The reasons why people are drawn to vagina and clit piercing varies. Some women have them because they like the way they look. But research shows people get genital piercings for various reasons, including to make them feel unique, explore their self-expression and sexual expression, and help improve their body image or feel more sexually confident – and increase pleasure during sex.
But different vulvas, labias and clits have different needs and possibilities, and not every piercing works for every vagina. So read on to discover what type of piercing might work for you, how to reduce the potential risks and up the benefits, and how to look after your piercing once it’s in place.
Types of vaginal piercings: benefits and risks
First up: when we talk about vagina piercings, we actually mean ‘vulva’ piercings. Your vulva is your outer genitals – which includes your lips (labia) and clitoris – while your vagina is inside, leading up to your womb. But ‘vagina’ or ‘genital’ are the most commonly used terms for these types of piercings.
As well as offering aesthetic (they look good) and sometimes sexual benefits (particularly clit piercings), genital piercings can boost your self-esteem and make you feel more in charge of your sexuality. In fact, research has shown that positive genital self-image can be linked to increased sexual enjoyment and better body image.
This may be why some people say they get piercings to help improve their confidence, or even to reclaim their body after trauma or unhealthy relationships.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of vagina piercing, and what they involve.
Find useful information on other areas of vaginal health with our .
Clitoral or clit piercing
A ‘clit piercing’ usually means a clitoral hood piercing – these pierce through the ‘hood’ of skin above the rounded head (glans) of your clitoris.
Many people get a clit piercing to increase pleasure during sex or masturbation, as well as for the other reasons mentioned above.
Your clitoral piercing options include:
- vertical clitoral hood (VCH) – this is the most common vagina piercing, where a slightly curved bar is put through your clitoral hood vertically. A survey-based study found having one can increase your sexual pleasure
- horizontal clitoral hood (HCH) – this goes horizontally through your hood, above your clitoris, and can have a clit ring with a bead that rests on your clitoris to stimulate it
- triangle piercing – this goes horizontally through the base of your hood, under the shaft of your clitoris, stimulating it from behind rather than from the front
- Princess Diana piercing – this is a VCH, but off to the side rather than in the centre. It’s often done in pairs, with one on each side, as long as your hood is wide enough and the right shape
- clitoral glans – this pierces your actual clitoris, and isn’t done that often because it can cause loss of sensation or pain. There’s also a risk of nerve damage, due to the intense nerve supply to your clitoris
Healing times for clit piercings range from about 4 to 8 weeks, although they can be longer for some people. A triangle piercing typically takes longer to heal than other options – around 3 to 4 months.
Your vaginal lips (labia) are another popular choice for piercing, as they’re fleshy and big enough to hold more than 1 piece of jewellery.
You can get piercings on either the soft bits of skin on the outside (outer labia), or the folds of skin on the inside that lead to your vagina (inner labia).
They won’t usually add to sexual pleasure, so you’d mainly choose them because you like the way they look and how that makes you feel.
An inner labia piercing usually takes about 4 to 8 weeks to heal, while an outer labia takes longer – about 3 to 4 months.
Christina (or venus) piercing
This is a vertical piercing that’s placed where your outer vaginal lips meet at the top of your vulva – sometimes known as the ‘cleft of Venus’ – and reaches up to your pubic mound above.
Like labia piercings, this type of piercing won’t usually add to sexual enjoyment, so you’d probably choose it if you like they way it looks. Though you’ll want to bear in mind that it can take much longer to heal than some other options – 6 to 9 months or more.
This piercing is done at the rear rim of your vulva, right by the area between your genitals and your anus (perineum).
It’s among the least common genital piercings, because it can only be done if you have a pinchable amount of skin in this area. Although it doesn’t offer the same potential for increased sexual pleasure as a clitoris piercing, it may still give enjoyable sensations.
Healing time is usually around 6 to 8 weeks, but can take longer.
A Princess Albertina is a vertical piercing that runs from your pee tube (urethra) to your vaginal opening. It’s relatively rare, because it’s quite complicated to do.
It can stimulate your urethra during penetrative sex, which some people find very enjoyable. On the downside, it can increase your chances of urinary tract infections (UTIs).
The usual healing time isn’t too long, though – around 4 to 6 weeks.
How vagina piercings are done
The procedure will vary slightly depending on the type of piercing you have. But generally, your piercer will sterilise the area you’re going to have pierced, use a needle to make a hole, then put your chosen jewellery into it.
Before getting a piercing, it’s a good idea to do some research. You’ll want to find a reputable, licensed piercer who follows industry safety regulations.
To make sure you get the right piercing for you, your piercer should be happy to discuss:
- how your piercing will be done
- your jewellery options
- any potential risks and complications
- the healing process
- recommended aftercare
Also remember that age restrictions can apply, so you may want to take some ID with you.
What are the risks of vagina piercings, and how can I avoid them?
As with any
, there are a few possible complications to be aware of before you make the decision to get pierced. But in many cases, there are things you can do to avoid them.
There’s always a small risk of infection with vagina piercings, which can happen during the piercing itself or while it’s healing.
The good news is that with the right care, this risk can be minimised. As mentioned above, make sure your piercing is done by an experienced and qualified piercer, using sterile tools and jewellery. And follow the aftercare guidelines carefully.
It’s also thought there could be a potential increased risk of
while you have a wound on your vulva or clitoris, or if your piercing damages or tears a condom – although there’s limited evidence about this at present.
While your piercing heals, it’s best to have gentle sex. You should also use
for penetrative sex and dental dams for oral sex, and make sure you
– saliva and semen may irritate your piercing.
Whether you choose a gold, titanium, platinum or surgical steel piercing, what’s important is that you don’t have an allergy to the material. So let your piercer know about any allergies you have before choosing your jewellery.
It’s possible for a clitoral piercing to permanently damage your nerve supply, which can cause loss of sensation and affect sexual arousal. This is more common with clitoral glans piercing, and less likely with piercings through your clitoral hood.
Irritation can be caused by various things, including your piercing catching or tearing, scarring, moving (migrating) or being rejected from your skin.
Genital jewellery can sometimes snag on clothing, or you may even find that it over-stimulates your clitoris. There’s also a slight risk of your jewellery getting ripped out during sex.
Complications during childbirth
Removing a genital piercing because you’re pregnant can carry a risk of infection, due to bacteria being introduced into the piercing. But keeping it in may lead to issues during the birth, such as the possibility of the piercing tearing or causing an injury to the baby. It’s best to speak to your midwife or doctor if you have any concerns.
Vagina and clit piercing aftercare
As with any body piercing, it’s important to look after your vaginal piercing properly to avoid infection or irritation.
After having a piercing, you should:
- keep the piercing area clean and dry – and always wash your hands with soap before touching your piercing. Gently wash your vulva in the shower (a bath can potentially allow bacteria or harsh soaps to the area) and pat the area dry with a clean towel
- avoid using cosmetics, lotions and sprays on or around the piercing – this can irritate the area
- wear non-restrictive clothes – avoid tight trousers with friction-inducing materials, such as jeans
- wear underwear that holds your piercing in place – this will help avoid snagging. It’s a good idea to wear a small sanitary pad just after having your piercing, in case there’s any bleeding
- avoid playing or fiddling with your piercing – this can open up the wound or spread germs
- get medical advice if you think you have an infection – signs include soreness, redness, weeping or a high temperature (fever)
- speak to your piercer if you want to remove the piercing – they can advise you about the safest time to do this
Remember that although we’ve listed the average healing times for each type of piercing, this is only a guide – these can vary and everyone heals differently.