Especially in the United States and other countries that have a strong conservative element in their legal system, body modification and related activities can and have become a part of divorce proceedings. BME has documented cases where one partner has used the other partner's genital piercings as a proof of "habitual abuse" and "depravity" in the proceedings, and as a result won sole custody of their children along with a hefty settlement.
One reader wrote to tell his story:
- For much of our marriage, my wife and I had been engaged in body modification, but because I was in the USAF, I had to delay any major modifications on myself. I am extensively tattooed since that is generally acceptable in the military, but we were waiting for my retirement to perform long-awaited castration, head-splitting, and penis and nipple piercings on me. In the meantime, my wife had both nipples and all 4 labia multiply pierced since early in our marriage (years 3-6). She did not care to have tattoos, and I did not insist. Our love play involved her piercings extensively. Furthermore, she would grab my balls and whisper, "I'm going to cut these off one day and eat them, Eunuch-boy!" This would always excite us both fantastically.
- After 14 years of marriage, she filed for divorce for reasons unrelated to the body modifications. We had one son who was thirteen at the time. I felt like he would be better off with me, so I petitioned for custody. Well, my wife went ballistic! This was around the time of the Bobbitt affair, and she jumped upon the "wife as victim" furor. She insisted that the piercings were never done with her consent and that she only submitted under my domination and coercion. After all, "who would ever consent to letting her body be so brutalized." She then challenged my fitness as a parent to my son. They warned of dire consequences of letting a boy be raised by someone so submissive as to desire his wife to castrate him. (Remember now, this "submissive" man is the one that "dominated and coerced" her into piercings she didn't want.) She brought in psychiatric "experts" that said that any one with more than 3 or 4 tattoos was invariably antisocial and not to be trusted.
- Well, it worked. The judge (a white-haired patrician male) was appalled at the prospect of a boy being raised by an antisocial would-be eunuch. The jury completely bought her teary tale of domination and fear. I lost 80% of my USAF retirement. I pay lifetime MAJOR alimony to include long-term psychotherapy for my ex to help her "recover from the trauma I caused her." Worst of all, I barely get to see my son, and then only under supervised circumstances unless I can show by my own psychotherapy (which I can't really afford) that I have recovered from my "perverse desires." Obviously, I can no longer engage in any modification since that would be proof that I was still "sick."
- Lessons learned:
- If you are considering marriage and want to pursue body modification, a prenuptial agreement is essential. If you can get an agreement where your fiancé/fiancée agrees to future modifications, great. Otherwise, at least get an acknowledgment that he/she is fully aware of your desires, is marrying you knowing this about you, and considers these desires acceptable and not perverse.
- If already married, before body modification, some sort of "consent" document should be done. Basically, it should be to the effect that he/she agrees to a specific modification of his/her own free will without coercion.
- Videotape the event, not just for fun, but to document the obvious cooperation and consent of the person being modified. I know this seems awkward, but with over 60% of marriages ending in divorce, there is a good chance that any couple practicing body modification may find themselves in an adversarial situation in a court intolerant and ignorant of body mods.
Nobody wants to believe that their marriage could end so bitterly, even though we see it happen all the time. Like a prenuptial agreement, statements of consent on body modification may be prudent for many couples.