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Why People Modify Their Bodies


Nearly half of all adults have at least one tattoo and 11% of the population has at least one piercing (other than the earlobe). Besides that, several other types of body modification have been observed, like eye tattooing, subdermal implants, and tongue splitting. While some people prefer to not alter their body in any way, there are various scientific explanations as to why others choose to go through this.

Bright Side wanted to know the psychological reasons behind body modification and gathered this information so that you could understand it too.

1. It can release “feel-good” chemicals.

Every time someone modifies their body, endorphins are released and a positive feeling takes place. Because of that, people tend to remember the moment they’re getting pierced or tattooed as a happy time, and go and do it again.

2. It’s a form of art or fashion expression.

Some people use clothes or makeup, others use their own body. Tattoo artists are becoming more and more experienced in creating art on people’s skin, while piercings and other body modifications are often seen as a fashion accessory that complements the overall look.

3. It helps to create a sense of individuality.

Everyone is unique, but some people like to enhance this by making a one-of-a-kind modification on their bodies. They want to be special and distinguish themselves from others. This also helps them to create their own identities.

4. It can immortalize personal experiences.

It’s possible to use body modifications as a self-healing process. People who lost someone, who went through a traumatizing experience, or who want to immortalize a milestone often choose to mark these events on their skin and body.

5. It’s a tradition.

Some people view body modification as a spiritual awakening, an initiatory process. Some cultures also use it as a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood.

6. It shows physical tolerance.

We can see a lot of people who are trying to overcome pain, obstacles, and their overall personal limits, and body modifications are one of these movements. It proves courage and toughness.

7. It’s a way to belong to a group.

All humans want to belong to a certain social circle. Befriending someone who also likes to modify their bodies is one way of doing this. Some people even modify their bodies just to be included in a group, like rock stars.

8. It’s an impulsive act.

Not everyone that gets a piercing, a tattoo, or some other body modification does so after deep thinking and consideration. Some do it as a pure impulse. That’s why we see tattoos being covered up and even removed. In fact, 17% of inked people regret their tattoo and are thinking about removing it.

From what age do you think it’s ok to start getting piercings and tattoos? Do you have any? Why did you get them?



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