or one cut or one hit or one drink.

    Documented evidence with the BMJ shows quite explicitly that those with the type of psychosis that is familiar to remove limbs go on to other areas and practices to fulfill the feeling of apparent ‘incompleteness’ or ‘emptiness’ they have. In fact the results shown showed that only through open discourse and self-affirmation training were those with such problems able to truly overcome the desires they had.

    You can never truly address a psychological disorder through removal of limbs.

  51. Giles – “Amputeeism” may be “officially classified” as “self harm” but the fact is that in the cases of these people it is not self-harm in any negative context any more than, say, getting large piercings or tattoos on your face is self-harm (and objectively one could make that argument). And remember, it’s only very recently that homosexuality was de-classified as a psychiatric disorder — the fact that something is “officially classified” as wrong in one way or another all-too-often means that it’s simply misunderstood. I don’t need some government or academic agency telling me what’s healthy and what’s not when they have no broad experience in the subject.

    One of the most significant reasons for this mis-identification is that the amputees that come in contact with the medical/psychiatric profession are those in the subgroup that have problems, so it gives a false impression, because the ones without problems don’t show up on the radar. That is, it’s “bad polling” or a non-representative sample group.

    Piercing was the same way in the early days. Because doctors only had experiences with the problem cases, they made horrendously incorrect assumptions about what piercing meant, and the problems it caused. Once they knew more, this went away, but it took a long time (and still has a way to go).

    And finally, many doctors disagree with your final statement, and in fact go so far as to say that the only way to “cure” the disorder is through amputation… A hospital in Scotland actually did a couple amputations a few years back (with good results), but were forced to stop for POLITICAL reasons (not MEDICAL reasons). I’m sure you know that to do this they had to jump through significant regulatory hoops and get broad support from the medical community in the UK. It’s slow, but attitudes are changing and this is slowly being recognized as being as legitimate as sexual reassignment surgery and other major full-body/full-mind transformations.

  52. This was interesting to read (the comments), I’m gonna have to read more on this BIID thing as I still don’t fully ‘get’ this amputation thing.
    Although I’m seeing it more as a psycological problem now, more like self harm than a ‘mod’.

  53. There is obviously a continuum between ordinary mods at one end and the heaviest mod of all, suicide, at the other. Obviously we have no right to intervene in whatever ordinary mods a person chooses, but almost everyone would agree that we should intervene to stop a suicide. Everything else falls somewhere between those two points.

    Shannon, how close to suicide does a mod have to be before you’re willing to consider that mental illness might be at work? This guy is, to me, obviously fairly close to the suicide end of the scale, in how he is systematically destroying the utility of his body.

  54. Just because it isn’t socially acceptable to YOU doesn’t mean that this guy is on the “suicide end of the scale”.
    The big question FOR ME is: Who are you to judge? He’s not living in your house, eating at your table, screwing your daughter. He’s not cutting off YOUR fingers. It’s his body to do with as he sees fit.
    There are people out there that think there has to be a limit to what someone is ALLOWED to do with their own body, but thankfully they’re wrong! Luckily, for the time being at least, we’re not regulated by what YOU deem acceptable… And rightly so. What if the guy in the apartment next to you decided that you shouldn’t be allowed to get tattoos? Or stretch your ears? You’d have something to say about it.
    Protect everyone’s rights, not just yours.

  55. I suppose there will always be people who don’t agree that we should stop a suicide… after all, it’s their own body, and most people who successfully commit suicide have thought over it for a long time. But the thing is, most of us (especially those who, like me, have struggled with depression) realize that the desire to kill oneself, while rational seeming to the person at the time, is the product of a mental sickness — and after a person gets better, they most often realize what a mistake it would have been, and that they weren’t thinking right. I can vouch for this personally.

    At some point with the most extreme mods, it’s a parallel situation. Sure, people have the right to kill themselves, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t question it and try to help them. At what point does it get to that? Is bugchasing (intentionally infecting oneself with HIV) that point? Is systematically chopping off one’s limbs that point? Surely it’s a legitimate question to ask when we can start to question.

  56. See, personally, this is no more different than, say, someone getting plastic surgery. Should we discourage them from getting a nose job, breast enhancement, tummy tuck, etc. because they have body image issues? A woman with severely uneven breasts goes to a plastic surgeon to have the problem addressed, should we scoff at her or tell her to seek psychiatric help? No, and I’d say near 99% percent of us wouldn’t even think it, let alone speak it. But, the people who seek plastic surgery as a means of making themselves whole, prettier, balanced, etc., no one would recommend them seeking psychiatric help for getting a few procedures. And, those who opt for plastic surgery could just as easily end up non-functioning members of society, but yet by the masses they are no discouraged.
    Chaz, while extreme to some, is a perfect embodiment of what body modification is about – being who you want. He was still a functioning member of society, hell, he was a lot more than what I am. By being what he was, he had personal experience to guide him on a quest to better the lives of other amputees.

  57. John there is a wealth of difference between someone who gets breast augmentation to address an abnormality and someone who does it to look ‘prettier’.

  58. Yes, but what about a nose job? Tummy tuck? Liposuction? Most of those surgeries are done, not to address abnormalities, but because the end result will make the person ‘prettier’.

  59. >>81
    There are certainly cases where people are given psychiatric references for wanting too much plastic surgery, absolutely. The topic comes up in the media from time to time.

    Usually the people are getting repeat mods to the same feature, and are never satisfied with the results, so they keep going around, until finally the doctors say no, that’s enough, you will never be satisfied, there’s something else going on. Often it’s to the point that they’re damaging structures (if you remove too much there’s not much left to reshape, etc, after a while).

  60. John – Not always. Some have liposuction to address health issues but mostly it is for vanity. Same with nose reconstruction. There are examples of people having it done to address health issues but mostly again it is vanity or the desire to look ‘normal’.

    ‘Normal’ being predefined by society and its normative codes of appearance.

  61. Oh wow, that’s such a clean cut!
    I used to work with amputees, and yes, they are upset about the loss of their limbs, and yes, they may get angry if they saw such a thing…but that doesn’t make it abhorrently WRONG.

    Also, I was thinking about this whole amputation thing, and how with the internet, Shannon has a way of showing people all over what extremes can be taken to become comfortable with ones self. Piercings date back, tattoos date back…I’m sure that atleast one Puritan went out in the woods with the guise of getting firewood so that he could chop his own finger off in peace. I read an account of a woman who used to put her finger underneath her sewing needles, and later, her sewing machine, because she “adored the holes leftover.”

  62. I’m not sure about the circumstances of major amputations, but I myself desire a specific minor amputation (partial finger). I can’t help but think of it as incredibly beautiful; and I’ve always thought that way. When I was about seven year old I attempted to amputate it myself, but succeeded only in causing a rather significant injury instead (never went to the doctor because I hid it from my family, but the swelling was massive and I was unable to move my fingers for a couple of weeks)

    Really the only thing that prevents me from cutting it off now is 1- I’m afraid I’d fuck it up again like I did when I was a kid. And 2- I’m not sure how’d I’d go through life explaining it. The latter is especially true when reading the reactions on message boards like this.

    It’s a fucking finger, you can live a normal life with nine of them, and you can live a pretty normal life with no hands too. The most talented sketch artist I ever met had no hands, he just held the pencil between the stubs. There is a local farmer with no arms, who married a woman with no arms, and they raised a child and ran a farm together. I’ve recently read about a ballerina who is an above the knee amputee. Just because you are missing a limb or two does not mean you become some helpless leech.

  63. Jen – Luckily, for the time being at least, we’re not regulated by what YOU deem acceptable… And rightly so.

    Jen to be honest everyone here is regulated by what society, the media, the church and government deem acceptable. Codes of conduct exist usually for the protection of people and sometimes for control. In this case people are expressing concern over someone removing a part of their body because inside they believed it to be the right thing to do. It is an extreme and incredibly rare modification that if done wrong or by someone who has not researched it properly can cause severe problems hence the concern.

    Those seeking to do so should seek psychological assistance before they do so as often the desires with it can be addressed despite Shannon’s insistance that they can’t.

    Most people do with their body what they want anyway, in private.

  64. the cool thing in life is that you can do what ever you want to make you happy. but there are people/companys that think things we do are wrong because thats the way they think. i like the idea that someone did something like this and was able to do something that he wanted to do. i think people that think this shouldnt be done should really think about FREEDOM know one owns you and never will. live and do what ever you want because your going to die anyway, so if you see something you dont like well owell thats life and i love it.

  65. Kittybeth – It’s a fucking finger, you can live a normal life with nine of them, and you can live a pretty normal life with no hands too.

    Nature gave you them for a reason. What do you hope to achieve by removing the tip of your finger ? Why do you seek to emulate those who had no choice in losing limbs/digits etc ?

    You can also survive without sight so should we allow people to go all Oedipus on us?

  66. giles, after all these comments you’ve been leaving, im still sitting here wondering, what gives you the right to judge?

  67. Sae – “giles, after all these comments you’ve been leaving, im still sitting here wondering, what gives you the right to judge?”

    The small area at the bottom that says “Leave a comment”

  68. Giles Wallwork-

    I wouldn’t wish accidental amputations on anyone, including myself believe it or not. And oddly enough, I know of more voluntary finger amputees than involuntary. I’m not attempting to “imitate” other people with missing fingers anymore than I brush my teeth to imitate people with pretty smiles.

    As for nature? Nature also gave me an extra kidney, an extra lung, an extra ovary, tonsils which at this point only sit around and get infected a couple of times a year, an appendix who’s only apparent function is to potentially cause life threatening illness, and not only more teeth that I need, but some that didn’t even have space to come in and required surgical removal. So what nature happened to give me ten fingers?

    And no, I don’t really have an issue with people who wish to blind themselves.

  69. you know, looking up the word comment in the dictionary no where does it read “synonymous with judgment”

    not like i can stop you, just wondering if you had any excuse for trying to take someone elses life down a notch

  70. Kittybeth – “And no, I don’t really have an issue with people who wish to blind themselves”

    And with that you really have kind of ruined your argument. If you cannot see the inherent problem with someone wishing to voluntarily disable themselves in the belief they are somehow empowering themselves then I’m afraid you will never truly understand the attitudes that go with this kind of modification.

    Regardless of how well you believe you’ll function without certain parts the truth is that the desire to remove part of your body is seen by those who study such issues as a pathological disorder.

  71. 91 sae, don’t be silly. Judgment isn’t a right, it’s an unavoidable reaction to anything beyond our individual bubbles of existence. You yourself judged the situation when you viewed these pictures and read the story too, it’s just that your judgment of it probably fits in with the PC idea that everything is acceptable as long as the person doing it is ok with it and that to pass any judgment other than the one the PC police deem acceptable is bordering on a criminal act.

    You can NOT come into contact with a story about someone chopping off parts of their body and NOT have a judgment about it. Again, yours probably fits with what is now labeled as “tolerant” which in reality often means “afraid to say what you really think because the tolerance police will smack you if you do.”

    If you want to play the “what right do you have” game then let’s play: What right do YOU have to questing Giles judgment? His opinion is HIS, not YOURS, so where do you get off questioning it? Just like the amputee in this story, Giles judgments do not harm you, so why are you questioning them?

    See? When you start in with righteous finger-pointing what you forget is… now YOU’RE being judgmental. Doctor, heal thyself.

  72. The only closed minds here are those who blandly accept this as a legitimate form of expression and not as an empirically documented form of disabling to address psychological anomolies.

  73. Glies… heres where i draw my line IF you think people cant get shit done to there body because its sick well what about all the people that think about Cautery branding i would say its in an odd way the same. man why would people want to burn there flesh off there skin they should get mental help,,,, not that i really mean they should but come on giles people might think the same when they see brandings >>food for thoughts

  74. hey man, all i was asking is what you thought gave you the right to judge. i didnt come into this discussion as a self-righteous asshole, i just wanted to know what you thought gave you authority

  75. Branding doesn’t impede my ability to function as a complete human being nor does it help me achieve my idea of what I believe my perfect body to be.

    It is purely decorative.

  76. im sure you can find just as many websites listing homosexuality or any form of piercing/tattooing as a disease, just cause the medical community classified it doesn’t really mean anything

  77. I’ll sum up my opinion by saying that whatever the motives behind voluntary amputation (mental illness, or an aspect of body modification that I personally don’t understand therefore I will not judge), a person has options, for example whether to go and have this procedure done or seek outside help or whatever… by sweeping the subject under the carpet like a few people who stated they don’t want to see these images on modblog, or saying this is wrong and shouldn’t be done – won’t get anyone anywhere. Let’s not be quick to judge what we do not fully understand. It is his body; he can do whatever he wants with it. And I find the fact that some people said that it’s sick and he has mental issues funny…many people said that to me about my pretty common piercings…I mean who are we to judge a person who does something that we find different and mostly uncommon and jump to the conclusion that this individual is ill, it might be true but a person with two standard lobes might have them done as a result of mental illness…so what?
    I think that the fact why some people have a hard time understanding it is because the common body modifications usually are added to the body (tattoos, piercing, breast implants) and usually the removal of the body is very little when compared to amputation, skin removal for example…
    I am not trying to shut people up. It’s important to have an opinion. But I feel that people are quick to judge what they don’t understand instead of taking the time and trying to be a little more open minded.

  78. >>>just cause the medical community classified it doesn’t really mean anything

    Other than the fact that many highly educated people have studied the phenomena in some great detail.

  79. At the end of the day, BME seeks to document as board a range of body modifications as possible. It doesn’t judge, and it certainly doesn’t marginalize

    If I chose to lop off my leg, that would be my choice, and I’d expect everyone else to be respectful of that choice.

    What I wouldn’t expect, however, is support from healthcare professionals (eg. the NHS here in old blightey), as my wound is purely self-inflicted.

    For me, this mod crosses the line between a personal modification, and forcing your modification on others.

    People can choose to look away from a labret or a septum piercing, but a healthcare professional can’t stand back and allow a DIY amputation to become infected and endanger the life of the amputee. To do so would go against everything they stand for.

    Mods, in my view anyway, are a personal thing, and foisting (yes, I just came out with that word) responsibility for them onto others when things go wrong is wholly unfair.

  80. hahahahahaha
    just cause they study something doesn’t mean they don’t let their personal feelings get involved in and distort it, again homosexuality used to be considered a disease by a lot of people in the medical community (and still is by some) but that doesn’t make it true. holding a degree doesn’t necessarily mean much. and on top of that, who are they to make judgments on people that are participating in activities they have no first hand experience with.

    what if someone with a degree came up to you and started telling you what the big disc in your lip or that big stick in your septum meant and told you their opinion was right cause they had a degree and studied the subject, but that your opinion, even though you’ve been living with these modifications, didn’t really mean much because you were part of the ‘educated elite’

  81. says this about BIID and treatment

    “In looking at treatment, there are several main “tools” or steps that may be effective. A combination of each “tool” may have successful result for different people to different degree. Some of the tools may have no effect at all. Some other may raise other unrelated issues. Each step may be followed/used in any order desired, except for surgery, which always should be a last resort.

    “Pretending” (full or part time)
    Surgery “

  82. Dan – “What I wouldn’t expect, however, is support from healthcare professionals (eg. the NHS here in old blightey), as my wound is purely self-inflicted.”

    Irrespective of whether you wanted it or not that help would be forthcoming, however those treating you may hold a dim view if you chose to do something that only added to their workload and further stretched resources.

  83. Giles I just looked at your IAM page. Honestly I know quite a few people out there that would say the same thing you’ve been saying. However this time it’s about you. I know many people that feel that stretching piercings, and hell even piercings themselves are a form of mutilation. Some even feel that they should be outlawed even. They like you honestly don’t understand why a person would piercing, brand, perform scarification, and amputate limbs. Everyone has their own personal reasons for doing these modifications to themselves. I’m sure you have yours, and this person had theres. NOBODY has the right to judge another person on their modifications.

    Plus seeing that you personally don’t know this person. You’re swinging a stick blindly in the dark, at something you feel is a threat. In reality you truely know nothing is about. This all comes down to a few things 1. If you don’t like it fine.. Don’t look at it. A closed mind should come with a closed mouth. 2. This isn’t your choice to make, this person isn’t hurting you in the lest. Leave him be. 3. Some body modifications aren’t for everyone. Would I personally amputate a section of my body.. No but I’m not going to call anyone mentally disabled for doing so. If you don’t like something fine.. Don’t get it done..

  84. >>117
    Interesting website, Giles (transabled). I’ll definitely have to read around in there.

    Honestly I find the “but if you express reservations about self-amputation, people might say the same to you about your piercing” to be a slippery slope argument.

    There are any number of lines that can be drawn. Exactly where they are, and whether or not to cross them, is a very rich subject for discussion. Saying “you can’t draw lines, it’s all bodymod, losing a leg or getting a brand, it’s all the same you can’t judge” just takes that entire possible discussion and shuts it right down, just as much as the “but I don’t wanna see these pics on the site you guys are all sick” does. It’s the same reflexive needle, just pegged the other direction. I’ll admit (possibly it’s only my own bias, we’ve all got one) that some of the discussion that runs to that direction strikes me as a bit of a race to see who can show they’re the most open minded, the most tolerant, whatever it is. It’s boring.

    Even only talking tattoos, many places won’t do a face tattoo, or even a hand tattoo, as a first tattoo. Generally one is considered more “extreme” than the other. There’s a reason, involving reactions and how the day to day life is impacted. There’s a reason people ask first, “what about employment, do you have a good track record already?” etc.

    Many people view piercings as “easier first step” than tattoos, because at least when small, usually they’re removable without much aftereffects. You can have it for a while and then change (and yes, there are many people who want to do just that). There are discussions about “how far can I stretch my ears before they won’t shrink back” etc. So, even in the community, people acknowledge different impacts, even while fully allowing that anyone is free to get the mods. Part of BME is labelled “extreme,” again, someone’s drawing a line there.

    There’s visibility, permanence, functionality changes, that all come into play. Self-amputation hits all of those, and particularly when it comes to functionality changes, it’s beyond the other stuff (if it’s large, particularly). I do recall the guy who ended up with the giant keloid restricting his movement in front, but that wasn’t the intended result of the mod (and happily he had it improved).

    Me, I find the lines interesting, I guess. Completely apart from any discussion of if they should be crossed or not. Denying there’s any lines at all, to me, sort of cheats the argument.

  85. read the “you may want to read this” link, if its true then its impressive. dont jump to conclusions

  86. Can I just clarify here that I have never used the term “mental illness” and that I do not see those who practice self amputeeism as being mentally deficient in any way.

    What I have said is that I believe those that do this should seek psychological counselling first to address the issues of BIID and that there is research showing it to be an extreme form of self harm.

    It is however quite different (to me at least) from other modifications.

    There is a fantastic (but long) read enclosed below on the subject.


  87. Akibare & Heretic – Yes you are both right, there will be people whose lines on extremities fall way below what I do and as such I would receive the same sort of commentary that I am dishing out but there are some distinct differences and hopefully I can show them here.

    The motivations behind piercing, stretching, amputating, CBT etc are varied, extremely varied. Some of those motivations are aesthetic, some psychological, some sexual, some motivated by external factors.

    What I am attempting to do is show how the different motivating factors within body modification work and ultimately show that BodMod is not one homogenous area but rather very different and very distinct individuals areas.

  88. Giles – “Branding doesn’t impede my ability to function as a complete human being nor does it help me achieve my idea of what I believe my perfect body to be. It is purely decorative.”

    Did you ever think that he removed appendages in order to achieve what he believes his perfect body to be? As for the “complete human being” part, when that bit of flesh is burned away from a branding (or cutting, or even a punched piercing), you are removing (or otherwise destroying) part of a functioning organ. So, in that sense, someone who underwent that kind of procedure is no longer complete, either.

    And it’s not just about the decoration. That’s the fashion side of it. People are into body mods for a whole variety of reasons, each as unique as the individual person. Some do it for the spirituality. You get the point.

    So just because something isn’t what view as “decorative” and it’s not “approved” by the medical community doesn’t make it wrong. The opinions you’re reading on hold no more weight than your own… They’re just opinions… It also says that “at the moment, most treatment courses must be self-administered as there are no medically recognised or accepted treatment protocols”

  89. Shannon-
    Though it is not my cup of tea, I respect that you post these stories and do not ask you to stop…however I really wish you’d censor these intense pictures of things like amputation and the breast skewers in the next post. It makes me sick to see it and I love ModBlog otherwise-I don’t wanna stop coming to the site.

  90. Giles says: “What I am attempting to do is show how the different motivating factors within body modification work and ultimately show that BodMod is not one homogenous area but rather very different and very distinct individuals areas.”

    I agree with you on its not being homogenous. Enjoying the various links, BTW (plus the ones at the top of this post, too). I don’t make the slippery slope argument, though – I still think this merits its own discussion even IF there are people out there who also think stretched ears are beyond the pale.

  91. Corky. I have never claimed it to be ‘wrong’. Different certainly but never wrong. Always to address a psychological issue but never as a result of a mental illness.

  92. Giles: RE #119…
    The point I was trying to make there was that if I chose to amputate a limb, in my opinion it would be unfair for me to expect any level of support from the health system.

    Granted, support *would* be provided, as this is the remit of the health system, but that doesn’t necessarily make it right.

    For me, it’s about being conscientious (sp?) about how a mod would cause me to be a burden to others in an unfair way. Why should I get help for an injury I, myself inflicted over and above people who have injuries they did *not* choose.

    Of course, this argument is moot if lopping ones limb off requires no professional medical attention, but I cant see this being the case.

  93. Giles, perhaps you have not not outright claimed it to be “wrong”, but it seems, at least to me, to be implied by your very frequent labels (and the critiques and “observations” you make) of people, such as “copy-cat amputees”, or that they’re suffering from psychosis, which certainly is a symptom of mental illness… Not to mention saying they need to go through treatment for their “psychological disorder”.

    I’m willing to bet that a large majority of self-amputees do not just remove an appendage on a whim. They have probably thought about it for some time – the risks, the “consequences”, etc. – and then decided to go through with it. Why should they open up to someone who is going to do very little but attempt to try and convince them not to go through with it? An analogy to this would be talking to your dentist about that pair of 6mm vipers you always wanted… Of course they’re going to try and talk you out of it, due to the potential damage to your teeth.

    And, just to make sure it’s clear, I’m not saying that self-amputation is the same thing as a tongue piercing – it was just an analogy.

  94. Alan – You asked “Shannon, how close to suicide does a mod have to be before you’re willing to consider that mental illness might be at work?”

    I always consider that. I certainly consider it in large facial tattoos or anything that profoundly affects someone’s life, and while I am supportive of people’s decisions, I also encourage people to work to be VERY sure that they know what they’re getting themselves into, which means among other things, taking these things out of the closet and giving them a place to talk about them. Also, when it comes to legal issues (ie. the state committing people against their will, etc.) I strongly fall on the side of the rights of the individual to control themselves, even to their own detriment, rather than the State stepping in and taking authority over someone’s life.

    Giles – You asked “where do you draw the line?”

    In simple terms, I don’t draw lines for anyone except myself, and I frequently cross those in time. I would certainly not be arrogant enough to tell someone else where that line lies for them. I understand that some people feel that it’s a societal responsibility to stop people from “harming” themselves, but I feel that risking harming oneself is a fundamental right.

    Re: “Intelligent people have studied it extensively”, I simply do not believe that is true in the context you’re presenting it. It’s barely been studied, and as I said earlier, the studies cover a very non-representative sample group.

    Re: “Body Integrity Identity Disorder”, certainly all people involved in all forms of heavy modification should do some serious self-searching and be very sure of who they are, but just because for some people it’s a sickness doesn’t mean it is for everyone… a la the differences between cutting in terms of self-harm and cutting in terms of ritual and cutting in terms of aesthetics (and the many combinations thereof).

  95. I should add that my statement refers only to the vast majority of psychologist/psychiatrists… I’m sure there are a very small number of whom would fully support your decision to self-amputate.

  96. Corky – BIID and Self Harm are both Psychological Disorders in that they fall outside the sphere of normative behavioural patterns. There is no real argument with that. What I have argued is that both need to be treated through more psychiatric therapeutic methods rather than the extremities being shown here. They are not ‘normal’ as in they are not practised by over 99.99% of the population however clearly they are normal to those involved.

    There are copy-cat amputees out there (even on this list) and sites such as Transabled and BIID confirm this. Those who seek to copy the acts are (I would argue) wrong to do so.

  97. Shannon “but I feel that risking harming oneself is a fundamental right.”

    Possibly but I would argue it is a luxury rather than a right. Ultimately all of our actions have consequences whether we accept them or not. Whilst we may like to believe we are individuals free from responsibility with the options to do as we please unfortunately we are part of a whole and what we do has consequence for others.

    Shannon – “It’s barely been studied, and as I said earlier, the studies cover a very non-representative sample group.”

    Have you read this

  98. Giles, nothing is “normal” when your standard of normal is whether or not 99.99% of the population practices it. Hell, not even that many people bathe regularly, brush their teeth, or even wipe their ass after they shit! Do I need to seek therapy because I do those things? I doubt it.

    I understand very well that BIID and Self Harm are psychological disorders, but you’re making a very blanket statement that everyone who wants to remove an appendage suffers from this. This is not true.

    And, about this article that you keep referencing back to on This study was based on only 52 people… That is a VERY small number. The responses from just those 52 people in the study were so varied that one cannot even derive objective statements about the study group as a whole, let alone the larger group of people who desire amputation.

  99. Also, Giles, you said earlier “Rarely do self amputees stop after one”.

    However, even in the study you are referring people to, right on the first page, it reads “The six subjects who had an amputation at their desired site reported that following the amputation they felt better than they ever had and no longer had a desire for an amputation.”

    If all six of the subjects who’s amputations where where they wanted it felt no more desire for future amputation, that’s a pretty solid rebuttal to your claim that it rarely ends at one…

  100. You said the magic word, Giles: Claim.

    The subject is simply not studied well enough to make any concrete statements about it.

  101. Shannon: you said “certainly all people involved in all forms of heavy modification should do some serious self-searching and be very sure of who they are, but just because for some people it’s a sickness doesn’t mean it is for everyone… a la the differences between cutting in terms of self-harm and cutting in terms of ritual and cutting in terms of aesthetics (and the many combinations thereof)”

    I find that interesting, especially since you have, on more than one occasion seemed to GLORIFY cutting for self-injury as an aesthetic thing. I used to be a self-cutter and seeing shit like that doesn’t help, let me tell you. Curring for aesthetics or ritual is a different matter but when you post crap on here PRAISING self-harm for psychological reasons, it’s quite obvious that you do NOT draw a line anywhere at all.

    This man OBVIOUSLY needs some sort of help. This is NOT healthy. He’s PERMANENTLY HARMING HIS BODY. You CANNOT say the same for other mods. Other mods do not harm the body permanently. They do no impede a persons ability to fucking walk or wipe their own arse.

    And BTW-I noticed in your pathetic response to my last comment, you failed to address 99% of what I had to say. As you continually do when you respond to Giles Wallwork’s posts.

    You said: And in answer to your straw man “what if I kill my child” argument, in fact, sometimes people who have killed or hurt their children due to postpartum depression/psychosis are the strongest advocates.

    NOT THE SAME THING. Not even remotely. Doing something because of a disorder and then helping people with a disorder is one thing. Chaz CAUSED HIS OWN DISORDER (and just because it was a car accident doesn’t mean he didn’t WILLINGLY lose them, and that he wouldn’t have done it on his own later–in fact, it’s quite obvious he would have). This is not a strawman argument (I suggest you look up the definition Shannon, as the term “strawman” is not even applicable in what I had to say. I made a comparison, a very different thing from a strawman argument).

    Oh, and in that comparison, did I even mention a fucking disorder? Did I say it was over depression or anything? No, I FUCKING DID NOT. You REPEATEDLY deny that Chaz or this man you’ve featured have any sort of disorder. You continue to attempt to justify what they do, and claim that they’re perfectly alright in the head, but the minute I make a LEGITIMATE comparison, you defend it by brining up people with depression or mental issues. THAT’S a strawman argument Shannon–it’s when you put words in my mouth that I didn’t say. If that’s the only way you can defend this kind of idiocy, then go right ahead.

    Chaz WILLINGLY lost his limbs. How often did he mention that fact while running around advocating disabled rights? I’m willing to be none. And do you know why? All the INVOLUNTARY amputees who would give anything to have their limbs back would have spat in his hypocritical face.

    And you’re with your statement: “and your friend not being able afford them is completely irrelevant to Chaz’s story.”

    It is relevant. I was merely making another point. Chaz who VOLUNTARILY loses his fucking limbs gets to wear prosthetics when he decides he’s too pathetic to live with that decision. The point was that he was a pathetic arsehole who couldn’t deal with his WILLING amputations and took the cop-out way of getting prosthetics. The point is that he acted selfishly.

    Shannon, I’m sorry, but you are blind when it comes to this type of thing. It’s ridiculous. And what is that bullshit about people having and end goal in mind, but then they stop? Really? Well, tell me, where exactly is this guy’s end goal? It seems to me like he plans to keep going until there’s nothing left. In the end, will he chop off his own fucking head too? But that’s ok right, Shannon? Because, after all, it’s his body, let him do whatever he wants with it. Hell, if he wants to cut open his stomach and rip out his innards, let him! It’s his body, right?

    There ARE lines, Shannon. And this DEFINITELY crosses a line.

  102. truthpassion – What’s more important? One’s body or one’s life? You really think that cutting off a body part causes more harm to someone’s life than, say, Skullboy’s facial tattoo? Do you really think that Chaz’s amputations negatively affected his life more than Skullboy’s tattoo?

    And what gives you or anyone other than the person who it directly affects the right to say that it’s unacceptable?

    As to your friend, do your arguments apply to scars as well? Is it insulting to people with scars if a person chooses to go and have scars created? BME has documented lots of people with scars that appear to be due to accidents/fights/etc but are done in a studio. What about rape? Should people stop having sex because people are raped? I don’t get how you can’t see that consensual/voluntary acts are totally unrelated to those that are not.

    And the ranting and raving about Chaz using prosthetics being because he’s “too pathetic too live with his decision” is just silly, because that was part of his interest/goal as an engineer and an amputee fetishist.

    This may cross YOUR line, but it doesn’t cross his line, and it doesn’t cross my line, nor does it cross many other people’s lines.

  103. Have any of you even considered for the slightest moment. That by not doing this its more of a harm then it would be if the limb was kept in place. If this helps this person in some way shape or form. Then by all means let him. Is there a line.. Yes however that is something that should be left to the person to deside what that is. No outside influance should ever be put in place. Just because YOU don’t understand it, and fear it. Does not mean its not a viable option for another person.

    Also what people seem to be completely forgetting is the fact that BME is here to document Body Modification. Now whether or not you happen to agree with what people do to there body is your problem. People are going to do this regardless of whether or not you people agree with it. BME is here to document it. Who cares if any of you think this person needs help. I’m sure in some way shape or form all of us do. If you don’t like something don’t look at it, don’t read it, and generally stay the fuck away. They’re plenty of us who understand.

    Just out of curiousty. I’m curious of what you people think of some of the heavier genital mods out there. Personally I find that more extreme then this..

  104. My view (for what it’ worth, as someone with only ‘mainstream’ mods), is that as long as Alex is happy with his mods, and is not a ‘burden’ upon anyone else as a result of his decision, he should be applauded for having the commitment and courage to take this as far as he has.

    Personally, amputation is not my cup of tea, but individuality is what makes this site so vibrant and interesting. It should be embraced, not derided and classified as ‘insane’.

  105. Just out of interest I am currently chatting to Sean O’Connor from Transabled about BIID and the different attitudes (including my own) regarding it.

    Hopefully I will pop it up on my IAM with his permission (and Shannons).

    It builds upon much of what Shannon has said and corrects me on some of the information that I had led to think was correct.

  106. Oh, you definitely have my permission (not that you need it)!

    PS. I have a couple nice interviews on this subject as well that I’ll try and post shortly (within a week/two at most).

  107. I will openly accept that some of the information on the subject (obtained from Science World, Wikipedia and a few other sources) gives a different perspective on the condition and I allowed my judgement to be based on it rather than taking a look deeper (at Transabled etc) first.

  108. The one genital mod I find similar is nullo. That’s about it.

    Me, I’m too attached to the sensation provided by my particular erogenous bits that I can’t quite get wanting to remove them and put them in a paperweight (as one person did). All the piercing and cutting them, exposing parts, letting bees sting ‘em, all that, to me seems in a different category from removal, FWIW – at least, removal of the special nerve bits.

    And yet, nulling your genitals generally isn’t noticeable when your pants are on, plus, it doesn’t tend to adversely affect ability to perform life skills (as amputations of larger limbs can).

    As for Skullboy, as I recall half that thread was people insisting that it was closeminded to even imply that he might experience serious or possibly adverse life changes from the mod, that those who were interested in that vein just “didn’t understand.”

  109. >>146
    The transabled site is really interesting, I was reading about Sean there.

    It strikes me, though, many of those people want paralysis, which has less overlap with “mod[1]” than amputation, it seems. I mean, it’s fairly clear how you can engineer your leg missing, even if difficult, but to get a certain spinal level injury, would be a different thing.

    I do wonder what Sean would say on the subject of his desires vs. the concepts of body modification generally (and definitions) – it’d be interesting to read his take on it.

    [1] depending on definition, of course – does it need to be visible?

  110. In all these comments not once has my pondering been addressed except by people who also wonder the same thing as I, to wit: Who is paying for this person to continue a ‘functional’ life? Is he dependent upon others for everyday activities? In other words, who wipes his ass?

    My concern is that resources and hard-earned money is being used to maintain this now severely disabled person as he continues in his quest to forcefully remove every dangling bit still remaining on his body. But more than that, I’m concerned about the burden he is becoming for those who love him.

    My tattoos and piercings inconvenience no one. I cannot imagine that this man can say the same about his body mods.

  111. Dan (#145) couldn’t have said it better. As a community, why do we embrace some things considered “normal” while shunning others considered “insane”, when it’s all just striving to get what we personally consider to be the perfect body? Why is it anyone’s business other than Alex, whom it directly affects, what he does to himself? None of us have the right to judge others based on what we view as right or wrong…personally, I wouldn’t do an amputation, but then again, it’s NOT MY BODY. It’s his. So it’s his deal…this is what he wants for himself, he’s obviously thought it through enough and knows the consequences, having done other amputations, so it really shouldn’t matter to the rest of us. I think it’s ridiculous that people get so worked up calling someone insane and in need of psycological help when it doesn’t even affect them. Just because it’s not your personal preference doesn’t mean it’s not someone else’s. And as for the whole where-do=you-draw-the-line issue…draw your own persaonl lines, but don’t try to control others’ boundaries. Like I said, I’m not a huge fan of amputations, but I AM a fan of having the right to do to your own body what you please…

    There, now I’ve thrown my two cents in, and I feel much better now.

  112. Holy sh*t, I’m totally going to go back along these comments and have a decent read through all of them, because they’re no doubt infinitely more interesting than this photo. Seen one finger amputation, seen them all.

    I look at this from a socio-political standpoint, in that if this is a public blog, and all members of the public (barring those with ISP restrictions) can view this blog, breast skewering and finger amputations will undoubtably cast a negative view over the more mainstream areas of BME. I, personally, support a persons right to do this to themselves assuming they’re a sane and consenting adult. BUT I have to cringe when I think of the impact it has by showing these on a free public site.

  113. Giles – Chaz is NoHand and if you’re searching archives for his posts, DBLAMPUTEE was his most common moniker. I should add that he was not “out” in general so non-amputee fetish articles that mention him and his work may give contradictory stories, as may some of his posts.

    ChillyMama – Generally people who go for heavy amputation (limbs rather than fingers) find the challenge part of the experience they enjoy, so doing it themselves is part of what they enjoy. Just like someone who, say, is a climber, wants to climb hard mountains not easy ones, and further, often want to do it with as little assistance as possible. It’s not common for people who self-amputate to “become burdens” because (a) they’re just not that type of person, and (b) they want the challenge of doing it.

    original_sly – I totally understand where you’re coming from and it’s a valid point, but to a large and in my opinion primary extent, BME is for and by this community more so than being intended as a voyeuristic vessel for the general public to view…

  114. For those of you coming in on the tail end of all this, check out the following posts which are interesting (though these aren’t the only ones).

    51 – 64 – 81 – 98 – 144

    Those posts are all pretty compelling.

    If BME is here to strictly document without bias, then of course these images should be here. With no bias, we have no responsibility to support someone’s amputations any more than heckle them. But if BME is a place where we support the rights of people to modify their body, we’re going to have to think of a framework in which to present these things because we will be looked upon in a certain light. That may be of no consequence to some, but for those who wish a career in public services or politics, any affiliation with BME may be to their detriment. Just throwing the idea out there.

  115. I kind of agree with original-sly. The posts beneath this picture have made me think more about this topic and see all sorts of new angles and opinions than the ten-a-penny amp picture alone would have. I too will return when I have more time and read some of the articles and links mentioned here, from different sides of the argument.I thank everyone who has taken the time to contribute, whatever your thoughts on the subject. I suspect this one will run and run…

    On a lighter note, I swear to god, I never ever eat hotdogs and for some reason I bought some yesterday and I was just biting into my hotdog with ketchup when I scrolled down to this… Back to not eating hotdogs again, I think…

  116. Giles&Truthpassion: The body isn’t a house; it’s a path. If he was more worried about keeping his body in one piece than he was about walking his own path then he would be choking the spirit in the name of the body. THAT is crossing a line. You telling him he can’t find out more about himself if it means he has to cut pieces off is crossing a line. And getting in a heated debate over someone else’s choices to cut off pieces that aren’t yours is just fucking stupid. I don’t think that people should pierce each other in a non professional setting, but I’m not gonna insult someone else over and over again if they do. Take a couple deep breaths guys, even if they do end up killing themselves, there are billions of us here.

  117. Shannon, why aren’t things like this blurred anymore on the modblog main page? Because I really enjoy reading Modblog regularly, but “clicking through” with blurred “hard/extreme” images was much much better!

  118. The one and only question I have is: Where did his income come from? I have no problem whatsoever with DIY amputation, but I have to say I’d be a little disgusted if he and others were getting disability payments for something they chose to do to themselves. I have no issue with paying for the victims of accidents, but it’s not anybody else’s responsibility to support somebody who willingly goes through a disabling modification.

  119. And now rereading, that makes more sense, and I guess I have no problem with it, other than the fact that I wish he would have admitted to the general public that he was a willing amputee.

  120. Felt like I should say something in regards to all these posts. I mainly just come to bme for the photos of tattoos. I was born without my lower legs. Some people here are so clueless. I definately disagree with everyone that says being without legs or an arm makes people have to depend on others or helpless. I’m not helpless and i have never had help from someone in doing. I can run the mile faster than a lot of my abled bodied friends. There is a professional skateboarder named Jon Comer who is missing his leg below knee. You can be an amputee and live a pretty normal life. YouTube has a lot of videos showing this fact. Search for Nick Vujicic he has no limbs or stumps at all yet he is very independant doesnt rely or need others help.

    and to the person who said their friend is missing an arm and cant afford a pros. there are a lot of organizations and programs that will provide prosthetics for free or low cost. Look into it. My leg prosthetics are C-Legs. they are one of the top of the line models and i didnt pay full price. $40,000 each and insurance paid most of it. And do you know that the reason he doesnt wear a prosthetic being price? arm prosthetics arent as advanced as leg pros. I know many arm amps that choose not to use pros for that reason, and others dont because there stumps are too short.

    I agree with Shannon about Chaz. To me it doesnt matter that some of his amputations were self induced. I dont nessesarily agree with it but that doesnt have anything to do with his accomplishments. He was definately a disability rights advocate. I dont think he developed the prosthetics for selfish reasons. If he did, why wouldnt he just keep it to himself instead of allowing them to be manufactured. There are needs for Disabillity Advocates, people to stand up and fight. I dont care who the person is or how they came into the disabillity community, just happy they are willing to help make others with disabillities lives easier and make things more accessible.

    With all the comparisons going on i’m suprised no one is comparing this to people who are transgendered. I have talked to a few people online who say they are wannabes. I dont agree with it but I understand it. One guy was telling me he doesnt feel “whole” with his body now, that he feels like he is in the wrong body. Said he has felt this way since he was very young. I have a neighbhor who is transgendered and the feelings and need she described are the same ones as the amputee wannabes. Yet sex changes are medically accepted and for the most part socially accepted.

    A lot of people here seem to be ignorant which to me is surprising. I find it so offensive when people assume being an amputee you are helpless or that it is the worst thing on earth to happen. with some of the comments posted here I am an amputee and not the person who posted. Being an amputee isnt the worst thing in the world to be. Being ignorant is. Sorry my rant is over. Just felt like I had to reply to some of the things said here. If anyone wants to discuss anything i have said here or has any questions feel free to e-mail me. I like educating people about disabillity rights and issues.

  121. As a nursing student, who will be in the “real world” within the next 6 months, I’m truly blessed to have run across BME/ModBlog. I’ve seen some of the prejudices, hate, and naivety that come along with 90% of the professionals I’ve worked with, and can proudly say I cannot wait to become an advocate for people and patients who choose to modify themselves (healthfully, both physically and emotionally), even in extreme ways pictured above.

    I can’t imagine the fear that DIY’ers such as Alex may feel, especially if they believe that something is going wrong during a session. One day I hope that people will feel safe, respected, and treated equally (as they should be) in our hospitals and medical facilities. And on a similar note, I wish that surgical procedures be offered to those by licensed professionals more openly and broadly in the future.

    Just thought I’d throw that aspect in.

  122. I wunder how many other amputee fetishists have a penchant for nailbiting?… Or if nailbiting leads to amputation, to finally fix the narsty habit??

  123. I think that once you see this in a similar light to Transgender(ism) as Shannon pointed out (and something I failed to do) it makes a lot more sense and changes your view of it considerably.

    Well it did for me at least.

  124. can anyone tell me if there really is no need for a slap of skin to close the wound?

    they just chop it off,and noone sutures it.
    this is so strange.

    (apart from the fact, that amputation is imho very dsiputable…I think they should wait a year or two before actually attempting it. and use the time to inform themselves about the procedure.)

  125. Giles, have you read Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality?

    I was reminded of these books upon reading your posts defending the medical assessment of amputation and related issues. It deals with the way in which certain conditions (such as homosexuality and children’s sexuality for instance) have been constructed and pathologised by the medical establishment through history, and how bound up this is with societal demands. It is an excellent analysis of how “normality” is entirely contingent upon a particular socio-historical time frame.
    Just something I thought you might find interesting. (Please ignore this if you are already familiar with it.)

  126. Casper – I have indeed. In fact Foucault was a reference point that I turned back to once Shannon mentioned the history of homosexuality as seen as a pathalogical illness.

    Actually Shannon’s beliefs and Foucaults are quite similar although Foucault used a canvas as a metaphor rather than clay.

  127. Seems like a lot of people just want to know HOW he did this with no other hand. Blade in his teeth?

  128. Apart from amputations surely body mods are just a bit of ink or a piece of metal under the skin, a branding or scar on the skin or maybe a bit of stretched flesh or an extra hole here or there. Wowwee, it’s no big deal.

    Yep it’s his body and he can do what he wants, but to turn yourself from a normal physically healthy person into a severely (or severedly) disabled person with no arms and legs is the strangest thing I’ve ever heard of. You can jump on me now and call me closed minded but it’s got to be the weirdest thing most people here have come across (apart from maybe the guy who let the cannibal eat him)? It’s not far off purposefully becoming a Quadriplegic. Has anyone ever purposefully paralysed themselves?
    If he then gets disability benefits, nursing care etc etc etc then IMO it is completely wrong. If he can live like that without straining the funds of whatever country he lives in then fair enough, if he can be completely independent then good luck to the dude.
    How about an interview with this guy?

  129. For everyone wondering how he did it – have you all never had anyone help you with anything ever in your entire life? It’s called “ASSISTANCE”…

  130. Smurf666 – Read the comment just about yours from Shane; saying that someone is severely disabled because they have missing limbs can be read as very insulting, both by those who choose/want it and those who don’t.

  131. I am the MOST open minded person EVER . No matter how ridiculous the subject matter. I TOLERATE EVERYTHING even your intolerance with a shit eating grin. Please feel free to do whatever you like at any cost. I wouldn’t want to be labeled anything but the most socially progressive individual on all fronts. Feel like whacking your fingers off…No problem….by all means whack off anybody’s fingers you like. We should all do whatever we want whenever we want because anything less would be an assault on humanity along with the freedom and possibility it holds.

  132. “by all means whack off anybody’s fingers you like. We should all do whatever we want whenever we want” – Not sure I agree with that, but I think I know what you mean.

  133. Shannon – I feel you have misquoted me there so to quote myself- “to turn yourself from a normal physically healthy person into a severely (or severedly) disabled person with no arms and legs is the strangest thing I’ve ever heard of.”

    I didn’t say that someone who is missing A limb, or even someone born without legs, is severely disabled. Shane mentions he can run faster than a lot of his abled bodied (before you have a go they are his words not mine) friends. In some professional athletics there’s even talk of prosthetic legs being an advantage. There’s a debate about whether they should be banned for that reason.
    What I did say was that someone with NO arms AND NO legs has got to be classed as severely disabled. The way this chap is going he will possibly soon have NO limbs.
    As I also said before, if he can be completely independent then good luck to the dude.

  134. It’s not my cup of tea but I admit I find the subject of voluntary amputation quite interesting. Whatever is motivating these individuals is intense… who are we to judge it anyways?
    Interesting and powerful photos as always.
    Just because I don’t understand it, doesn’t make it wrong.

  135. BTW, there are some nice follow-up interviews that go into good depth in the works if I didn’t already mention that. Thanks to everyone for raising many points (some which I personally agree with, some which I don’t) — I’ve integrated them into the articles.

  136. We have these body parts for a reason,and it sure
    as hell isn’t just to hack ‘em off!!!

  137. BTW According to what I have read one of the major differences between this kind of Mod and others would appear to be seen as ‘choice’. Sean O’Connor says that BIID sufferers have no choice in how they feel and act upon their feelings whereas other modifications are done out of choice.

    It’s an interesting idea.

  138. doubtful after 180-something comments that I’m adding anything new here but…

    After having read the article(again) I still have to say statements like “my body is an evolving work of art, which at some point will be definitive.” are unsettling since he’s now dead. does that mean Chaz finished? did he get lost in the art or become art itself?


    He claims “I’m not satisfied totally with the look of my right foot; it seems undefined to me somehow… just musing…” Um…just musing? since I have never looked at a body part and thought it looked “undefined” I still question Chaz’s explanation-and denial of dysmorphia. But I have always said if you want to cut your hair, cut it. If you want to cut your hand off, cut it-but save your regrets and your future special needs from the rest of us. If its the lifestyle afterwards and the various restrictions that comes with it that are so alluring-I think that one should take into account that people aren’t just going to hand it over(pun intended). Do what you will, but harm none.

  139. As long as helping voluntary amputees doesnt come out of my tax dollars I don’t give a shit what they do. US income and federal tax is already robbery. I don’t need to pay for someone who voluntarily disabled themselves. I’m all for personal freedom, privacy, and self expression though.

  140. >>I don’t need to pay for someone who voluntarily disabled themselves.

    Yes you do. Those tax dollars are less descriminating than the people who contribute them.

  141. Which is why I’m a libertarian and think all taxes should be illegal. So no, I see no need to pay for them through taxes.

  142. Ahhh but there is a difference between “see”ing the need to pay and actually paying.

    I too have libertarian beliefs but whilst I pay taxes I would prefer them to be spent on assisting those in need (cost to me approx .00006p) rather than subsiding conflicts I oppose.

  143. My comment probably wont be read much out of the near 200 count already, but I do feel like saying to everyone who is trying to say “this is sick” or any other negative towards willful amputation of ones own body – you should really stop and try to see “the big picture”. My feelings are something like, what is so wrong with having a different vision for how your body should look ? Thousands of people get liposuction every single day and none of you complain about that, yet everyone knows there is a chance you could die in surgery. Dctors spend years in medical school to be able to help these people change their bodies, so if you try to say that someone who decides to amputate a part of their body is somehow “hogging” good surgeons or nurses, then what do you call people who get plastic surgery ? In the general scope those doctors dont save lives, they alter bodies. The patients go through with it to change their body to how they feel it should look. Its no different with anyone who wants to amputate one of their own limbs. Where is this..made up sort of ideal that dictates “this is what you were born with – this is what youre stuck with” ? Why should it have to be that way ? It shouldnt..and with more people who explore various aspects of amputation and modification in general, the gap is getting wider between what youre born with and what you have to “accept” and frankly, I think thats an amazing thing.

  144. As long as someone eats whatever they cut off it’s legit. The cycle of nature is complete.

  145. Giles pointed me to the discussion, coming in late, hope you guys and gals are still reading :) I’m Sean, from I’d like to address a few of the comments made throughout :)

    > 125 Can I just clarify here that I have never used the term “mental illness” and that I do not see those who practice self amputeeism as being mentally deficient in any way.

    I’m glad to hear that. Though I ought to point out that having a mental illness is in no way, shape or form synonymous with being mentally defficient. I think it shows a poor understanding of mental illnesses to think so (or it was a poor way to word things).

    > 133 or that they’re suffering from psychosis, which certainly is a symptom of mental illness…

    Errr, again, a misconception of the “general public” about mental illnesses. While psychosis falls under the general umbrella of a mental illness, it is *far* from true that everyone who has a mental illness is psychotic.

    The few reliable studies that are out there show that people with BIID are not delusional, nor psychotic.

    > 138 And, about this article that you keep referencing back to on This study was based on only 52 people… That is a VERY small number.

    Well… Yes. There have also been noises made about how Dr. First went about recruiting the participants for the study. That said, while the number is relatively low, one should also take into account that, while the actual numbers are unknown, the total number of people who have BIID is unlikely to be particularly high.

    Also, that study only had two individuals who required anything other than an amputation, which led to an “official” definition of BIID being biased and including only amputations as required impairment. Dr. First is about to conduct a follow up study which is likely to result in an expension of the definition to include other impairements (such as paralysis, blindness, deafness, etc)

    >140 Other info (BIID Site and Transabled) claim that those who seek amputations often carry out further ‘work’ afterwards.

    I do? Where? I am not aware of anyone who has BIID that has carried on further amputations after they had received the amputation they required. I would not have made those claims on


    Looking at it purely from a concept of “health is only the body”, then, yes, he’s harming his body. But from the point of view where health encompasses both body and mind, harming the body is a relatively minor negative, for the greater positive of health and welfare of the body/mind combination. BTW, I make no statement as to whether or not I believe the person in the shots above have BIID.

    > 147 I have a couple nice interviews on this subject as well that I’ll try and post shortly

    I am looking forward to this. I realise you’re busy, but could you please drop me a note when they are put out? Thanks

    > 152 I do wonder what Sean would say on the subject of his desires vs. the concepts of body modification generally (and definitions) – it’d be interesting to read his take on it.

    This is an entry I’ve been wanting to write for a while. It would take longer to write than a comment here would allow. But… In short, and in general, I think that there is a major difference between BIID and Mods. Some might self-amputate from the perspective of Mod, but it would be a mistake to assume that because one’s modifying one’s body they are doing it from a Mod perspective. In fact, i find the comparison dangerous (to BIID), in that there is an element of *choice* for those who are into Mods. Whereas for those of us with BIID, there is no choice. The risks of associating Mod and BIID in the public’s mind is that they will think we have control over how we feel, which we don’t. OTOH, I can understand those of us with BIID who would take the “mod route”, as a means to an end, in the hope of maybe finding an experienced extreme mod practitioner to assist in getting where we need to go.

    >153 Who is paying for this person to continue a ‘functional’ life?

    Poor understanding of disabilities there. People with BIID aren’t in this for the “benefits”.
    > 166 I find it so offensive when people assume being an amputee you are helpless or that it is the worst thing on earth to happen.

    Hear hear!

    I’ve often said that it should be refreshing to people with disabilities that those of us with BIID say “better dead than able bodied”, whereas most people tend to say “better dead than disabled”…

    >166 With all the comparisons going on i’m suprised no one is comparing this to people who are transgendered.

    Yes, there are strong similarities between the two conditions, certainly in terms of life experiences. One can take the “typical” transsexual story and replace gender with disability and you’d have the “typical” transabled story. In fact, my coining the term transabled to balance BIID is a direct reflection of the pairing of transgendered vs GID.

    For anyone interested, we have just launched a new site providing information about Body Integrity Identity Disorder. We’re still expanding content, but you can find it such as it is here:

  146. Having been exploring self-scarification and branding, I feel some of the call and felt certain yearning.

    For me, it has to do with my great ambivalence toward my body and the world I inhabit. When talking to the “straights” I call it decoration, but it is much more ritualistic taking of control…

    Peace be on him and good fortune.

  147. I didn’t bother to read the comments, because I think I know what it will be about…

    I have a technical question about finger amputation. If you perform an amputation at the knuckle,do the tendons that retract and extend the finger still work (are they still anchored?), or do you lose movement?

  148. I didn’t read all of the posts, but almost no bleeding? What’s all that stuff on the *blue-ish* cloth under his hand, ketchup?

  149. Voluntary amputations raise a lot of ethical issues, particularly with regard to care.

    If such actions are undertaken as “body modification,” then should those people be eligible for the already limited resources available to disabled people, such as disabled parking passes, access to certain types of therapies, subsidized prostheses, and so on? As the partner of someone whose disabilities are not voluntary, I’d be pissed right off to discover that the person taking up the last handicapped parking spot or using the only accessible public bathroom stall was someone whose disability was self-inflicted as a “body modification.”

    On the other hand, if the desire for amputation is to be considered a medical issue (or indeed, a mental illness issue), then should it be featured on a website primarily concerned with body modification? And if so, where are the images of transsexuals?

  150. Exploding Boy, I think you have a very valid point. Desire for amputation, or other impairments, such as paraplegia, blindness or deafness, as a result of Body Integrity Identity Disorder is quite different than if it is a result of a desire for (extreme) mods.

    I have a feeling (completely unsupported) that those who are into body modification are generally looking at smaller amputations: toes, fingers, part of feet. Those with BIID tend to have a need for more “major” impairments: one or both legs amputated, paralysis, etc.

    As I alluded in my previous comment, I think a major difference between BIID and mods is that the later usualy leaves the person choice in the matter, whereas BIID doesn’t leave the person choice.

    The question of benefits for people with BIID is one that is often raised. We don’t want to be on benefits. That’s not the reason behind our “booboo”. I do use disability parking spaces, as well as accessible stalls (incidentally, in a dozen years of using a wheelchair full-time, I have lost count of how many times I’ve waited for someone without a visible disability to come out of the stall, yet can count on half the fingers of one hand the number of times I had to wait for another wheelchair user to come out!).

  151. Exploding Boy – Should a person with a facial tattoo be eligible for welfare because it’s much harder for them to find a job? In most areas they are.

    That said, most voluntary amputees are not looking for a handout — part of what they’re looking for is the challenge of being an amputee.

  152. Shannon, the claim that those of us with BIID are looking for the “challenge” of disability may not be entirely accurate. For the majority of us, it’s not about challenges (nor is it about attention for that matter). It’s about aligning our physical body with our body image.

    But on the “benefits” side of things, what if? What if people with BIID got on benefits, even if temporarily, after acquiring the impairment they seek? I suggest the cost to society would still be much less than it is for us before impairment. Consider the cost of work absenteeism due to depression, cost of therapy, medication (neither of which works on BIID, but can help with BIID related depression), cost on loved ones and families, etc.

  153. Shannon, if the question you’re getting at is “should people with certain types of visible piercings and tattoos be ineligible for welfare because their personal choice of bodily decoration makes it harder for them to find a job,” it’s an interesting one, and tangentially related to the voluntary amputation issue.

    While I think everyone should have equal access to social assistance programs, is it really fair for anyone to voluntarily remove their ability to support themeselves because they favour a certain look?

    As an example, there are some people where I live whose choice of style renders them basically ineligible for most types of work. While this may be partly a result of prejudice on the part of employers, and while I believe they have every right to decorate their bodies as they wish, does the right to every type of self expression override the responsibility of people who live in a society to take care of themselves and not to place an unfair burden on the system or on other people? I know several people who waited until they were older and established in their professions before proceding with desired visible tattoos and piercings, instead of denying themselves the ability to work in their chosen fields and to support themselves. In my view such people make a much bigger impact than those whose visible body modifications paradoxically make them invisible. An established, respected professional with a facial tattoo (or whatever) makes a much more favourable impression than someone with an absolute commitment to their look who can’t support themselves.

    Similarly when it comes to voluntary amputations, is it fair or acceptable for everyone else’s money and limited resources to be used on people who perform such amputations as a body modification? I’m certainly not suggesting that people are looking for handouts, but I am saying that if, as a result of removing one’s own leg, one then takes advantage of systems and resources created for people whose disabilities are not voluntary, like handicapped parking stalls, subsidized prostheses and the like, that doesn’t seem right.

    On the other hand if voluntary amputation is to be considered a medical or mental health issue rather than a body modification, then why feature it on BME and not other medical conditions that result in bodily changes, like transsexuality, anorexia, BDD and so on?

  154. i dont know. i think it seems liek it is obvious mental breakdown to me, but thats my perspective.

    I do not think it would be too much to ask that people who want to cut themselves to stumps maybe see a therapist to talk about the desire before hand. possible for to have a mental screening to diagnose any inbalance that can be treat with therapy or medicine first. If they are in perfect mind and still want to do it then they i guess should be able to do it, although i do think it is personally an injustice as mentioned. possibly insulting to victims of war.

    To me i ts liek when a person cutts themselves to relieve the inner pains, not for reasons of joy but for reasons of pain.(negative pains). that behavior is to be looked at and not encouraged in my opinion. Its not the same motivations as ritual cutting or modifications..

    Body mod the same way maybe. If its about bring joy then do it, if its for pure self hatred maybe not a good idea.

  155. I watched a video of prison torture under Saddam’s reign in Iraq in which prisoners’ fingers and hands were chopped off. I get so sad thinking remembering disturbing images of various Iraq war videos, and I could not bring myself to watch this one.

    @143 asked someone “What’s more important? One’s body or one’s life?”

    Honestly, my life is not my own without my body. I have worked hard to get my body in its form and I would rather be dead than without an arm or leg. I dont have a problem letting it go when I die, but I want all or nothing.

    I can see the point about plastic surgery being similar, with beauty as a subjective ideal. Plastic surgery also disurbs me to an extent.

  156. Pingback: Spiritual and Philosophical Reasons Behind Body Modification « Drink. Smoke. Write.

  157. Yes, I have a problem with people who want to be disabled in any way. I am having a very hard time understanding why one would want to be less functional in the world. I’ve read some of these sites and have discovered that most of the bloggers only want “it” some of the time and not 24- 7. Is it more of trying to fulfill a need like hunger where you don’t have to eat all of the time but only some of the time? I am a registered nurse who has cared for many disabled people and none of them wished for their disability. As a matter of fact, they wish it never happened. If it’s so great, why not “take the plunge” and permanently disable yourself? As for the amputees- please seek some professional advice- this is not good for you, physically.

  158. i know old bikers who look like this and would give anything to have them digits back(it wasn’t voluntary loss… I don’t think at least)… then again I think they’d give anything to remember how they’d lost them…

  159. Maybe you people should do some research: people who have BIID actually show different brain chemistry and such in scans… it’s a mental issue, but how can we solve it when the brain is the root of the problem? Therefore, amputation may be the answer for someone who suffers with BIID – for them to truely identify with his/her own body and feel complete in life. Why is this wrong, yet you can go and get tattoos, piercings, brandings and plastic surgery?

    Seriously people, stop the ignorance with mental disorders and illness.

  160. On November 21st of 2009. I had an accident which took off my middle finger and thumb. My family was unfortunate enough to have been a witness to and having to assist in lifesaving procedures that followed. I was working on my ultralight aircraft and the motor mounts broke loose causing me to get caught in the prop.

    When I first read this article and the post it was hard to contain my emotion. At first I was filled with hatred for him, getting rid of a body part I would pay millions to get back. And to say there is no pain is insane to say the least. It is unbelievable pain, even if the damage is not extensive. There are so many nerves in the fingers.

    What bothers me the most is that his wife or friend or whatever significant other has to shower him, zip his pants open his cereal. All the things that seem small that we take for granted. I know because I lived it.

    I hated and I mean HATED having to ask my wife to zip my pants in the morning, to wash the other side of my body because I couldn’t do it while I was healing. Open the cereal, the medicine bottle, the soda bottles, etc etc etc etc etc.

    I felt bad about it because my lack of safety consciousness caused the accident and I had caused my wife and kids to have to witness a horrific event and have to be my nurse maids and helpers for something that I some how felt responsible for.

    How someone could put there loved ones in that position voluntarily is beyond me. And there is no medical way that he was able to amputate and not have a lot of swelling and healing time which would have incapacitated him to a point where he would need someone elses assistance. Meaning basically that he makes someone else responsible for making sure his needs are met.

    It is the height of selfishness being only surpassed by suicide which I feel may be the ultimate in selfish acts. These types of actions cause others to be affected sometimes more so than the person to which the are occuring.

    Body modification for the most part doesn’t affect your loved ones to a great degree. (maybe occasional stares etc) but not to a point where they have to give you assistance. This however I wouldn’t classify as part of the body modification lifestyle. This is a sickness of the mind and needs some serious therapy!!!

    Hey bud! If you don’t want your fingers man keep em on Ice I’d love to have them!!!!!! Miss mine every day!!

  161. I wonder if there are ways of professionally getting these sorts of procedures done so one wouldn’t have to do it themselves and could be in the comfort of a hospital or something similar.

  162. That is an amazingly clean cut. I’ve thought of doing my ring finger on my right hand exactly at the same point but I figured I’d be hacking away at it and it’d be a mess. Idk what you mean about no blood cause that towel below his hand is soaked in blood.

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