Piercing Questions

Female Genital Piercings: The Blind Leading the Blind

I heard the "author" gets paid per view and she doesn't deserve a penny for what she wrote! I found this piece (of sh*t) online that was supposed to be an informative article about genital piercings. I can't believe just anybody can write an article about genital piercings and toss out so much off-base (absolutely dead-wrong) information. This one doesn't even come close! I'm so irritated! (I pulled the link from this article so I don't send it any traffic.)

Spreading the Information Around

Today I was contacted (as Medical Liaison to the Association of Professional Piercers) by the media relations department of the Loyola University Health System. They are planning to write a press release on "clitoral piercings" because their obstetricians have been seeing a rise in the popularity of genital piercings. I clarified to her that piercings of the clitoris itself are quite rare, but that female genital piercings--especially of the hood area--are extremely popular. She wanted to know if they were more painful than other areas, or more prone to infections. These are common questions, and the answers are sometimes surprising: no--they aren't necessarily more painful than other areas (when the piercer is skillful and well trained), and they tend to be easy and quick to heal. From my book, I also filled her in on the very important rules for having safer sex while you're healing a genital piercing:

Surface Piercing vs. Dermal Anchors

I struck up this conversation with a gal who made a comment on a post I made about surface piercings. She wrote:

… I'm getting a five point star surface piercing/s on my right hip in a few days :] gotta talk it over with my piercer but should be cool to go :] ...

I asked her:

Has your piercer been clear with you that the surface piercings are unlikely to stay long-term and that you will most probably end up with scarring instead of jewelry there?

Her reply:

Yeah I've been told that before. I knew it wasn't going to be long term/permanent anyways. Does a surface piercing count as one that goes under the skin, with two balls on each end? because I was thinking of doing that instead of where you can only see one ball. Does that make sense? Sorry if I'm confusing you but id like to get more background info before I get it done. thank you

I provided her with some additional information and I hope it will make her decide to take more time figuring out the best course of action:

VCH Healing Problems & Inverted Nipples

I received this email recently:

I am considering piercing my breasts. I have inverted nipples however and I am wondering if you feel this would prevent a successful piercing for me. Previously, I had a sternum piercing which rejected. I currently have a VCH, which is still healing.  I assume I must be a slow healer since the VCH was done about four months ago, and I still am doing my salt water soaks to keep it from being sore. I would appreciate any advice or thoughts you might have. My piercing was done by a member of the APP. Thank you again for your time, Dawn

Dawn, My goodness! That is slow healing--the VCH usually heals in closer to 4 weeks, not months! Have you tried changing your VCH jewelry or the care product you're using on it? After that long a period of time, I think something should be changed. Have you considered trying emu oil? It can be very effective for healing problem piercings (and those that are doing well, too). Are you wearing a bar or a ring? What material? I wouldn't say a history of a rejected sternum piercing is indicative a tendency toward troubled healing--surface piercings such as these often have problems. The VCH is another matter. If it is determined that your jewelry is of good quality, the piercing properly placed and cared for, then you simply may not be a good candidate for piercings. Here is a brief section from my book about piercing inverted nipples:

Nape Piercings

I received this email from a piercer today:
Loved your article in PAIN magazine this month. It still surprises me how many clients will ask if its ok to heal their piercings with rubbing alcohol or peroxide!! I had one girl ask if it was ok to put liquid bandage over her freshly pierced nipples!! I don't offer surface percings in my studio because I have seen so many pictures of them rejecting but my friend is begging me to do the nape of his neck. Do you have any suggestions for the correct jewelry or tips for that piercing that would give me a better chance with not having it reject?
Hi Meghan, Thanks for your email. I'm not big on surface piercings myself, but there is one area that I will routinely do: the nape of the neck! Though if the tissue is not pliable, I decline. If the skin pinches up well, I make a wide piercing (usually over an inch; generally 1 1/4") and insert Tygon tubing. I most commonly use 12 or 10 gauge. There are some tricks to using it. Because the tubing is so flexible, it is kind of like trying to feed cooked spaghetti through a piercing, which obviously wouldn't be easy! So, I insert the tip of a small insertion taper (18 gauge) securely into the lumen of the tubing as far as it will go. This gives me a solid end that makes it easy to do the jewelry transfer. Important note: Tygon tubing is sold by gauge but may not be the exact measurement of your needle of the same size. If the Tygon is marginally larger, you won't get it through the piercing unless you use a needle of the next larger gauge (or half-gauge). To make the tubing into a barbell: depending on the size of the lumen, you can press-fit ornamental ends made for threadless body jewelry by Neometal. The 16 ga ends work great in the 14 gauge tubing.

Surface Piercings

I received this question in the comments section of one of my posts:

I have a question. For surface piercings, which kind of barbells are suitable?

My reply: On some types of tissue and on certain areas of the body, it won't matter WHAT style of jewelry you use--the body simply won't accept jewelry in all locations. Here is an excerpt from The Piercing Bible about surface piercings:

More VCH Questions

I received this question today:

Hi, I have a few questions about the Vertical Hood Piercing. How long is it recommended before having sex or exercising? I have heard that some people aren't able to run or walk upstairs without nearly having an orgasm. How common is this? Also I have heard from someone who had one that when they took it out, there were bumps that formed. Is this something that often happens upon removing the piercing? Thank you very much. Akilah

Hi Akilah, Thanks for your email. Whether you think of it as fortunate or unfortunate, most women do not have any problems climbing stairs or exercising as a result of enjoying their piercings "too much." There is often a period of heightened sensitivity or hypersensitivity for a short time after piercing, but this tends to normalize over a short period of time. There is more information about sensation, sensitivity, and related subjects in my book. There is no required period for abstaining from sexual activity or exercise, but there are some very important rules to which you must adhere. This passage is from The Piercing Bible:

Follow-up on the Previous Post

Liz wrote back with some additional questions:
Elayne - Thanks so much for responding so quickly!  I have your book on pre-order with Amazon, and look forward to devouring it! I really hesitate to try any kind of steel - I have had my ears pierced since I was 8, and to this day can't get near anything less than 14k (other than sterling) in my ears without major irritation and discharge, even bleeding.  My wedding ring is white gold, and even after wearing it for 14 years, I still sometimes get a rashy irritation under the band from the nickel in the alloy.  Can you tell me any more about the alloy used in 14k that makes it piercing compatible?  Even the gold earrings I wear turn red over time where they contact my skin - presumably from my body oxidizing the trace copper in the yellow gold alloy.  Who knows.  Obviously something I need to do more research on - I had no gold would pose its own complications. I hope the attached pics are ok - the q-tip was a bit tricky, and as it is a self-portrait, kind of blurry.  It's a standard generic q-tip.  If you need better detail or a different angle or something, I can try to re-do the photos later this weekend (if I can get my toddler to nap). Thanks again - Liz
Liz, I know my book will provide you with a great deal of information that will prove most helpful to you. There is a big chapter on jewelry and you will learn all about the different materials. For healing, you may decide to go with titanium or even bioplast or PTFE (inert plastics). Implant grade steel and titanium have alloys that meet certain standards, but gold does not have an implant designation. Gold alloys are proprietary mixes, so there are no assurances like the "mill certificates" provided by manufacturers of implant grade steel and titanium.
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