Should I tell my husband or surprise him?

October 28, 2009

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Piercings, Partners, and Problems.

What happens when your partner disapproves of your lifestyle choices?  An interest in  piercings can seem incomprehensible to others.  Parents, friends, spouses who don’t “get it” can be a big problem for the piercee.   What if you are thinking about getting a piercing, say, a genital piercing, but are unsure about what your partner would think?  Should you, as one lady asked, spring it as a surprise or talk it over beforehand?

It’s a complex problem and unfortunately there is no single answer.  Similar to the plight of teenagers who want to modify their bodies, there’s the issue of whose body is it, really? Are you free to do anything you want to your body if you are in a relationship?  Does your spouse have any rights in that regard?

Here are my thoughts:

–If you are a single adult, your body absolutely is your own to play with and modify as you see fit.  There are other considerations, of course, such as employment, aesthetics, and health.  Further, there’s always a risk that your close compatriots will object anyway.

–If you are married, or in a committed relationship, your body is still your own.  That is, I still think you have the right to make decisions about your own body; BUT–I think you should take your significant other’s reactions and wishes into consideration. It’s like any other issue in a relationship and communication is important.  So is sex; and if you are planning to pierce nipples or genitals, you absolutely need to consider your partner’s feelings.

–Sometimes the piercing debate can be a symptom of other problems in a relationship.  A common scenario is a middle-aged couple who are growing apart after years of marriage.  One spouse feels restless, wants to spice up their sex life, and suddenly becomes interested in body art.  The other spouse is pretty horrified (“it’s deviant! you’re a pervert!), and a big fight ensues over the piercings, even though the real problem is more complex.  Marriages have broken up over less.

–It’s also worth mentioning you should never get a piercing just because your partner wants you to. No one should pressure you to alter your body; unfortunately it does happen.  It’s your body, and if you don’t want those holes in there for yourself, don’t do it!

I can’t give relationship advice, other than to be patient and considerate, and to communicate.  If you want a piercing but suspect your partner may not approve, bring up the subject.  And bring it up again, because it may take some time for your partner to get used to the idea.  Here’s the progression:

  • –Piercings?  That’s weird and perverted!
  • –Piercings?  Well, they’re kind of interesting–on other people.  Hmm, maybe they can spice up our sex life?
  • –Piercings?  MUST HAVE NOW!

And no, I don’t recommend surprising your husband with a shiny new VCH out of the blue.  Bring it up casually first, and if he recoils, you know you have some buttering up to do!

Disclaimer:  I’m single, so I don’t have to worry about this myself!