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.

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Redo?

November 16, 2009

Just a note to say I got some very strong negative comments on my blog post about my visit to Do’s and Tattoos in my hometown. I’m sensitive to reactions about “reviews” such as they are, because I really am not out to piss people off.  I want to be fair, but I also want to advocate for better piercing practices and better educated piercees.

I’m so glad that there are loyal fans making the effort to support their favorite studio.  This is the first time anyone has really cared enough to write, so it speaks well for them.  It wasn’t even a particularly bad review, imo, and I want to stress that I was treated very nicely by the owner.  I stand by my statements, as far as they went, but I didn’t get a chance to really do a full review on their piercing services (since no piercer was in evidence during business hours, which was one of my comments), but they might deserve a second look. Maybe they were simply having an off day. We’ll see.

I did get some comments in the vein of “where do you get off writing such things” and “you don’t even have any piercings.”  Well, I’m just a person with a blog and an opinion, albeit a person with multiple piercings (which is why we have an About page). My advice is to take any review or blog post with a grain of salt, make up your own mind, and if  you don’t like it, start your own blog!

Do’s and Tattoos should be glad to have fans!  But the apostrophe still bugs me.

Edited a bunch of times, ’cause I’m a bit upset.


Nifty Visualization Tricks

July 15, 2009

ruler

What size jewelry to get? That’s a pretty common question faced by piercees who are looking to replace or upgrade their jewelry.  Unfortunately, it’s a tough question, because:

a) We’ve forgotten what size we had in the first place; and

b) Sizes are complicated, and weird, and in fractions!;  and those little pieces of jewelry are fiddley; and

c) I can’t visualize distances anyway, because I’m a gurrrl.

So, here are a couple of things to try.  First–the humble ruler.  If you can’t remember whether 1/8″ is bigger than 5/16″ –dig your ruler out of your drawer.  Alternatively, most online body jewelry retailers have charts and helpful sizing info, as well as sending you out a handy gauge card with your order.  I keep my gauge card near my computer to make it easier to order jewelry.  (Is that a bad sign?)

plug chart

Here’s a lovely little page I stumbled across on Steel Navel. I think it very clearly shows the difference in gauge (a measurement of thickness based on wire measurement).  For those of us who are spatially challenged, you can find the real page on Steel Navel here.

There’s also the Steel Skin compact disc-calibrated slidey thing. Slidey thing, you say?  (Okay, fine.  “Dynamic Size Chart.”) Check it out here!


On the Younger Side Part 3: For Teens

March 22, 2009

Disclaimer:  I’m not a teen! And who wants unsolicited advice, anyway?  There’s a reason why Charlie Brown’s adults go, “WahWahWah” and you mostly see the grownups’ feet in E.T.

How Do I Convince My Parents to Let Me Get a Piercing?

Good question. And, unfortunately, I don’t know the answer.  As always, though, I do have a few thoughts on the subject.

My suggestions:

  • First, read How to Make Friends and Influence People,  by Dale Carnegie (Link to Google Book).  You can find it at any library.  Despite the cheesy title and dated anecdotes, the information and advice in that book is priceless.  I’m serious!
  • Try to negotiate with your parents, and be prepared to compromise.  Be calm.  Don’t whine.
  • Do your research, and present them with facts about piercings.  Be ready to answer their questions and counter their arguments.  Print out the FAQs  or the Piercee’s Bill of Rights from the Association of Professional Piercer’s website.
  • Show your parents you can be trusted with other stuff, and they’ll be more likely to trust you with this.
  • Use this time to plan, to ask questions.  There are several good discussion forums about piercings where the people will take the time to encourage you and respond to your concerns.  Learn about proper aftercare so you don’t get suckered by inappropriate recommendations from well-meaning friends or less-informed piercers.   Take a look at the resources on this site, or leave a comment here.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, back off and try again later.  Be patient.  Your body will survive without extra holes for a little while longer!.

Sadly, there will be parents who will never agree.  Some parents can be persuaded, others never will–too stubborn, too prideful, too religious, or just opposed.  Body piercing is not for everyone, and there are always people who react with revulsion or disgust no matter how old you are.

In fact, body piercing may not be for you, either,  so take some time to think about who you are and what your lifestyle is and will be.  Don’t be like the girl in Part 2 who stretched her ears at age 13, only to need surgery later when she wanted to enter the Air Force; or the young guy who had always wanted to be a fireman, only to be told he was disqualified because of his ear piercings.

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Some things to consider:

The key to getting a good piercing is to find the best, most experienced professional piercer you have access to.  Don’t settle for just anyone at the first tattoo studio you walk in to.  Reputable professional piercers will not pierce you without a parent’s permission, and will never pierce a minor’s nipples or genitals.

Who is going to pay for your piercing? Save some money or earn some extra cash so you can show your parents you are serious. Don’t use this an excuse to self pierce.  Who will pay for medical care if your piercing gets infected?

Good jewelry is not cheap, and you may need more than one piece.You should buy the best quality jewelry you can afford for your initial jewelry.  It isn’t cheap, but good quality jewelry makes a difference.  Implant grade stainless steel or titanium will protect you against most skin sensitivities.  Well-made jewelry is also highly polished and free from irregularities that could trap bacteria, and internally threaded and well-machined, well-fitting ends mean fewer lost balls and beads.

Don’t touch it; don’t play with it; and don’t change the jewelry too soon.  Leave the initial jewelry in as long as you can.  Just do sea salt soaks and keep it clean.  Never touch your piercing with dirty hands!

Don’t count on hiding it from your parents, your school, your coach, etc.  You need to keep the metal jewelry in there as long as possible while it’s healing, and even clear retainers are visible.  Taking it out and putting piercings back in for an activity, like sports, isn’t recommended either–that will only irritate the piercing and keep it from healing well.

What if I can’t get their permission?

If you can’t convince your parents, then your alternative is to wait until you are 18 or the age of majority in your location.

Please don’t pierce yourself!

It’s unsafe, because you don’t have the equipment to sterilize anything; you don’t have the knowledge or experience to get a good piercing, not to mention the awkwardness of trying to pierce yourself in a mirror, without leverage, or a good vantage point.  For more on this, here’ s my post on self-piercing.

When you at last own the rights to your own body, you can treat your piercing as a rite of passage. Make it mean something to you, and come out the other side a different person. Just know that parental disapproval (and concern) never goes away, even when you are adult, so you may be trying to hide that jewelry from grandma at age 30.  Some people will never understand.

***

This is the last in a series of posts on piercings by age group.  Here’s the list of the others:

Teens and Piercings: How to Avoid the Worst Case Scenario

On the Younger Side Part 1: Babies

Too Old for a Piercing?

And, for fun:  How to Sound Like the Charlie Brown Adults from Wikihow.

Thanks to mod complex at Flickr for the lip piercing pic.

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Too old for a piercing?

February 24, 2009

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The Short Answer:  Absolutely Not!

I get this question a lot.  Mostly from people who’ve never met me in person as, obviously, when they know me, they can see that I’m no spring chicken.  In fact, I got my first body piercing (except for lobes, which do count!) at age 45.  You can, too.

I started my body art journey with tattoos in my 30s.  One of my tattooists also did piercings, and he told a story about  piercing the clitoral hoods of three “little old ladies from the old folks home,” and how much they enjoyed their new jewelry.  This comment simmered in the back of my brain for years, until it surfaced to compel me to seek out a body piercer.  If they could do it . . .

The perception that only teenagers or students  get piercings is a hard one to overcome. I’m here to tell you that there are far more people into piercings than you may realize. Mature people.  Professional people.  Old people, even.    I regularly correspond with people in their 50s, 60s, and even 70s who are active piercees.   Even though we may “buck the trend,” older piercees are often better informed and do more research before getting a piercing, and have the resources to purchase quality jewelry.  That can only be a good thing, in my opinion.

Younger people tend to start with facial piercings, both because they tend to need to visually express their style, and because minors cannot legally get genital or nipple piercings.  That means that younger people’s facial piercings–labret, eyebrow, etc.  get seen–a lot. In contrast, older people’s motivations tend to be different and they tend to get “hidden” piercings. Most of us are in the workplace where discretion is necessary, and piercings that can be hidden under clothes are ideal.  Further, many older piercees are motivated by a desire to spice up their sex life, or enhance their self image in mid-life.  It’s not unusual at all for a 40-something (or even older) to get a genital piercing, say, a Prince Albert, as their first piercing.

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Special Concerns of Older Piercees

Let’s say you are interested in getting a piercing, but don’t know where to start.  None of your friends have piercings (or else they’re not telling).  How do you find a piercer?  Who do you talk to if you have a problem?  How do you get up the courage to walk into a piercing or tattoo studio and talk about jewelry for your nipples or your penis with a scary-looking stranger?

If you are not a teenager or 20-something, you may be concerned about how you will be perceived by your family or friends if you get a piercing. Will you be ridiculed?  Will they think you’re just in the grip of a mid-life crisis? Lapsing into second childhood? I always tell people, you have to have thick skin to be pierced (speaking metaphorically). Don’t think so much about what other people think, and make up your own mind. It’s your own body, after all.

In my experience, older adults who get pierced tend to be less experimental with their body art, and plan to keep their piercings permanently, so there is often a concern about removing piercings for medical procedures.  In addition, older people’s skin loses collagen and is not as supple, so there are also questions about whether or not they are suitable for a piercing.  They may be self-conscious about less-than-perfect bodies, citing beer bellies, baby-chewed breasts, and the ravages of time.  So who do you talk to?

Help is out there. Many of these concerns are shared by all piercees and there are resources available.  There’s information on this site that can help you.  If you have questions, just post them on the comment section, and I’ll be happy to help you if you can. I also highly recommend internet forums, particularly the Tribalectic forum, as a great place to get answers to your questions and “meet” other people who understand.  ETA:  Also check out the wonderful folks at the Steel Navel forum, who complained that I left them out!

Whether you are interested in enhancing your sex life or self-image, expressing yourself in a new and fun way, or have just always been intrigued by the concept, I say go for it!

Pic of “old lady with birds” from closelyobserved.com’s photostream at Flickr.  Pic of old couple at Warwick Castle from lisalamb83’s photostream.


Q&A: Best jewelry for a PA with a condom?

January 27, 2009
Let's get it on....
Image by 0range County Girl via Flickr

Not having a penis myself, nor access to a pierced one, I’m always looking for informative answers to male genital piercings.  To the question, “what jewelry for a Prince Albert is best to use with condoms?” John Lopez answered:

Curved barbells have proved to be the most condom-friendly and partner friendly in my experience–mine as well as my customers.

The big trick is to make the jewelry fit correctly; almost snug when erect.  Also, the front ball MUST be large enough not to slip into the urethra.  Large titanium pieces seem to work really well.  I get mine from Industrial Strength or Anatometal in the 7/16 to 9/16 range.  The rear ball can be more standard in size.

This jewelry fits in ANY condom without issue.

curved-barbell-19-sscubb_135There you have it, but remember:  there are few definitive answers in piercing, so something else might work for you.  Make sure your jewelry is of good quality, free of nicks and burrs, and always use lube!  Your partner and your piercings will thank you!

Photo of curved barbell courtesy of Steel Navel.

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Questions?

November 25, 2008

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Resources: Forums

Discussion forums are a great place to look for answers to your piercing questions and talk to others. Look at the website of your favorite body jewelry retailer for forums.

But Cloud, you said back when you were Dazed and Confused to listen to your piercers, not your friends.

Sure, always try to ask your piercer directly.  Your piercer is your expert resource and should expect a certain amount of follow up.  Call your piercer up.  Go in for a checkup.  (Be sure and tip for a face-to-face consultation if this is the custom in your part of the world.)

Sometimes your piercer lives too far away, or you can’t get hold of him; sometimes the advice is simply bad.  (There are still loads of piercers out there recommending Bactine.)  These sites also have FAQs sections, articles, and don’t forget the jewelry catalogs. Get a second opinion. Find a forum where people will help you out.  Ones to try:

Tribalectic

Steel Navel

Tonguestud

Thank you to Rekahop on Flickr for the pic.