“Anyone could benefit [from piercings]. It’s like asking, ‘Who benefits from a house re-landscaped to optimize curb appeal?’ It’s not the owner vs. the neighborhood, but rather potentially everyone.”
Spoiler alert: People are curious about genital piercings. That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? Curiosity.
It actually happens to be one of the most common questions searched for on Google.
Whether you’re debating getting one for yourself or your inquisitiveness has just gotten the best of you, HelloFlo chatted with both a licensed physician and an AASECT-certified sex educator to get the lowdown on all things genital piercings.
Keep reading to find out the sexual benefits, health risks, and medical information related to getting a genital piercing.
Do genital piercings increase sensitivity?
There are many reasons that a person may decide to pierce their nipples, clitoris, clitoral hood, or labia. Those reasons can be purely aesthetic, erotic, or a combination of both.
“Pierced sexual organs can appear more beautiful and exotic to some, erotic to others, and that can be to both the beholder and/or the beholden,” says Eric Marlowe Garrison, an AASECT-certified sex educator and bestselling author of Mastering Multiple Position Sex. “The stimulation may be a placebo affect but it can also be a result of increased sensitivity. I just advised a client this morning to try ice cubes on her piercing in her clitoral hood to experience temperature play.”
Can genital piercings cause nerve damage?
Short answer: Potentially. “Some people will cum easier because of the piercing,” Garrison tells HelloFlo, “but when we pierce nipples and other sensual body parts, we can cause nerve damage.”
Nerve damage is one of the most common complications associated with an intimate piercing. One of the most sensitive areas to nerve damage is the clitoris, which is why it is seldom pierced directly. Clitoral piercings include the vertical hood, horizontal hood, or the Christina (above the clitoris) but never exactly on it as it has a greater risk for damage and also (generally speaking) isn’t usually big enough to support the weight of jewelry.
“Concerns include bleeding, infections, scarring, or keloid formation,” explains Dr. Kim Walker, MD, a former family medicine doctor in Mechanicsville, Virginia. “Nerve injury resulting in altered or no sensation [is also a risk]. All of these are rare, but should be considered risks.”
“There can be the possibility of nerve damage, an infection, tearing, rejection, and bruising,” Garrison adds. “But these are rare. There is also the chance of a nickel allergy or other reactions to the jewelry.”
Though there are a decent amount of risks — allergies, nerve damage, infection, and rejection are always a piercing concern, regardless of what you are getting pierced.
Are genital piercings safe?
The best way to navigate the medical risks of genital piercings while making sure you’re healthy and safe, Garrison advises, is to do your research, especially on the person who will be doing the piercing.
“My advice is to choose your piercer wisely, not just for safety and low pain, but for the pleasure that you hope to achieve. Realize too, some people get instant pleasure from the piercing experience, much like people like getting a tattoo as well as looking at it and touching it,” Garrison adds. “Do your research before you begin. That can save you money, time, and your sex organs!”
Can vaginal piercings cause orgasm just from the sensation and not only during a sexual act?
Yep. Those stories you’ve heard about women with piercings walking down the street and orgasming – they’re real. Or, they could be.
“I have heard some women-identified persons orgasming from their piercing alone and that can be because they might be in-tune to their clitoris or other pierced part. Some will say that the rubbing of it is highly erotic,” Garrison reveals.
Are genital piercings illegal?
No, genital piercings are not illegal in the US, but could be outside of it. In 2015, for instance, the UK Department of Health passed new legislation that classified all vaginal piercings for non-medical reasons under the umbrella of genital mutilation. Thusly, they are to be reported.
How common are genital piercings?
Honestly, we don’t actually know. A 2002 survey by the Mayo Clinic examined 454 college undergraduates and reported that 2.4% of women had genital piercings. While people aren’t exactly forthright about their piercings, the actual act of piercing itself isn’t always done in a space conducive to gathering statistics.
“It is very hard to calculate the numbers of pierced sex organs because they can include so many part of the body. It ain’t just Prince Alberts anymore!” Garrison says. “Many piercers don’t keep track of their numbers, some people self-pierce, and still yet, [others] will be pierced by a lover, spouse, or dom.”