Maybe you don't think you know many people with a genital piercing, but you might be surprised to learn how popular they are. Whether you're considering getting one yourself or you're just curious to know more about them, we spoke to Elayne Angel, professional body piercer and author of The Piercing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing, to find out everything there is to know about getting a vagina - technically called the vulva, since the vagina is all internal - piercing.
What Are the Different Kinds of Genital Piercings?
There are a number of different piercing placements for the vulva, but the most common piercing according to Angel is the vertical clitoral hood, or VCH, in the tissue above the clitoris. "It should be placed so that the jewelry rests beneath the hood, touching the clitoris, which can add sensation," Angel told POPSUGAR. "Most vulvas are suited to it, the area heals very quickly, and it looks really lovely, too."
Another popular area is the triangle, which is a horizontal piercing that's placed beneath the clitoral shaft at the base of the hood. This is Angel's second-most-requested piercing, but since it's not a piercing that every vulva has the anatomy for, she frequently has to decline it. Additionally, there's the Princess Diana piercing, one that's similar to the VCH except it's slightly more asymmetrical; piercings on the inner and outer labia; the fourchette, a vertical piercing at the back edge of the vagina; and the Princess Albertina, which is a piercing in the urethra.
Why Do People Get Genital Piercings?
"When placed properly with the right jewelry on suited anatomy, piercings really can make a difference."
Why anyone gets a vagina piercing depends on who you ask, as the motivation could be different for a lot of people. A common reason is that these piercings can increase sensitivity in the area and improve the sexual experience. "When placed properly with the right jewelry on suited anatomy, piercings really can make a difference," Angel said. "I've had clients who had primary anorgasmia (never had an orgasm before) who became orgasmic following piercing. That certainly validates my life's work right there."
Of course, it's not always about sex. As Angel mentions in her book, some people also get them as a way to boost their self-esteem or make themselves feel good. "When an individual chooses to modify the appearance of their own genitals by piercing and adorning them with jewelry, it can be highly liberating," she writes. "For many it inspires harmony with their bodies that could not be achieved through any other means."
Angel has also had couples request them as a way to add a spark to their relationships, while others have either gotten them simply for the aesthetic or as a confidence booster following breakups, abusive relationships, childbirth, and other life-changing occurrences.