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The frenum is a versatile genital piercing that is second in popularity only to the Prince Albert. The name is derived from shortening the anatomical term frenulum or fraenum (the fibrous cord of connecting tissue, in this case on the underside of the penis), in which the piercing is placed. This skin joins the glans to the foreskin, and the bulk of it is commonly removed during circumcision. The remaining tissue is what is pierced on those who have been circumcised.

General Information

The "traditional" frenum is located on the underside of the penis, through the pinchable surface tissue. Generally it is placed far enough down the penis that a Prince Albert can also be worn. Many men enjoy having both of these piercings. The term frenum initially referred only to the traditional spot on the underside, but it is now used to describe any piercing along the surface of the shaft, including the top, sides, and in between.

Healing Time
3-4 months or longer

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Placement

A traditional frenum piercing is placed horizontally on the underside of the penis about 1/2" down the shaft from the usual location of a Prince Albert. It is positioned opposite the groove where the corona joins the shaft. If a large ring or frenum loop were worn through this piercing, it would encircle the shaft right next to the glans and rest level on the penis.

Poorly trained piercers frequently put the frenum too close to the head of the penis, so there is not enough room for a PA. So many men who have gotten frenum piercings while adamantly claiming they definitely did not ever want a Prince Albert have returned to request one later--so I really do suggest leaving space for it. At least on circumcised builds.

The frenum piercing does not penetrate into the shaft or the urethra; it simply goes through the fine, pliable tissue. If the skin can be pinched up, it can be pierced. Piercings made in looser tissue with more give tend to be easier to heal. Success rates vary for frenum piercings placed in nontraditional spots. Some men can heal anywhere along the shaft, but others find that alternative placements are more apt to migrate or reject.

Men who are intact (uncircumcised) must have jewelry that rests comfortably within the foreskin, or need to wear frenum piercings away from the traditional location. Placing a frenum piercing closer to the glans often works well on intact builds, if a Prince Albert will not be worn.

Multiple frenums are common, and when placed in a row they are referred to as a ladder. You can wear frenum ladders on the underside, top, and/or the sides of the shaft, but the piercings need to be an adequate distance apart to avoid pinching. Depending on how many you ultimately desire, one option is to put several evenly spaced piercings wide apart and add more between them over time. Each piercer should have a own policy regarding how many they're willing to perform in one session; I do a maximum of four. The more piercings you get at once, the longer they may all take to heal. When your body is taxed beyond its ability to repair, rejection or other healing complications are sometimes a consequence, so patience and planning are required for ladders.

Vertical piercings in this region are not common and do not tend to heal as well as the horizontal placements.

Note that I ALWAYS wear gloves for client contact! Images without gloves were sent to me for consultations, and are posted anonymously and with permission.

Unless you're intact (uncircumcised), preferred placement is at the lower arrow
Frenum piercing placed too high to allow for a Prince Albert piercing
Angle at which a ring would rest in a traditional frenum piercing
Frenum ladder (plus Prince Albert) showing some tissue loss
Double frenum piercings lower on the shaft ignoring wavy midline
A pair of upper frenum piercings
Frenum piercings on an intact build (uncircumcised)
Frenum piercing on intact build, both exposed and within foreskin Joeltron Bament, Opal Heart, http://www.opalheart.com.au/

Jewelry

Usual starting jewelry is a 12 or 10 gauge straight barbell. I most commonly use them in 5/8", 11/16", or 3/4" diameters. This length is anatomically dependent, and the jewelry must accommodate the tissue when you are fully erect, so extra post may show when you're flaccid.

A ring is generally too large and cumbersome for healing, so the barbell is superior initial jewelry for safety and comfort. A ring large enough to fit around the entire head is definitely too big and heavy for the delicate tissues of a fresh piercing and is apt to result in migration, scarring, and other complications.

After a traditionally placed frenum piercing heals, you may want to replace your jewelry with a large ring or add a frenum loop (band of metal that encircles the shaft) by attaching it to your barbell. The tissue is sometimes malleable enough that the frenum loop can be added onto your original barbell. If the post is too snug, you will need a longer one to accommodate the attachment ends of the loop. A functional style variation has several balls around the outside of the loop for your partner’s pleasure.

Determine the diameter you need for an around-the-shaft jewelry style while you are fully erect. Measure using a draftsman’s circle template (available at office and art supply stores). The frenum loop or ring should be quite snug when you are erect. If you have a substantial size difference between flaccid and rigid states, these jewelry styles will remain seated behind your glans only when you are erect. The jewelry will otherwise hang down from the piercing, which could prove uncomfortable.

Ring-style jewelry is not sturdy enough for this usage in 12 gauge unless it is less than an inch in diameter; 10 gauge or thicker is preferable. A circular barbell is a good option because the two balls on the top of your penis provide extra sensation for your partner, and you can customize the diameter of a circular barbell to fit your exact size by spreading or narrowing the gap between the balls. If two balls are good, a third could be better; add an extra one between the gap to create a captive circular barbell. Note that it could be difficult to find a bead that fits in the space between the balls if you have spread the ring open very much.

If your frenum piercing is located in very loose excess skin, you are a better candidate for stretching to a large size. Frenum piercings through taut tissue and nontraditionally placed frenums will be less likely to respond well to attempts at stretching, and they can also be harder to heal initially.

A straight barbell is the initial jewelry of choice for frenum piercings on circumcised men
Multiple frenum piercings (plus Prince Albert) including one with encircling ring
A plain frenum loop with barbell
A frenum loop with balls and barbell
Frenum loop being worn plus Prince Albert piercing

Procedure

I use the forceps method for frenum piercing. If your tissue is tight, you may find the clamps somewhat uncomfortable. Illumination is very effective to locate veins in the area to assure that there is nothing more vascular than capillaries visible in the pathway of the piercing. Even so, frenum piercings could bleed directly afterwards, and/or during the next few days.

Most men don’t find the piercing to be particularly intense. Any man who has ever gotten caught in his zipper will probably say that it was more traumatic and painful than a frenum piercing.

Learn which piercing(s) you are built for?

Healing and Troubleshooting

Because frenum piercings have a tendency to experience a lot of friction during sexual activity, you must modify your behavior if you experience irritation or discomfort. Pleasure Plus condoms have extra room where traditional frenum piercings are located and may be more comfortable.

Frenum piercings frequently migrate a small amount during healing, and those placed in nontraditional spots often move even more. A barbell that fits well at first can end up a little long once you're healed. Downsizing to a snug bar later might make your piercing more comfortable and less prone to irritation. Frenum (and several other genital) piercings sometimes cause thickening of the tissue, which becomes harder and denser around the jewelry. This does not necessarily indicate a complication. Such tissue changes can be permanent, or they may diminish over time.

Frenum piercings that appear to be healing normally
Irritated frenum piercing with poor quality jewelry (gap between post and ball)
Healing frenum piercings exhibiting some tissue thickening
Photo series showing migration of upper frenum piercing
A dangerously overstretched frenum with minimal tissue in danger of loss
Irritation on one side of a frenum piercing that could lead to migration

What My Happy Clients Say

My husband and I flew to LA to get pierced by Elayne. I got two inner labia piercings plus a VCH while my husband got three frenum (ladder).

The piercings themselves went off without a hitch and with minimal pain because of Elayne's swiftness and overall technique. We're healing so fast! Her post-piercing care advice is invaluable. We're so pleased! And we can't imagine doing this again with anyone other than Elayne. 

A. & R.
West Hollywood, CA

This visit went smooth, was very pleasant and informative and I got to see a true professional in action.

What an inspiration she is! Wonderful woman with a beautiful personality and an absolutely comforting bedside manner.

Thank you Elayne!

G.
Atlanta

I would highly recommend Elayne to anyone looking to get any type of piercing done!

L.