It also crossed my mind that maybe the act of tattooing was a sexual one in more ways than one.
1) Pleasure/Pain Dichotomy
- When one get a tattoo, the pain is often turned into pleasure and actually can feel good. Also, after one gets a tattoo, one feels "high" from the experience. Similar to the feeling one gets after sex.
2) Involving a 3rd party in the sexual act
- What if these woman's husbands coerced them into getting a tattoo in front of them for their viewing pleasure. To see another man inflicting pain on their wife could be an erotic experience for some. This boils down to the fact that tattooing actually fit in very well with the underground darkly sexual Victorian society