If you have been considering getting your genitals pierced, let’s take you through a detailed rundown of the process, risks, safety measures and more, to help you make an informed decision.
What is genital piercing?
Before we get into the details, let’s get to know the basics. Genital piercing, as the name suggests, is the practice of getting a part of one’s genitals pierced to be adorned with jewellery. It is one of the many types of body piercings and can be done in many different ways.
In women, genital piercing can refer to the piercing of the clit, labia or other genitals. In men, it may include penis, scrotum or perineum piercing among others.
How is genital piercing done?
The genitals are a sensitive part of the body, and therefore, more prone to injury and infections. It is imperative to adhere to the highest safety standards if you choose to get your privates pierced. For that, it’s important to be aware of the process and the safety standards needed for a good outcome.
In India, there is no law that suggests that only licensing professionals should undertake for genital piercing, choosing one that is highly recommended and experienced is advisable. You can find these experts in Tattoo parlours. Once you narrow down the piercer, they will likely take you through the process before booking an appointment.
The process involved cleaning the skin and marking the location for the piercing. After you okay the marked spot, the piercer will thread a needle and the piece of jewellery attached to it through the skin. That completes the piercing process. The piercer will then give you instructions for how to care for the piercing to allow speedy healing and avoid infections.
To make sure that your piercing professional is adhering to the best standard of hygiene, here are a few things to take note of:
- The room and the table on which piercing is being done should be clean and sanitised
- Preferably sterile, unopened, new and disposable instruments and jewellery should be used for the procedure. These should be opened in front of you. If the instruments being used are not disposable, then they should be duly sterilised in an autoclave.
- A piercing gun is not advisable for genital piercing, as it cannot be sterilised
- The professional doing the piercing and those assisting in the process must wash their hands and wear sterilised gloves
Why are genital piercings done?
Now that you know all about what kind of genital piercings you can get done and how, let’s address another vital question that has confused many: why do people get genital piercings? Well, it’s hard to pin it down to a single reason, as it may vary from person to person.
Broadly, these can be clubbed into three key reasons:
- Aesthetic appeal. Many people believe that they can impress their partner if they pierce their private parts.
- A sense of adventure
- Most commonly, for increased sexual gratification, especially for women its thought to stimulate the sensitive clitoral tissue during sex and helps with reaching orgasm faster.
Genital piercings: Risks and safety concerns
Apart from the pain and discomfort often associated with genital piercing, there is also a risk of the following potential complications:
- Bacterial infections
- Allergic reaction to the jewellery
- Nerve damage
- Thick scarring
- Exposure to STDs such as HIV/AIDs and hepatitis B and C as well as other infectious diseases
- In males, a potential risk of impotence if the needle pierces erectile tissue
Tips to minimise complications
The risk of most of these potential complications can be minimised by taking the following precautions:
- Make sure you ask around and check the reviews before choosing a piercing professional
- Insist on the use of sterile instruments and jewellery made out of 14K gold, titanium or surgical stainless steel
- Follow after-care instructions such as cleaning and washing the area regularly with diluted saline solution
- Don’t let others handle the piercing till it is completely healed
- Always wash your hands before touching the piercing
- Avoid sexual intercourse for at least two weeks after the piercing or until it’s completely healed (which can be anywhere between 4 to 8 weeks)
- When you resume having sex, always clean the pierced area with saline solution after sexual contact
- Avoid swimming or hot tubs until the piercing heals
- Keep the area clean at all times even after the piercing has healed, as infections can occur at any point
- Watch out for signs of infections like redness, swelling, foul-smelling discharge, rash at the piercing site or fever
- Do not treat infections on your own, consult a doctor if you see any symptoms
The decision of getting genital piercing should not be taken lightly. Weigh the pros and cons, and see if it fits with your lifestyle in the long run before taking the leap. If you feel strongly about getting one, then you do you. But remember to prioritise your safety and health.
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Arushi Chaudhary is a freelance journalist and writer with 5 years of experience in print publications such as the Pune Mirror and Hindustan Times, and has spent close to a decade writing for digital platforms and print publications – The Tribune, BR International magazine, Make My Trip, Killer Features, The Money Times, and Home Review, to name a few. Of the many things she's written about over the years, exploring the space of love and relationships through the prism of psychology excites her the most. Writing is her first and forever love. You can find her on Twitter here.
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