4 Jan 2012

I had some lengthy correspondence with a piercee who went to a reputable professional for her Vertical Clitoral Hood (VCH) piercing, but felt it was much more painful than most other women seem to find the procedure and aftermath. I believe it was a reflection of individual sensitivity after learning it was done by a skilled piercer.

Hi Elayne,
A huge fan of your book, thank you so much for the great reference material, and it makes a great read.

I just recently decided to get a VCH piercing after many months of wanting one. I did all my research on the piercing, and I went to a reputable piercing in my area. When it actually came down to it, the receiving tube was very painful, but the piercing was even worse, easily my most painful piercing, and it was very tender afterwards, and bled a lot. I was wondering if you could shed any light on this? Everything I've read said this was supposed to only pinch a bit, and feel better pretty quickly if there was any discomfort.


I'm so glad to hear that you liked my book, but I'm sorry to hear that you didn't have a comfortable piercing experience.

Unfortunately, that is fairly common if I'm not the one to pierce you (or one of the piercers I refer to specifically). It sounds like your piercer was not as highly skilled as possible, and it sounds as though there may have been unnecessary excessive trauma, that is definitely apt to be less comfortable during the procedure and afterward as well.

Feel free to send me a clear, close up photo if you want me to evaluate the placement and jewelry fit.

Hi Elayne,

VCH with Bezel Set GemstoneThank you for your quick reply. I attached a photo of the piercing, there was still some bleeding when I took it.

To me, it looks like there's a potential that piercing itself could be placed too high, but that seems unlikely due to the fact that my piercer used a receiving tube that went underneath the hood. With my anatomy it also seems to be tilting to the right naturally, But I'm not positive that it isn't due to the piercing being crooked itself.

I went to a piercer who is actually listed as one of your referrals. I really don't feel this was any fault of the piercer's. He did everything the way I expected, and handled my negative reaction with grace. I am curious about your thoughts on this matter.

I'm wondering if something wasn't "right" with my anatomy, a nerve where there normally isn't, or something along those lines.


Hi M.

Thanks for the additional information. The piercing does appear properly placed for your build from what I can see. There may be some swelling which could cause the gem to face off that way, or it could be just how you're built. To minimize that, you may prefer to wear a ball-set gem, rather than the bezel set one, which has a flat back and emphasizes the asymmetry.

There's no doubt that some individuals are more sensitive than others. After hearing your story, I have to say that you're probably just on the far end of the sensitivity spectrum. It is a normal variation, but an unpleasant one, I'm sure. Far more commonly, such discomfort is from piercer ineptitude, but I don't actually think that is the case. I know everyone at that studio is skillful and experienced.

Every once in a while, a client will remark to me about greater discomfort (or even pain) than usual from a piercing. It happens. Hopefully it means that it will be all the more pleasurably sensitive once you're healed!

Bleeding isn't really of concern; it can be normal from any fresh piercing. This is from my book:

What to Expect
Immediately after being pierced, some bleeding, swelling, and tenderness or pain are standard consequences. Bleeding may continue—usually intermittently—for a few days. Localized bruising is normal, though not typical for most piercings. Heavy blood flow or bleeding that continues for longer than a few days may be cause for concern, and you should contact your piercer or a physician. The placements that routinely bleed freely are discussed in chapters 10–13.

If a piercing bleeds or swells substantially right after the piercing, an ice pack should be applied as soon as possible. Prepared piercers keep disposable instant cold packs ready for use. They can be wrapped in a clean dental bib or paper towel to maintain hygiene. Occasionally, a piercing will swell so much that your piercer needs to swap out your jewelry for a larger piece before you leave the studio. An adept technician will use an insertion taper to change it for you without causing pain or trauma to the area. Internally threaded jewelry is safer and easier to deal with in these situations.

Piercings that bleed under the surface can leave a colorful bruise. Arnica montana (a natural herb) may help to diminish the discoloration. Arnica is available in cream or gel form at health food stores. Apply it on the bruise, but do not put it directly into the wound.4

Let me know if there's any questions you have left. Elayne



After taking sometime to think through a few things, I do have some questions for you.

The pain I'm having with this piercing really caught me off guard, I've been researching it for the past nine months on and off to make sure it wouldn't be an issue, as I'm a fairly active person. Yet, for some odd reason it hurts. It hurts when I bend over, it hurts when I do jack-kife sit ups, when I use the row machine, when I sit down too fast. I'm really at a loss at what to do.

Do you think this pain will fade in the next four weeks? Is there a possibility that it won't? Could it be minimized by getting a longer bar, or trading out the bezel top for a bead? Maybe switching to a smaller gauge (currently 14g)?

I'm just really frustrated, and I'm at a loss at what to do. The pain is causing complications that I wasn't prepared to deal with.

Thanks again, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my emails.

HI M.,

VCH with jewelry sized to fit for initial piercingI do think you should try a ball or ball-set gem rather than the bezel set stone. The bar looked just a tad short. That isn't normally an issue, but since it is bothering you, you may want to talk to Noah about getting one just a fraction longer so that it rests like in the attached photo.

The other thing is, you may find the best approach is to lay off your usual workouts (even for a few days) and give the piercing a chance to rest and heal without any excess activity or trauma. Just a few days could help. Rest is good for our bodies and is an important component of any workout regimen. It really wouldn't hurt your fitness level and it may help your piercing to get an edge of settling in through rest and gentleness.

Also, are you familiar with emu oil? It is VERY soothing and can help with discomfort from piercings. There's information about it on my site here.

Even on women who described their piercings and/or aftermath as more intense than most others have found that once the piercing healed, they did not experience discomfort.

Threaded Gemstone Ball-set Ends


Hi E.
I went into the studio and had them swap out the bezel for a plain ball, and the difference is incredible. It's still tender, but when I do feel it from moving around, it's not painful, just sore.

I'll try to lay off some of the exercises, we'll see how successful I am at sitting still. I also ordered some emu oil. I've never used it before, but this experience convinced me to try it, hopefully it'll clear the residual tenderness.

One last question. My piercer said that I should be okay to switch back to the bezel end once my healing period is over, however with the difference such a small changed made, I'm a little bit reluctant. Do you think the bezel set stone won't be an issue when it's healed, or should I just stick to the ball?

Hi again,

I think you'll find much less difference (if any) between the ball and the bezel once you're fully healed. I believe it is worth a try after you're healed if you prefer the aesthetic of the bezel set gem. There's also a style available that is a low profile ball set stone that looks more like the bezel setting but offers the comfort of the ball. The good news is that if you do, you can switch back to a ball or ball-set stone if the bezel-set piece is not comfortable.


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