The Soapbox

December 9, 2009

Soap Delay

As I mentioned in my post on soap, The Dope on Soap, two antimicrobial soaps made specifically for wound care, Provon and Satin, are often recommended for fresh piercings.  However, Care Tech, the maker of Satin, was ordered to suspend shipping by the FDA while they investigate unauthorized claims.

“The FDA is concerned about Care-Tech’s products because they lack FDA approval, do not conform to any applicable over-the-counter drug monograph, and are not appropriately manufactured.”

Here’s the link to the FDA press release.

In addition, I’ve heard from more than one source that Provon’s manufacturers may be behind in their supply and distribution, so while these situations are no doubt temporary, if you can get your hands on Provon or Satin at your piercing studio or elsewhere, grab ’em!

Meta, Pics & Flicks

Flickr: I’m slowly uploading all my piercing pics to my Flickr Photostream.  I don’t want to upload all of them at once, because the Flickr strip on the blog changes as I upload, and I want a variety for you.

Delicious: Also, I’m working  on moving my bodymod links to my Cloudlb delicious bookmarks account to post all of the links there. In a similar vein as the Flickr pics, they show up on the sidebar as I post them, and there are a lot of them, so keep an eye out for new ones as time goes on. If you have a delicious account, you can add me to your network to get them that way, too.

7000 Years of Jewelry

I’m so excited!  I got this wonderful book — and got a really great bargain on ebay — about the history of jewelry.  It looks to have some great information on body jewelry in history which I hope to share with you once I digest it.  Here’s the link to the Amazon page of the book.

Midnight Baby!

And finally, Welcome to GrandBabyCloud No. 8! BD#2 in Portland had a little girl this morning at midnight.  At home, with a midwife, and in the birthing tub.  Oy.  No name yet, no pics or anything so far, but we are so happy!



Guide to Getting it On

February 10, 2009

419pos80h8l_sl160_aa115_The Guide to Getting it On:  For Adults of All Ages

By: Paul Joannides, Psy.D.

If you’re looking for a good sex manual, this is it.  This hefty tome (992 pages!) really does cover “everything you ever wanted to know about sex.”  And some you didn’t.

It’s now in the 6th edition, and just keeps getting bigger.  Written in a wry, smart, and appealing style, with line drawings throughout, it covers a wide range of sexual activities and related topics, such as birth control, circumcision, explaining sex to kids, men’s underwear, and sexual health in general.  It’s got some really great chapters, and information, and some really strange ones; e.g., Barbie the Icon. It’s basically a compilation of every fact (or theory) about sex out there from a variety of sources (without attributing the sources), and the author is not shy about expressing his own opinion.  Therein lies both the book’s strength and weaknesses.  It baldly states that “vanilla is the Guide’s favorite flavor,” so although very comprehensive, useful, and interesting to read, it has to be said that the content on piercings,  bondage, kink, et al. is rather weak.  Plus, the book uses the pseudo-word, “vajayjay” which I loathe!


Among the tidbits for Pierced Consumers:

In a section addressing painful intercourse, it says: “One of the top experts on vulvar pain recommends using fresh olive oil for lube.  Almond oil and grape seed oil are also on some physician’s lists.”  So, you can use up that leftover oil for piercing aftercare.

There’s a whole section on soap for feminine hygiene, something that concerns many piercees, in the chapter about “Vulva Care–Keeping Your Kitty Happy.”  It’s a dilemma:  You want to be clean, but you don’t want to use a lot of perfumy soaps that could mess up the balance down there.  The need to keep piercings clean, both during the healing stage, and during the life of the piercing, leaves some girls scratching their heads over what soap to use and how to clean their piercings.  Here’s what the Guide states:

Do not overclean the puss.  It only needs soap once a day at the most.  . . .

Do not use liquid body gels or cheap washes because it’s “‘basically like douching with those chemicals.” . . .

Let’s say your kitty is a persnickity little puss who doesn’t like soap every day.  Unless your gynecologist says something to the contrary, you should still clean her with water.  Part of the reason for her not doing well with soap might be the kind you are using.  Consider trying a high-quality, low-pH soap like SebaMed between your legs.  Your vulva and vagina are a bit acidic, with a pH of around 5.2.  However, most bar soaps are alkaline, with a pH of 10 or higher.  Some women who have struggled with vaginal infections swear by the lower-pH soaps. . . .

Avoid Run-Off from Above:  Shampoos tend to be h arsh and perfumy.  Make sure the shampoo and conditioner don’t stream between your legs and through the lips of your vulva when you are rinsing them from your hair.

It goes on to say not to use powders, lotions, or feminine hygiene sprays. I agree that piercees should look for a product that works well for them, and it’s worth looking at the pH level.   Male piercees don’t seem to have the problems with soap that females do, so there doesn’t seem to be a corresponding washing section.  Read my post on aftercare and soap here.


And the chapter on piercings:

Nestled between “Rape and Abuse” and “Threesomes” is “On Needles and Pins:  Piercings, Tattoos, & Sex,” the chapter on piercings and tattoos.  In keeping with current trends, this chapter is greatly expanded in this edition.  Most of the info in the chapter is pretty good, but as an experienced piercee, I do have some serious issues with it.  The author, Paul Joannides, is a nice guy with whom I’ve interacted a little bit on another forum where I recommended his book.  Fine.  However, the author obviously is not pierced himself, and it’s very apparent that all the information comes from third party sources.  That’s okay–no one could possibly expect one person to have first-hand knowledge of ALL the sex stuff in the book.   What I don’t like however, is the negative and somewhat uninformed attitude of the Guide.  For instance, the book implies that only students get pierced and emphasizes the risks.  There are risks associated with piercing, of course, and it is responsible to address them.  However, I would have anticipated that a writer about sex, no matter how vanilla, would be more open minded than to say:  “if nature wanted you to have extra holes through your nipples or between your legs, she would have put them there. ”

The second jarring note is the vocabulary and sloppy editing.  Several of the terms used took me aback.  Now, piercing terminology is tricky, but the book uses the term, “AP” for an apadravya which I haven’t come across in common usage, and also refers to a “magic cross,” a term for a penis pierced with both an apadravya and an ampallang.  Haven’t heard of that one, either, but it’s in the BME Encyclopedia, so what the hell.  “Ring tossing” — apparently a term for dislodging a diaphragm with a piercing during intercourse–isn’t, though.   One section quotes an experience on BME and appears to confuse which piercing it refers to.  Further, there are aggravating misspellings, the most serious of which is “naval” for “navel” throughout that section!  (And we hate that, don’t we?)

It really tries, I think, but there’s such a mix of good and bad (or maybe, less-than-good) information, so I’m left wanting.   It’s a pretty thorough treatment, but with some glaring omissions. There’s no mention of the problems people have with partners if one person is into piercing and the isn’t, for example, and there’s no sympathy for or understanding of the allure of sexual piercings.    It’s nice to have a published treatment of sex and piercings, since they are often (but not always!) connected, but I can’t say The Guide to Getting it On “gets it,” at least on this topic.  I’m  holding out for The Piercing Bible, coming to your bookstore soon!

Despite its shortcomings when it comes to treating piercings, I still highly recommend this book.  I guarantee you will have a good time reading it, and an even better time trying some of the tips out.  You can buy it here on Amazon:  Guide to Getting It On.

Aftercare in Detail – Pt. 2: Cloud’s Routine

January 18, 2009


Your body does the healing.  It’s your job, as a new piercee, to support your body in its efforts.

A basic aftercare routine is to soak your piercings in a mild saltwater solution (or rinse, for oral piercings) and to keep the area clean by washing with soap.

A word about “standard” aftercare. The APP has promulgated standard aftercare which you can read here for body piercings and here for oral piercings.  But your body may not be “standard,” or your piercer may have other ideas for aftercare.  The key is to use your common sense and be aware of how your own body reacts.


Rather than repeating the party line, I’m going to go over my own aftercare routine, which I’ve developed over the years based on piercers’ suggestions and trial and error.  (Note: this is for body piercings only, not oral piercings.)

For the first couple of weeks (or however long I can stand it), I soak with salt or herbs, and shower with soap, twice a day, or every 12 hours.  I also use oil as a healing aid. Here’s how:

1.      I clean and prepare. First, I make sure everything is clean and I have all my supplies (salt, herbs, oil).  I make sure the surfaces in my kitchen or bathroom have been cleaned and disinfected, and that I have paper towels, clean sheets and pillowcases, and clean towels.

2.      I wash my hands.  I wash my hands before touching my piercing or doing anything aftercare related.  And I mean WASH! With hot water! and soap! and friction!– not just a quick rinse under the faucet.

3.      I prepare my herbs. In the beginning, I like to soak with herbs, rather than, or in addition to, salt water solution, for the antibacterial, anti-bruising, and healing effects.  Since the herbal mixture takes several hours to steep, I make my herbal infusion, using lavender, or a mixture of lavender, arnica, and red clover (more details on this here).

4.     I soak. I tend to do more salt soaks a little later in the healing process, when the crusties show up, because the action of the salt water draws out the material inside the piercing.  If I want to do a sea salt soak, I mix my sea salt solution.  I heat my salt solution (or herbs) in the microwave until it’s as hot as my skin can stand. Then I soak, for 5-10 minutes.  Using a cup, I bring the cup to my piercing and (hopefully) make a vacuum seal.  This works great for things like nipples and navels.  For things like ears and genitals, I use a bowl on the floor.  On a towel!  I describe doing sea salt soaks in detail here:  Like Chicken Soup for Your Piercings!


5.     I shower. Showering is an important part of daily piercing aftercare.  Even if you don’t do sea salt (or herbal) soaks, just letting hot water over your piercing is going to help keep it clean and remove the crusties.  Since it’s important to rinse any salt off, if I do sea salt soaks I shower afterwards.  (If I do herbal soaks, I usually soak after the shower because there’s no need to rinse off).

–Turn the water on hot and let the steam build up.  I take my time and let the steam and water soften my skin, the piercing and any crusties still on there.  I let the water run over my piercing for a while.  This is a good argument for getting pierced in winter when a long, hot, steamy shower will feel great.

I use Provon antimicrobial soap.   First, I wash my entire body with it, head to toe.  There are a lot of microorganisms that live on your skin, and they can migrate, or travel, so the idea here is to cleanse your skin both of ordinary surface dirt and to kill any bad germies so they don’t get to your piercing.  I use a tiny bit at a time, working up lather, and rinse well.

–Then, and only then, after a long steam and soak, and after cleansing the rest of my body, do I wash my piercing.  Again, I take a tiny bit of Provon, and lather it up, and place it gently on and around the piercing.  I let it sit there for 30 seconds, then rinse off.

It is not necessary to rotate your jewelry, scrub it, move it back and forth vigorously to get soap in there, or any of that!  I might choose to gently manipulate the piercing during this soaping and rinsing stage, when the skin is soft and pliable, and the jewelry is lubricated, if I think it needs it, for positioning purposes, or for cleaning any remaining crusties.  But only move your jewelry if it wants to go, and never force it!  Overcleaning and rough treatment will harm your piercing!

6.    I dry off. I dry off with paper towels.  (Okay, I use a clean towel for most of my body, and paper towels for the area around my piercing.)  Not only do towels harbor germs, but those terry loops can catch painfully on the jewelry.  Ouch!  It’s important to dry your piercings thoroughly.

7.   I apply oil. For the final touch, I apply a little bit of oil (emu, almond, jojoba, etc.) on and around the piercing exit holes.  (NOT in the piercing holes.)  This helps keep the skin from drying out and gives a little “ease” to the jewelry, and helps keep crusties from sticking so bad on the jewelry, too.  More on oil later.

Then, I wait. Again, keeping in mind the general principles I discussed in Part 1, you want to protect your piercing, keep it clean, and give your body time to heal.  Disclaimer:  This is only one person’s opinion and routine.  Remember, your piercer is your first resource for piercing advice.

Thanks to Krikit’s photostream and Flickr.

‘Twas the Night Before Piercing . . .

December 19, 2008

and I’m caught up in my pre-piercing ritual.

Clean: disinfect services, sinks, bathrooms, doorknobs, light switches; make sure I have clean towels, sheets, extra clean pillowcases

Gather supplies: soap, paper towels, bandages, salt and herbs for soaking

Prepare: Research likely piercings; perform a little extra grooming, make sure I get enough rest–and don’t dwell on the pain!