THE HISTORY AND MANY FORMS OF BODY PIERCING – OUCH!
CARTILAGE OF THE EAR: This is found in Africa, North America and South America, Indonesia, and India. It is meant to signify beauty and wealth. New types of cartilage piercing are called “DIATH” and “ROOK”.
CHEEK PIERCING: Men from Aleutian Islands used cheek piercing when they went seal hunting. By piercing their cheeks with rods, they looked like they had whiskers. Their intent was to imitate the appearances of the seal and they felt this increased their chances for a successful hunt.
EAR : This type of piercing was meant to mark life stage changes in group affiliation.
EYEBROW, NASION, AND NAVEL : The Egyptians used this as a sign of royalty.
FEMALE NIPPLE : In the 14th century Bavarian women had diamond studded rings through their nipples and passed gold chains through them.
FEMALE GENITAL : There are two different kinds.
1. Labia: Truskese women pierced their labia and hung a little bell from their labia to attract a male partner.
2. Clitoris: This is a modern technique that is done to enhance female orgasms.
LIPS : This is also a ritual to celebrate the passage from childhood to adulthood. It also mimics facial beauty marks. This type of piercing comes from Australia, New Guinea, Africa, India, North and South America, and Indonesia.
MALE GENITAL: The main reason for this type of piercing is increased sexual enhancementas well as initiation into adulthood. It is meant to establish male sexual identity. There are the many variations.
1. Dydoe: This is a piercing of the gland along the coronal ridge of the penis of a circumcised male. This originated in Southeast Asians and India and was felt to enhance female pleasure during intercourse.
2. Foreskin: This was used by Roman athletes to keep their attention on the games to keep their attention on the games. It had a metal ring on their foreskin. It was welded shut and called a “fibula”. This prevented erections. This was also used on the foreskin. It was used also used on their slaves to prevent procreation. The Greeks also used it on their athletes. They fastened a ribbon around the foreskin and tied the end to the base of the penis. This decreased chafing and “flapping” during the games.
3. Guiche: The Samoan men pierced the flesh between their testicles and their anus. This was a ritual of puberty and was believed to stimulate the prostate gland.
4. Kandoekoe: Tribes of Borneo used round-like marble devices and implanted them under the skin on the shaft of the penis. This was meant to increase the stimulation of the vagina, and increase the girth (circumference) of the penis.
5. Palang: This method used a rod that transected the gland of the penis . This is to increase blood flow causing the gland to swell. It also was felt to make erections last longer and orgasms are more intense. In Borneo some tribal women refused to marry a male that had not had this type of piercing done. Kama Sutra recommends this for impotence.
6. Rhinoceros penis: A rigid cross bar is placed 4 inches behind the tip of the penis and projects 2 inches on either side, looking like a rhinoceros. This is from China and Borneo.
7. Scrotum: French soldiers used this to signify passage from childhood into adulthood.
MALE NIPPLE : This signified masculine status in Roman centurions. This was seen as a sign of courage.
NOSE PIERCING: The people of India view this a sign of beauty.
SEPTUM: Aborigines used bones in their pierced septums. This signified a warrior status.
TONGUE: The Mayans performed this type of ritual when they wanted to talk to their ancestor’s spirits.
If you are considering any type of body piercing make sure you have a reputable store. Ask lots of questions and scrutinize the store and the equipment. In particular ask the store operator how the instruments are cleaned. An autoclave machine is used to sterilize the instruments after each use.
Inquire as to how long the piercing operator has been performing body piercing. Currently there is no law mandating that they have a license to do body piercing, but there is a law stating that they have a business license. You should use someone who has a lot of experience.
The piercing establishment should be regulated by the health department and that certificate should be posted in the store and be current.
All needles should be disposable and sterile. The jewelry should also come in sterile packaging. The operator should wear sterile gloves while doing the procedure. The client should request references from previous customers. A reference from a friend or someone you know well would be most important.
The customer may be asked to sign a release or consent form and this should be thoroughly understood before providing your signature.
Remember it’s YOUR BODY and you have the right to ask any questions you want. Don’t feel embarrassed. If the proprietor does not answer your questions or you feel uncomfortable just leave the store. You can always find another piercing establishment.
Once the piercing procedure has been performed avoid touching and turning of the jewelry to insure proper healing of the skin. If you do need to touch the area make sure you wash your hands thoroughly prior to touching the site. If you have a great deal of pain, redness or tenderness at the piercing site you should notify the piercing establishment and consider contacting your physician. You may have developed an infection at the piercing site.
If there is mild swelling, itching, or redness at the piercing site, you may be allergic to the jewelry that was placed. Notify the piercing store as well as your physician. All that may need to be done is replace the jewelry with a type that you are not allergic to.
The day following the piercing you should clean the piercing site twice a day. Begin by thoroughly washing your hands and use an anti-bacterial soap. To clean the piercing site use an anti-bacterial soap and warm water along with a Q tip. Gently clean the piercing site and the jewelry.
The jewelry should not be removed for several months. If the jewely needs to be removed for medical reasons (example x-rays) a lubricanted piece of monofilament nylon fishing line can be placed through the piercing site until the jewelry can be replaced.You can also go to the piercing store and they can do this for you, usually for a fee.
Piercing stores also sell retainers that can be put into a pierced site in place of the jewelry in order to keep it open.
The amount of pain experienced during piercing depends on the area which is pierced. The more nerve endings in the area , the more painful it might be. Pain also varies depending on a persons individual tolerance for pain. Most piercing stores are not allowed to “numb up the skin”, unless the piercer is a registered nurse or a phtsician. Scarring at the piercing site is unusual but may result from infection, allergic reaction to the jewelry , or piercing technique. A small amount of scarring may also be visible at the piercing site if the jewelry is permanently removed.
The jewelry that is used for piercing should be non allergenic. Types of metals which are commonly used are stainless steel, gold, titanium and platinum.
The jewelry that is placed at the piercing site should be sized for the area which is pierced. This will vary from person to person. If the jewelry is too large it could cause some tearing of the tissue and this may result in excessive tearing.
Some types of piercing require slightly different care. With tongue piercing healing time is approximately 3 weeks. To keep this area as clean as possible use an antiseptic mouthwash 2 to 3 times a day. Oral contact with other persons should be avoided for several weeks. Ice may be used to decrease swelling. Initially avoid hot liquids and spicy foods.
With genital piercing avoid oral or sexual contact for several weeks. A barrier during sexual contact should be used for up to 6 weeks. There is no need to clean the area after urination, as urine is sterile.
This type of “body art” is less common. Any type of stretching should be done very GRADUALLY! If it is not done slowly, a person can develop excessive scarring. It should be noted that stretching of body parts is a permanent change. Areas of the body which have been stretched include ear lobes, labia, lips, neck and penis.