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Genital body piercings and safer sex

Dec 14, 1998

What if someone has a genital body piercing - what protection would be affective in having vaginal, anal, or oral sex?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. The "rules" of safer sex are essentially the same for people with genital body piercings, with a few modifications (see below). The following information is taken from the Piercing FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page, written by Anne Greenblatt of Piercing Exquisite.


"Genital piercings are intended to enhance sensation for the wearer and, in the case of male piercings, his partner during intercourse. However, wearing genital jewelry does require caution during certain activities, particularly if the piercing has not yet completely healed. In some cases, the desired activity can be impeded by the jewelry.

New piercings do not prohibit sexual activity. However, exposure to the partner's bodily fluids must be prevented to reduce the risk of infection, even in a monogamous relationship. Numerous microorganisms, including bacterias and yeasts, are present in genital and oral cavities. Saliva should not be used as a lubricant for masturbation or intercourse while the piercing is healing. Both partners should wash their hands before touching the jewelry or the piercing. Latex barriers (condoms, dental dams) should be used during all genital-genital or oral-genital contact.

In the case of Prince Albert, Ampallang and Apadravya piercings, erection or orgasm may cause the piercing to bleed during the first week. Strenuous sexual activity during the healing period may prolong healing and cause uncomfortable scarring.

Penis piercings with average-sized jewelry rarely interfere with the safe use of condoms. Condoms with larger receptacle ends will fit comfortably over penis jewelry. Lubricating the inside of the condom as well as the jewelry itself will reduce friction. Diaphragms and cervical caps can be dislodged by curved barbells or circular barbells worn in the Prince Albert piercing.

Penis jewelry rarely impedes comfortable male-female intercourse. Comfort and stimulation are greatly influenced by the position of intercourse and the relative dimensions of the penis and vagina. Discomfort to either partner can often be alleviated by changing the dimensions or style of the jewelry. Some women find piercings with barbells, such as frenum, Apadravya and Ampallang piercings, uncomfortable. Shortening the barbell or wearing smaller barbell balls may reduce discomfort. A frenum barbell may be substituted by a ring. A large diameter ring which snugly encircles the penis behind the corona (ridge of the glans) can be worn if the placement of the piercing allows.

Discomfort caused by friction against the jewelry or friction within the piercing can be alleviated by applying a water based lubricant to the jewelry.

Exerting pressure or pulling on jewelry that is too thin will be uncomfortable and may injure or tear the piercing. The thicker the jewelry, the more surface area over which pressure is distributed. The depth of the piercing should also be considered; a shallow piercing is more likely to tear or be injured.

Most men have found that penis piercings 12ga or thinner tend to be uncomfortable or pinch during sexual activity. Once the piercing has been stretched to a thicker gauge the pinching sensation disappears.

There is no evidence that piercings of the penis cause urinary tract infections in either partner.

On rare occasions penis jewelry has been known to chip teeth or become lodged in the partner's throat during oral sex."

More information on genital and body piercings can be found at the websites referred to above. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

Using lubricant inside the condom
Condom options for people who are allergic to latex

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