By: Elayne Angel
The concept behind female genital piercings (as with male genital piercings) is to enhance. Common placements as described below do NOT prevent sexual activities, but are meant to stimulate and arouse. These enhancements are also placed to call attention to the ornamented areas and foster beauty and appreciation.
Unfortunately for us, our culture does not support genital pride! As a result, many of our female clients do not even know what the particulars of their private parts are called. Many women come in for genital piercings requesting a clit piercing. When they are shown a photograph of where that is located they shout, "Oh, NO! Not there!" Sometimes they mean inner or outer labia, other times they desire a clitoral hood piercing.
Contrary to what most of the uninitiated would think, genital piercing is NOT particularly painful. The idea may be scary or strange to some, but the physical reality is brief and relatively or virtually painless. Many piercees often favorably compare genital placements to the ear lobe piercing. The notable exception would be the serious and very rare actual clitoris piercing.
This is NOT about pain and suppression; this is about pleasure, and stimulation, and celebrating the body. Though, naturally, during healing one must engage in safer sex and avoid sharing bodily fluids. Even if you are in a monogamous relationship latex barriers should be used, including for oral contact, during the entire initial healing. See General Care Instructions for complete information.
As with any piercing, your new genital piercing may bleed off and on for minutes to a few days, though many of them don't bleed at all. Underwear is usually very comfortable, as a little support feels good on most fresh piercings. Panty liners may be advisable at first.
These are not debilitating procedures. I have pierced dancers who went right to work the same evening! It may not be the best time to don your tightest jeans, but you should expect to be mobile, and feeling fine afterwards.
Ah, and my favorite relevant adage: Whoever said, "Ya seen one, ya seen em all sure hadn't seen many!" Because every body is unique!
Clitoral Hood - "VCH"
4-6 weeks healing time
The VCH is the most popular female genital piercing we do, for several reasons. As the name implies, the piercing is placed vertically, and women's genitals are built vertically. This means the jewelry situates comfortably between the legs and is not subject to much stress.
Further, most women are built with some amount of hood tissue in which the jewelry can be placed for a safe, comfortable, attractive, and stimulating piercing. The piercing goes through only a thin bit of tissue above the clitoris (NOT through it) but the jewelry itself touches the clitoris. That means when there is any action in the area, the clitoris will receive more direct stimulation. Most women like this a lot.
This is a VERY quick healing piercing. I have had many women swear it heals in a week or even less. But to be on the safe side, you should care for it according to the instructions for four (4) weeks minimum.
A VCH is a piercing which feels very different with alternate styles of jewelry. It can be started with a bar (usually a bent barbell called an el-bar) or a ring style. Once healing is complete, experimenting with different lengths of bars and sizes of balls, or various sizes and shapes of rings can be very fun. The stimulation is definitely dependent on the style of jewelry. Personal preferences, as with all matters of sexual expression, will vary.
If you have a prominent hood, or petite outer labia leaving the hood region exposed, a bar may be best for starting jewelry, to minimize irritation. If your hood is rather tucked in, and/or your outer labia are full, then either a ring or bar is fine jewelry for starters.
The procedure (when done here) is extremely brief. This is not a major piercing, except for possibly the mental component. Physically we pierce a membrane of tissue--much less than an ear lobe. Many women comment that their ears hurt more. It does sting or pinch for a split second, and may momentarily startle you. By then it is over. Most women leave commenting that either they don't feel it at all or that it feels good already!
Forceps are not well suited to this placement. We use a device called an NRT (needle receiving tube) that is warmed with gloved hands, and placed gently but securely under the hood. The tissue is so thin we can see through to where the tube is underneath. We pierce swiftly through the dot which marks the placement, into the tube.
I have pierced many women with VCH piercings who have no other body piercings. Whether for the seasoned piercee or the neophyte, it is an easy spot. I describe it as a maximum return on a minimal investment. For the pleasure you derive from it, the momentary pinch is a small price to pay.
Horizontal Clitoral Hood
6-8 week healing time
The HCH is a piercing done primarily for aesthetic purposes. In order for it to be directly stimulating, it needs to be placed on a woman whose clitoris is somewhat exposed, and situated so that the bead falls directly on the clitoris. Also, if the woman is not built fairly symmetrical, the ring will have a tendency to lean or twist to one side.
The majority of women are constructed in such a way that the hood covers the clitoris. Therefore, the jewelry in an HCH rests atop the hood, and isn't nearly as pleasurable as a piece of jewelry that comes into direct contact with the clitoris.
They can be very attractive, and some women who are anatomically suited will opt for this over other possibilities, because they like the look. Historically, aesthetics has been a valid reason for piercing, and it still is today. A genital piercing can be visually delightful even if it is not placed for direct action.
Usually they are started with a ring or circular barbell in 14 or 12 gauge. Care must be taken to check the vascularity of the region, and to be sure the tissue pulls away from the nerve bundle of the clitoris before and during clamping (gently) in the forceps.
Healing time 4-6 weeks
This is a VERY rare piercing, and it is serious business. Only a highly experienced master should attempt it. The vast majority of women who request them actually want a clitoral hood piercing. Of the women who request an actual clitoris piercing, and know what they are asking, approximately 90-95% are not suitably built. Absolutely vital in clitoris piercing is to pierce ONLY women with the ideal anatomy. This is not an area to take chances.
Most women posses a clitoris that is too small to withstand a piercing. Of those who are large enough, most women have hood tissue that fits too tightly or heavily over the clitoris. The clitoris in question must be large and easily exposed to be safe to pierce and to heal.
Even for a well developed clitoris, 16 gauge jewelry is the most common starting size. If the clitoris itself isn't able to be clamped, either from being too small, or from the process being too intense for the piercee, then she isn't a good candidate.
For those women who are built for it, a clitoris piercing is an intense experience. There is no doubt about an increase in sensation. There is also usually some development to the tissue, resulting in increased size on most.
This one is best left in the fantasy realm for most. Bring yourself in for evaluation before getting set on the idea, if you really are considering it.
2-3 month healing time
A triangle is a horizontal piercing behind the nerve bundle of the clitoris, at the base of the hood tissue where it forms from the body. In order for a triangle to be possible, your clitoral nerve bundle under your hood needs to be able to be lifted away from your body to some extent. If you are very small built in that area, or if you have a "valley" instead of a "hill" you are NOT suited to a triangle. A triangle and an HCH both essentially pierce through hood tissue. What is different about the triangle is where and how the forceps are placed during the piercing.
The point of the Triangle (pardon the pun) is that it is placed so the jewelry rests right behind the nerve bundle of your clitoris. Therefore, when your are stimulated, you feel more sensation from the BACK of your clitoris! A triangle is far more stimulating that an HCH for most women. It is a pretty fantastic spot for jewelry if one is built for it.
After much experience, I have concluded that a circular barbell, usually in 12 gauge, is the best starting style of jewelry for this placement. The gap between the circular barbell balls can be adjusted to accommodate the width of the inner labia. In this way the jewelry can be tucked right down against the body, which minimizes twisting and irritation. After healing a captive ring, bead ring, el-bar or other jewelry can be worn. Some women enjoy stretching to larger gauges later, as they like the way heavier or thicker jewelry looks and feels.
Many women ask whether a VCH or a Triangle is better. They are totally different. A VCH is more stimulating from the front of the clitoris, and the Triangle is more stimulating from the back of the clitoris. Lots of women end up with both!
A Triangle is a VERY advanced piercing and you should seriously check the qualifications of anyone you consider to do the piercing on you. I didn't conceive of it myself, but I did perform the one on the woman (Lou Duff, formerly of Gauntlet, San Francisco) who did invent it. To my knowledge, I have more experience at doing triangles than any other piercer.
I have had more than one client confide in me that they had never (ever!) had an orgasm in their entire twenty-some years, until after the Triangle piercing! Their partners and activities were the same as pre-piercing. Meaning, the piercing really had an impact! I feel that pretty well validates my life's work!
Once again please note, not all women are anatomically suited for all piercings and an expert must be consulted to determine what will work best for your particular build.
4-6 weeks healing time
This is very similar to the tissue pierced in the VCH, it is fine and very quick to heal. We generally begin with rings in 14 gauge. Most commonly we use a 1/2" diameter. On women who are smaller built, but still large enough to pierce we will sometimes use a smaller diameter ring. Some women, though it is rare, are not built large enough in this region to pierce. Inner labia are often pierced in pairs or multiples, though a single ring on either side is certainly an option.
Inner labia piercings may bleed, as the tissue is fairly vascular. Pads or panty liners are advisable at first, as is wearing underwear when the piercing is new.
One's own bodily fluids are apt to get on this type of piercing, but this is not harmful. Urine may sting at first, and during the initial days of healing you may wish to drink lots of water. This will result in less acidity and reduced stinging as you urinate. Also helpful is to pour a clean cup of warm or cool (as you prefer) water over the area as you urinate. This will rinse it away from you as you go, and that will diminish any discomfort.
Most women will find piercings in this site primarily visually pleasing, but are not apt to feel a great deal of erotic stimulation unless they are placed high up, near the clitoris. For piercings a male partner might feel during intercourse, they can be placed mid-way across the vaginal opening.
2-3 month healing time
These are sturdy piercings that take a little longer to heal. They can be placed anywhere along the pinchable rim of the outer lips. They are often done in pairs or multiples. Most women will find piercings in this region primarily visually pleasing, but are not apt to feel a great deal of erotic stimulation as would be expected from a hood piercing.
We usually start with 14 or 12 gauge jewelry, but if the tissue is well developed, 10 gauge is possible. The most common starting ring size is 5/8" diameter. We can use captive rings, bead rings or circular barbells.
For piercings a male partner might feel during intercourse, they can be placed adjacent the vaginal opening.
2-3 month healing time
This is the vertical perineum piercing which is analogous to the male Guiche. Most women do not possess a pinchable flap or fold of tissue at the back edge of the vagina, where this piercing is placed. If you don't have any skin there, you aren't. However, if you are built for it, a Fourchette is a wonderful spot for wearing jewelry.
We usually begin with a bent barbell in 12 or 10 gauge, approximately 5/8" or so. The tissue is very fine, and you don't want jewelry that is too thin, which can cut you. It is also very stretchy, and can easily be enlarged to accommodate thicker jewelry after healing.
I will take credit for pioneering the Fourchette, as I got the first three of them, on three different occasions. Oh, the rigors of research! We were trying to figure out the best spot. It turned out to be best on a woman who has some tissue there, which I was not blessed with. Well it sure was fun trying, and the women who are built for the fourchette, who have received them, gave rave reviews.
Healing time 4-6 weeks
This is a new one! A woman came from a great distance specifically for a Triangle piercing from me, but wasn't anatomically suited to it. So I invented something new for her build.
This is a pair of piercings with small rings (14 gauge, 3/8" or 7/16") that sit up under the hood tissue, much the way a VCH does. However, this is a pair of them turned outward in a horizontal placement (but under the hood, right next to the clitoris!)
Some sets were done with the concept of wearing a single piece of jewelry through both of the piercings, once healing was complete. One woman planned to wear a barbell through both piercings, with a bead added in the middle; it would rest under her hood, directly against her clitoris!
I've also done some sets which were angled at about 10- and 2-o'clock. Again, they were under the hood tissue, right against the clitoris. Women have found these to be very quick and easy to heal, as well as pleasurable and fun!
Article: Copyright Elayne Angel 2002 - Photographs: Copyright Rings of Desire 2002
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