CLIT PIERCINGS, WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: ORGASMS, HEALING & DOING IT SAFELY

Do you know someone who raves about her clitoral piercing? Has a character on one of your favorite TV shows had this done? Or do you simply wonder why someone might?

Many jewelry for the piercing

There are a lot of things to know about clit piercings before you choose to get one, and you should make yourself aware of the healing process to minimize pain and scar tissue. Fortunately, we’ve got the answers to all your burning questions about clitoral piercings.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CLIT PIERCINGS?

A piercing directly through the clitoral glans, which is done quite rarely, is one type. The more common type is through the clitoral hood. This poses fewer risks than a direct glans piercing.  You may only be a candidate for a clitoral hood piercing if your clitoris remains tucked too closely to your body or hidden by your hood when not erect – up to 95% of women aren’t suited for a glans piecing. A piercing artist will be able to tell you which type of clitoris piecing you can get.

Clitoral hood piercings will be defined by whether they’re vertical (VCH) or horizontal (HCH). A VCH piercing provides the most stimulation to your clit. Vertical hood piercings placed at either or both sides of the clitoris are sometimes known as Diana piercings. A horizontal hood piercing is an ornamental piercing because it sits atop the clitoral hood and does not directly stimulate the glans. If your glans is exposed, this type of piercing may be stimulating.

Anatomy that’s too flat is generally unsuitable for any clitoral piercing. A VCH requires enough depth for you to insert the head of a cotton swab into it, while you’ll need a defined clitoral hood for a VCH to work.

The triangle piercing is a horizontal piercing behind the clitoris at the base of the hood, which shouldn’t be confused with the vaginal hood (it doesn’t exist). This piercing provides sensation from behind the clitoris. You may not have the anatomy for a triangle piercing if the piercer cannot grasp the skin at the base of your hood, if you have veins near the area, or if you have full labia. This correct position of this piercing is high enough that it creates a single hole rather than two separate inner labia piercings.

You could get both a VCH and a triangle or a VCH and an HCH if your anatomy allows for it.

There are also non-clitoral genital piercings for women. These include piercing of the inner and outer labia or a fourchette, which is a vertical piercing at the perineum.

RISKS OF CLIT PIERCINGS

There are several risks of clitoral piercings, most of which are not unique to the area and many of which can be avoided by seeking an experienced professional and following care instructions. These include:

  • A piercing that is crooked or off-center
  • Creating an extra hole by accident
  • Your body rejecting the piercing
  • Jewelry migration
  • Infection, which can cause lymph nodes to swell [1]
  • Unpleasant odors
  • Getting the jewelry caught on something and potentially being ripped out, which can lead to splitting of the clitoral hood
  • Becoming too sensitive (arousal or pain)
  • Loss of sensation
  • Losing a piece of the jewelry
  • Jewelry can become retained or embedded in skin and require surgical removal [2]
  • Jewelry becoming stuck

An issue with placement, which can happen with a new piercer who doesn’t know how to pierce a clit, can be the most frustrating. When a clit piercing is incorrectly placed, you’ll need to let your body heal for a couple of weeks before attempting to re-pierce it.

Of the three more common piercings — VCH, HCH and triangle — the triangle is the trickiest and requires the most skill. The piercing won’t be stimulating if it’s too low and can essentially become a HCH if it’s too high. Sometimes, it winds up being two separate labia piercings when done wrong.

WHY NOT PIERCE THE CLITORIS ITSELF?

Perhaps the biggest risk is the loss of sensation, which may occur with some piercings but is especially risky if you wanted to pierce the clitoral shaft. This is why it’s so rarely done. In fact, many piercers will outright deny someone who is interested in a clitoral shaft piercing.

But why is this risk so high? The clitoris is especially sensitive. It contains 8,000 nerve endings [3] — even more than the penis! A clit piercing can damage these nerve endings, making it difficult to experience pleasure and potentially orgasm if you’re the type of person who needs clitoral stimulation to come.

Even if you’re not worried about that risk, you’re probably not built for a shaft piercing. Only about 5% of women are. You need a clitoris that’s large enough to pierce and a clitoral hood that’s loose enough to fit over the jewelry.

WHAT TYPE OF JEWELRY IS USED FOR A CLITORIS PIERCING?

Typically, a 16 gauge barbell is used for most of these piercings, but you may want to start with a 12 gauge for a triangle piercing. Guage refers to the thickness of the jewelry. The smaller the gauge, the larger the diameter. A 12 gauge piercing is 2mm wide while 14 gauge is 1.6mm and 16 gauge is 1.2 mm. A smaller gauge may be trickier to replace because the jewelry and threads are so small.

Some people who get piercings participate in gauging, which means to stretch the piercing to a smaller gauge/larger size. This isn’t common with clitoral piercings but may be possible.

A curved barbell, sometimes called a “bananabell” is commonly used for clitoral hood piercings and may be the only appropriate jewelry for a VCH. Open circular barbells are common for both HCH and triangle piercings. You may be able to use a captive-bead ring for your VCH after healing.  After a triangle piercing heals, you may wear a captive ring, bead ring, teardrop, D-ring or a barbell that is curved or straight. Again, the type of jewelry depends on the size and shape of your clitoral hood and labia.

Straight barbells are used for fourchette piercings.

Quality piercing jewelry is made from stainless steel, which won’t trigger nickel allergies or rust.

Most quality body jewelry is internally threaded, which means that the ball screws into the bar and not the other way around.

However, the threading on piercing jewelry can wear down over time, so don’t expect it to last forever. You may want to periodically check the jewelry to ensure the threads work correctly. Otherwise, you might lose an end or the entire clit ring without realizing it! This becomes an issue because piercings can close up much more quickly than you realize.

Of course, this works out well if you want to remove the piercing. Simply take it out, keep it clean, and let it close.

HOW IS A CLIT PIERCING DONE?

Never get a piercing from a business that is less than sterile!

A professional always wears gloves, no matter where the piercing is.

Your piercer will first clean the area with an antiseptic and mark the location to be pierced with a body-safe marker

It was once common for professionals to use forceps or clamps; however, this is less common and many people avoid piercers who use this method. Instead, most people use a receiving tube, a device that is placed beneath the skin of the clitoral hood. The piercer slides the needle through the skin and into the tube. The tube can be removed once the hole is made, and the jewelry is inserted into the needle. Finally, the needle is removed with the ring in place.

DO CLIT PIERCINGS HURT?

Like any piercing, a needle is going through your body, so it will hurt. How much depends on your pain tolerance. Your piercing professional might recommend that you take a non-aspirin pain killer such as ibuprofen prior to your appointment, but the actual procedure is quite quick.

Remember that the clitoral hood is soft, so it should hurt less than a cartilage piercing. For some people, the discomfort of getting a clitoral hood piercing feels similar to an earlobe piercing [4 p 135].

Many people find that they want to snap their knees shut in response to this pain. It can be helpful to use your hands or have something else hold your knees open when getting your clit pierced to prevent this.

After your piercing has healed, it shouldn’t hurt. You probably won’t even be aware of the jewelry in your clitoris. However, a piecing that is too loose and is able to catch on clothing may be painful, especially if it rips out.

WILL A CLITORIS PIERCING ADD SENSATION?

Some women are able to experience orgasm for the first time after getting a clit piercing! It may also help you to have multiple orgasms or bring you to orgasm more often with your partner.

If you’re interested: Learn how to make yourself cum.

Having your clitoris pierced may provide additional stimulation during nonsexual activities too.

A triangle piercing provides a different sort of sensation because the feeling comes from behind the clitoris.

You might find that you like positions such as missionary even better once you get a clitoral piercing.

A number of Redditors reported being hornier than ever once they had a VCH piercing or HCH piercing done; although, this decreased for some people over time.

One Redditor described his wife’s experience getting her VCH:

Of course she was a bit nervous so we did our research and found a reputable shop. The piercing itself took all of 10 minutes, from the time we walked in to the time we walked out. She was a bit sore the following day but a VCH piercing heals quickly.

Wow, I’ve never seen her so horny! It wasn’t an overwhelming horniness that got in the way, more like a constant mild hunger that never went away. The jewelry created a mild stimulation every time she moved. She felt like a horny teenager again.

That was years ago. Nothing stays new and novel forever. We’ve switched jewelry occasionally but usually stick with the original curved barbell. There have never been any problems. Quite the opposite, even though the novelty has faded, it still provides extra stimulation and fun. Her libido has returned to normal but the piercing stills create good stimulation at the appropriate times.

Another Redditor raved about her piercing:

I got my VCH done at the end of October 2018 and I love it! It makes me feel sexy and it feels good, like sometimes I get really wet and I rub my legs together and the barbell feels so good up against my clit. Before I had this I wasn’t able to get off with my fingers, but now I can. I can also get a lot of pleasure out of just like moving my hips and rubbing my legs together. It feels wonderful! I walk around with my little secret, and like no one else knows (I mean all my friends know, but just because I was so excited about it)!

Chances are, a pierced clitoris will at least make you feel hornier even if this is just due to the placebo effect. In fact, one study found that desire increased after women got a VCH [5]. However, there is always the risk that a pierced clit will be too stimulating to the point of becoming a distraction. In this case, you may want to take out the jewelry.

To avoid overstimulation during sex, make sure to talk to your partner.

Get help with talking about sex in our guide to sexual communication.

People with a pierced clit are sometimes surprised by how loud they can be when using a vibrator made from a hard material — glass, ceramic, or hard plastic, for example. If your favorite vibrator to use clitorally is hard, you might want to think twice about getting a pierced clitoris. You may want to take the piercing out to masturbate, but there will be a chance that the pierced skin will close.

Additionally, some women with a pierced clit find that they have to re-learn how to masturbate because the jewelry and piercing are situated where they would usually place their fingers or a toy.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HEALING?

A clitoral hood piercing takes much less time to heal than most piercings but more than nipple piercings (read more about nipple piercings). For some people, it heals in as little as one to two weeks! However, professionals will advise up to 8 weeks of healing to be safe. During this time, you might want to avoid activities such as horse or bike riding, which can irritate a new piercing.

A triangle piercing takes longer to heal — between 3 and 4 months.

Healing may take longer if the piercing was not done correctly.

You can promote healing by keeping the area dry, which may be difficult because your vulva tends to be moist and sweat can accumulate in the area. Wearing cotton undies that allow your vulva to breathe can help with this. Make sure to dry completely after showering or swimming. This can also reduce any odor at the piercing site.

It might seem counterintuitive, but tight underwear prevents the clit piercing from snagging and being pulled out.

Be careful during sex not to pull out your clitoral jewelry.

You can have sex as soon as you feel ready but being gentle is advised [6]. It is important that you use a condom while your genital piercing heals, even if you’re on birth control (non-latex condoms exist) or are in a committed relationship. If you have a latex allergy, then use a non-latex condom. Do not use saliva as lube and add an extra saline wash after sex.  Consider covering sex toys with condoms/barriers, too.

Read more about using condoms here.

A note on condoms and genital piercings: these piercings may cause condoms to more easily break [7].

Bacteria in the area can lead to a nasty infection (just like bacteria in the vagina can lead to bacterial vaginosis)! You should also use a dental dam when receiving oral sex. Non-sterile pools, hot tubs and lakes can also increase the likelihood of an infection at the piercing site, so avoid swimming until healing has finished.

Your piercer may give you care instructions before you leave. However, you can use a number of products to help your piercing heal. These include sterile saline solution or a mixture of 1/8 teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt and one cup of warm distilled or bottled water [8]. You don’t want to use harsh soaps or solutions such as hydrogen peroxide, Bactine, Betadine or even Dial hand soaps.

Make sure to wash your hands before touching your piercing!

You can expect the area to be tender and swollen immediately after piercing. Bruising and bleeding are also common [9]. However, pain and marks should decrease as your piercing heals. A yellow or white discharge may form a crust around the jewelry. This is completely normal. As it heals, the piercing may become tighter around the jewelry. Over cleansing a clitoral piercing can actually lead to more irritation.

Your jewelry may not move freely once the piercing heals, and you shouldn’t try to force it. You shouldn’t remove your jewelry during the healing process because a clit piercing can close in a matter of minutes! If your jewelry falls out, replacing it immediately is vital if you don’t want your clitoral piercing to close.

Once it is healed, you can cleanse with a gentle soap that’s not scented or colored, just like you would before getting pierced. While healing, you can mix this soap in a ratio of 1:15 with warm water. You should always wash your hands before cleaning or touching your clitoris after it has been pierced. Intimate cleansing wipes like those from the Before & After brand or Afterglow might help to keep the area clean and fresh!

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A CLIT PIERCING?

Even after healing has finished, your piercing can close up quickly, so be careful not to leave the hole empty for any period of time. Consider carrying a sterile piece of jewelry or extra ball end on your person at all times just in case! To prevent closing, you can use jewelry tapers when changing jewelry.

With triangle piercings, you may lose the piercing immediately upon removing jewelry.

Jewelry made from surgical-grade stainless steel may be worn during an MRI; although, medical professionals may ask you to take it out, which can lead to the piercing closing, to prevent injury and impacting the image. Titanium is another option, which is safe to wear in an MRI [10].

The reason for removing jewelry made from ferromagnetic metals (iron, nickel, cobalt, etc), is that they can disturb the magnetic field, resulting in metal “artifacts” or hard to read images during your MRI [11].

Procedures such as abortion may require you to remove jewelry from a clit piercing [12].

In the event that your piercing is pulled out, grows out, or is impossible to change, it may be time to connect with your piercer once more. And if your pierced clit becomes infected, a trip to the doctor for antibiotics may be in order. Although this may seem embarrassing, it’s better to get it taken care of than to seriously risk your health!

Traveling with piercings may set off a metal detector, especially the more-sensitive handheld wands. You could replace your jewelry with non-metal options when traveling.

WHAT DO GUYS THINK ABOUT A CLITORIS PIERCING?

Many guys are turned on when they have sex with a woman who has a clitoral piercing. Plus, he might just find piecing attractive in general. Some men are turned on by the idea of women who take charge of their sexuality and aren’t afraid to show it.

However, some men might try to slut shame you if they know you’ve got your clit pierced. More on slut shaming. Finally, some men might take this as a sign as you being too sexual or may simply not like the look of the piercing.

Furthermore, your man may not be thrilled if you choose to not have sex while your piercing heals. Consider giving him amazing head or a hand job during this time.

Some men want to experience the pleasure of a genital piercing too. If your man is in this camp, then he might consider getting a Prince Albert piercing.

Many women with clitoral piercings report only pros and no cons whatsoever! Because you can always take the jewelry out, there’s really very little risk to having your clit pierced. Proper care reduces those risks even more. So why not give it a try?


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