FTM Genital Piercings
Genital Piercings on transsexuals, whether pre-op or post-op tend to raise a number of unique questions, and there isn't an abundance of resources to find the answers. The bulk of my experience relates to female-to-male transsexuals, so I decided to create a page to to address the special needs of transmen, share my knowledge, and answer whatever questions I can.
Variations of normal non-op (no surgery) FTM genital anatomy
NEW! Check out the video of me performing a triangle piercing on an FTM with a large testosterone-enhanced glans. Look for the "featured video" here.
Below is some information gathered from my professional history since the 1980s, including my specialization in male and female genital piercings, my own experiences piercing FTM genitalia, and my knowledge of subjects related to FTM anatomy and health derived from being married to FTM educator and advocate, Buck Angel.
I actually named a new piercing for FTMs: Introducing "Dukes"
Some years back I invented a new type of female genital piercing that I called the "Princess Diana Piercing." Since I developed the placement and coined the term initially, I decided that they will be called "Dukes" when they're on a transman. (See image below, right.) The moniker still pays homage to the royal theme, but is a much more masculine term that is befitting a transman and/or testosterone-enhanced anatomy. There is video available here of me performing the first ever Duke piercings (on a transman who also has a triangle piercing). Look in the "Featured Videos" section at the top of the page. (Link takes you offsite.)
Below is a series of questions and answers about genital piercings for FTMs.
Please take no offense if I don't use your preferred terminology. I am sensitive to the fact that many trans folks are particular about their language (for gender, anatomy, etc.). I fully respect each person's right to use whatever words are most comfortable and I know many of you do use specific terms. However, to make this as clear as possible, I will use common vocabulary so that everyone reading this page (including those who don't even know any FTMs) can understand what is being discussed. Thanks for your understanding in this matter.
Q: Is it possible to keep a vertical hood piercing while on Testosterone?
I am love my piercings espescially my Vertical Hood and would hate to have to part with it.
A: Assuming your piercing is properly placed, I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to maintain a VCH piercing throughout your hormone treatment and in to the future.
Naturally, you can expect growth and changes in the area, but they will be somewhat gradual. Just so long as you always wear jewelry that fits properly and comfortably, I don't think you should have any problems. A curved bar is generally most comfortable, especially on those whose hoods fit tightly over the clitoral glans, which is a common configuration when a clitoris is enlarged by testosterone.
Depending on how much your genitals grow, you might find that several jewelry changes over time are necessary. Just be sure to pay attention to your body and swap out to appropriately sized jewelry when needed. Also, remember to take your erect size into consideration. Many transguys find that there is quite a bit of extra genital growth upon arousal, and you don't want your jewelry to be pinching when the area is fully engorged.
Note: in this image (above right) of the Duke Piercings, the jewelry is sized to accommodate this young man's erect dimensions.
Q: I know a lot of guys who don't want to come in to a piercing studio and ask for a "hood" piercing. Do you have any suggestions on how to work around that issue?
A: You may want to do some checking for referrals within the FTM community or research by phone or email first to see if any piercers in the studio have experience with piercing FTM genitals. That way you'll be able to check their attitude as well as their stated level of qualifications. Importantly, you want to select a respected studio with a very professional staff. When you go in, you can simply ask for "genital piercing" and request a private consultation for it. Then, once you are in the room with the piercer, you can disclose your transgender status before your pants come off. Note that I believe all of the piercers listed on my referrals page will be understanding and non-judgmental.
Q: Do you think Triangle piercings are ok for transguys? it seems to me the jewelry would have to be rather large to accommodate the larger anatomy and might possibly interfere when they're erect.A: As far as triangle piercings go, this is still an issue of individual build. Some guys are built for them and some are not. Simply being large isn't the same as being well suited to this piercing. Yes, the jewelry must be commensurately larger, but the style I use fits well to the body. I open a circular barbell so the jewelry rests back against you in the natural folds where the hood forms from the body. It doesn't ordinarily need to be so large that it won't fit between the legs comfortably.
I've done a fair number of triangles on transmen, and I've only seen one such problem with it. This particular guy was simply built so large to begin with, that even though I put in jewelry that would have accommodated a usual amount of swelling, he needed to have the jewelry changed for a larger piece. Then, the jewelry that was needed to fit his large (now swollen) build was so wide that it did not fit comfortably between his legs. He ended up abandoning the piercing. The base of his hood at the location a triangle goes measured nearly an inch across to start with. At this point, I would caution anyone so well endowed that this is a potential problem.
Q: What is your opinion on doing post op piercings FTMs and MTFs?
A: As far as post-op transsexuals go, I've got experience only with MTF anatomy, and I performed a vertical hood piercing on the woman, and it was no problem. Her hood had been created from scrotum tissue and there was no scarring in the specific area. The potential concerns would relate to scarring (which might not heal well), blood supply (veins in areas where they might not normally be on non-surgical anatomy), and pliability of tissue. Skin that is very tight is not an amenable location for body jewelry. Each person needs to be evaluated individually.
Q: Do you recommending waiting until a certain time into transition to get a VCH?
A: You may wish to consult your doctor for his opinion on how long it takes for the majority of the genital changes to take place. That said, for optimal placement it is definitely advisable to wait until after you've been on testosterone for two years, or maybe even longer before getting a genital piercing.
Q: I'm a transguy who has been on cross-hormone therapy 3.5 years. I am contemplating a VCH, and I'm curious if you can point me toward any evidence related to VCH piercing and the FTM-related genital surgeries. Specifically, I'm wondering about potential negative affects such piercing may have on surgical healing and outcome. I have no intention of any sort of genital surgery, but want to make an informed decision now about anything that might affect my healing/outcomes if I change my mind in the future.
A: If you've been on Testosterone for that length of time, I do think it is safe to assume that you have already achieved the majority of your genital growth, and a VCH is not apt to have cause problems. I can imagine no way that a VCH of "average size" (14 or 12 gauge) would negatively impact a surgical procedure or the healing for any of the options for genital surgery.
However, if surgery is planned, I don't know that piercings are reasonable--depending on how long-term the plan is. If the surgery is to be years in the future, then maybe piercing now makes sense. You might want to consult with a doctor first to make sure you wouldn't be creating a fistula (with the healed piercing) that could in some unforeseen way be problematic for successful surgery at a later date.
Q: Having had substantial growth already, I'm assuming that at 3+ years on testosterone therapy my clitoris has reached its full size. However, considering there may be slight chance additional growth over the years via testosterone or pumping, basically, will the pierced hole typically grow appropriately the clitoris? (This feels like a silly questions because plenty of young children have pierced ears that continue to be fine into adulthood, but ears are a bit different than clits!)
A: Any additional growth you are likely to achieve through hormone use or pumping at this stage is unlikely to be problematic with a VCH piercing.
Q: Is it okay to "pump" the clitoris with a VCH?
A: You would definitely need to wait until the piercing is well healed (6 weeks or longer) before engaging in pumping. But after the healing time, it shouldn't be a problem. Though even after a piercing is initially healed, you need to be more gentle with it than you will after you've had it for a more extended period of time. You just need to "listen" to your body and any tenderness or soreness is a signal that your piercing isn't ready for that particular type or level of activity yet.
Q: What advice can you give regarding an FTM getting a triangle piercing and pumping? I'm assuming I should wait until it heals, but after that, is it a good idea to just take the jewelry out while pumping? A: You definitely must wait until the piercing heals completely to do any pumping. However, you should NOT remove the jewelry under any circumstances! If you like your piercing, you should wear jewelry in it at all times. Many people find that they cannot reinsert jewelry in a triangle piercing, even if it is taken out for a very short duration.
Q: I'm a transguy and I am interested in a vertical piercing of my "foreskin" Will that work for me?
A: On some FTMs, I've seen so much clitoral growth that the hood sort of seems to retract and lose its depth. Or perhaps those individuals didn't have very deep hoods to start with? But, the point is that even though the region is rather large, the configuration may be such that there is not sufficient tissue in which to place a VCH piercing safely.
You'll need to try the q-tip test as shown and explained on this page to see if you are anatomically suited for a VCH (or "vertical foreskin") piercing. Simply insert the swab under your hood but don't push up too hard on it. If the hood doesn't cover the tip of the swab, try to manually draw the skin down to cover the entire tip. (It is easier to push the tissue down rather than try to pull it.) Also, you might want to de-fluff the swab and lubricate it a bit if your hood seems snug or shallow.
Another potential issue is that some FTM guys have hoods that fit so tightly over the glans, there really isn't a lot of space for comfortably wearing jewelry in between there. So, if your hood fits super snugly, you may not be a good candidate for the VCH piercing.
Q: I'm an ftm who has been on T for approximately 7 years and I'm wondering about the possibility/suitability of either a ampallang or apadravya piercing of my clitoris. I know you'd need pictures to give a definite answer, but in theory do you think such a piercing would work?
A: Everything depends on individual build. There's a question of the glans being large enough to pierce (and if you've been on testosterone for 7 years, then that is quite likely), plus the way the foreskin/hood rests over the area. If it fits snugly, that can be problematic. And finally there is the matter of how all of this is set on the body. For example, even if your clitoris is large, if that area is recessed back into your body rather than being fairly exposed, then you might not be a good candidate. The area will need to rest naturally in a way that does not cause pressure against any jewelry
In short, you're correct; without seeing some clear, close up photos, I have no way to tell whether you are built for such a piercing. You're welcome to send me some. I'd need to see the area resting naturally with as little distortion as possible, and also get a good look at the glans with the foreskin pulled back.
Also, ampallang and apadravya piercings are commonly set a bit back from the edge of the corona, whereas clitoral glans piercings are generally at the base--in the natural fold where the tissue forms from the body. Even if you are very large, it is probably still going to be safest to work with at natural fold of the body rather than somewhere more into the middle of the glans.
If you have some relvant piercing experience (as a piercer or FTM piercee) that you wish to share to add to the knowledge base, feel free to contact me!
I no longer have my own studio (it was in New Orleans and closed after Hurricane Katrina), but I still do piercing all over the US. If you would like to be pierced by me personally, check my event calendar for upcoming guest piercing visits. If you want to be notified when I make new travel plans, please sign up for my newsletter in the box in the right side bar, toward the top of the page. It is an "opt-in" list, so I can't add you myself.
Regardless of placement on the body, my piercing fee is $100 for an initial piercing, plus the jewelry. Additional piercings on the same person in the same session are $50. each (plus jewelry). For information about jewelry options and costs, please contact the studio directly.
If you want me to do a genital piercing and you are female or FTM, I do request photos as shown and explained here to determine if you are anatomically suited. (Image at right is an FTM guy doing the "pinch test" to check for triangle piercing suitability.)