Thinking about a “clit” piercing?

February 6, 2010

I want to get my clit pierced!

I hear a ton of inquiries like this from curious women, but the truth is, almost no one gets the clitoris itself pierced. Far, far more sensible, easy, and common is to get the clitoral hood pierced; that is, the thin membrane of skin which covers the actual clit.

Most common is the vertical clitoral hood piercing (a “VCH”). A horizontal clitoral hood piercing (“HCH”) is also common. These are commonly referred to as “hood” piercings (not clit piercings).

A clitoris piercing is possible, but it’s rare for several reasons. First, it’s a pretty extreme piercing, with potential to cause damage to a Very Important and Sensitive Organ! Second, because very few women have clits large enough to accommodate one. Here’s an excerpt from The Piercing Bible* about clit piercings:

Piercing of the clitoral glans (visible beneath the hood) is rare, and it is serious business. A piercing mishap can result in the loss of your clitoral sensation . . . only a highly experienced master should perform this piercing . . . exercise extreme caution before embarking upon a clitoris piercing; this is not an area with which to take risks.

Out of the very small number of women who genuinely desire a clitoris piercing (rather than the much more common hood piercing), approximately 90 to 95 percent are not suitably built to accommodate jewelry through the clitoral head.

So, girls, if you are interested in getting a genital piercing, do yourself a favor. Find the best, most experienced piercer you can find, and ask for a consultation and evaluation of your own anatomy. They don’t all look alike and the piercing that is best for your BFF may not be the best piercing for you. A hood piercing is an easy piercing that can look and feel great, but a clit piercing is something different.

If you’re confused about anatomy, here is a link to Wikip on female genital anatomy:     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clitoris

Playdough vulvas from Dr. Janet Carroll’s photostream at Flickr.
*The book, The Piercing Bible, by Elayne Angel, is the best reference out there. You can buy it from Amazon.com.


Magical Midnight

December 18, 2009

Since I announced the birth of my grandson, Orion here, I can’t neglect to introduce you to:

Auryn Midnight

A little granddaughtercloud born exactly at midnight.  (My 8th grandkid–can you believe it?) In a tub in the middle of the living room!

“Auryn” is the magical amulet belonging to the Child Empress in the Neverending Story.

In other news, I’m driving to visit my piercer in Albuquerque, so I should have some new piercings and some new blog posts soon!


More on Microdermals

December 3, 2009

Anchors, single point piercings, microdermals–whatever you call them, they are one of the newest big things in body piercing.  Traditional piercing placements are described in the old  maxim, “If It Protrudes, Pierce It.”   Single point piercings are attractive because you don’t need a protrusion, flap, or fold of skin–you can place them anywhere (theoretically.)  So far, the major problems with these cute little things are migration and rejection. Innovative jewelry makers and piercers are still working to refine the concept for viability, versatility, and long-term wear.

Above is a picture of my almost one-year old single point piercing (which I wrote about getting here.)   I’ve been lucky–many don’t make it this long, as they tend to reject.  Here’s a sampling of what I’ve learned about them:

Placement can make or break a piercing.  Lots of ladies are getting “cleavage” piercings, but are finding that the movement of their breasts is causing the piercing distress.  The anchor part that is in your skin must remain flat to the plane of your body.  My piercer placed my anchor higher than I initially wanted, but I believe it has been the key to my success so far.

Aftercare for these piercings consists of keeping them clean, with the occasional sea salt soak or compress.  Compresses (clean gauze or paper towel soaked with hot saltwater solution) are a good option because unlike a normal piercing with a channel and two exit points, there is only one hole.  Therefore, gentle pressure with a hot compress can help expel any lymph or other matter from the piercing.

Rejection and migration are the big problems here.  A messed up piercing must ordinarily be removed by a piercer, and may leave a scar.  Unfortunately, I’m not aware of anything that can be done by the piercee to prevent this.

As good as mine has been doing (no redness, pain, or anything), it has popped out a bit over the course of the year, as you can clearly see in the above pic.  (It looks a little red in this picture, but I think that’s just my pink person skin!) I think it may eventually work itself out and need to be removed.

Contrast my anchor with the two in the pic above, used with permission from PriestessLolo at the BAF forums from this thread. Her two chest anchors have clearly migrated away from the plane they are supposed to be in.  This is a very common consequence, and the piercee is planning to remove at least the bottom one before it can get worse.

I only have one single point piercing, so my thoughts and experience are limited.   They look amazing, but some might feel the piercing is a lot of money spent for pain, with more money, and more pain to remove them.   If you are willing to experiment with your body and accept the risks of rejection or scarring, they are really very rewarding and unique piercings.  Are they worth it?   The jury is still out on this one.

fin


Happy Birthday!

November 22, 2009

The Pierced Consumer is One Year Old!

Wow!  I can’t believe it’s been one whole year this month since I started this blog. Lots of blogs don’t even make it that far. I’ve seen a lot of “bodyart” blogs which are either “buy my jewelry” pitches or “my journey into body art” ramblings, and I’m glad to offer something different, something apart from now-standard experiences and endless photographs of ears and navels.   This isn’t a bullshit blog, and I hope I’ve made some good contributions on body piercing which inform and entertain.

I can’t always say it’s been smooth sailing, like when I made a very unflattering remark about a well-known belly dancer’s tattoo and she responded.  Not everyone agrees with my opinions, either.  That’s fine with me.  Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.  I’m not posting daily like I did in the beginning, which I knew wouldn’t last, and there have been some noticeable gaps when I just can’t think about body piercing; ’cause I’m just that kind of a flake. But I’m still here so I guess I haven’t given up yet.

In honor of this anniversary, here is a recap of some stats:

Top Five Posts:

  1. Body Piercing Basics
  2. Aftercare in Detail: The Dope on Soap
  3. Traditional and historical:  The Nose Piercing
  4. Book Review: Kat Von D High Voltage
  5. Mayan Body Piercing:  Keeping the Universe Alive

My busiest day was November 17, with 283 views, which is the day the Do’s and Tattoos review was noticed.  I’ve had over 34,400 hits overall, and the average in 2009 is a little over 100 hits per day.  Now, these numbers are pretty pitiful compared to some, but I’m still pretty happy.  Readership has gone steadily up. I’m a slow writer, and it’s a narrow topic.  I’m not trying to sell anything here except for better body piercing practices.

There are some important posts which I’ve yet to write:  a risks post, for example, since there are indeed serious risks to consider and avoid in body piercing; another is a piece on Aztec body piercing, which should be coming up shortly.  Historical posts seem to be popular hits, and it’s an area that interests me, so you’ll probably see more.  My choice of things to write is sometimes impulsive, and I’ve made no effort to completely cover every area of body piercing.  For that, we now have The Piercing Bible, by Elayne Angel, and for that reason, it’s been a very important year for The Pierced Consumer.

I would like to thank everybody who is reading.

For those of you who have been fans, commented on my posts. tolerated my self-promotion, here’s a little something for you.  I was fooling around trying to get a birthday shot, and this one came out, well . . . completely inappropriate!


fin

Ed.


What do Timothy Leary and Stretched Lobes Have in Common?

November 17, 2009

Some thoughts on stretched lobes:

Some friends of mine were talking about stretched earlobes.  They’ve seen  people wear large diameter plugs or other jewelry in their lobes and They Just Don’t Understand.  They’re ugly! They’re gross! Why would people do that? Tattoos seem ubiquitous these days; piercing of multiple body parts has caught on, but what’s with these giant stretched earlobes? (“Stretched” is usually considered the proper term, over “gauged.”  Not necessarily by me, but I thought I’d mention it!)

Piercees like to stretch their piercings for fun.  Stretched piercings are unique, it’s pleasurable to do things to your piercings, and there’s the shock effect, which some piercees enjoy and cultivate.  There’s nothing quite like a fashion or a look which requires real effort to achieve, and which few other people can wear.  It’s understandable that people would want to wear and collect some of the really beautiful jewelry for stretched ears that is now on the market. I’d be the first to applaud the innovation and artistry being exhibited by the people making some of these wonderful pieces, like the folks at One Tribe.

But are these good enough reasons?  In my opinion, yes.  And no. There’s nothing wrong with getting a piercing because it looks cool or to identify yourself with your peers.  I don’t want to be hypocritical–my earlobes are stretched moderately, and I plan to continue stretching just a bit more, in part to wear certain jewelry.   But I see a couple of problems in the trend:

1) Past a certain point, this is a permanent alteration to the body. Just like visible tattoos, facial tattoos, full sleeves, etc., these types of body mods should only be undertaken by mature individuals who have a good idea of how their life will play out and how they can support themselves. Surgical reconstruction isn’t cheap, and some people with large stretched lobes may find their employment options marginalized or reduced.  Not a good combination in today’s economy.

2) Too many people are stretching way too hard and fast. Not only does this result in a whole host of adverse consequences to the ear (blow out, cat butt, permanent disfigurement), but doing it this way fails to honor the journey and experience.

Stretching piercings are a way to honor those who have gone before us and to connect with a spiritual grounding in the past, and to the natural, primitive part of oneself.  As a part of Modern Primitivism, and a growing desire to align with all the peoples of the world, Westerners began to stretch and wear ethnic or primitive inspired jewelry.  In a similar matter to other historical trends in body piercing today, this practice has been influenced by hippie culture, punk fashion, sexual identity, and the media, but has strayed quite a bit from these ideals.   Timothy Leary and the other early drug gurus  explored drugs to connect with something greater, to explore the inner hidden reaches of the mind and spirit.  With the availability and passage of time, the transcendent has whittled down to the mundane, and people mostly take drugs now merely to get high, without a thought to expanding the consciousness.  In terms of the fashion for stretched ears, most people now just want big lobes to wear big, fancy plugs, with no thought for history or meaning.

Just like no crying in baseball, there should be no competition in body modification.  It should be an individual choice and a personal experience.  In competing for the largest ears or the fanciest collection of plugs, piercees have forgotten the journey.  The commitment it takes to stretch slowly for healthy ears should be honored and celebrated; and the end result savored.   Impatiently shoving large jewelry in to wear the bling not only destroys lobes, but diminishes the piercing, in my opinion.

***

Coda: In reading this over, I wanted to stress that I think people can do what they want to their bodies, and I don’t think it’s a requirement that all body modification projects have deep meaning. But I do think some thought and care into the practice, especially if you are permanently modifying your body (unlike most piercings, which are durable but usually not permanent in the same sense as a tattoo, for example) is the mark of a well informed, thoughtful piercee and appreciated and cared for body art.

First pic from Gabriele’s Photostream at Flickr.

Second pic from Gusjer’s Photostream at Flickr.


Earrings for Sensitive Ears

November 15, 2009

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Do you have trouble wearing earrings?  Do they make your earlobes sore and itchy? Have you given up? Try body jewelry!

This pretty little girl (who belongs to mhowry’s photostream at Flickr) is beaming because she just got her ears pierced.  But could her jewelry be making her  vulnerable to a nickel allergy, or even lead poisoning?  Nickel allergies, a type of contact dermatitis,  are on the rise. It can develop immediately, or over time.  Jewelry worn in or against the body, especially earrings, is often cited as the cause.  According to the Mayo Clinic:

Nickel allergy is commonly associated with earrings and jewelry for other body piercings. But nickel can be found in many everyday items — from coins to necklace clasps, from watchbands to eyeglass frames.

The little girl pictured above probably got her ears pierced at the mall with a gun, and will be wearing lots of cute, inexpensive earrings of the type found in every accessory store.  Putting aside the problems associated with healing such a piercing with the typical crappy aftercare provided, because I’ve talked about them before, there are problems associated with the composition of the earrings themselves.  Even if the piercing heals and everything seems fine, after years of wearing this type of jewelry, anyone can develop an allergy to the metal.  I have talked to many women who lament not being able to wear earrings anymore, because their bodies have become sensitized to them.  Dealing with the pain, redness, bumps, and blisters that can result from nickel allergies can be disheartening, to say the least.  Such pierced ears can become infected, or abandoned and left to close up.

It’s all about the jewelry.

What are you putting in your ears? Most commercial earrings are made with low quality stainless steel, sterling silver, or gold filled posts or wires, all of which contain other metals as alloys.  Silver and gold must be alloyed to make them hard enough to be workable, and jewelers like using nickel because it makes the findings hard and non-porous.   Jewelry findings can be plated in rhodium or gold, which can flake and wear  off. Gold-filled earring wires are plated, eventually wearing off to expose the base metal  below.   Silver is not an appropriate metal to wear in anything but well-healed, happy pierced ears, because it tarnishes. Even gold jewelry can cause problems; 14k jewelry is only 14 parts gold to 10 parts alloyed metal.   Some jurisdictions have addressed jewelry quality with legislation.  The European Union banned all nickel in jewelry sold there since 2000, and  concerns about lead found in children’s jewelry prompted California to pass a similar law.

Be skeptical of jewelry industry claims! Even so-called “hypoallergenic jewelry” may not be. “Surgical stainless steel” is an empty term created as a marketing term by the jewelry industry.  (There are various grades of stainless steel; the best stainless steel body jewelry is manufactured to contain any nickel so it doesn’t come into contact with the skin.) These are the same people who promote the use of an implement derived from cattle tagging that inflicts blunt force trauma wounds (i.e., piercing guns).

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An alternative to try. On the other hand, jewelry made for body piercing enthusiasts is specifically designed for optimum healing and long-term wear in the body.  Quality body jewelry in a small gauge made from implant grade stainless steel, titanium, niobium, 14k or 18k gold not containing nickel, and some high-tech plastics are excellent for wearing in lobes.  Young children and people who cannot wear other types of earrings should take a look at some of the body piercing jewelry out there. Titanium is an especially good choice, because very few people react to it, it’s readily available and relatively inexpensive, and comes in un colors! Regular pierced ears are usually 20 gauge or 18 gauge, and you can buy such jewelry online without having to step foot in a tattoo or piercing studio. Take a look at some of these choices from reputable online dealers:

cbr sn TCBR_TBD_135Try a titanium captive bead ring from Steel Navel.  These Industrial Strength CBRs are high quality, and come in plain silver colored (polish) or anodized in host of colors.  They come in as small as 18 gauge, and 1/4 inch.  The anodized colors will come off in time, and those little beads can be really difficult to deal with, so how about:

Tribe is-fixedbeadring-ss_1181_general

Stainless steel fixed bead rings from Tribalectic. They come in 20 and 18 gauge and are made of high quality, implant grade stainless steel.  These  have a very low chance of causing allergic reactions, and you won’t lose the bead.

Neometal_barbellFor a cutting-edge alternative, you could try a Neometal titanium press-fit barbell from BodyArtForms. You can buy various ends for these little beauties, which you simply push in.

More suggestions for happy earlobes:

This type of jewelry can be a little fiddly to get in and out (a friend with a good eye and a steady hand can  help) but is meant to be worn for long periods of time.  If you find something your ears are happy with, don’t change the jewelry too often. While healing, do not use alcohol, “ear-care solution,” hydrogen peroxide, Bactine, Neosporin, or anything other than a mild salt-water solution, and do not twist the jewelry. Leave the jewelry in, and wash your ears and the jewelry with mild soap and water in the shower.  Dry them well. (For more information on basic aftercare, see my Body Piercing Basics page.)

Don’t be afraid of exploring the world of body jewelry for earrings you can wear if your lobes are sensitive. Take a look through some of these retailers’ catalogs for rings, barbells, and other shapes.  They sell gold, titanium, and stainless steel body jewelry that’s worth a try.

Mayo Clinic Page on Nickel Allergy

State of California page on lead in jewelry ban

News article on lead in children’s jewelry

Pic of various jewelry from Ryheen’s Photostream at Flickr.

fin


Piercing the Cloud

November 10, 2009

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Am sick at home today and messing around, so I decided to make a little pierced cloud.  I think it came out nice.  That’s a Anatometal fixed bead ring, if memory serves me, which I wore for a while in my navel piercing.

I used it as my avatar in the BodyArtForms forums.  Appropriate, since they are retailers of Anatometal body jewelry.  Anatometal is a premium body jewelry company which makes awesome jewelry–soooo finely done and polished!  I own quite a few of their pieces.

I just joined the BodyArtForms forums, and the first response I got was from a moderator–“don’t revive old threads.”  I guess they wanted me to start a whole new thread to test my avatar, dunno.  Not a very warm welcome, but I guess I can overlook it.  I’ve run afoul of forum “unwritten rules” before, and I bet you have too.

Take a look at the Anatometal site. And here’s a link to the BAF discussion forums.