I took this selfie just a few minutes ago:
I got my tongue split in 2005. Now, I can only speak for myself, but there were several reasons I chose to have this done, so I can give you something of an idea of the kind of thought process that goes into the decision to do this kind of thing.
(I’m happy to answer questions about my split that I don’t cover here, but please read the full answer first. It’s likely I already answered yours.)
The first time the concept of tongue splitting even occurred to me was seeing a 1997 copy of Fakir Musafar’s Body Play magazine in the boutique/piercing studio I frequented. This was pretty much the first time anyone had seen it done (consensually) in modern times. I, like many others, was immediately captivated. (If you want the full history, the Wikipedia article on Tongue splitting is pretty good.)
I found the very idea fascinating, especially the realization that the human body could be permanently altered in some pretty extreme (Sorry, I meant Xtreme. It was the 90s.) and interesting ways that were still not actually harmful in the long run. Now, at this point, pretty much only one person had done it, and the method she used was protracted and painful. It was not something I wanted to endure, but the idea was planted in my brain.
The procedures for bifurcation others soon experimented with had mostly great results. Safe and effective methods included using a scalpel (sometimes with sutures), using a high-powered laser (this was only done by open-minded oral surgeons), and cautery scalpels. I used the last one in the end, but seeing people learn methods of bifurcation that became safe if done by someone who knew what they were doing definitely made me start thinking I would quite like to get it done myself someday, but still out there, in the future, maybe.
While it’s still a pretty rare thing to this day, it became much more common in the online Body Modification community. And people who underwent the procedure starting learning some spiffy things. Like it turns out controlling each half of the tongue independently of the other was pretty easy once it healed. It also created a greater freedom of motion for the tongue, already the most dexterous of our muscles. This definitely increases the ability to do some fun things to a romantic partner, always a plus. Now I was regarding it as not just fascinating, but something I found to be nifty. It turned into something I quite wanted to experience.
There’s something of a novelty factor too. These days I honestly forget my tongue is anything but normal, because to me it is. I don’t think about it any more than anyone thinks about their own tongue. But if someone notices (They don’t, but sometimes wife insists I show it off), people are blown away. Now I’m not a sideshow, I didn’t do this to be spectacle, but seeing how people react can be awfully funny. While this wasn’t much of a deciding factor for me, of course there are people who would do this solely for the shock value.
When I finally decided to get it done, the thing that made me say to myself “I get paid in two days. I will totally do it then.” was simply that I was tired of waiting. I always had excuses (or sometimes good reasons) for not getting it done yet, but right then I didn’t. My mind had gotten there, so I went for it. I knew a professional who knew how to do it, whose portfolio I was familiar with, and who had already performed an earlier semi-surgical mod on me (okay, see the comments if you really want to know) so I trusted him. I asked him “Can we do this Thursday?” and so we did. With two assistants aiding him, my tongue was marked, held out, and he used a cautery scalpel to split it from the tip to the convenient hole I already had from a large tongue piercing. It hurt like HELL. Tongue splitting is a legal grey area, but a non-medical professional administering anesthetic sure ISN’T. (That means I didn’t get any.) But it went really quickly and didn’t hurt much once it was done. By the time I got to my car I could already control each side independently.
Now one thing I did not expect, but was pleased to learn, and may be a reason for others, is that after healing, my tongue grew new, denser taste buds down into the split. There is a noticeable difference in how sublty I could taste things before and after.
So, collecting that stream-of-consciousness ramble, here are some key points that guided my decision to get it done.
- Curiosity. It seemed like new limit to try and push the human body. I wanted to experience it personally.
- Sexual/Romantic. I’m told it’s an awful lot of fun to kiss me and it gives me more agility on other bits of anatomy. However, it’s not some magic sex talisman. If you’re terrible at kissing and oral, you will remain so.
- I think it’s cool. I really don’t care if people think I’m awesome or some kind of sick freak for having it done. It appealed to me.
- Novelty. While I split it for myself, I’ll admit the reactions of people when they see it tend to be incredibly amusing. I’m sure other people with split tongues get a kick out of it too. This is not what gave me the desire to do it, but it might be the main reason others do it.
The only real downsides were a few days of (pretty intense) pain during healing, a slight sibilant “S” (the closest thing I got to a lisp, but still considered a speech impediment) that went away after a few weeks. Worst of all though: Due to slightly reduced strength at what is no longer a singular point on the end of my tongue, I am unable to blow bubbles with gum!
I hope that helps at give an idea of what would be going through the mind of someone who splits their tongue
(As some people have said some nasty things in the comments, I feel the need to add the following.)
Splitting my tongue had zero impact on my employment, and I live in Utah. It’s not exactly a liberal stronghold. The thing is, unless I stick it out to show it off, virtually no one has ever noticed. I had a good job when I got it done, and splitting it had zero effect on that. When that company’s operations moved overseas I quickly found a new job in a professional environment that paid well, and where I had a great deal of responsibility as a manager. Since then I developed a worsening physical disability that greatly limits my abilities, but I continue to paint and produce original art that sells quite well. I also apprenticed as a tattoo artist for some time. These not exactly the kinds of jobs where anyone would care how I have modified my body. And again, unless I show it off, it is not visible to anyone else. Even if I wanted some corporate desk job, it would be no hindrance to employment.
If you read the answer, you will see I laid out a somewhat scattered, but at the least rational thought process that took me there over the course of over 7 years. I could go on at great length about how my interest in body modification started young and progressed to this, and the strength and support of the worldwide bodmod community around the turn of the Millennium and the effects that had too, but most people would find that quite boring. While the final decision was a little spur of the moment, getting there was anything but.
If you can only bring yourself to be rude, please restrain yourself from lobbing insults.
(Edited a metric shitload for spelling, grammar, and clarity.)