Genital piercings. Yes or no?
It depends! People get genital piercings for a lot of reasons: increasing erotic pleasure, identity expression, less employment discrimination (depending on the profession). Labial and scrotal piercings are so sweet and pretty also! Genital piercings aren’t any more painful than other piercings when done right, and many of them heal relatively quickly. However, I do think there are a couple things to keep in mind:
A genital piercing is not something to get on a whim or on the cheap.
First, safety first! Make sure your piercer is experienced and that your genitals are good candidates for the kind of piercing you’re going for. A genital piercing is not something to get on a whim or on the cheap. I would check out an established, accredited piercer, such as Steeve Easley, the owner of Release Body Modification in Iowa City, or his former apprentice, Hunter Last. (DaVo’s The Axiom Body Piercing Studio in Des Moines would also be a solid choice.) A reputable piercer will do a consultation with you first, and will be receptive to all your questions about hygiene, their experience with that type of piercing, and aftercare. Afterward, make sure you follow all of their instructions and be attentive to infection or allergic reactions. Finally, make sure to be extra careful with your safer sex practices. If condoms and/or dental dams are relevant to you, be aware they are more likely to break with piercings and plan accordingly. (This caution applies to oral piercings as well.)
Second, check your motivations. I follow the Rede when it comes to body modification (and most things) – “An it harm none, do what ye will.” I do think you should be aware, though, that genital piercing came to the west through ethnographies of non-white societies. When they did come to white America, they came through queer scenes, punk scenes, and BDSM scenes. If a genital piercing is something that expresses your identification with your heritage or, say, a BDSM or queer subculture, and you feel you’re being responsible about the intercultural complexities of such, then I trust your judgment. If you genuinely think it will increase your pleasure in a unique way, then I can’t fault you, lovedove, either. However, if your main aim is aesthetic, to be “trendy” or “edgy,” then I’m less about it honestly. I invite you to get creative in your vision for your body art and avoid appropriating cultural practices and marginalized identity markers. Think it through, and do what you will! xoxo — Kiki
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 183