The Vertical Clitoral Hood (VCH) is by far the most popular female genital piercing for several reasons. As the name describes, the piercing is placed in the same direction that women’s genitals are formed, so the jewelry rests between the legs without stress or irritation. The majority of women are anatomically suited, with a hood (prepuce--the protective fold of hood tissue above the clitoris, analogous to the foreskin), in which jewelry can safely and comfortably be worn. And, importantly, many women find the VCH to be enjoyable and stimulating during sexual activities.
Women of all types, from sorority sisters to empty-nest retirees, are getting VCH piercings. It is not only for alternative individuals; numerous women who have no other body art wear this piercing. It is suited to any woman who wants to explore new avenues of erotic sensation, if she is anatomically built for it. It is liberating and stimulating as well as appealing and inspiring. The momentary pinch and quick, easy healing period are a small price to pay for the pleasure you can derive.
Dr. Vaughn Millner and associates at the University of South Alabama conducted a research study on VCH piercings as they relate to female sexual satisfaction. The results led to the following statement: “In this exploratory study, we identify a positive relationship between vertical clitoral hood piercing and desire, frequency of intercourse and arousal.” These encouraging findings were published in the prestigious (and conservative) American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology!
I've had clients tell me that following a VCH piercing they'd become multi-orgasmic, and others became able to climax from intercourse who couldn't previously.
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This hood is normally configured like a tiny one-ended tunnel, and the VCH pierces through just the thin membrane of skin that sits atop the clitoris, not through the clitoris itself. Most of the jewelry rests underneath the hood. When the piercing is properly placed, the clitoris receives direct action from contact with the jewelry during sex. Many women enjoy this a great deal, but if you would describe your clitoris as hypersensitive, you will probably not want to wear jewelry in this location.
To determine if you have sufficient depth for this piercing, try the Q-tip test: slide a lubricated cotton swab underneath your hood. If most of the cottony end fits under the tunnel, then you have enough depth for a VCH. If the swab is too wide, you can remove some of the fluff; the concern is depth, not width. If you have a shallow tunnel and only part of the tip fits under your hood, you may not be a candidate for the VCH. In some cases, an expert can cheat the piercing a little further up for safety. I use a 3/8" distance or further for safety and longevity of the piercing.
There are two other considerations. To be suited, you must also lack a visible vein along the midline, and have enough room for the jewelry to rest safely and comfortably. Some women have deep enough hoods, but have too little space above the hood for jewelry to rest safely, due to a large or heavy pubic mound.
Traditional placement for the VCH is at the apex (the deepest part) underneath the hood, along the midline. A barbell has the appearance of passing through the whole length of tissue from the piercing to the bottom of the hood. However, because of the tunnel shape, only a small amount of skin is pierced, and most of the jewelry simply rests under the hood against the clitoris. I can usually see through this thin flesh during the piercing. On the deepest of hoods, the piercing may be placed lower than the apex to moderate the jewelry size. If you have a deep hood but don’t care to add much sensation, you might want to have the piercing placed a few millimeters below the apex.
Asymmetry in this region is quite common and an expert can assist you in the safest and most aesthetic placement for your unique build.
If you are overweight, you may still be a candidate for a VCH piercing if you have sufficient hood tissue in a suitable configuration, and your piercer can access the area to perform the procedure. Sometimes an assistant is needed to help expose the region (either you or a studio employee, wearing clean gloves). Even if your jewelry will be entirely tucked in and hidden by full outer labia, once it is in place, the VCH generally heals well.
Inexpert piercers frequently place the VCH too close to the edge of the hood. Shallow piercings result in less pleasure because the jewelry is too far from the clitoris. Also, if too little tissue is pierced, there is a risk of tearing and accidental hood bifurcation (splitting).
Another error is terribly common: the piercing is made through just the surface skin, and the jewelry does not rest beneath the hood (against the clitoris) at all. These are subject to migration, rejection, and scarring, plus they pierce through far more tissue than a properly placed VCH. Even worse (horrendous!), I regularly see accidental piercings of the clitoral glans by piercers who are unclear on the anatomy and procedure.
Note that I ALWAYS wear gloves for client contact! Images without gloves were sent to me for consultations, and are posted anonymously and with permission.
I use a 14 or 12 gauge for initial jewelry in the VCH piercing, most commonly with a curved bar. This style helps to minimize friction and prevent irritation during healing, especially if you are built with a "hill" formation (your hood is higher than your outer labia). The curve allows the jewelry to rest a little closer to the clitoris and provides a small amount of extra room without added length. If you are built with a deep "valley," (your outer labia are taller than your hood) the ring and bar are both suitable styles for initial jewelry.
Women need to wear initial VCH jewelry that has some room for growth. When a bar is used for healing, the bottom ball should show fully, or to some extent, below the inverted V that forms the peak of the hood. Because only a small amount of tissue is pierced, this kind of fit allows for plenty of extra post length for safety. The bottom ball should not be fully hidden well up under the hood, though this is certainly an option once healing is concluded, since many find it pleasurable. If a ring is used for initial jewelry, it must be large enough so that it does not constrict the hood.
The VCH piercing can feel quite different when you change the style or dimensions of your jewelry. Consider experimenting with other sizes of bars, rings, and balls after you have healed. If you are seeking maximum sensation and/or have a recessed clitoris, then a J-curve is a good option, once you're healed. The shaped post underneath your hood increases contact between the jewelry and your clitoris. You might enjoy the feeling of a short post with a ball resting under your hood, touching your clitoris, or you might prefer a longer bar. Then again, you could favor the feeling of a ring, or the way it can be looped onto your partner’s tongue barbell during oral sex. Personal preferences vary, but the research can be fun.
Most women find the VCH rather easy to stretch at least a size or two and have sufficient anatomy to wear gauges thicker than the initial size. Heavier jewelry may produce different sensations. After two to three months or so, the piercing should be ready to enlarge one gauge.
The VCH has a tendency to shrink and close quickly on most women, and even momentary removal can result in the loss of your piercing! Though a few women find they can easily take the jewelry in and out after healing.
Before you sign up, ask how the piercer performs the piercing. If he or she replies, “With forceps,” turn around and run away! Clamping with forceps endangers your clitoris, and it could be intensely—and unnecessarily—painful. Further, using forceps for the VCH seldom, if ever, results in proper placement. The piercing ends up too shallow, or just passes through surface skin on top of the hood, and the jewelry does not touch the clitoris at all. Unfortunately, these blunders are extremely common.
My standard procedure is to use a needle receiving tube (NRT) under the hood. Some tissue manipulation makes placing it easier and more comfortable if you have a small hood or if it fits tightly to your body. I simply lift your hood and gently pull it away from your body to loosen the tissue. The piercing is done through the dot that has been marked for placement and into the tube, which protects your clitoris underneath. The skin that is pierced is normally much thinner than that of an earlobe. A small percentage of women have thicker hoods; these may be a bit more sensitive to have pierced and can take a little while longer to heal.
You might find that prepping under your hood with a swab or the pressure from the receiving tube is the most uncomfortable part of the procedure. When performed properly, the sensation of the piercing itself is very brief, and afterward there is seldom lingering discomfort. By the time you are dressed, you’re likely to find that your VCH piercing feels good already, or simply that you notice something is there. It is also normal to feel nothing different at all.
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Healing and Troubleshooting
Some bleeding is to be expected for a few days, but many women elect to wear a panty liner throughout their initial healing stages. Choose an unscented variety, and for maximum protection, you may want to place it a little bit forward of where it is normally worn. Snug, supportive underwear is helpful to prevent the jewelry from moving around excessively, though very tight jeans can actually cause damage, so listen to your body and dress comfortably.
The VCH piercing has a very quick healing time. Some women swear theirs is healed in a week or even less. To be on the safe side, you should care for yours during the entire four-week minimum healing time, even if it feels fine sooner. And it is still normal if it takes twice that long to heal, which is still quick compared to many other body piercings.
If you have a hill with an exposed hood, you may find healing more challenging, and the first week or so a little more sensitive. Wearing the smallest jewelry that is safe will help minimize any discomfort. If your initial jewelry is still uncomfortable or irritating after the early accommodation period, its size or style will need to be changed by a professional as soon as possible.
A traditionally placed VCH piercing does not pierce near any major nerves, so there is no basis for a loss of sensation under ordinary circumstances.
Engaging in physical activities after getting a VCH piercing is fine, though a break from bicycling or horseback riding is surely advisable. With the exception of these activities, you will probably find that your new piercing doesn’t cause any discomfort while exercising; in fact, you may not even notice it. Then again, it may inspire you to work out. More than a few women have discovered that the stair-stepper or other gym equipment holds new interest for them after genital piercing!
For women who have little space for jewelry and pressure from a large or heavy pubic mound, a VERY simple resolution is a medical-grade silicone disc worn continuously beneath the top ball or gem. This acts like a small gasket, protects the tissue, and prevents embedding.
What My Happy Clients Say
My VCH healed beautifully, and our first "test drive" with some safe, gentle sex yielded not just one but MANY orgasms with just penetration alone. No additional clitoral stimulation needed, which was always needed for me in the past to reach orgasm.
My mind is BLOWN. This piercing has changed my life.
I wish every woman could experience this. My time on earth will be forever better.
I absolutely LOVE my VCH Piercing! I haven't felt any discomfort or pain since the split second poke from the piercing (lol)....no joke the piercing was really like a split second honestly! I felt beyond comfortable with Elayne.
I didn't leave with any unanswered questions! I'm so happy I found Elayne.. NOBODY can compare to her ... Elayne you are truly the BEST!!!!!
You did a vertical clit hood piercing for me. I did not have any issues with the piercing, and frankly is the best money I’ve ever spent!