body piercing

Another Interview

Yesterday I received a phone call from Neil Steinberg, a columnist for the Chicago Sun Times. He is planning to do an article about the popularity of female genital piercings. Apparently, he'd been in touch with the woman from the media relations office of Loyola Health Systems (see my previous post). When I told him that I was not only the Medical Liaison for the Association of Professional Piercers, but also the woman who literally "wrote the book" on body piercing, he said maybe he'd hold the story until my formal book release in May. That would be great! I'll be keeping an eye on the Sun Times to see whether he does that or not. I always get a kick out of the way people respond when I tell them how many clients get genital piercings from the demographic of older, more "conservative" individuals who do not have any other body art!

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:

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.

On Sale NOW--The Piercing Bible!

The Piercing Bible is on pre-sale The Piercing Bible is on pre-sale on Amazon.com at a 32% discount! Regular cover price is $20.00, but you can get your copy for only $13.60 by placing your order early. Order yours today!

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.

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:

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.

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