This will be Kat’s seventh suspension. (Kat asked us not to use her full name. Her dad doesn’t know she does this, and she really doesn’t want him to find out.) She’s been suspended at HumBrews, in the basement of the Eureka Veterans Hall, at an erotic ball and a fetish party. Each time she’s gotten a bit more comfortable with it. On the last couple she even let other people hold the rope, leaving her hands free. That was a difficult mental hurdle because she’s a control freak, she says. Lately she’s been thinking it’s time to take things to the next level. She got into suspensions because the rush of getting pierced had grown diluted over time. It did the trick: The euphoria she felt after her first few hangings lasted a week or more. Now, though, she’s begun looking for new frontiers, new phobias to overcome. “For some reason I have this thing against getting pierced in my legs,” she says. “I think I need to open up and do the Superman style — two in the upper back, two in the lower, one on each thigh and one on each calf.”

Her craziest claim — the one that really stretches credulity — is that being hung from hooks in your skin, like some sort of torture victim, doesn’t really hurt. “A paper cut is way worse than a suspension,” she says. “A paper cut — you’re gonna get lime in it three days later. You’re gonna keep bumping it.” A piercing, on the other hand, is just one deep breath away. “You inhale,” she says, taking a deep lungful, “you exhale, and it’s done. I mean, how bad is that? I feel it for like three seconds.”