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Alicia Amira
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BDSM, bimbos and branding: the extreme world of body modification fetishes


TextSophie Wilson

Permanent body mods change the recipient’s appearance forever, taking sexual kinks outside the bedroom and making them a 24/7 lifestyle

When Kim Kardashian went on The Ellen DeGeneres Show this month, she revealed that Pete Davidson has had her name branded on his chest. “He wanted to do something that was really different,” she said, before adding that Davidson wanted the branding to be there as a scar forever. This episode could be written off as yet another example of celebs trying to outweird each other, but branding is also a known, if niche, fetish within the BDSM community and just one example of how some people permanently modify their bodies for kinky reasons. 

Body modification has a long tradition in kink. When the first US-based body piercing studio, Gauntlet, opened in LA in 1975, its clientele originated from California’s queer S&M communities. Jim Ward, the studio’s founder, specialised in nipple and genital piercings before branching out into piercing on a broader, more commercial level. Before being embraced by the mainstream in the mid-90s, piercing was largely associated with queer, kink and alternative cultures.

The term ‘body modification’ covers everything from mainstream practices like tattoos and piercings to more ‘extreme’ procedures like tongue splitting, branding and scarification. It can also include cosmetic surgery, fillers, and botox. There are many ways to subtly modify your body in order to feel sexy or increase sexual pleasure in some way. Tongue and nipple piercings, for example, are often sexualised, but they are relatively common and not particularly visible in day-to-day life. However, for those with specific sexual fetishes, body modification can mean embracing their kinkiness, visibly and irreversibly, as a 24/7 lifestyle for the rest of their lives.

There are many reasons why someone might decide to permanently modify their body for sexual gratification. For Sam*, 32, branding is an intimate and spiritual experience. They have two self-done brands and one brand applied by their dom on their chest, forearm and upper back. “The physical sensation is a turn on,” they say. “It puts me into a very spacey, blissed out state very quickly. My initial experiences with branding were self-done brands as part of my spiritual practice and that definitely felt very close to being in deep prayer or meditation.”

Historically, human branding was used to mark criminals and slaves. In the UK today, the legality around branding is murky. As the procedure involves a more serious form of bodily harm than tattooing or piercing, it has been treated as a criminal practice in the past even if the person who was branded gave their full consent. In 1996, a husband was taken to court for consensually branding his wife. The court decided that this act fell within the category of ‘lawful infliction of actual bodily harm’ because it was in the confines of a marital relationship. The legal emphasis was on the fact they were married rather than the health and safety risks of performing this act at home. “I would say that untrained people doing any kind of body modification can’t ever be considered truly safe,” says Sam, “but I learned everything I could to reduce risk.”

In the BDSM community, branding is often a sign of ownership. “Knowing that the marks are long term or permanent adds another dimension for me,” says Sam. “The feeling of being claimed and owned is so important for me feeling sexually satisfied and fulfilled in my relationship. Seeing sex mainly as an act of love and service to my dom has taken away all the pressure and self-consciousness I’ve experienced in vanilla relationships.”

But branding isn’t the only way that people permanently modify their bodies to reach a state of sexual submission. People with bimbofication kinks often go under the knife, undergoing multiple breast enhancements, over the top lip fillers, and more to achieve a plastic sex doll look. “Throughout my surgeries, I enhanced myself more and more,” says professional bimbo, Alicia Amira, who has had three breast surgeries, one rhinoplasty, and plenty of fillers and Botox. “I feel more like the sex object and sex doll that I feel like I was born to be. Looking a certain way allows me to feel that way and not just pretend to be.”

Like branding, bimbofication can also enhance sexual fulfillment through feelings of ownership. Some bimbos give control over how they modify their bodies over to partners or fans. “I allow my partner to decide [how I change my appearance] because it’s part of my bimbofication to have somebody who owns me,” says Amira. “I’m his sex object and his trophy. How big my breasts are gonna go isn’t really up to me to decide. In our dynamic, it’s his decision. It’s what turns me on and what excites me.”

Body modification bridges the gap between fantasy and reality. Most people have sexual fantasies but would not go as far as irreversibly altering their bodies and lives just to live out those desires. For Amira, bimbofication is certainly a fetish, but her transformation is also about becoming who she always felt she was. “I always felt like I was a bimbo on the inside, but really pursuing the art of bimbofication and permanent body modification was really hard at first because I had to face so much stigma and I had to overcome the fear of exclusion from society,” she says. “I can’t take my enhancements off, so I live like this, regardless of how I dress. Quite early on, I sacrificed a normal life on the altar of bimbofication and that was a conscious decision. I don’t have the luxury of going to Co-op and looking normal or regular because I have enhanced myself to never be able to do that.”

Bimbo Juliette Stray also made sacrifices for the sake of bimbofication. She sees her body modifications as a sort of self-inflicted bondage. “That I can imprison myself via my kink choices is so hot,” she says. “I want to wear a burlap sack and still have people look at me sexually. I wanted to not be able to hide the way I’ve changed my body. I like being a spectacle and I love humiliation so I like the attention, be it positive or negative.”

Body modification fetishes are often the subject of sensationalist tabloid headlines. People like to stare or laugh at anyone who looks different, especially if there’s a sexual motivation behind their look. It’s worth remembering that a lot of these modifications are dangerous if not carried out correctly and, as with any kinky activity, ongoing consent is key. But even if these kinds of ‘extreme’ body modifications aren’t your thing – and, let’s be honest, for most people, they won’t be – there’s still something to be said about living out your fantasies so authentically, regardless of what other people might think. As Stray put it, “The apocalypse is looming over us so get your boob job. Dye your hair. Pierce your stuff. Split your tongue. Just do it.”

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