Genital piercing -- among men and women -- is a form of body adornment. It is similar to other, more visible types of body piercings. A needle is used to make a hole, and a piece of jewelry is attached to the body by threading it through the hole.
Health professionals as well as piercing professionals point out that the practice is not without risk and should not be considered lightly.
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A genital piercing should always be done by a licensed professional piercer. Not all states require piercers to be licensed, which means in some areas, someone with very little training can open a piercing salon. One indication that you've found a qualified professional is a certificate that indicates he or she is registered with the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) -- an organization that makes safety rules for people who do piercings. To be registered with the APP the person needs to demonstrate compliance with the organization's standards.
To do the piercing, the piercer will first clean the skin and then mark the location where the piercing is supposed to be. Then the piercer will thread the needle with an attached piece of jewelry through the skin. After the procedure is over, the piercer should give you instructions for how to care for the piercing.
How Would Someone Know the Piercing Is Being Done Safely?
There are several things to look for when you choose to have a piercing:
As mentioned above, the piercer should be registered with the APP.
The room where the piercing is done should be clean and sanitary.
The procedure should be performed using only sterile, new, unopened, and disposable instruments and unopened, sterile jewelry. You should see the piercer open the instruments and jewelry at the time of the procedure. It should not be opened before you arrive.
If the piercer doesn't use disposable instruments, they should be sterilized in an autoclave, a special device that sterilizes equipment and supplies. Do not have a piercing done at a place that uses a piercing gun. Most piercing guns can't be sterilized in an autoclave.
The piercer and others working in the salon should wash their hands and wear gloves when opening instrument packages and performing procedures.