Dear Dr. Kate,
How safe (or unsafe) are genital piercings?
— Holey Moley
Basically as safe (or unsafe) as piercings elsewhere on your body. There are two risks with piercings: the sterility of the piercing process when you get it, and the ongoing risk of infection or damage to the tissue. Make sure you’re getting pierced in a reputable place (your best friend’s basement is not the place to experiment). Follow all of the directions about care of the piercing site. Your labia and clitoral hood have more exposure to bacteria than your earlobes, so you need to keep up your vulvar hygiene—no daily pantiliners, no douching, consistent condom use. And beware of creative sexual positions that put your piercing at risk of being yanked out (or of your jewelry becoming intertwined with that of your partner—that’s the not the kind of closeness you want). I’d recommend generous amounts of lube during penetration, and make sure you cease all activity if something begins to hurt.
— Dr. Kate
Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City. She also lectures nationally on women’s health issues and conducts research on reproductive health. Check out more of her advice and ask her a question at Gynotalk.com.