I've been piercing for a long time now--since the 1980s. It has taken a while longer for mainstream society to catch up with my interest, but piercing is now pretty widespread, and has been quite popular since the mid 1990s. There’s certainly a whole lot of it going on. According to information from jewelry supply companies, demand is enormous.
Note that just because someone has been piercing for a long time, that does not automatically mean they’re doing a good job. (And in many cases, piercers do overstate their experience and time spent in the industry.) Especially when it comes to genital piercings, many so-called “professionals” have little or no training. And it definitely shows in their work.
So, I would have hoped that the overall level of competency of piercers would be elevated by now. My expectation would be that most people were getting properly placed piercings with high quality jewelry of the proper style and fit.
But based on the quantity of correspondence I get from piercees who have received botched jobs, it just isn't so. Yet. I continue to hold out hope that improvement will be seen in the future. One of the ways movement can be made in the right direction if is those of you who have gotten lame piercings from unqualified piercers get NOISY about it! My professional focus and specialty is below-the-neck piercings, so I see a tremendous amount of bungled nipple and female genital piercings. Because the area is anatomically both petite and highly sensitive, poorly placed piercings in this region can be dangerous and can damage or completely ruin your sexual pleasure! This is no joke, and certainly nothing to "play around with" or "give a piercer a try" if you're not sure that they're competent!
Victims: PLEASE post on my guest book to warn other people about which piercers are doing a poor job. You can post anonymously and tell us the piercers’ names and the studios in which they work. Warn others to stay away.
When the bottom lines of their businesses are impacted, maybe they will start to care, and take an interest in doing a better job. At the very least, you will provide information to help put the word out, and may be able to prevent others from sharing the same unhappy fate that you did.
I cannot even count the number of women I’ve seen who have received accidental clitoris piercings from “highly experienced’ piercers, when they went in for a hood piercing. This is UNACCEPTABLE! If I were able, I’d file criminal negligence charges against piercers who do this.
Even more common is the “surface VCH” (vertical clitoral hood) piercing, in which the channel does not go underneath the hood at all. This type of incorrectly done piercing unnecessarily passes through FAR more tissue than it should, and has a high likelihood of migration and rejection.
With equal frequency, I see shallow VCH piercings, where the jewelry is placed just through the edge of the hood tissue. Here again, migration and rejection are likely, and this often leaves an unsightly split scar. Sometimes placement for these errors is so poor, and scarring is so serious that it prevents proper placement of a VCH piercing.
If you’re interested in getting pierced, do NOT let this happen to you! PLEASE educate yourself. It may well be that you simply cannot obtain a safe, properly placed piercing locally. You may need to travel several hours (or even further). But take my word, after all I’ve seen, I can tell you it is definitely worth your effort. I meet SO MANY piercees who are regretful and who have suffered needlessly! Don’t assume every piercer knows what to do. Avoid becoming another victim!
If you already have a piercing and you want to find out whether it is properly placed, I offer professional online consultations for only $10. You can sign up here.
All of my piercer referrals are posted here and I keep the site up to date. There are no piercers to add--so if there's nobody on the list in your area, that means I don't have anyone to recommend.
If I haven't personally worked with or trained any piercers in your area, you can check the website for a member of the Association of Professional Piercers who is local to you:
The APP is a non-profit international organization dedicated to disseminating vital health and safety information about piercing to piercers, piercees, medical professionals, legislators, and the general public. The piercers are not "certified" by the association, however. While some of the piercers on the list may have taken my seminars at the annual APP conferences, I still wouldn't consider them to have been "trained by me," as those courses only last a few hours and aren't sufficient for providing a thorough education. Please meet the piercer and see if you develop a good rapport and if they inspire your confidence.
The best thing I can suggest to help you make good decisions about piercing is to become a more well-educated consumer. If you found my website informative, I think you'll be amazed by all of the valuable facts and practical advice in my book, The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing. It contains loads of information about evaluating piercers and studios, piercing placements, appropriate body jewelry sizes, styles, and materials, aftercare, troubleshooting, and much, much more. My website contains just barely a taste of the information in my book!
These particular chapters will help you learn how to evaluate piercers (and body jewelry, which is also crucial to the success of a piercing):
Part 2 Groundwork and Preliminary Considerations
3 Risks, Myths, and Warnings ................................. 20
4 Is Piercing Right for You? .................................... 28
5 You and Your Piercer ........................................ 34
Part 3 Piercing Preparation
6 Picking and Preparing ...................................... 44
7 At the Studio .............................................. 49
8 Piercing Procedures ........................................ 56
9 Jewelry 101: Sizes, Shapes, and Materials ....................... 65
Part 4 The Holes
13 Below the Belt: Female and Male Genital Piercings ......................134
And others, depending on other area(s) of interest
After reading The Piercing Bible you will be extremely well educated about the subject, and in fact, you'll have a lot more information than some "professional" piercers who are practicing in the field!
To order, locate the book cover in the right-hand column and click it. You will receive a signed copy of my book. Orders are being filled by my colleagues at Infinite Body Piercing. They do ship internationally.
Also, if you'd like to see me performing piercings, and demonstrating exactly where they should be placed and how quickly and easily an expert can perform them, I've got videos available here. (You'll see that I can perform a piercing in an instant!)