Personal Health

Warning! You Should Never Get Your Actual Clitoris Pierced

Some women may try to amp up their sex lives with a new toy, or a crazy sex position—others will get a clit piercing.

Yep, rumor has it that getting some jewelry down there may pack some hot benefits. Or, at the very least, give you a sexy secret under your pants.

If that sounds like the greatest thing since Beyonce’s pregnancy photo shoot (or if you just have LOTS of questions), this is what you need to know about doing clit piercings right.

What is a clit piercing, exactly?

Now, before you get your panties in a twist, most “clit piercings” aren’t actually through the clitoris, but through the small flap of skin above the clitoris, called the clitoral hood. These piercings are called vertical clitoral hood (VCH) piercings.

“Vertical horizontal hood piercings are more likely to produce increased sexual stimulation.”

While you can get your actual clitoris pierced by certain piercers, Julia Potter, M.D., associate medical director of adolescent medicine at Boston University, warns that “a [direct] clitoral piercing can increase sensitivity excessively” and even cause permanent nerve damage, which is why clitoral hood piercings are more popular.

Real talk: How much does it hurt?

The short answer is it depends. “Everyone’s perception of pain is different and often pain is influenced by how relaxed someone is.” Potter says, “[It depends] how much the painful stimuli is feared or desired.” So if you’re a total adrenaline junkie, you’re probably fine; if you’re scared of needles, it may not be so pleasant.

Okay, but is it safe?

If you’re getting your clitoral hood pierced (and not your actual clitoris) and seeing a licensed piercer, the risk is the same as with other piercings. “The vaginal tissue has good blood supply and heals well,” Potter explains. But, “risks include infection and scar tissue formation that could block the urethra and obstruct urination.”

She also adds that you may have an allergic reaction to the body jewelry (especially if it’s made of nickel—opt for surgical steel when possible.) That said, infection and irritation is no more likely to occur with clit piercings than any other body piercing.

To keep the piercing infection-free, clean it regularly with saline solution and be gentle with the surrounding area as it heals, recommends Jamie Stevens, M.D. He also recommends following the aftercare instructions of the Association of Professional Piercers. Plus, you should always “urinate after cleaning the piercing” since pee is a natural sterilizer, says Stevens.

So…will it affect my sex life?

All bodies are different, but some people do experience increased sexual pleasure and libido after getting a piercing down there. Stevens explains it’s dependent on the type of clitoral hood piercing. “Vertical horizontal hood piercings are more likely to produce increased sexual stimulation than horizontal ones, given the way they lie against the sensitive parts of the organ.”

Just keep in mind that, while the piercing heals, you should “use barriers during sex” says Steven—a.k.a. condoms for penetrative sex and dental dams for oral sex—to prevent semen or saliva from potentially irritating the piercing.

And Potter adds there is a slight risk of the piercing getting caught or pulled during sex. So be careful down there.

Bottom line: A clit piercing is no more dangerous than any other piercing on your body. Just be sure your piercer is legit, and you clean the piercing regularly afterward. Oh, and you should opt to pierce your hood…not the clit itself.

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