When you think of getting tattoos you usually first think of pain. And you are right to do so. It hurts like a bear. And worse, depending on where you get inked. So much so that no matter how much of a manly man you are - or indeed, how much of a girly girl, you may have to take a break or two in the middle of the procedure to cry for a while.
But your clever body rewards you for your suffering. It perceives multiple skin punctures and pain pathways lighting up like the Vegas strip, and it goes right to work. It engages your fight or flight mechanisms and releases adrenaline - a powerful corticosteroid that dulls the pain.
Along with that, it marinates your brain with a healthy dose of endorphins - the orgasm hormones. So by the time you’re done with the exquisite agony and self-torture of getting your body art, rather than sobbing uncontrollably in pain, you feel a strange euphoria and bliss - much like you would after taking drugs - because you are stimulating the same part of the brain.
This may be why 23% of people with tattoos identify themselves as ‘tattoo addicts” and keep getting more and more until they run out of skin. 7 out of 10 people with tattoos have more than one tat. 2 out of 10 have 6 or more. And it’s not all sailors and bikers anymore. Nearly half (47%) of all thrill-seeking American Millennials, aged 18 to 28, have at least one tattoo. 36% of Gen X’ers (36-50 years old) have one.
It might also explain why one research study showed that virtually all men and all women had much higher self-esteem and self-confidence and much less anxiety after getting a tattoo.
This confidence leads to even more surprising results - adults with tattoos were found to be more sexually active than those without tats. Because of the self-confidence? The tats? Or the underlying personality that would get body art? No one is quite sure. You just get laid more.
Also your image rockets into orbit. People with tattoos were perceived to be more exciting, more thrill-seeking and more adventurous and were assumed to have had more sexual partners.
According to an article in Psychology Today, tattoos have power. They make us feel better than normal people and as a consequence. make us feel better about ourselves, give us a better and more positive response from others and gives us an appetite for more life, lived on the edge. It signals a sexy ‘devil-may-care’ attitude and our independence from conformity and normality. And it’s not just a transitory high. It seems permanent, especially in men - although some women begin to lose that superwoman feeling about three weeks after their tat. Otherwise getting a tattoo seems to give you a lifelong commitment to rebelliousness.
You dashing outlaw you.