Piercing Questions

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.

VCH Piercing, Jewelry Materials, and Jewelry Changes

Today I received this query in the comments section of one of my posts:
HI!  I am 44, and have been considering a VCH for a while now, and find that most of the research I have done has led me to you and Rings of Desire. I appreciate your expertise, and any time you could give to address my questions.  Hubby and I will be attempting the q-tip test today, and I hope to email you a pic of that for your expert advice (if that's ok).  I have no real local resources (small midwestern town). 1. How do I determine what size jewelry to buy?  I need to use 14k gold (metal allergy issues with anything else) and I assume not all shops carry 14k.  Maybe that's a bad assumption, but I'm guessing I'll buy in advance and take it to the shop with me -
2. Will I be able to change the jewelry myself (or can my hubby) if i want to increase size, or will I need to return to my piercer? 3. I've heard the phrase "growing out" - what exactly does that mean? Thank you so much for your time!  I look forward to hearing from you, and would love to know if you would look at my photos, if hubby can get any good ones! All best, Liz
Hi Liz, Sounds like you have LOTS of questions that will all be answered in detail by my book. You can pre-order it at a discount on Amazon.com. Below you will find some brief answers to your questions to tide you over: 1. I would not suggest buying jewelry in advance. A piercer with a quality studio will stock a wide range of suitable styles, sizes, and materials. You should not need to determine the size--your piercer should know EXACTLY what you need for your build and suggest the size for you.

VCH Question

Here is an email exchange that started as a comment to one of my other posts:

Hey, I wanted to know if I could ask a question about a VCH that was done MONTHS ago (at least 5) and might be rejecting.How do I know?  Would I be able to send a picture and you tell me.. or can I find a picture online?

My response: You are welcome to email me a photo or two to: angel@piercingbible.com and I'd be happy to take a look. What problems are you having that make you feel concerned about this? To see photos and a diagram of properly placed VCH piercings go here: http://ringsofdesire.com/femalegenital.html and http://ringsofdesire.com/q_tip.html. Or, you can watch me do the piercing here. Watch me perform genital piercings Marie wrote again:

How Long Can I Leave My Jewelry Out?

Piercees often want to know how long they can leave out their body jewelry before a hole closes. One man asked me just today:

I don't know if you can help or point me to someone who can, but I have a frenum with 3 (originally had 4) ten gauage 5/8" bars.  I have had them for over two years and want to be able to remove them for several hours when the mood hits my wife -- we are now getting into tantric activity. Here is the problem:  I removed them several months ago for about 1 1/2 hours and when I went to re-insert the bars, one piercing had closed so much I could not get the bar in one, so I lost it (I have a taper). My questions: 1.  Could I leave it out longer (say 2-3 hours) if I stretched to 8 guage? 2.  Would it help if I inserted a lubricant such as emu oil when I remove the jewelry? Any views would be most appreciated. L.

Hi L. Thank you for your email. Even though I literally "wrote the book" on piercing, I can't answer your question with certainty--nobody could, because human bodies vary so widely on this matter. In general, the suggestion is: if you like your piercing, leave something in it at all times. Some people's piercings shrink within minutes of removing the jewelry. A technique for large gauge piercings called "resting" involves removing jewelry and some of the principles apply to you. This is from my book:

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:

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