Piercing Questions

What Massage Therapists Should Know About Body Piercings

I ran into an interesting article online: What Massage Therapists Should Know About Body Piercings. It was well written and factual with the exception that they reiterated the ubiquitous piercing myths: that Roman soldiers pierced their nipples and that Egyptian pharaohs pierced their navels. I also contend that the rate of complications would be a lot lower if consumers were better educated--and now they can be, thanks to The Piercing Bible!

Over-Reacting (and Over-Cleaning)

I got this message from a gal I pierced in NY:
I just wanted to thank you for my beautiful piercing, I'm so happy with it, but I am a bit concerned that it may be getting infected. Perhaps I'm just overreacting, but its really really tender and sore, and its been about three days and I also noticed a small dot of discharge that was a light yellow today for the first time. I've been following all of your directions and keeping everything clean and sanitary, so I'm not really sure what went wrong. I'm really afraid, but if you can tell me what steps I can take steps now to possibly reverse the infection and what else I can do besides the sea salt baths and antibacterial soap, I'd really appreciate it. I read the chapter in your book about Trouble and Trouble shooting but since my symptoms weren't as severe, it didn't seem to really pertain to me. Please help if you can! Sincerely,
B.
I referred her to some relevant pages in my book (182-183 "What to Expect") because this portion explains that some secretion, redness, and tenderness are all perfectly normal in a new piercing! And they can last throughout the healing period...
I also advised her that one of the worst things she can do is over-clean. I told her to try to relax and follow the instructions I'd given her for aftercare and to review them in the book.
She wrote back:
Thanks Elayne, I guess I was just over reacting but I appreciate your help! I read all of the pages and a few other chapters in your book and everything reassured me that what I'm experiencing is normal. I think that the problem was that I was over cleaning my piercing, but now I feel much better and not so much pain and tenderness.

Piercing and Personal Boundaries

I received a private message on my Tribalectic account:
Hi Elayne! First off let me begin by telling you what an honor it is to be writing you this PM. I admire both your work and your outlook on life and I love The Piercing Bible!
I'm a 34-year-old nurse and single mom. My man is wonderful in every aspect with the exception that he is so opposed to piercing and any form of body mod. I currently have 10 tattoos and piercings in my navel and helix. I'm wanting my nipples done so badly and I'm afraid I'm going to push him over the edge if I do. (I love your off center navels BTW.) I've already told him it's my body, I'm not married to him so I refuse to ask for permission to do anything. Any insight? Any advice? I love him and this is really the only issue we butt heads on. Thank you so much in advance for your time in reading this. You're truly an inspiration to me and I'm so glad to be able to communicate with you through the Tribe. I hope to meet you one day. With that said, have a great night! Thanks, L.
Hi L., Thanks for your message. That's a tough one, but I'm glad to see that you so clear on your own boundaries about this subject. Goodness if you have 10 tattoos and other piercings, I can't imagine it should matter that much if you had another hole or two. Then again, I know some people simply don't understand piercing. I've received some feedback from people who have read my book--individuals that weren't personally interested in the subject. A number of them said that my book helped them to understand why people want to be pierced, and one even said she had never wanted to get one before, but after reading my book she felt inspired to get a body piercing!

I'm Stumped!

Today I was asked a piercing-related question that I didn't know the answer to:
My partner and I both have a PA, frenum ladder, and scrotum ladders. Our piercings are now at a stage were we have resumed a lot of our activities but when we were getting these piercings we did not think to ask this. Is it safe with these piercings for electric play or is the jewelry to much of a conductor? Any info you can give me on this would be appreciated. Thanks, Tony
My reply: Thanks for your email. To be honest, I'm really not sure. I think it might be best to contact the manufacturer or vendor of any toys or equipment you plan to use to get their recommendations. My guess would be that it shouldn't be a problem since the piercing (and the jewelry in it) has an entry and an exit. So, perhaps electricity might conduct through the jewelry, but not be sent deeper into the body? But I'm guessing here. Please let me know whatever you find out so the next time this question comes up, I'll have a more informed answer. If your supplier knows much about this and has any questions I might be able to answer (about body jewelry, for instance), feel free to put them in touch with me. Good luck and enjoy, Elayne

Question About the VCH Piercing

I just received email from a reader who had a question or two about VCH piercings:
hello angel, I have emailed you before and I have your book--great book! I have been thinking about getting a VCH in a couple of weeks. I know you said in the book that you do not have to be stimulated in the clit to have this done. My question is would it be better to have this done so that I know how big the jewelry should be? I would like go  as big as I can in size. Also, can this be done without a receiving tube (free hand)? I have checked this out with a piercer and he said that it can. I would like your comments on this please. P.S. might be fun too....................karen in pa
Hi Karen, Different piercers use different techniques. I favor the receiving tube, but if your piercer is trained and experienced at freehand technique, then that should work fine. Because the piercing passes through so little tissue, the proper measurement for the jewelry is the distance between where the piercing will be placed and the edge of your clitoral hood. A skilled piercer will be able to determine the appropriate measurement with no problem. The hood area may actually shorten or draw back when you're stimulated, because it is primarily the clitoris that enlarges during arousal. (Think of how a foreskin works on a penis.) My principle is to start at a minimum gauge (14 or 12) to preserve the maximum tissue in the area and if desired, stretch later as your anatomy allows. The jewelry should fit properly when your piercing is fresh (the way it looks in the illustration in my book) and then you can go larger after healing, if you like. Good luck and let me know how it goes. Sincerely, Elayne

Piercings and Cancer?

This message came to my profile at the Tribalectic website:
hello elayne , my girlfriend has had three labia piercings , shortly after the first one she developed cervical cancer . the second one it seemed fine . but shortly after the third one the cancer returned and she had to have the rest of the cervix taken out . there is not much information on the internet concerning cancer and piercings . i did however found one site that claims that body piercing can cause cancer. their explanation was skin cells pushed into the skin and then get trapped and develop into cancer .everyone i have talked to says there has not been any studies done.do you believe it is possible to get cancer from a body piercing? thanks so much...jack...
Below is my response: Jack, Thanks for your questions. No, I don't think it is possible for piercings to cause cancer. I've seen no apparent correlation to it in my many, many years in the industry (since the 1980s). This is what my book has to say about the subject including a  quote from a doctor:
There is no medical evidence that piercings increase the risk of cancer. Kelly Shanahan, MD, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Barton Memorial Hospital in Lake Tahoe, states, “I am aware of no evidence that nipple piercing increases the risk of breast cancer.”
Further, there really isn't any physiological way to explain that cells from a labia piercing could affect the tissue of the cervix, which are completely different. I understand it is easier to have something (like a piercing, or anything) to blame, but it just isn't so. I wish your girlfriend all the best with her recovery. Sincerely, Angel

Cheek Piercings

I received an email from a piercer who wanted to know about the safety of performing "dimple" or cheek piercings:
I have heard horror stories that piercing someone cheeks can hit a wrong nerve on someone. I was wondering if that was true? I was taught that there is no danger in doing this piercing?  Do you have a set measurement that you use on people as to make sure not to do any damage? I'm really uncomfortable performing any sort of piercing if there is a very big risk involved.
I explained that I no longer do cheek piercings due to the WORST complications that ever happened to somebody I pierced. For better or worse, it happened to me. In my book you can read the detailed explanation of why I don't do cheek piercings beyond the first molar. The areas of concern are the parotid duct and gland, rather than a particular nerve. I let her know she might be able to preview the story about it on page 119 of my book here on google books. She called her client who had been interested in getting cheek piercings to decline, and then she emailed me again in understandable frustration:
UHHHHHHHHHHH PEOPLE PISS ME OFF!!!!!!!!!!!! So I called my client back today and told her very nicely that I was no longer offering cheek piercings and explained to her why and even told her about the story in her book..... You know what her response was to this??? "Well do you know anyone else in the area that does them?" ??? WTF!!!!! Hello didn't I just tell you a horror story and explain to you WHAT can happen!!! uhhhhhhhhhh I just don't get people sometimes!!!
We can lead people to good information, but it doesn't mean they'll use it. Or in this case, I can't help thinking, "We can't educate people who don't have half a brain."
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