Everything You Should Know Before Getting a Penis Piercing
What is it?
A penis piercing refers to any type of jewelry that’s inserted into the:
- glans, the head or tip of your penis
- foreskin (if your penis isn’t circumcised, this covers the glans)
- shaft, the length of your penis
- scrotum, the sac that holds your testicles
It’s done for all sorts of reasons, from sexual pleasure to aesthetics.
Are there different types?
Penis piercing is often used as an umbrella term. There are many different ways to pierce the penis, and each piercing has its own name:
- Apadravya: pierced vertically through the glans, from top to bottom or vice versa
- Ampallang: pierced horizontally left to right or vice versa through the glans
- Deep shaft: typically an ampallang, apadravya, or reverse Prince Albert done down the shaft toward the penis base
- Dydoe/king’s crown: done through the ridge at the base of the penis head, running vertically through the ridge
- Foreskin: done through the foreskin if you’re not circumcised, with jewelry placed where the foreskin covers the glans or down toward the shaft
- Frenum: done horizontally just behind the glans beneath the shaft, called the frenulum, or in several horizontal rows along the bottom of the shaft
- Guiche (perineum): runs horizontally through your perineum, the skin underneath your scrotum between your buttocks and anus
- Hafada (scrotal): done anywhere on your scrotum, often in the middle front of your scrotum along the scrotal raphe
- Lorum: done horizontally or vertically on the underside of the penis where the base of the shaft meets the scrotum
- Magic cross: consists of 2 to 3 piercings through the glans, usually with two barbells crossing each other with four beads poking out from under the skin
- Prince Albert: goes in through the opening where pee comes out, called the urethra, and comes out through the bottom of the penis shaft just behind the glans
- Pubic: consists of a piece of jewelry through any part of the area around the base of the penis
- Reverse PA: the opposite of Prince Albert, with jewelry entering the urethra and exiting through the top of the shaft
What does it look like?
Are there sexual benefits?
Some penis piercings can have sexual benefits for you or your partner.
For your benefit
Piercings in the glans or shaft are stimulated by movement during masturbation and oral or penetrative sex, leading to increased pleasure.
The Prince Albert is widely regarded for this increased sensation.
For your partner’s benefit
Some piercings enhance penetrative sex by stimulating additional nerves in the vagina, clitoris, or anus.
This may include:
- magic cross
Can anyone get a piercing?
Your piercer can determine whether the exact piercing you want will work with your anatomy.
For example, you won’t be able to get a foreskin piercing if you have a circumcised penis.
Some piercings — especially those on the glans or shaft — may affect your ability to urinate and use condoms.
Jewelry situated through the urethra could also pierce thin condom material.
Having a penis piercing won’t affect your fertility.
What types of jewelry are used for this piercing?
The type of jewelry usually depends on the piercing location. Your piercer may recommend one of the following:
- Circular barbell: a horseshoe-shaped ring with removable beads on each end
- Captive bead ring: a circular ring with a single, removable bead where the two ends meet
- Straight barbell: straight and rod-shaped with a removable bead at each end
What material options are available for your jewelry?
Talk to your piercer about the following options:
- Surgical titanium: hypoallergenic and ideal for sensitive skin
- Biocompatible polymers (plastics): flexible, durable, and safe for initial piercings
- Niobium: another hypoallergenic material that doesn’t break down as easily as other metals
- Gold: 14-karat yellow or white gold is recommended during the healing process; avoid gold-plated jewelry, as it can lead to infections and allergic reactions
- Platinum: highly recommended because it’s durable and sturdy, but more expensive and harder to find
How much does this piercing usually cost?
You can expect to spend at least $50 to $60. Here’s a typical cost breakdown:
- Piercing service cost. This could be anywhere from $40 to well over $100. Some piercings cost more based on the complexity of the job or the delicacy of the tissue.
- Cost of jewelry. Titanium or steel can cost as little as $15, but gold, diamond, or platinum can cost hundreds.
- Tip for your piercer. Tip your piercer at least 20 percent — if not more — for their service.
How is this piercing done?
Your piercer will:
- Put on sterile gloves, then wash and sterilize the area.
- Label with a marker where the needle will enter and exit.
- Push the needle in the entry hole and out the exit hole. They’ll probably ask you to breathe in and out slowly while they insert the needle.
- Use forceps to gently hold the skin while they insert jewelry.
- Clean and bandage the area.
Will it hurt?
It depends. What’s painful to some may not be as intense to others.
Where the piercing is placed makes a huge difference. For example, the glans has more nerve endings than the foreskin.
What risks are associated with this piercing?
Talk to your piercer about the following possibilities:
- injuring your partner’s genitals during sex
- increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- infection at the piercing site
- tissues rejecting the piercing
How long does it take to heal?
A penis piercing typically heals within 3 months. If you don’t follow your piercer’s aftercare instructions, it may take longer.
You may have light bleeding during the first few days, as well as mild pain and swelling during the first couple of weeks.
This is a normal part of the healing process.
See your piercer if you experience these symptoms alongside:
- yellow or green pus
- skin that’s hot to the touch
How to clean and care for your piercing
Proper cleaning is crucial to the success of your piercing.
During the healing process, do:
- Cover the area with a bandage, and change it at least once a day.
- Wash your hands with gentle soap and warm water before touching the area.
- Rinse the piercing at least twice a day with distilled water and a saline solution.
- Gently wash and rinse away any crust that forms.
- Pat your penis dry with a clean paper towel any time you rinse it.
- Keep the penis from getting wet while you shower.
- Take clothes off and put them on carefully.
- Use condoms or other protection (after initial pain and swelling have gone down) until the area’s fully healed.
At the same time, don’t:
- Touch the piercing with dirty hands.
- Have sex (oral, genital, or anal) or masturbate until the initial pain and swelling have gone down.
- Wear tight underwear or clothing.
- Use alcohol-based rinses to clean the area.
- Use antiseptic rinses or soaps on the piercing.
- Submerge your penis in a pool or bath.
- Play sports or engage in other vigorous activities so that the penis isn’t jostled around or injured.
- Play with or remove the jewelry until the piercing’s healed (about 3 months).
- Allow your pubic hair to get tangled in the jewelry.
Symptoms to watch for
Mild swelling and irritation are normal for any new piercing. This typically lasts for the first few days.
You should see your piercer if you notice symptoms of infection or rejection:
- intense pain that gets worse over time
- large areas of swelling
- abnormally hot skin
- greenish or yellowish pus or discharge
- a stinking smell coming from the area
- red, itchy bumps
- jewelry falling out of place, even after a few days or weeks
- jewelry falling out, unable to be put back in without a lot of effort
How long does a healed piercing last?
As with most non-traditional piercings, the skin in and around the piercing may grow back and force the jewelry out over time.
There’s no set schedule for when this will happen.
Your individual tissues and the level of care you provide will determine whether the piercing lasting a few months or a few years.
How to change the jewelry
Wait until your piercing has healed before you try to change your jewelry.
If you’re not sure if it’s ready, ask your piercer. If you prefer, have them change it out for you.
Here’s how to safely change it:
- Clean your hands thoroughly with warm water and gentle antibacterial soap.
- Rinse the piercing area with a saline solution.
- Gently remove any beads from the current jewelry.
- Slowly remove the jewelry from the hole.
- Remove any beads from your new jewelry.
- Push the new jewelry firmly but carefully through the hole.
- Put any beads back on the jewelry.
- Make sure it’s secure and won’t fall out when you walk or otherwise move around.
- Rinse the piercing area one more time with the saline solution. Carefully pat dry.
How to retire the piercing
Try not to remove jewelry until the piercing has completely healed. This prevents bacteria from getting trapped inside the hole.
If you’re still in the healing process and simply can’t wait, talk to your piercer. They’ll let you know if it’s safe to take it out.
Once you’ve removed the jewelry, keep cleaning the area for a few more weeks until your penis tissues are fully healed. Otherwise, you may increase your risk of infection or disfiguring the tissue.
If your piercing’s already healed, just take it out and let the opening close itself up. Nothing more is needed after that.
Talk to your prospective piercer
If you’ve decided to get a penis piercing, make sure you go to a professional piercer at a well-reviewed, reputable shop.
They can share their insight on everything from ideal placement and potential risks to individual healing times and aftercare.
If you’re concerned about how your body might respond to a penis piercing, talk to a doctor or other healthcare provider. They can discuss any medical or anatomical limitations that could increase your risk of complications.
You should also keep in mind that this kind of piercing isn’t for everyone —in some cases, your body or skin type may not be cut out for it and that’s OK.