I’ve pondered for some time on the psychology of tattoos. Why do people feel they must go through a certain amount of real pain to make permanent changes to their bodies? What is it with tattoos?

I’m not sure I know the answer, but I think it is not disconnected with the current phenomenon of gender re-assignment and gender choice. What is lurking behind the behaviors?

I believe it is an identity issue. For lots of reasons people are rootless and lack a real sense of who they are. Broken families, increased mobility, sexual promiscuity, unemployment, the decline of religion, fear of commitment, delayed or denial of marriage–all these social factors lead to a lack of social cohesion in which our identity is formed.

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