Berkeley 5000

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This entry draws heavily from the article Interview With Mistress Ilsa Strix by S.B. Forrest in GAUNTLET Magazine (number 15, 1998), and Forrest may also be the photographer for the pictures echoed here. It may have been first published in Vault Magazine. Back issues may still be available from Gauntlet Press. Note that "Gauntlet Magazine" has no relation to the piercing studio of the same name (nor with PFIQ).

As I write this (March 6, 2006), the Guinness Book of World Records claims that the largest number of piercings done in a single session is 2,005 on Steve Derwood who broke the previous record of 745. Much, much larger play piercing scenes have been well documented and one of the more important—and record smashing—of these was the Berkeley 5K, in which five thousand piercings were done (in a scene that lasted over twelve hours) by Mistress Ilsa Strix (who you may know best as the co-inventor (with Lou Duff) of the Triangle Piercing) and two helpers on September 29, 1996.

Mistress Ilsa Strix (assisted by Mistress Izabella Sol and Mistress Midori) doing 5,000 piercings on a masochistic submissive.

The ritual was done with a personal play partner (not a client) of Ilsa's, a year after he'd already done a 333 needle CBT scene with her. Because five thousand needles means ten thousand holes in the skin, full safeguards were taken—sterilization and disinfection steps were emphasized, a doctor was on call one room over with contingency gear like oxygen and cardiac arrest equipment should things start to go wrong. A second submissive worked as a butler during the procedure taking out garbage and keeping the Mistresses fed.

A safeword ("red") was defined but never used—the piercee remained "active and talkative" the entire time, never showing any symptoms of shock or other distress. Most of the time they chatted about what they were doing, but "eventually the conversation regressed into a lady's sewing circle of sin." Occasional breaks were taken to eat sushi and power bars.

Berkeley 5000-3.jpg

I don't believe that Guinness was ever asked to include this record, and I'm not sure if they would because of the S/M overtones. Either way, to the best of my knowledge, five thousand piercings stands as the world record for the greatest number of piercings done in one session for almost ten years, and I suspect will continue to stand for some time to come.

L-R: Mistresses Izabella Sol, Ilsa Strix, and Midori.
Consensual S/M is such a fabulous gray area, I don't think most people initially know how to deal with it. As you come into it you realize that we create it each moment, we define it in a thousand ways. The human psyche is so complex, there are so many avenues one can play with. This play takes place in the most intimate and sacred parts of the person, places we, in our sex negative culture, are taught to ignore or repress. We are never taught to honour these "forbidden" desires. S/M deserves respect for it is us, us in our rawest and purest and most complex and vulnerable and scariest and loveliest of forms. — Mistress Ilsa Strix

Acknowledged world record holder for piercings Brent Moffatt writes in emphasizing that it is important to understand that there is no consistency across record attempts in terms of needles used (gauge and style; the larger they are the more stress on your body—the ones above are very small), jewelry insertion (if any—it makes the attempt more difficult again, as well as more expensive), and so on, making it difficult to make a fair comparison between these very different record attempts.

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