Body Piercing: Reclamation, Enhancement, and Self-Expression Essay

2186 Words Sep 27th, 1999 9 Pages
Body Piercing:

Reclamation, Enhancement, and Self-Expression


Jason C. Hillman

In America the practice of body piercing is everywhere, especially among young people. who are getting several parts of their bodies pierced either as an affirmation of their personal individuality, as a means of sexual gratification or stimulation, a reclamation of their bodies from physical or emotional trauma, or for as a means of adornment. Whateverthe reason, it's widespread. Body piercing is the piercing of the ears, nose, septum, cheeks, lip, tongue, nipples, navel, clitoris, labia, penis, and scrotum. Says California State University anthropologist James Myers, Ph.D. body piercing is "possibly as old as genus Homo." (Todd, Richard, p.1) Body
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Many young people pierce their genitals (and nipples) to heighten sexual pleasure. Many women have reported greater sexual satisfaction with pierced clitorises or clitoral hoods. Men pierce their genitals for the same reason. There are four primary piercings which men have done to their genitals. A Prince Albert goes through the urethra and come out through a hole in the underside of the penis; a frenum piercing is performed about 1/4 inch from the glans; an ampallang is a piercing which runs through the glans horizontally, and an apadravya is a piercing that runs through the glans vertically, often as a continuation of a Prince Albert. Many men have reported an increase in sexual stimulation after a piercing. "It's like having a hand inside my lover playing with me at the same time as I move in and out", says one piercee (Alexander, 1). The Prince Albert has been around since the Victorian age, when it was called a "dressing ring" and was used to secure the penis to one leg in order to conceal it in the tight pants in style at the time (Trebay, Guy, p.2).

Body piercing for some is a conscious act of reclamation of the body and taking it into possession as their own. The entire piercing experience is transformed into a highly spiritual event. Pain is an intrinsic part of the ritual- and indeed is sometimes the entire reason for getting pierced. Body piercing is seen by many to be a pain inducing ritual which can be used to attain elevated states of

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