What does Stinkfist mean?

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Tool: Stinkfist Meaning

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Song Released: 1996


Stinkfist Lyrics

Something has to change
Undeniable dilemma
Boredom's not a burden
Anyone should bear

Constant over stimulation
Numbs me
But I would not want you any other way

Just not enough
I need more
Nothing seems to satisfy
I don't want it
I...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Apr 1st, 2006 4:35am report


    The aemima album is about the evolution of humankind to the next level and how mankind itself is merely a stepping stone toward that higher consciousness. It begins with Stinkfist which, like a lot of Keenans songs, is layered richly with symbolism and metaphor. On the surface it seems to be using fist-fucking as a metaphor for trying to connect in this modern life where we are so alienated that we are nearly numb. We've reached a critical point in our evolution. ("Something has to change, undeniable dilemma") We need to feel something to even know we're alive anymore. I like the way one of the verses goes from finger deep to knuckle deep to elbow deep and ends with shoulder deep. It's visual and disturbing. And then the way "turn around and take my hand" could mean either inside you or like a lover extending comfort. All in all this whole album is an onion full of metaphysical concepts, Jungian symbolism and human evolutionary ideas. The more you peel away the more you'll see. It's one of my personal favorites.



  2. 2TOP RATED

    homzd
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    Mar 2nd, 2006 3:39pm report


    In my opinion this song is about how we as a society have become so desensitized to all that is around us and in order to satisfy our desires we must constantly push the boundaries ever further.

    But then again that's just me.



  3. 3TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Feb 22nd, 2007 2:33pm report


    I like to think of the song as a conversation between a drug user and the drug itself.



    Something has to change.
    Un-deniable dilemma.
    Boredoms not a burden
    Anyone should bear.

    (This is the user talking. He is saying that he is bored with his life, countless hours of boredom seem like wasted time)

    Constant over-stimulation numbs me
    But I wouldn’t want you
    Any other way.

    (The user is showing that he discovered a drug. He becomes effected by the drug)

    Just, not enough.
    I need more.
    Nothing seems to satisfy.
    I said, I don’t want it.
    I just need it.
    To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive.

    (The user is begining to become addicted to the drug. He feels attached and he needs it to live)

    Finger deep within the borderline.
    Show me that you love me and that we belong together.

    (This is the user falling into the first stage of addiction, he is still unsure of the drug, asking it to show him that the drug is right for him)

    Relax, turn around and take my hand.

    (this is the drug started to speak. It is saying to relax, trust me)

    I can help you change
    Tired moments into pleasure.
    Say the word and well be
    Well upon our way.

    (this is the drug speaking, telling the user all the great things it has to offer. The user will no longer become bored and the drug knows that the user will enjoy it)


    Blend and balance
    Pain and comfort
    Deep within you
    Till you will not want me any other way.

    (The drug is still talking. listing the effects of the drug as it enters deep within the user.)

    But, it’s not enough.
    I need more.
    Nothing seems to satisfy.
    I said, I don’t want it.
    I just need it.
    To breathe, to feel, to know I’m alive.

    (The user still struggles with the addiction)

    Knuckle deep inside the borderline.
    This may hurt a little but its something you’ll get used to.
    Relax. Slip away.

    (This is the drug talking as the user falls deeper into the addiction. The user feels side affects but the drug insists that its ok.)

    Something kinda sad about
    The way that things have come to be.
    Desensitized to everything.
    What became of subtlety?

    (This is the user talking. He is realizing his poor decision. He gets a good look at himself in the mirror)

    How can it mean anything to me?
    If I really don’t feel anything at all?

    (The user is realizing the drug is bad. The user says how can the drug mean anything to me...if I really can't feel a thing at all(because he's high))

    Ill keep digging till,
    I feel something.

    (He stays with the drugs however until he can reach a point where he feels satisfied.)

    Elbow deep inside the borderline.
    Show me that you love me and that we belong together.
    Shoulder deep within the borderline.
    Relax. Turn around and take my hand.

    ( He falls even deeper (elbow deep) into his addiction and still plumets deeper to an uncontrollable addictive state. yet the drug still insists that the two should be together)



  4.  

    anonymous
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    May 26th, 2013 5:14am report


    #1 interpretation nailed it.
    Especially in regards to the mentioning of Jung & symbolism.
    The only area of the interpretation I would give an additional layer or perspective to is "turn around and take my hand" (and not that the other interpretations don't still hold true. Which is what makes these works so great, to me) This could mean (and similar to a lover because of the compassion), to take my hand and follow me into the next stage of human evolution & consciousness. Especially considering the verse "this may hurt a little but it's something you'll get used to", which also echoes Jungian psychology and many of Jung's quotes such as "there is no coming into consciousness without pain."



  5.  

    anonymous
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    Nov 29th, 2012 11:50pm report


    I really like this song, the meaning of the song for me is about love and feelings but the fear to speak out when you feel really deeply about a person. I suppose it can be relevant to sex but mostly it is fear of sharing feelings with another..



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 6th, 2012 8:37pm report


    I think it's basically a song about becoming desensitized. Whether it's sexually or whatever the case may be.

    So the chick starts out normal, finger deep... then you say it'll only hurt a little, and the next thing you know you have a twisted perverted mindset that is desensitized... and in this case, fisting is the manifestation of that. Eventually, you become desensitized to that, however, and you will keep digging in order to feel something... Until you are elbow deep, whatever the case may be.

    Not that the song is necessarily about anal fisting, although the title and words would suggest that... it's just simply a metaphor for how we as humans become desensitized and always need more and more in today's society.



  7.  

    anonymous
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    Nov 3rd, 2011 11:04pm report


    I agree Stinkfist is about a relationship. A relationship similar but not the same to the one described in PUSH IT. Tool songs often refer to the pain and the ecstasy of physical pleasure, boredom, and psychological entrapment of love and sex. These physical and mental feelings do parallel drug addiction as well.

    Stinkfist can be perceived as anal fisting, but also metaphorically to describe the deep and painful mental imprisonment and deep physical connection experienced in a sexual relationship.

    Partner #1 is mentally and emotionally bored with the relationship, but the intense physical pleasure is a constant reminder of their chemistry. In a sense he/she knows their is nothing left in the relationship but sex.

    Partner #2 is the manipulator. The manipulator is aware of Partner #1's feelings and doubts regarding the relationship. More significant is the manipulator's awareness of the #1's insecurities that helps him/her maintain influence and mental dominance over the weaker, confused partner

    The manipulator uses physical pleasure to time in and time out convince #1 that they belong together. Through sex (whatever sex you wish to imagine), the manipulator expresses what is best for #1. Reminding them how the physical pleasure or pain symbolizes their love, affection, and eternal bond.

    "Relax, turn around and take my hand"

    At the same time, as the focus of the manipulator's intense passion, partner #1 gains a sense of worth and belonging. Something they are uncertain they will experience if they leave the relationship.

    Thus as the song continues, partner #1 is constantly reminded how everything will be ok, and is the way it should be, yet falls deeper and deeper into the sex, the shit, the stink.

    PS - The society and drug interpretations were interesting, but I took this song literally. Its a song about raunchy, brainwashing sex. I'm sure you all have experienced a relationship where the everything was wrong, yet the sex kept you in it.



  8.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 10th, 2011 8:18am report


    I am a huge Tool fan and have followed them since Opiate. I also happen to have been in a long term abusive relationship with someone suffering BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and though only a few have considered this meaning, the obscurity would make even more sense than MAynard's normal topic of a desensitized American public. If you are a big Tool fan then you should consider this meaning and google BPD to see the symptoms. This song very literally could describe the dance between the "Borderline" and "non" (or co-dependent). I also think generally it is from the perspective of the BPD or Borderline personality.

    "Something has to change
    Undeniable dilemma
    Boredom's not a burden
    Anyone should bear"

    Referring to the borderline when alone. When a borderline is alone and not receiving the validation of worth from someone they slip into a very dark place of intense emotion. A borderline did not develop proper coping mechanisms to deal with emotion. One trait of this is that they can not "revisit" the feeling of love when the person is gone. When you leave, you no longer exist, they are alone and worthless. They experience this intensified emotion a million times more magnified than a healthy person. This can lead to impulsive reckless behavior, suicidal behavior, etc. The borderline can not be alone.

    "Constant over stimulation
    Numbs me
    But I would not want you any other way"

    The contradictory nature of this disorder is that even with the above mentioned validation, even if you constantly engage, shower with affection, love, satisfy sexually, etc the borderline is still never satisifed. Instead they shut down, push you away, become numb to your affection, and begin analyzing tiny perceived threats that prove you really don't care and they are in fact worthless. These perceived threats (often fictitious) are blown up and become problematic, however the conundrum is though the borderline begins to disconnect and avoid this affection and behavior, if you react to them, if you start to distance yourself (for self-preservation) this will be worse. Though they couldn't handle how you were treating them they didn't want you to stop. That is worse.

    "Just not enough
    I need more
    Nothing seems to satisfy
    I don't want it
    I just need it
    To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive"

    The chorus ties directly in with what I have mentioned above. A borderline doesn't experience a real sense of being alive. They often state they feel "invisible" or "empty" or "not real". They are constantly trying to fill a deep void, a hole inside them but they can't. Their world is defined by the constant shifting intense emotions and an inability to live within the gray areas that truly define the complex life experience of an adult. They can only view the world in terms of black and white, best and worst, numb or stimulated, etc.

    "Finger deep within the borderline
    Show me that you love me
    And that we belong together
    Relax, turn around, and take my hand"

    I think the key give away here is the reference to borderline. The borderline (as described above) can not define any self worth through their darkness and emptiness. They don't want your affection, they need it. They need to constantly be reminded that your adore them because that temporarily fills that need, that emptiness, it makes them feel for a moment like they are alive...like they are real.

    "I can help you change
    Tired moments into pleasure
    Say the word and we'll be well upon our way"

    If you ever encounter a borderline in a relationship, the start of that relationship is the most exciting of your life. The borderline has a keen ability to tap into everything about you (fears, desires, hot buttons, etc). They can basically mirror all of your best traits and satisfy all of your desires and become your perfect partner. You will undoubtedly be stepping on to the most exciting fullfilling ride of your life and want to devote everything to them. Nothing will be more exciting. Anything you ever dreamed or considered to want from a partner, from another human being, they can and will give/become.

    "Bend and balance
    Pain and comfort
    Deep within you
    Till you will not want me any other way"

    But that doesn't last long. Once you are hooked and totally in love with this person the shroud is dropped and the borderline takes over. The dance, if you stay, is described above. The borderline will love you like no other and build you up that they believe you are the greatest person in the world, only to subsequently cut you down and treat you like the absolute worst humananity has to offer. This tug of war between comforting and hurting you will keep you confused about the cause and desperately trying to regain the wonderful feelings of love and affection. You will tip toe to their every whim, walk on eggshells to avoid another explosion, you will try anything and everything to get it back.

    "Just not enough
    I need more
    Nothing seems to satisfy
    I said, I don't want it
    I just need it
    To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive"

    "Knuckle deep inside the borderline
    This may hurt a little
    But it's something you'll get used to
    Relax, turn away"

    If you are following the progression of the relationship with a borderline then at this stage the metaphor of finger deep, knuckle deep (then deeper yet later in the song) may actually be referring to the eneshment of the two people. Since the borderline struggles with any real identity of their own they can not stand as a separate person next to a partner. They must be totally one in every sense of the word. The non-bpd gets sucked deeper into this cycle and each time the pain becomes more tolerable as the non-bpd accepts more and more of this turmoil, extending the boundaries of what they will take farther and farther.

    "Something kinda sad about
    the way things have come to be
    Desensitized to everything
    What became of subtlety
    How can this mean anything to me?
    If I really don't feel a thing at all?
    I'll
    Keep
    Digging
    Till I
    Feel
    Something"

    This particular verse I could interpret either way as being still from the perspective of the borderline or from the non, but ultimately I believe the whole message of this song to be from the BPD's perspective. In which case this verse would just lend more descriptive properties to the Borderline's discontentment with oneself, the search to feel, to validate, to become real, etc. But I could see this one applied to the non who eventually will be pushed away, who eventually will recognize the abusive patterns in their relationship, who will have sustained so much damage that they realize eventually they don't know why they are staying since they have been broken themselves now and don't feel anything.


    "Elbow deep inside the borderline
    Show me that you love me
    And that we belong together
    Shoulder deep within the borderline
    Relax, turn around, and take my hand"

    That's my take. Though Maynard leaves the lyrics ambiguous and open for fan interpretation, and oftne employs some deliberate misdirection, still I believe in this case the song is really about BPD.



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 5th, 2011 8:44am report


    I think the song is about relationships in society where there is an over consumption of sex and consumption...One person in the song overstimulated & bored with the other, not finding anything more of what he perceives as pleasure, he systematically abuses the other...Fisting is the metaphor used for the sexual & emotional abuse.
    The other is also the product of the same commercial consumption but she is addicted to his product and plays the part of the masochist allowing herself to receive the abused for her commercial addiction.



  10.  

    anonymous
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    May 12th, 2011 5:27pm report


    This song is about butt sex



  11.  

    anonymous
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    May 9th, 2011 5:40am report


    The song progresses from fingers to shoulders and I believe this to be a metaphor for addiction, specifically heroin addiction. Its an illustration of how you move deeper into the iron grips, the progressive nature of the disease.
    "Just not enough
    I need more
    Nothing seems to satisfy
    I said, I don't want it
    I just need it
    To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive"
    Being an ex-heroin abuser these words perfectly describe what heroin is to the person that uses is. It relinquishes the soul and allows you to feel. It will breath life into you. Without it you are nothing, mere matter occupying time and space, a void. Maynard states he doesnt want it that he just needs it. This is amazing here because it is an example of addiction on an instinctual level. It becomes one of the elements in the bottom level of Maslows Hierarchy of needs such as food & water. Nothing like heroin except true love can fill that emptiness. These simple words cannot describe that feeeling any better.I believe the person writing this is conflicted he states that it is an "undeniable dilemma." He is aware of his situation. But he "would not want you any other way." Hes talking to the drug "take my hand", the drug brings him comfort. There are many great writers whom your first perception of what the lyrics mean you would presume to be a love song. You come to find out it was about a drug. What you need to understand is the relationship between a man and his drug is very intimate just like the relationship between a man and woman.
    "Bend and balance
    Pain and comfort
    Deep within you
    Till you will not want me any other way"
    These are the things that are deeply conlficted within him. Hes saying this is the way the drug wants him. Pain and comfort, bend and balance. It is the ying and the yang, good and evil. The drug gives him pain because it has control over him but at the same time when the drug is in him he is comforted. The ultimate parody of drug addiction. This song is a masterpiece and Maynard's lyrical expression are genius



  12.  

    Moni Ruthig Theodoropoulos
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    Apr 30th, 2011 4:13pm report


    I NEVER even considered this to be a song about drugs! It could literally be about fist-fucking and the trust one absolutely has to have in their partner to do that or could range from, as mentioned above, our desensitization to almost all things that 30 years ago, we would probably vomit or run screaming from the room in which we viewed-on TV of course as their was no Internet-such horrific things we view today without even blinking, let alone thinking of such things later. There are so many possible explanations & as I said before, all other possibilities are just theories-some very excellent and insightful, I should add-until we here it from the man himself.
    Just some manic thoughts for ya. Been up 2 days straight-one more and I will be in a full manic episode where I'll clean/organize for about 4full days and nights. That's when the fun hallucinations from no sleep begin:) only problem is I have two incorrectly healed compression fractures of T11 & T12 in my spine and I always re-injure myself. I refuse to take the poison they had me on before- I'd rather have the excruciating pain than be a zombie w/ no emotions.
    See this is a bitty example of my mania manifestation-I am telling complete strangers things that none of you probably give two shits about. :)
    Gotta run and meet my husband for lunch. Sorry I babbled and thanks to those who actually read this whole mess!
    :::kisses:::
    MouseCat
    PS: Obviously a nickname-hahHA



  13.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 17th, 2011 3:16am report


    Well, I think...

    It doesn't matter what one thinks, almost all of Tool's lyrics are multidimensional in meaning. To MJK it may mean one thing. To the listener it means what you feel when you hear it. To me, it's about society in one aspect, most have no feeling just think of how society was in say the 50's; we use to be very sensitive as a comunity not allowing our kids to run themselves and teaching them with subtlety instead of abuse, censorship was stronger, if our great great great grandparents saw the things shown or heard the things said they would have another heart attack. another thought is the drugs like stated by others, and could it be a lovers quarrel (a relationship gone stale and boring but spicing it up in the end). Read between the lines and start thinking for yourself, yet don't think you have to think for others. the middle ground is hardest to find, open minds have open opinions.



  14.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 6th, 2011 3:02pm report


    I think the song stinkfist is about a love story and how the character wants his lover to be with him but that's what I think.



  15.  

    anonymous
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    Feb 13th, 2011 2:49pm report


    Excuse me, but do you ignore the word "borderline"????? As I have the borderline personality disorder I see the context to this. In my opinion these lyrics describe borderline personality disorder and nothing else.



  16.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 27th, 2011 1:20pm report


    I've heard many interpretations of this song and I've thought most of them were valid, but personally one thing that's always jumped out at me is the line
    "de-sensitised to everything, what became of subtlety?"
    which reminds of Wordsworth, who was writing during the Industrial Revolution and was worried that pushing people into factories would blunt our senses and appreciation of the world around us, and lead to a more and more extreme and coarser form of dialogue with that which we see as sustenence for the soul, as the work becomes more rote, the intellect dulls more so....with that in mind,...I give you the "Saw" series of films....



  17.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 26th, 2010 12:47am report


    This song is about fisting as it goes on it say turn around,take my hand,
    Bend and balance
    Pain and comfort
    Deep within you
    Till you will not want me any other way

    Knuckle deep inside the borderline
    This may hurt a little
    But it's something you'll get used to
    Relax, turn away
    Elbow deep inside the borderline
    Show me that you love me
    And that we belong together
    Relax, turn around, and take my hand
    thats why its called stinkfist

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  18.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 17th, 2010 12:55am report


    The meaning will become apparent to those who are open and ready enough to receive it from the Tool, and some peoples' interpretation will deter them from moving deeper into the experience that the Tool offer, should they not be ready and open enough for it. As is the case with all of the Tools' songs.

    Whether intentional or not, through the use and creation of incredibly complex inter-linking of Geometric patterns and other mathematics, musical time signatures and scales, images and symbols, magic, hypnotism, prophecies, psychology, languages and much, much more, the band IS a Tool for something...



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