The Pros and Cons of Penis Jewelry, Part II
Editor's note: Some of the sources for this article requested their full names not be used.
Part I of this two-part look at penis jewelry discussed the basics of penis piercing, popular types of piercings and what to look for in a piercer. This installment goes into more depth about recovering from a penis piercing, typical side effects and when you should see a doctor.
This article also covers the fun bits about piercings: why people get them and any sexual benefits. You might want to know the, er, point of having a needle jabbed through your penis.
First, the bad news
Even given a sex-positive and open-attitude approach to penis piercings, a discussion of the very real risks involved is required. Risks include infection and other permanent problems.
"This is something we see a great deal of and we frequently perform procedures big and small to address piercings gone wrong," said William Brant, M.D., the chief of urology at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center. "The main issues fall into two categories: injuries and fistulas. In the former, piercings get caught and rip surrounding tissue, requiring repair. In the latter, we usually see urine spraying from multiple holes or the 'wrong' hole, and these require reconstructive procedures to address the issue."
What to expect afterward
Even if the piercing goes as planned, bleeding, tenderness and a little swelling are normal, although some people in the piercing community say it hurts surprisingly little.
"The pain level was totally OK," said Mike, a 57-year-old Redditor from Germany who has a frenulum piercing, a Prince Albert piercing and six scrotum rings. "You are prepared for a short sting, and that's it for this type of piercing. I am, in general, a very quick healer, and all my piercings healed very quickly and never caused issues."
Given a penile piercing is in a naturally moist area, covered most of the time and difficult to keep clean, the first concern is infection. However, it is normal to have some reaction to the trauma even without an infection. Over the subsequent days or weeks after getting your penis pierced, you can expect some discoloration, itchiness, irritation and a whitish-yellow discharge. As it heals, a crust may form, but it is easily rinsed off.
You don't need to rotate your piercing during the healing process, according to the Association of Professional Piercers (APP). Instead, it's better to leave it alone, apart from cleaning it a couple of times a day. Here are some other tips:
In the days and weeks following a piercing, it's important to follow some basic guidelines:
- Always wash your hands before touching the area.
- Most piercers recommend using a sterile saline rinse for cleaning—not soap and water.
- Rinse away any crust that forms but don't overclean the area.
- Don't use ointments, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
- Penis head piercings often bleed freely for a few days, so use gauze to cover the area and change it regularly.
- Once the initial pain and swelling are gone, you can have sex whenever you're ready. But while the area is healing, avoid any direct oral contact or contact with someone else's bodily fluids, which can cause an infection, possibly resulting in scar tissue and delayed healing.
- When you do have sex again, use condoms while still healing, and rinse with sterile saline after you do the deed.
- Wear clean, comfortable underwear to protect your piercing while you sleep.
What to watch out for
If you notice any of these symptoms, see a doctor right away:
- Intense pain that gets worse over time
- Skin that's hot to the touch
- Yellow or green pus
- A red streak or red bumps around the piercing
- A foul odor coming from the area
- Piercing rejection, which occurs when your immune system treats the piercing as a foreign invader, and your body "migrates" it to the surface in an attempt to push it out
If you notice your piercing has migrated, see your piercer. You'll need to have it taken out and wait at least six months to a year before trying the piercing again.
Asking why someone got a piercing is kind of like asking why someone got a tattoo: It's aesthetics, it's decoration, it's art.
It's a way of exerting your will and taking charge of your body.
Penis piercing can be all this and more.
There's an added twist: Some people get additional sexual stimulation from their own piercings and those of their partners. Piercings in the penis head, especially in the frenulum, can greatly increase stimulation for the guy. The frenulum is the hypersensitive band of skin just below the urethral opening on the underside of the penis where a Prince Albert piercing comes out.
"They make sex more fun," said Dan, a 45-year-old Redditor from Philadelphia who has a Prince Albert and an ampallang, which is a side-to-side piercing through the penis head. "I'm circumcised, and it brings a lot more sensations. It's definitely something that I recommend, although it's a commitment. The feeling is incredible once it heals."
As for the pierced man's partner, some report that having penetrative sex with a pierced guy enhances their sensation, as well. Think of the old ads for condoms "ribbed for her pleasure," and you get the idea.
Redditor ATBK is a 45-year-old man from California who has a reverse Prince Albert, which is a horseshoe that goes in through the urethra and pokes through the top of his penis head. He and his female partner were discussing genital piercings, and he wanted her to get her genitals and nipples pierced.
"She challenged me with penis piercing," he said. "Well, I did it, and she did not. I am still hoping. In the end, good for me—and great for her when I hear her moaning."
Dan and his partner concur about the benefits of having sex with a partner who has a pierced penis.
"My partner definitely feels them," Dan said. "They definitely enhance the sexual experience for both of us."
The right choice for the right people
Penile piercings are not for everyone, of course. Not everyone wants a tattoo or a pierced ear or even dyed hair, for that matter.
To each their own.
But as the channels for information about what were once considered fringe interests continue to open, perhaps it's past time for the more sexually adventurous among us to consider piercing with open eyes.
After all, if it feels as good as they say, it can't be all bad.
"It's definitely a crazy place to get pierced," said Dan, referring to his ampallang. "But it is fun and enjoyable for both of us."