Dear Dr. Kate: Are Genital Piercings Safe

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Dear Dr. Kate,

How safe (or unsafe) are genital piercings?

— Holey Moley

Dear HM,

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_100Dr. 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.

One Comment

  1. I am not convinced its absolutely that simple. I am not an expert by any means. (I am not even a piercer) I agree the after care of the piercing is paramount and while the piercer can help, its the pierced person that must be diligent and make sure the piercing is properly taken care of.

    First of all I have a genital piercing, (although I am male) and thus my intention is not to ward you away.

    When your piercer is studying the location very carefully, one of they things they are doing is planning/trying to miss any large(r) blood vessels.

    I have read about women who have Clitoral hood piercings that found they get too much sensation, and remove it. I suspect this has more to do with anatomy than the idea that the piercing “hit” a nerve. So while the above condition may not be “unsafe”, it is possible that you might get unintended results.

    Two issues of utmost importance. The proper placement of the piercing (must be done correctly) and proper aftercare resulting in fully healed piercing before you get “rough” with it.

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