Labia piercings are one type of female genital piercing. This piercing can be placed either through the labia minora or the labia majora. They are one of the simpler and more common genital piercings performed on women, and are often pierced in symmetrical pairs. Like all genital piercings, depending on jewellery and placement, they may provide additional stimulation to one or both partners during sexual intercourse.
History and culture
There is little direct evidence of pre-contemporary practice of labia piercings, outside of anecdotal reports of the use of these piercings as chastity devices. Like many genital piercings, the contemporary origin of labia piercing resides in the BDSM culture that gave rise to the resurgence of body piercing in contemporary society. In contemporary practice, these piercings often simply fill a decorative role, rather than a purely sexual one.
This piercing plays a prominent role in the French erotic novel, Story of O. The heroine, O, has a hole pierced through a labium, through which a stainless-steel ring is inserted. Another ring is linked to it, and to that, a metal disk with identifying information on it, including the name of her Master, the mysterious Sir Stephen.
Comparing piercings of labia majora, minora
Labia majora (outer labia) piercings heal slower than labia minora (inner labia) piercings, depending on the anatomy of the individual. They also tend to be more painful because there is more tissue to pierce through. Stretching of labia minora piercings occurs on its own in most cases due to the relatively high elasticity of the tissue, whereas labia majora piercings are much less likely to do so.
Almost any type of jewellery can be found in labia minora piercings, although rings are the most commonly used jewelry, both as initial jewelry, and on a long-term basis. Both types of labia piercings can be stretched to accommodate large jewellery; the wearing of heavy jewellery in these piercings may be a form of ongoing or temporary sexual stimulation. Both types can also be stretched to accommodate flesh tunnel or flesh plug style jewellery.
Jewellery worn in labia piercings may have a fetish purpose. Rings or other specialised jewellery may be worn to block access to the vagina, as a form of short-term or long-term non-surgical infibulation. Other chastity devices might also be worn that make use of the piercing, sometimes incorporating locks.
things to never do to your vagina
. . there are many things that can cause an infection ‘down there’.
The vagina is a sensitive organ and often prone to infection. According to the Mayo Clinic vaginal yeast infection (also called vaginal candidiasis) “affects up to 3 out of 4 women at some point in their lifetimes”.
There are many things that can cause an infection in the vagina, and it’s important to be aware of the risk-factors. For your own health, here are ten things you should never do to your vagina.
Douching is a method whereby women wash the vagina out with a liquid solution, usually a mixture of water and vinegar. For centuries there has been a debate on the possible benefits and adverse effects of this practice, but research from the University of Alabama shows the “risk of ascending infection from the pressure of douching may be greatest around the time of ovulation when the cervical os is gaping and the mucus is thin”. Furthermore, douching may decrease vaginal bacteria, but cause a rapid proliferation of potential pathogens, increasing the risk of associated infections.
2. Vaginal steaming
Vaginal steaming refers to a new trend where women remove their underwear and sit on special chairs that have herbal-infused steam coming out of them, aimed at the vagina. According to the Huffington Post, this process can disrupt the natural bacteria of the organ, making it more prone to infection.
3. Get a piercing
For some women it might be part of a sexual fantasy to get a piercing in their vagina, but it can cause unnecessary complications. Doctors from St Mary’s hospital in the UK alert to the fact that the vagina is a sensitive area, and besides the possibility of pain and nerve damage, piercings open up the body to possible infections.
4. Push foreign objects your vagina
Any foreign object has the potential to cause an infection, research from the University of Michigan has shown. The most common symptoms of an infection caused by a foreign object include a change in vaginal discharge and an unpleasant smell. If you have lost an object up there, it is important to immediately consult a doctor.
5. Use scented soaps or perfumes
The vagina can sometimes have a slight odour, but for the most part its natural scent should be neutral. Infections can cause a bad smell, but using scented soaps or perfumes is a bad idea. Research from Johns Hopkins University shows the vagina is a delicate organ with a specific pH balance. Any scents or flavours can throw off this balance, making it prone to infection.
6. Wearing too tight underwear
Underwear should fit you comfortably and should not be too tight. Underwear that is too tight can cause friction and irritation, and heat and moisture can build up in the vaginal area. Bacteria love this environment and cause infection.
7. Use weird substances as lube
It’s quite normal to need some lubrication during sexual encounters, but you should never use anything other than standard lube. Other substances can cause infection, and even oil-based lubricants are thicker, and thus more difficult to remove from the vaginal canal.
JEWELED FOR HER PLEASURE : GENITAL PIERCINGS
I’d researched vaginal piercings for over a year before I decided to finally take the leap. I’d stay up late at night, covertly looking up pictures and testimonials of people who had gotten theirs done, feeling alternatively repulsed and titillated. Was I seriously considering getting my clit pierced? The thought was terrifying — after all, who wants to think about a needle going anywhere close to there — but for some reason, I kept coming back to the delicate, sparkly decoration.
After reading up on the many different ways women can bedazzle their vaginas, I finally settled on a vertical clitoral hood (VCH) piercing — a dainty and feminine option that was said to greatly enhance sexual pleasure. By far the most popular of vaginal piercings, the VCH is placed vertically through the clitoral hood so that one end rests visibly outside of the vagina while the other lays gently on top of the clitoris itself. Because of the high amount of blood flow to the area, VCH piercings heal quickly; and, since the clitoral hood is usually very thin, the chances of the body rejecting the piercing are small.
Okay, I thought. This is it. I’m doing it. Twenty minutes at my local piercing studio later, I emerged a new woman. The rest of the day, my face was wreathed in smiles. I had an awesome secret — I could feel it with every step I took — and no one else knew. It was the biggest rush — and still is, even two years later.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF GENITAL PIERCINGS
Body piercing has been practiced in human societies as far back as we can trace, but have traditionally been confined to the ears, nose, and face. Genital piercings were far less common (or, at least, less well-documented).
The first reference to intimate piercings comes from the Kama Sutra, the legendary Sanskrit text on the art of lovemaking, around 300 AD. The writings describe intimate jewelry such as penis inserts and vertically-placed pins (called apadravya) as not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional in making sex more pleasurable for both partners.
However, this practice wasn’t confirmed by first-hand accounts until explorers encountered the Dayak peoples of Borneo in the latter half of the nineteenth century. One such explorer, Dutchman Anton Willem Nieuwenhuis, recounted his experience witnessing tribesmen undergoing penis piercings in a report titled In Central Borneo: Travels from Pontianak to Samarinda. In this publication, he describes how Dayak men would pass shards of bone horizontally through the penis glans in a process now called ampallang. These piercings were said to symbolize the protective power of the man over the family, but also had a clear sexual purpose; in fact, accounts of the practice report that “women of the Dayaks say the embrace without this ornament is like rice, but with it, it tastes like rice with salt.”
This period of exploration introduced many such hitherto unknown practices into the Western world, both through ethnographic reports like Nieuwenhuis’ and through sailors returning home with piercings or tattoos obtained during their travels. Inspired by these intrepid explorers, Western socialites gradually began adopting body modification practices as well.
Nipple piercings, for example, entered the wider social consciousness this way. The first instances of women with bejeweled breasts may date back to the court of Queen Isabella of Bavaria in the fourteenth century. Wealthy ladies of the court would wear “garments of the grand neckline,” daringly low-cut dresses that openly displayed their breasts, sparking a corresponding interest in jeweled nipples. Such adornments faded from popularity until the 1890s, when explorers reintroduced the practice into high society. “Bosom rings” became the new fashion craze, with many Victorian women linking their nipple rings together with delicate chains. The trend was not only endorsed by high society for its sexual benefits, but was even sometimes recommended by doctors to help enlarge the nipples and facilitate breastfeeding.
Intimate piercings largely fell out of the mainstream consciousness until the latter half of the twentieth century. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, genital piercing was reintroduced to the emerging body modification community in Los Angeles by piercing pioneers Jim Ward and Doug Malloy. Ward, who is often considered the “granddaddy of the modern piercing movement,” spearheaded new and innovative piercing techniques and equipment, effectively becoming the first body piercing specialist in America. His studio the Gauntlet became the epicenter of nontraditional piercings, and enthusiasts flocked from near and far to bedazzle their faces, nipples, and genitals.
PIERCINGS IN POP CULTURE
For awhile, genital piercings remained largely practiced by subcultures like the body modification crowd and the so-called modern primitives; even the burgeoning punk scene, infamous for expressing rebellion through piercings and tattoos, only rarely pierced their private parts. In fact, in a 1989 interview, Ward revealed that in ten years he had only pierced the genitals of a dozen or so women.
But by the turn of the twentieth century, vagina piercings were front and center in the public eye as celebrities like Janet Jackson and Christina Aguilera publicly discussed their bejeweled parts and the heightened pleasure they experienced. Now, while it is certainly still provocative and edgy, female genital piercing has become somewhat more mainstream as more women experiment with their sexual pleasure.
Even still, vaginal piercings are rare: a 2015 study revealed that while 72% of women have piercings, only 2% of them are on the genitals. It seems that genital piercings — especially for women — remain largely outside of modern social mores and are subject to a lot of misinformation. Horror stories abound of clitorises that were permanently damaged from a botched piercing job, and many women are still unclear about exactly what down there gets pierced anyway. Some lawmakers have even gone so far as to outlaw vaginal piercings as a form of female genital mutilation, and reports of doctors treating women with pierced genitals less than favorably are not uncommon.
Why, then, do women continue to bedazzle their most intimate parts? Well, for starters, the prospect of better sex and more intense orgasms is a hard incentive to pass up. Clitoral piercings, for example, almost always involve some part of the jewelry in direct contact with the clitoris, resulting in maximum sexual sensation. Similarly, nipple piercings can make nipples more sensitive, enhancing erotic pleasure. I, for one, was more than ready to take my clit piercing out for a test drive.
HONORING YOUR SEXUALITY WITH GENITAL PIERCINGS
But for many women (including myself), genital piercings are about more than just better sex. They are also a powerful symbol of owning your body and your sexuality. Indeed, women around the world have reported that their intimate piercings have enhanced their self-esteem and sexual confidence. One woman states that after she got her nipples pierced, she “felt pretty invincible.” Another reveals that her genital piercing was a “declaration of independence, and freedom of expression, regardless of what anyone [else] thinks.” Still another regards her intimate jewelry as a way of “honoring [her] sexuality.”
I feel similarly. In a time when women are still made to feel ashamed of their bodies and of their desires, piercing your private parts feels like an act of rebellion, a small, personal “fuck you” to the patriarchy. Choosing to bejewel my vagina was for me and only me — an homage to my body and to my femininity. It represents a beautiful, sexy secret that no one knows about — unless I choose to reveal it.
Emily L. Johnson is a 26-year-old Atlanta native currently working in copywriting to fund her coffee shop and Etsy addictions. Fun facts about Emily include that she was in the Peace Corps, she has a mild obsession with unicorns, and that she makes really, really good grilled cheese sandwiches.