Tag Archives: body modification

Dickanatomy, Dickonomics, and Dickfuturology

Debbie says:

Even when I’m screening for good Body Impolitic fodder, I rarely find three great links on any one topic … and when I do, it’s not usually male sexual organs.


First, Diane Kelly at Throb reports on a genuinely new anatomical discovery.

… no one knew much about how the lymphatic vessels were arranged underneath the skin, which limited treatments for swelling and increased the risk of complications during surgery.

So in a wince-inducing imaging experiment, Yan Liu and his colleagues at the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China built a map of the penile lymphatic system using MRI images captured from volunteers who agreed to have a medical contrast agent injected under their foreskins.

The results, published in the Anatomical Record this week, show that lymphatic vessels in the glans and foreskin form a network across the upper surface of the penis before merging to form larger vessels that send fluid into lymph nodes embedded in the groin. The network isn’t connected to the erectile tissues in the center of the penis, suggesting that those tissues have their own independent set of lymphatic vessels.

Then, Alana Massey at Medium has some scorching things to say about “dickonomics” on dating sites (especially Tinder), and how heterosexual women can think about choosing among possible partners.

Dick is abundant and low value. I had gotten my new motto amidst the worst break-up of my life. Shaken to my core by the degrading insults my ex had hurled at me but also mourning the permanent departure of some poetically good dick, I was spending a day mindlessly refreshing Twitter and reading up on how to spot sociopaths. I came across two tweets from Madeleine Holden, a lawyer and writer who regularly entertains the Twitter masses with her unapologetic analyses of toxic masculinity and her praise of amazing female-identified people:

1 G-bMq6iDoaXX7W2xdh61AwFor all its faults, I still find Tinder delightful. I’m now 29, and I set my upper age limit to a reasonable 37, my lower age limit to a rather scandalous 23. No one can address me without my consent, which I can withdraw with an unceremonious “Unmatch” at any time. … But I’ve found enough value on Tinder to keep going, swiping and unmatching bad profiles out of my life at the first sign of unreasonable expectations. Their corner of Tinder is a dark place, dense with hapless souls who didn’t realize that the centuries-long period of dick overvaluation is over.


Finally, George Dvorsky at io9 has entirely too much fun imagining “the penis of the future,” which is, among other things,

  • disease resistant (“a high-tech penis could be implanted with bio-sensors that detect specific foreign pathogens, alerting the rest of the body to their presence,”),
  • shape-shifting (“Ideally, men should be able to change the smoothness of their penis, or its surface structure. Penis 2.0 should be like an on-demand French tickler, with modifiable ridges, grooves, and bumps to enhance the sexual pleasure of the receiver.”) and
  • internet ready (“Once your dick is online you’ll be able to participate in virtual sex. … With the enhanced, Internet-ready penis, no external devices will be required. You could also use your bluetooth-enabled penis to track and transmit biometric data and other statistics to an online app. … Oh, and a connection to the Internet will also allow you to update any software that’s resident in your upgraded penis.)

You’ve heard of the “internet of things”; this is the “internet of schlongs.”  Read the whole thing, some of which is serious and all of which is entertaining.

Thanks to hitchhiker for the dickonomics link.

Body Modification: Welcome to the Future

Debbie says:

As a lifelong science fiction reader, I was struck by this interview on io9.com with Shannon Larratt, founder of the BME body modification site. Larratt is, unsurprisingly, an expert on the fine points of body modification, and raises all kinds of distinctions in the body modification world, starting with distinguishing tattoos (usually about form) from body mods that are primarily about function.

wristwatch embedded in wrist skin

As a person who stopped wearing a wrist watch decades ago specifically because I felt that it tied me too much to knowing the time, an internal wristwatch is the last thing I would want. As well as I can tell from the article, this internal wristwatch doesn’t exist yet, and neither do internal cell phones or internal GPSs or calendars. But they are not far away. They are certainly no more complicated than insulin pumps or cochlear implants–those just happen to be medical body modifications, and thus we perceive them somewhat differently.

I like how Larratt talks about risk:

Yes, of course, all of this is not without risk — significant risk perhaps. If a battery were to leak — let’s not even think about exploding — and tear through the silicone somehow, noxious chemicals could be released into the body. Even in the best case scenario, the implant will have to eventually be removed, probably because it stopped working — to say nothing of obsolescence.

It’s not going to be as fun to upgrade your cellphone every nine months if you have to cut it out of your hand first. In the early days there will be a lot of problems so doing as much testing as possible is important. For example, after the implant is built, letting it sit in warm body temperature salt water for a few weeks to make sure the implant is solid and that the electronics can handle the temperature and environment.

But even with the best testing, for the first few years, the guinea pigs need to know that things will go wrong and that they’re treading unknown ground. For me, and I’m sure many other pioneers, this has always been part of the fun. Exploring dangerous new territory s a wonderful adventure, if a foolhardy one that many people don’t understand the joy of and ridicule.

Larratt does have magnets implanted in his fingertips:

safety pins hanging magnetized from fingertips

The magnet moves or vibrates when it is exposed to magnetic or electromagnetic fields. This can be felt by the same nerves that are used for touch, nerves that are extremely dense and sensitive in the fingertips. They are … quite tiny, having a volume comparable to a grain of uncooked rice.

When the magnets move, you are aware of it, and it doesn’t take long before this becomes a distinct sensation from touch. … For example, if you are feeling the electromagnetic bubble that comes off of a power transformer, … it feels like you’re reaching out and touching an invisible bubble. That bubble has form (you can move your hand around to get an idea of the shape) and it has strength (the amount of power dictates how far the magnet is being moved inside your finger) and it even has “colour” (the frequency of the electromagnetic field alters how quickly the magnet vibrates). …

It’s hard to describe just how wonderful this is — our world is so rich with electromagnetism. It’s such an important part of the modern world, yet most people are blind to it…. Because I can feel the power running through cables (at household voltages anyway), and transformers are easy to detect, there are many times where I’ve used it to quickly diagnose hardware issues without having to pull out a multimeter. The sensitivity is high enough to detect a spinning hard drive engine through the keyboard of a laptop, or to feel a distributor firing in a car being repaired.

He doesn’t say how this affects air travel and metal-detector scanning (let alone whether he can have an MRI), but with approximately a thousand such implants out there, and probably more every day, I imagine this will become something people learn how to deal with.

The future of body modifications? Seems like the sky is probably the limit. As he points out at the end of the article, 3-D bioprinters are not far from making new organs and body parts; I read separately about this damaged bald eagle and its 3-D printed, surgically attached beak.

bald eagle before and after 3D printed beak transplant

Biomodified prosthetic devices for humans are obviously coming, but what else?

Will I live to see an opportunity to get the prehensile tail I’ve always wanted?