Male Genital Piercings
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Piercings discussed on this page include:
Do Genital Piercings Prevent Sex?
I am often asked whether genital piercings prevent sexual activity? The answer is no! The whole idea for most people is to enhance sex. That may be through simply the exciting and exotic visual of jewelry through tender flesh, or from the way the jewelry feels stimulating nerve endings on one's self or one's partner.
Others seek sexual negation through piercing (infibulation) to prevent sexual activity by joining piercings together, effectively "locking up" parts to prohibit erection and/or penetration. Unfortunately for most who fantasize about this, it works best in the fantasy realm. The logistics and mechanics of the reality are fairly difficult to achieve for long term wear.
The stretchiness and malleability of the tissue makes it difficult to hold male anatomy securely in a desired position. Also, the amount of pressure and force applied continuously from locking a Prince Albert to a Guiche, for example, tends to cause soreness or even migration. Certainly, the piercings would need to be well healed and settled in before trying something of that nature. It tends to work for limited periods of time on most men who do attempt it.
Another common query is whether genital piercings can be used with condoms or if they cause condoms to break. Most body jewelry is very smooth, and works well with condoms. Sometimes condoms break when there is no jewelry present.
There haven't been any formal studies as to whether there is an increase in condom breakage resulting from genital jewelry. Numerous clients with genitals which are covered in body jewelry that use condoms with no problem. Pleasure Plus condoms have been said to work well with body jewelry. Folks who are not fans of latex barriers will be pleased to note that while condoms may dull some sensation, there is additional sensitivity resulting from a fresh piercing.
During the healing stages, a piercing is an open wound, and condoms must be used to prevent sharing bodily fluids. This is the case, even if you are in a monogamous relationship! Also, while you do not need to abstain from sexual activities you must "listen to your body." That means, if it feels sore, ease up. While a piercing is healing it is delicate, and subject to a variety of potential complications if abused.
Being too rough on a fresh piercing can delay the healing, or result in temporary or permanent scar tissue formation. Further, stresses can cause the jewelry to migrate from the original placement. It can move to a slightly different (less aesthetic or desirable) spot, or it is even possible to have it migrate all the way out if played with too hard.
The following is an overview of piercings, with tidbits of historical information, descriptions of the placements, feedback on pros and cons, and so on.
This is not even a fraction of the information contained in The Piercing Bible.
Healing time: 4-6 weeks
The Prince Albert, or PA is one of the most common male genital piercings, and was one of the most popular body piercing sites overall at the inception of modern body piercing during the latter part of the 20th Century.
Lots of men who wear multiple piercings state that if they could keep only one, it would be their PA.
Based on appearance it looks to be a "serious" body piercing, with the ring coming out the tip of the urethra. In fact, it goes through some of the thinnest tissue on the human body that we pierce! Most of the channel in which the ring rests is already there: the urethra. In order to get the ring to come through to the traditional Prince Albert placement on the underside of the penis at the juncture of the head and the shaft, we pierce essentially a membrane of tissue. Generally you can see right through it! Some men have a web of tissue there and this necessitates placing the piercing slightly off to one side. Also, the Prince Albert can be done on uncircumcised men, though the jewelry must not prevent the foreskin from resting in its natural position over the glans of the penis. These are not problems for an experienced piercer.
The procedure may be difficult mentally (piercing the family jewels, after all) but physically it is not challenging. Many men compare it favorably to an ear piercing! Pretty well everyone agrees that a nipple piercing is a far more sensitive area.
The PA is performed by briefly and gently inserting a small, warmed, lubricated tube, a short way into the urethra. It is lined up under the dot which had been marked after the cleaning of the area. One might think of the urethra as being in the center of the penis, however, it is actually fairly close to the underside of the shaft. The piercer should quickly pierce through the dot and into the tube which is in the urethra. The jewelry pushes the needle out, and it is done!
Most men find that the tube is the part of the procedure they feel more than anything else. They report that it feels like pressure and is somewhat uncomfortable or unpleasant, but not devastating. This awkward feeling is because majority of men are accustomed to things moving outward from the urethra, rather than into it! Without fail most men say it wasn't nearly as bad as they were thinking it would be. Frequently, men are astounded that there is no actual pain, and that just some minor discomfort is involved.
It heals as quickly as any piercing on the body. Four weeks is the minimum healing time for any piercing and includes PA, ear lobes, nasal septum, tongue and vertical clitoral hood (see female genital piercing page for more information). All are vascular areas and the PA is certainly no exception. It is easy to get, quick to heal, and the most likely to bleed of any body piercing. There is a method for "wrapping you up to go" and your piercer may provide extra supplies to you so you can avoid getting blood on your clothing or home furnishings.
Even though a piercer will repeatedly explain about the tendency of the PA to bleed, a number of men are concerned whether their bleeding is normal. It is not only normal, it is to be expected. A Prince Albert piercing can bleed freely off and on for several days and be perfectly normal! You can help diminish likelihood of bleeding by avoiding intake of aspirin and large doses of caffeine for several days prior to piercing. Also, you can also take Vitamin K supplements according to package instructions to help support optimal clotting. This is available at health food stores, and should be done for a week or so preceding the piercing. Some men don't bleed at all. Post-piercing a majority of men find that briefs or other snug-fitting undergarments are comfortable. This will offer support which prevents the jewelry from moving around too much.
The question is often asked if the Prince Albert piercing is "more dangerous" or "harder to heal" or "subject to more infections" because it goes through the urethra. The answer to all is,"NO, absolutely not!" One's own urine is not harmful to the piercing, and actually functions somewhat like the salt water treatments that are suggested to help healing (see the Aftercare information for details). It also helps to rinse away any matter that secretes from the piercing (secretion is normal for with any healing piercing). An important thing to know is that while not harmful, urination may cause a stinging sensation during the first few days of healing. There are several ways to minimize this discomfort. One way is to drink lots of water, which is good for any healing piercing, actually. This will cause the urine to be less acidic and therefore it will not sting as much. Another option is to pour a cup of clean water over the area during urination to rinse the urine away, which diminishes the aftermath. The most effective method of making urination more comfortable is to actually go under water and then the urine doesn't have a chance to stay on the new piercing and sting. Some men use a large, clean cup or kitchen bowl or vessel, partially filled with water. Then you just submerge, and go under water. It helps a great deal, and is only likely to be needed for the first few days. Not all men will make use of these suggestions, but a number have been very thankful for the helpful hints.
The usual starting sizes for jewelry are 12 or 10 gauge in thickness, and 5/8" or 3/4" in inside diameter. Naturally these dimensions will vary based on individual differences. On men built with a low urethral opening (close to the bottom of the penis) the piercing can be "cheated" a little further down the shaft to encompass a sufficient amount of tissue. The ring is sized to fit when the penis is erect. An accurate estimate of the maximum size is easily achieved during the piercing by merely pulling on the tissue. A captive ring or circular barbell are the most common starting styles of jewelry. Some men prefer to wear a curved bar, especially if foreskin is present.
Once healed, the Prince Albert is generally very easy to stretch. In addition to ear lobes, this is the most popular site for jumbo jewelry, and rings of 0 and 00 gauge are not unusual! Frequently, several sizes can be skipped. After six months, a man wearing a 12 gauge PA was able to put in a 4 gauge with no difficulty! If you know that you plan to stretch to a very large size of jewelry it is advisable to inform your piercer. If so, the piercing will often be situated to have a little more tissue between the edge of the urethra and the piercing to accommodate the large, heavy rings. Many men (and their partners) really enjoy the sensations of a Prince Albert piercing, particularly when wearing large jewelry. The large rings do not prohibit urination, but may be dangerous to teeth during oral contact.
Healing time: 4-8 weeks
This is a newer placement than most of the other male genital piercings. The tissue it passes through is essentially the same as a Prince Albert. The Dolphin is placed lower down the shaft of the penis on the underside, generally approximately 5/8"or so away (when the tissue is taut) from the traditional Prince Albert. The Prince Albert must be present and be well healed before you can connect the Dolphin, which would normally be pierced on a subsequent occasion.Jewelry, generally a bent bar, is worn in through the PA hole and out through the lower piercing. This results in a bent bar inside the urethra, and two balls on the underside of the penis. The tissue might be a little thicker there than the traditional PA placement, and if so, the Dolphin may take a little longer to heal--though usually it is the same.
Some men have found, due to the angle of the bend on a curved bar and the shape of their anatomy and so on, that metal can be uncomfortable initial jewelry for the piercing. Some men have found it more comfortable and easier to heal using a long bent bar which goes from the dolphin piercing all the way out the tip of the urethra. Basically this is using the Dolphin as a very low Prince Albert with a long bent bar in it. Some men have comfortably healed wearing a long "barbell" made of Tygon which is an inert flexible medical tubing (used for artery replacements). Tygon is much less rigid than metal and is therefore well suited to the malleability and changing dimensions of the area. Once healing is complete the usual bent bar can be inserted in the Dolphin position.
Healing time: 4-6 months or longer
The name is said to derive from the Dyaks in Borneo. When boys reach manhood their rite of passage is celebrated with the placement of the Palang ("cross bar") horizontally through the head of the penis. Much as in the past, for modern usage the increased sensation for both the wearer and his partner are inspirational factors.
The "traditional American" ampallang is placed horizontally through the penis head above the urethra, generally back toward the corona. With a barbell in place, this results in the look that can be described as "eyes on a beast." The "traditional European" placement passes through the urethra. This is placed lower and more forward on the penis head. The European version is likely to heal faster, being through less tissue (placed where the penis head is narrower) and, like the Prince Albert, passes through the urethra where urine helps promote healing.
Most men find it a pretty daunting piercing due to the length of the piercing channel. Jewelry well over an inch long, (often 1 1/2" or so) is common. Still, many men report that nipple piercings are a more sensitive placement to have done! The piercing goes through the spongy tissue of the penis head where most nerve endings are capable of delivering the message "pressure." The intensity is felt at the exit point, where the nerve endings tend to deliver the message "this stings!" Still, as with all piercings, piercees say that it wasn't as bad as they thought it would be.
More than one ampallang piercee has said his ear piercings hurt more! They can be performed freehand or using forceps to secure the tissue.
The most common starting gauges are 14 through 10 gauge. The ampallang can be stretched after it is healed if a larger gauge is desired later. Length is based on the measurement when erect. After the piercing is healed, a bar post which is short enough to actually pinch slightly when one is erect is often pleasurable.
Ampallang piercings may bleed, but many do not.
Healing time: 4-6 months or longer
The ancient Sanskrit treatise on love, the Kama Sutra, containse the oldest written rerferenc to penis piercing with its discussion of the Apadravya. The Apadravya is the vertical placement of a bar through the penis head. This passes through the urethra, and heals somewhat faster than its horizontal counterpart, the ampallang.
The Apadravya is actually two piercings, in a sense. (Or, it can be said, "You get a free Prince Albert with every Apadravya"). It encompasses a Prince Albert on the lower portion, and a "Reverse Prince Albert" on the upper portion. Generally it is started with a barbell from bottom to top. Later separate jewelry could be worn in various combinations (i.e., a ring in the PA part, plus a barbell through the entire head, or perhaps a separate ring in each segment, coming out the urethra).
If you already have the Prince Albert, there are a few options depending on its placement and the way you are built. The most common is to gently place the piercing needle into the existing PA hole, and come up through the top, inserting a barbell. Many men who have stretched their PA's will immediately put jewelry back into that part of the piercing. Some elect to wait until the apadravya is somewhat healed before adding back the PA jewelry.
See Ampallang above for more information, as these are very similar piercings.
Healing time: 4-6 months or longer
This is one male piercing that actually takes its name from terminology referring the area in which it is placed. The "traditional" frenum is on the underside of the penis, through the pinchable surface tissue. It does not go through the shaft itself. It is placed so that a large ring or a frenum loop could be worn through the piercing around the head. Generally it is placed far enough down the penis that a Prince Albert can also be worn. Many men have both piercings.
Piercings can also be placed basically any where on the shaft where it is possible to pinch up the tissue. They are still referred to as frenums and can be placed in rows on the underside, sides, or top of the penis. Your imagination, and "pinchability factor" of the tissue are the main limitations. Many men prefer multiple frenums. Some partners affectionately refer to them as "speed bumps."
Usual starting jewelry is a 12 or 10 gauge barbell, commonly 5/8" or 3/4" in length. A ring large enough to fit around the entire head is often too big and heavy for the delicate tissues of the fresh, healing piercing and can result in migration, and other complications.
Frenum loops, or large rings can be added once the area has thoroughly healed. They should fit quite snugly around the head when the penis is erect. A draftsman's circle template (available at any art or office supply store) is the best way to measure. Depending on the size differential between flaccid and erect, the loop (or large ring) may hang down when not "in use."
The piercing is done using forceps and takes a moment to perform. Getting caught in your zipper is certainly more traumatic and painful than a frenum. (And ultimately not nearly as fun!). Once placed into the forceps, the tissue is carefully examined using a flashlight. This assures that there is nothing more vascular than a capillary visible in the pathway of the piercing. Even so, it may bleed either directly afterwards, and/or during the next few days.
Healing time: 2-3 months
A Lorum is a close relative to the frenum. The name was invented when Master Piercer Elayne Angel was doing a genital piercing on Dan Kopka, a former coworker at Gauntlet Los Angeles, many years ago (some time in the late '80's). He wanted a frenum, he said, only lower. "A Lower-um," Dan said, pinching the tissue at the juncture of the shaft and the scrotum.
"Oh, that would be cool there, yeah, a Lorum," was Angel's reply, and thus it was born.
The Lorum should be started with a fairly sizable ring of 12 or 10 gauge, in a 3/4", or preferably 7/8" diameter. The tissue is so stretchy and varies so much depending on the weather, among other factors. If placed too close to the surface with too small a ring it has a tendency to migrate out. In conjunction with the Pubic piercing, a single, large ring can be worn around the base of the shaft of the penis, through both healed piercings. Pretty cool!
It can be placed slightly towards the shaft, so that it can be situated within a condom, which will make it easier to have safer sex using condoms during healing.
Healing time: 2-3 months
The Hafada is simply a scrotum piercing. It is generally placed on the side of the sac, frequently in pairs. They are often placed on the midline, as well. It is essentially an ornamental, rather than functional piercing. Though depending on placement of the piercing (usually midline for this) and positioning with a partner and the size and weight of the jewelry, it can swing and "hit the right spot."
The fancy name is said to derive from the Arabs and a rite of passage into manhood. That fable appears to have been concocted by Doug Malloy, the "Grandfather" of modern body piercing. In fact, a variety of the lore surrounding piercings was generated by Mr. Malloy. It appears he was trying to legitimize body piercing by giving it more diverse and interesting history.
Other specious tales by Doug Malloy:
That Roman Centurians had nipple piercings, and wore their capes, (while riding their horses no less!) attached to their nipple rings. (Any one with nipple piercings knows this is not a very practical idea.)
Doug's folklore has it that South Pacific Islanders would pierce a guiche during puberty as a rite of passage into adulthood. They were said to wear a leather thong through the piercing (?!) with a shell dangling from it. Men would squat in the water and the vibrations from the jewelry would help them understand the water currents.This style of ornament was said to work well with the skirt-like sarong clothing worn by the islanders.
The Cyprian Society (after WWI) performed dydoe piercings to regain sensitivity lost to circumcision. Interesting, but I believe also a fabrication. Doug reportedly coined the term dydoe himself.
Healing time: 2-3 months
The dydoe is a piercing through the rim of the glans. They are usually done in pairs, though not always. This placement is suited only to men who have a large and well defined rim at the corona in which to place the jewelry. On men who aren't built with much tissue there, the piercings tend to migrate out, or to move to a different location.
Healing time: 2-3 months
The guiche is a horizontal piercing in the male perineum, between the scrotum and the anus. There have also been some successful vertical piercings there, but there does not appear to be a special name for them.
The guiche is the piercing that inspired Elayne Angel to invent the female counterpart called the Fourchette. So many men would jump off the table, smiling broadly as soon as we were done, declaring, “Wow! This feels great already!”
This is best done on candidates who have a good “pinchability factor.” That is, if it is difficult to pinch up the skin in the region, it could be harder to pierce and to heal. Usually a 12 or 10 gauge ring style is worn in a 5/8” or sometimes 3/4” diameter depending on the configuration of the region.
In our culture, some men do enjoy the feeling of adding weights to the region, after the piercing has healed. It is a pleasurably sensitive and erotic zone for many. Ornamenting the perineum with a guiche has the effect of calling attention to the region, and making it more sensitive and enjoyable.
Helpful healing hints: some men have found that the use of panty liners, sanitary pads and/or adult diapers (such as Depends) can facilitate the healing process. They keep the area dry and help provide a soft layer of protective padding.
Salt water soaks are excellent to accelerate the healing. The region is subject to a fair bit of motion, and irritation can result if you fail to soak regularly. The guiche isn’t highly prohibitive, though it is probably best to avoid bike and horse riding during healing. Sitting need not be an obstacle; one happy wearer of a large guiche (0 or 00 gauge) is a long distance truck driver!
Healing time 2-3 months or longer
The Pubic piercing is placed in the natural juncture where the body and the shaft meet, at the top of the penis. It is a very attractive as well as functional placement for body jewelry.
There doesn't appear to be any historical reference for the pubic piercing. Modern man engaging in a missionary position (or other face-to-face) sexual encounter with a woman will find that a pubic piercing can be a very pleasurable addition if the jewelry hits her clitoris.
Pubic piercings have a bad reputation for migrating out. There are a variety of relevant factors. One is the “pinchability factor” of the tissue. If the tissue is not pliable, and is quite tight to the body, this will make healing (and the piercing process) more difficult. The ability to allow it to heal with a minimum of trauma is important, and starting deep enough, with sizable jewelry is vital. I suggest a 12 or 10 gauge, 7/8” ring to start, which allows for placing a good amount of tissue in the piercing. It is normal for them to lose some tissue as they heal.
Ladders and Multiples healing times vary
It is true for many fans of piercing that if one is good, more is even better. Assuming the functionality one desires remains intact, then more is indeed merrier.
Several piercings can be done in a single session, though more than 4 or 5 at one time can delay the healing of all of them. Much depends on one’s healing history (if any) and overall health, and the care given to the piercings. If you do have a plan or goal in mind, it is best to mention it before getting started, so future placements can be taken into account.
Most men go for ladders on the underside of the penis, sometimes extending around the scrotum, ending in a guiche. The piercings on the shaft (just the loose, pinchable tissue!) are still termed “Frenums” and are usually started with barbells. I use 12 or 10 gauge bars in the 5/8-3/4” length range, depending on the tissue. Some prefer or add ladders on the sides or top of the penis. The same barbell suggestions remain. On the scrotum we generally start with rings in 12 or 10 gauge, 3/4” or 7/8” diameter.
Many neophytes viewing photos of heavily pierced genitals (with large gauge jewelry or multiple piercings) assume they are no longer functional in the usual way. This is UNTRUE. The whole idea is to enhance pleasure. This is accomplished through added sensations provided by piercings and the jewelry we wear in them. Additionally, many of us find the visuals to be as exciting as the sensations. Piercings are exotic and erotic!
There is a physiological basis for increases in sensitivity in pierced areas. Jewelry worn in piercings does contact nerve endings which would not or could not ordinarily be accessed or stimulated! It makes sense when you think about it.
For additional information about male and female genital piercings, see the articles I've written on IntimateMedicine.com.