kINKED came out Tuesday. Hopefully you’ve got your copy and have already started reading it, but either way we wanted to give you a chance to hear directly from some of the contributors.
Tattoos and Pain Kink
by Brantwijn Serrah
When Pen & Kink put out a call for tattoo-themed erotica, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about: pain.
I have six tattoos. In fact, I got the last two while I was in the process of submitting to this very collection. The experience is fantastic. My most recent tat, a pair of cats perched in the arc of a crescent moon (actually quite similar to the tattoo my main character receives in this anthology) is the largest tattoo I have, and the only one in full color. Sitting for it was a serious pleasure, as I stretched out on my belly, topless against the leather of the artist’s table. It was a sort of four-hour endurance test. That’s nothing compared to what others sit for, but it felt downright perfect for me.
If anyone ever tells you that getting a tattoo doesn’t hurt, they’re a downright filthy liar. As you might guess from words so far, though, and if you read my short story in K’inked, the pain is an integral part of the process for me. It’s ritual. I anticipate the pain with a subtle, secret excitement. In a way, there’s a part of me that enjoys the experience of the pain more than the tattoo itself.
The eroticism of tattoos—at least, the eroticism in being tattooed—comes from that pain, and the pleasure of relief, and the contrast of needle, skin, blood, air. The firmness of the leather table under me and the light, exposed sensation left on my skin where the needle touches down and lifts away.
My story in K’inked, For the Occasion, begins with the sound of the tattooist’s needle. To me, that sounds seems to encompass all the best elements of the experience of being inked. When I hear it, it lights up my senses. It focuses me on the ritual, bringing me right into the moment. It’s one of the few experiences that can do that. Usually my brain runs a mile a minute and I can’t stop thinking long enough to be in the moment. The concept is totally alien to me, except when that needles starts buzzing. Then, I’m in the moment, I’m in my skin, entirely focused on the experience, and the next few minutes or hours of stillness and submission.
My own experiences with tattooing have never been sexual, as it is for my pain-slut main in For the Occasion. But they are erotic. It’s an erotic encounter exclusively within me. The tattooist is no more than a pair of hands administering a process. He doesn’t matter, insomuch as this inner, emotional catharsis is concerned. To be honest, when I think back to my last tattoo I can’t even bring to mind any details about my artist at all.
The feel of the needle is sharp and slow, bringing all my attention to my skin and the muscle just beneath it. The intensity, the endurance and variation in the level and pressure of pain, is in a way similar to approaching orgasm. Then the needle inevitably lifts, the air feels cool against the wound site, I let out the breath I’ve been holding. Relief—not release—allows me to relax. The artist’s hand very lightly brush away ink and blood, and the contact sends a cold shiver through my skin. Then the buzz begins again and the needle comes back.
There’s a kind of high afterward. It’s not any kind of subspace per se, but it’s a lingering pleasantness and a burning sting, like from a good spanking. For the next few days, every twinge takes me back there. It fills me with a sense of pride, beauty, and aesthetic. I’m acutely aware of myself as revealed, as a canvas.
These are the emotions and ideas I wanted to connect with when I wrote For the Occasion. Tattoos and pain are orgasmic. Intense. Cathartic. Renewing. I couldn’t wait to invoke that experience through erotic storytelling. And, like a fresh tattoo, I can’t wait to show off the end result.
When she isn’t visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with art: sketching, painting, and cover design. She can’t handle coffee unless there’s enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats and can spend hours watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes.
In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has self-published erotic short stories available on Amazon. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at http://brantwijn.blogspot.com.