That discussions of all this, in say Studies in the Psychology of Sex from 1903 are fascinating, you’d be right. In it, author Havelock Ellis says, “…they show that a certain amount of what we cannot but regard as painful stimulation is craved by women.” Ellis does mention that, during sexual stimulation, it’s just possible that what might otherwise be painful is actually pleasurable.
This, after he describes experiments where fingers were placed alternately in women’s vaginas and anuses to see if they (the women) could tell which orifice the finger was in. You know, for science.
In a revelation that probably would have blown Havelock Ellis’s mind, Miklukho-Maclay theorized that the whole Ampallang concept was designed and put in place by women, since it was painful and dangerous for the men to do. Not that bamboo sticks and pigeon feathers might cause your penis to get infected and fall off. But, you know, they might.
There’s a reason Bodyartforms doesn’t sell aftercare pigeon feathers.
In his writings about the Ampallang, Miklukho-Maclay says, “In any case, it is kept up by incessant female demands, whilst the men without this arrangement for fitting the stimulus apparatus are repulsed by the women. The men who have several such perforations and can wear several instruments are specially sought after and admired by the women.”
In other words, no Ampallang = no sexy time. While double Ampallang = Mr. Popular.
Several sources I read also mentioned various codes used over the years for Dayak women to indicate to the men what sort of ‘stimulus apparatus’ they wanted them to wear, using a cigarette wrapped in a siri leaf, for example, or by the use of blush on the woman’s forehead in a certain shape.