November 2008

Book Update

My publisher, Ten Speed Press, sent me a version of the manuscript called "first pages." This is a hard copy that was formatted by their "interior designer" with the photos, illustrations, sidebars, headers, charts, and so on. It was the first time I'd seen it formatted and it was exciting! Almost all of the editing work I've done has been on the computer. I had the manuscript printed a few times, but always as a Word document; it looked more like a school project than a book. But as soon as I saw this version, I realized The Piercing Bible is definitely closer to becoming a book. I made a bunch o' edits and sent it back. They'll make the changes and then send me a corrected version called "second pages" to edit. I think that is the last round--then it will go to the printer. Finally. I also found myself listed as an author on my publisher's website HERE.

Age Limits for Piercings

I periodically get questions about age limits for piercings, and I got one today:

How old does a piercee have to be to get nipple piercings done?

To get nipple piercings, or any below-the-neck piercing other than a navel, the piercee would have to be 18 years of age or older. For other piercings such as the navel or above-the-neck areas, it depends on local laws and the ethics and policies of the piercer. That said, there is no federal legislation about body piercings; states and localities handle their own regulations. The extent of the laws varies widely, and some areas don't have any legislation regarding piercing at all! There are other laws that could be applied to piercing, however. For example, a parent who gives permission for her minor child to get an adult piercing (such as nipples or genitals) could be charged with reckless endangerment of a minor. The piercer could also face these charges for performing the piercing, even if the parent "gave permission." The policy I used for my studio is below:

Reinserting Body Jewelry/MRIs

Some months back I had to have an MRI (had to find out if I'd torn a tendon in my knee, which fortunately turned out not to be the case).  I took all my jewelry out for that (it was mostly stainless steel).  It was looking like I was going to need another MRI when I was done there, so I cleverly decided I could leave it out while I waited to find out if I needed the second one.

Repiercing Problem

Sometimes this problem happens when an area is repierced:
I got the bottom of my belly button pierced years ago. I let it close up three years ago. I got it re pierced two months ago. When the guy repierced it, he was able to put it through the first hole but it came out in a different spot then originally. In the middle of the barbell there was a small scar. A few days ago that scar rose above the skin and became a small red bubble in the middle of the barbell. I have been cleaning the piercing and the piercing itself seems to be in good condition. I dont know what caused this or how to get rid of it. It's not causing me pain but is not pretty to look at and I'm afraid it may be and infection of some sort.
Hi Erin, Are you doing lots of saline soaks? That is one of the best things you can do in this situation to help with drainage. See the instructions on this page: http://safepiercing.org/bodyAftercare.html Some people get such a bubble to drain using hot compresses of clean moist towels. If a week of frequent saline soaks or compresses (3 times a day or more) does not help or if it gets worse, you may need to see a doctor. From repiercing, sometimes an old channel becomes inflamed or infected after a new piercing is placed nearby. Due to continuous secretion or irritation from the previous piercing, occasionally these situations cannot be resolved satisfactorily and you will not be able to wear jewelry in the site. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

VCH Piercing Problem?

A woman asked a question about her VCH piercing in the comments section and emailed her a reply:

Hey I recently got a VCH done about 1 month ago. The other day I noticed that the bottom ball (where my hood is) has gone up inside there and is now inside at the top of my piercing... I think it has closed now and I dont want to go back to get it redone because I dont want to go through that pain again.... Shan.

Hi Shan, You really should return to your piercer right away to have it looked at. Are you sure the ball isn't just resting under the little "tunnel" of your hood? If the bottom ball got stuck in the piercing channel, a lot of the post portion would be sticking up above the top of your piercing--or your piercer put in a post that is too short. Please see your piercer as the resolution may be very simple--you might just need a longer bar and/or a larger ball on the bottom, to prevent the jewelry from slipping up under your hood. If the bottom ball really is stuck in the tissue, you should see your piercer immediately, as it still might be able to be liberated. But if the tissue has closed around it you may need medical intervention to remove it. Let me know what happens. To see video of me performing a VCH click here. It shows properly sized jewelry in the ideal placement. Watch Genital Piercing Videos

The Piercer's Reply

This is the piercer's response to my reply about piercing a client in the hospital:
Angel, Thank you so very much for the prompt response to my situation :)  After thinking about it over the weekend, and reading your response, I agree with you wholeheartedly - I don't believe that I will do the piercings unless she can come to my studio after she recovers fully from her surgery (she's getting a hysterectomy).  The thought of her getting a nosocomial infection did cross my mind, too - I don't want to be liable for an infection she caught at the hospital!  Sometimes my passion about the public getting a safe and beautiful piercing clouds my judgement LOL  Thank you so much for your advice!  I will let you know how my next conversation with her turns out if she returns or calls today :) Thanks again!

Question From A Piercer

This is a question from a piercer who is concerned about doing the right thing:
I would like to ask some advice from you, as I've had a weird request from a client this afternoon.  She is going into surgery this next week, and her surgeon told her that he would do her nipple piercings for her while she is under anesthesia if she could bring in the jewelry.  Of course, I was leary of wanting to sell the jewelry and encourage a possibly botched piercing. She also told me that the doctor suggested that a licensed piercer come in and do her piercings while she was under anesthesia (I would be concerned about any legal & ethical questions/ramifications resulting from piercing one under anesthesia-even if agreed upon in paperwork).  I would be open to piercing in a hospital setting, but, not sure if this is a route I would want to take?   I hate being put in a position where I would really prefer her to come to my studio and get pierced, but am afraid that she'll get the piercing anyway by someone who hasn't been trained to pierce.  (Her reason for doing it while under anesthesia is that she's had 2 very bad experiences with past nipple piercings.)  I guess we can't "save" all of them, but, what would be your best advice for a situation like this? *N*
Hi N, Well, that's not necessarily an easy question to answer. I believe you will need to decide the best course of action for yourself under the specific circumstances. I'm willing to tell you what my response would be in this situation: I wouldn't do it. I think you're correct; we can't "save" all of them. We can do our very best to educate and inform potential clients. As someone put it, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink." I'm afraid piercees are the same way. You can provide them with sound facts and information, but they may not put it to good use.

Outer Labia Piercing Jewelry

I received a question about initial jewelry for outer labia piercings, and it led me to make a few comments about piercing aftercare, too.

"Will My Piercing Close"?

This answers the common questions: how quickly will a piercing  close, and will it close completely?

Greetings, and thanks for your time in advance. I have had a VCH for about 2 years now, and my current connection has asked me to remove my piercing.  I have had the original jewelry in all this time, never once removed.  How long will it take (generally) to close up completely?  Or does it only shrink?  What kind of time frame should I expect? Thanks!

Hi Joy, Thanks for your email. The following section from my forthcoming book addresses your question:

VCH Anatomy Question

Hello! I came across your website (very informative!) and had a question. I am interested in getting a vertical hood piercing, but I am not sure if I had sufficient tissue for the piercing. I tried the cotton swab thing and although it seems like enough, I was still unsure. I would just feel strange going to a piercer, dropping drawers and them saying "sorry, no can do.". Kind of awkward. Any other ways I could make sure? Casey
Hi Casey, You're welcome to send me a photo of you doing the q-tip test, and I'd be happy to do my best to tell you whether your anatomy appears pierceable. In a piercing studio it is a daily occurrence that individuals are not suited to a particular piercing placement they desire. There is nothing to feel awkward about at all! It isn't a personal matter: each human body is unique and must be evaluated on an individual basis for suitability. A consultation before piercing for this purpose is very common. A good piercer will make you feel comfortable. He or she can also let you know what other piercings may be suited to your build, if not the one you wanted. Where are you located? Perhaps I can suggest a skilled piercer in your area. Sincerely, Angel P.S. To see video of me performing a VCH and the way the anatomy looks go here. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="311" caption="Watch genital piercing videos"]Watch genital piercing videos[/caption]

Botched Triangle Piercing?

I am sorry to bother you again, but I ended up getting the triangle piercing and now have a situation on my hand that I do not know how to deal with. I have a feeling that the piercer placed it a tad too low. It looks fine ( at least to my untrained eye ) but I suspect that it is slightly under the clitoris rather than directly behind it. It is probably right on the border of where the clitoris ends and though I am sure it reached some nerves I do not think it hits the holy grail. When I press on the clitoris I do not feel stimulation behind it like the way you are supposed to. I do not think it sits in the optimum place. Then again, it's only been a few days. Should I go to the piercer and ask her to redo it? Should I wait till it heals fully before going back? I am afraid she will forget me if I wait that long. Plus, I do not want to lose time since  I will have to get it repierced and wait yet again for it to heal. Will getting a larger ring help? Am I supposed to pay the salon again? Is there any way that one could tell for sure if it's in the right place just by looking or is it the sort of thing that only the wearer can feel? I would really appreciate any advice that you could give me on the matter because I am at a loss and getting this piercing meant the world to me. Thank you so much for your attention. T.
Hi T., If you can send me some clear, close-up photos of the piercing and I'll do what I can to see if it appears properly placed. If it is only marginally low, then a larger piece of jewelry may do more for you--it is hard to say for sure. If it is not positioned where it should be, then you should have the jewelry removed as soon as possible to close the hole. You can return to your piercer to take the jewelry out and discuss the possibilities about repiercing. If you have a visible vein where the piercing should go (for example) then moving it may not be safe.

Princess Albertina Piercing Question

I have a friend who is interested in a Princess Albertina but has a few questions that I am unable to answer - mainly, comfort factor with regards to sex and cycling. She is also concerned about the comfort factor with regards to her male partner. Also, the urethral sensitivity ... although she has expressed an interest in sounding. Would you advise experimenting with sounding before committing to this piercing?
I'll be honest--I don't do Princess Albertina piercings. As a woman with a history of bladder infections and a knowledge of the anatomy (and how short the female urethra is, so close to the bladder), they just never seemed like a good idea. (Male anatomy is considerably different and a PA piercing is not at all likely to cause a bladder infection due to the greater distance from the tip of the urethra to the bladder.) Due to the relatively internal placement of the Princess Albertina, I'd imagine that cycling would not be problematic once initial healing has taken place. My educated guess is that some women would find the piercing enjoyable, and others would not prefer that form of stimulation--just like any other genital piercing. I'm certain, however, that it would be reasonable to experiment with some urethral play with sounds prior to committing to this piercing. She should see if she really does enjoy stimulation to her urethra prior to getting pierced. I would refer you to Jim Weber of Infinite Body Piercing for more information, as I know he has performed them. president at safepiercing dot org Sorry I can't be of more help with this one! Elayne