The latest question I have gotten is a rather technical one:
Reader: “I have read many articles, both pro and con, about branding. I can figure out what is best for me from a spiritual and personal perspective. What I would like is some technical advice so I know how to best choose a brander so I am not left with an ugly scar.
First, to answer your query, you must decided if you want a “surface burn,” which fades in time or a “permanent branding,” which is – DUH – permanent. Since branding has not (yet?) become popular like piercing and tattooing where there are shops on every corner, like Starbucks, it can be daunting to find a good brander. Thus, there is a skill level that must be evaluated before you hire a brander. So to help you out, here are some basics:
Branding, simply put, is burning the skin’s surface to make a mark. This mark can be either temporary or permanent. The temporary kind is often referred to as a “surface burn.” A skillfully done surface burn will usually begin to fade within a few months; after a year, the most that will remain is a residual redness – depending upon the skin type. Extreme masochists love this type of play, which has no shortage of pain.
Permanent branding is quite a bit more complicated than one would expect. Most experienced branders work in 316L stainless steel sheet metal and shape it into different parts of the brand. They build their designs using sequential “strikes” of thin metal pieces to make the complete brand. Heated by a propane torch, the temperature is critical. Too hot, you can injure muscle tissue or ruin the brand with too much scarification. Too little heat, the brand will look weak. And all the strikes must be applied with equal pressure and identical heat or an uneven brand will result. To properly brand a person takes a lot of skill; we are, after all, not cattle. And remember, the results are not as predictable as tattoos; you must expect some unexpected results.
Best to keep these paragraphs in mind and ask him/her how EXACTLY the brand is applied. If they just say they heat copper wire, the word is NEXT!
Issues of skill aside, the major concern for most people is the permanence of the brand. “What if Master/Mistress were to release me and I have a brand on my butt?” This would seem to be a legitimate question. Since few things last forever, the real question should be, “Can I live with this mark if the relationship were to end?” Framed in this context, the decision seems to be simpler. If the mark is aesthetically pleasing and you think, were you to break up, that you can still wear your mark with pride, then branding just might make sense. On the other hand, if the relationship does last forever…wow!!!
This article is shorter than my usual one for kinkweekly.com. Word count aside, you have come to the right place. Branding can be permanent and I cannot teach you how to brand or be branded in one article. What I have done is to give you some guide lines to help you choose a skillful brander. And I have saved the most important piece of advice for last:
Insist that any brander worth his/her salt (of course, don’t put salt on the brand!) will come with a whole medical/first aid kit containing, at the very least, a topical antibiotic, a topical anesthetic, bandages and all manner of first aid. And he/she must, in an era of corona virus, be extremely insistent on sterility. Keep this in mind: “A dirty brander should be an unemployed brander.”
I might add, that is this confusing time re. the corona virus, it might be wise to be extra sterile in every manner of BDSM play. Better safe than sorry!
About the Author
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.
Mr. Mots says
Thank you, I’ve always been curious about and tempted to get into branding. Glad I never “heated a coat hanger on the stove” when I was younger and dumber. I knew a few guys with brands back in the day, a few looked cool and a few were a literal hot mess.
are there any M/s symbols that are easy to brand?
is this safe for everyone?