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rec.arts.bodyart: Piercing FAQ 10A--Personal Experiences - Facial and Unisex Piercings

( PartA - PartB - PartC - PartD )
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Archive-name: bodyart/piercing-faq/personal-experiences/partA
Last-modified: October 25, 1999
Posting-frequency: Quarterly

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Summary: This posting contains information about body piercing. Anyone 
    interested in the subject and/or who wishes to read/post to 
    rec.arts.bodyart should read the Piercing FAQ first.

The rec.arts.bodyart Piercing FAQ is divided into 30 parts:

2A--Jewelry Materials
2B--Jewelry Sizes & Designs
2C--Facial Piercings & Their Suggested Jewelry
2D--Body Piercings & Their Suggested Jewelry 
2E--Genital Piercings & Their Suggested Jewelry
3--Getting A New Piercing
4A--Professional Organizations, Piercing Instruction
4B--Professional Piercers - United States - Alabama - California
4C--Professional Piercers - United States - Colorado - Iowa
4D--Professional Piercers - United States - Kansas - Nevada
4E--Professional Piercers - United States - New Hampshire - North Dakota
4F--Professional Piercers - United States - Ohio - Pennsylvania
4G--Professional Piercers - United States - Rhode Island - Wyoming
4H--Professional Piercers - Canada
4I--Professional Piercers - Beyond N. America
4J--Professional Piercers - Beyond N. America Cont'd
5--Care Of New Piercings
6--The Healing Process & Healing Problems
7--Healed Piercings
8--Historical Information
9--Resource List
9B--Resource List Cont'd
10A--Personal Experiences - Facial & Unisex Piercings
10B--Personal Experiences - Genital Piercings
10C--Personal Experiences - Genital Piercings Cont'd
10D--Personal Experiences - Genital Piercings Cont'd
11A--Jewelry Manufacturers
11B--Jewelry Manufacturers Cont'd
11C--Jewelry Manufacturers Cont'd

This section includes:

10A  Personal Experiences - Facial & Unisex Piercings
   10A.1  Tongue Pierce
   10A.2  Labret Piercing
   10A.3  Hand Web Piercing
   10A.4  Eyelet Piercings
   10A.5  Ritual Nipple Piercing (Male)
   10A.6  Niehbuhr, or Erle
   10A.7  Piercing Inverted Nipples (Male)

All texts written and (c) 1999 by Anne Greenblatt unless otherwise
Please see Part 1 of the FAQ for information regarding copyright and
dissemination of the FAQ.

DISCLAIMER!  The Piercing FAQ contains material of a sexually explicit
nature. The information contained in the Piercing FAQ should not be
construed as medical advice.


10A.1  Tongue Pierce
       by Harry Ugol

I got my tongue pierced last June. The piercing itself hurt much less
my other piercings. The reason the piercing hurt a lot less is that the
tongue is different from most other pierceable body parts; the tongue
is muscle instead of skin. For one thing that means it has no nerves on
inside and few pain receptors on the surface. The striations in the
also make it much easier to physically pierce; the needle tends to slip
between them - unlike a regular piercing, this one resembles pushing an
embroidery needle through a piece of fabric.

The morning after the piercing my tongue was swollen and *very* tender,
of which are normal (a longer barbell is initially used for tongue
piercings; the barbell is replaced with a smaller one once the swelling
down). "*Very* tender" means it hurt to talk and it HURT to eat; I was
not a
happy camper that day.

The pain started to diminish within 24 hours. Within two days I was no
longer in serious discomfort.

The healing regimen for a tongue piercing is slightly different than for
most other piercings; Neosporin and Hibiclens and Ivory soap and such
not good things to put in your mouth. Instead,  you use a *lot* of
Listerine - before the piercing itself and after every meal and
toothbrushing. I went through a giant-sized bottle in a week.

You also use a substance called Gly-Oxide, a hydrogen peroxide compound
dissolved in glycerin, which foams up nicely when you drip it on your
tongue. Putting anything fun in your mouth other than food and drink is
strictly out; aside from the standard still-healing-piercing infection
dangers, cocksucking is no longer a low-HIV-risk activity if you have an
open wound in your mouth. That phase lasted 6 weeks, I think, although
conservative estimates call for 2-3 months.

Like the septum piercing, a tongue piercing is not really noticeable if
don't want it to be. It takes a little more self-control - you have to
remember not to throw your head way back when you laugh, and not to
your tongue out for emphasis when talking - but I haven't had any
with scaring the horses at work. Nor does the piercing get in my way;
the bar was downsized, it's basically a pair of metal balls riding just
above and just below the surfaces of my tongue.

Sex with a tongue piercing is a *lot* of fun!

10A.2  Labret Piercing
       by Anne Greenblatt
       January 1994

My first try at a lip piercing was towards the corner of my mouth, just
below the edge of my lower lip. We used a 19ga needle for the piering,
installing a 20ga 3/8" diameter surgical steel bead ring. The thin
gauge of
the ring proved to be a mistake - the second day I noticed the inside
of my
lip had started to tear upwards. A nasty infection settled in that
I drained the piercing as much as I could with hot compresses and
the ring. The infection cleared with the help of antibiotics. All that's
left is a tiny scar just below the edge of my lip.

My second and existing lip piercing was done with a 14ga needle,
a 16ga Labret stud in the center of my lower lip, about 1/2" below the
of my lip. The labret stud is similar to a barbell. Instead of a ball
on the
inside of my lip, the stud is backed by a disc about 3/16" in diameter.
ball screws onto the front of the stud. Since the jewelry is inserted
the back, an insertion taper was used in the piercing process.  The
was inserted through the front, then the 16ga insertion taper was
into the needle, the taper threaded through the piercing, and the
pushed through, pushing out the taper.

Before piercing, the outside of my lip was disinfected with betadine
and the
inside was disinfected with listerine for 5 minutes and numbed with
benzocaine (found in Oragel). The entire process was very quick and a
less painful than many of my other piercings, including nostril and

Aftercare of the labret piercing included cleaning the outside hole
with ear
care gel containing benzalkonium chloride and applying vitamin E gel.
inside of the piercing was cleaned with Gly-Oxide, and I rinsed my mouth
with diluted (50%) Listerine after eating and brushing teeth. The
healed in about 6 weeks.

There are several designs of Labret studs available. The most common is
disc-backed stud.   A possible problem with this design is that the disc
may, over time and wear, become unsoldered from the post. Another
some people have experienced with the disc is gum erosion, and erosion
"nesting" of the inside of the lip beneath the disc.  A full year later,
neither the slight gum erosion or niche the disc has formed in the
inside of
my lip has caused me anyproblems or has appeared to worsen.

The other design is the Fishtail Labret. The stud is attached to a
approximately an inch long, bent at a right angle, and slightly curved
follow the shape of the gumline.   The ball may or may not be fixed,
depending on the gauge, metal and manufacture.

Update, November 1995

I have since switched my old externally-threaded Labret stud for a 14ga
stud, internally-threaded at both ends.  I also added a second 14ga
above the first, angled so that the inside entrance is above my teeth. 
second piercing swelled considerably more than the first.

Since the new piercing has healed I have worn various jewelry
At one time I traded the inside disc of the top piercing for a 5/32"
ball, but switched back after I bit down on it a few too many times. 
Now I
wear a stud with a 1/8" ball in the top piercing and a stud with a 5mm
cabochon stone (Opal or Star of India) set in white gold.  My next
will be a thin, short spike to wear in the top piercing.

Update, October 1996

In July I abandoned the second piercing because it was slowly pushing
one of
my front teeth (lower) inwards.  I also found myself playing with and
on the jewelry out of habit far too much.

10A.3  Hand Web Piercing
       by "Surf"

I'm on my second hand web pierce. The first one (Had it done first week
July 1993) lasted about 3/4 months before it grew out. I'm figuring
that was
because I had it in my right hand, and I am right handed, so the had
got a
lot of use.

I missed that pierce so much that I had it redone on my left hand in
December 1993. It's still with me, and it seems to be healing great.

The first time, I had it done at Gauntlet San Francisco. The piercer
entrance and exit holes on my hand and positioned the pennington
over the marks. The marks were farther back that I had first imagined
would be, but I'd never seen a hand web pierce before, either. Once the
foreceps were in place, the piercer stretched the skin out a bit and he
shone a light through the skin to make sure that nothing of importance
in the bundle of skin as well. He got the needle lubed with an
salve and butted the needle against the top-side (back of hand side) of
hand web (oh yes - he disinfected the area first with a betadine pad).
held a cork to the bottom (palm side) of the web and quickly pushed the
needle through.

I don't remember much pain at all, but then again, I had just had my
done (my first pierce ever!) minutes before.  Anyway, the piercer got my
jewelry ready to insert and in a moment he was fastening the ball-end. I
have a 12 ga SSS barbell with a 1/2" shaft as my jewelry for the pierce.

The second time around was similar, but there were differences in the
technique. I had it redone at Tie Me Down in Milwaukee.   The piercer
seemed less experienced, at least with hand-webs, but not so as to
scare one
off. I forget what he cleaned the area of my hand with, but he soaked
jewelry in Hibiclens to disinfect it. He marked the depth of the pierce
noticably deeper than the first time, but that was fine by me. This
didn't use a cork on the exit side, and he pushed the needle through
palm side first.

For the jewelry insertion, he mentioned that he wasn't used to
barbells where the ball screws into the shaft, but rather the ones
where the
shaft screwed into the ball. With thal kind he could screw the shaft
the end of the needle for insertion. Because of this, he had problems
insertion and had to guide it in with an insertion taper. Since the
was larger than the hole, it was a painful little process, but when the
jewelry was in, I felt better about the pierce than I had the first time
around - I could flatten my hand right away. The first time, it took a
days before I could do that.

The aftercare was pretty much the same both times. I would alternate
my hand in a solution of hot water and betadine and a hot salt-water
solution. Use the betadine soak only if the jewelry isn't gold, though.
would soak about 10 times a day - more if feasable. When the water
down, I would reheat it in the microwave and re-soak. I'd keep this up
long as I could. The betadine soaks especially reduced swelling when my
was acting up. I would try to keep my hand unbandaged as much as
but I was wearing them a lot during the first week, and for the first
weeks while I slept.

After about 2 weeks, I had an initial healing that would allow me almost
normal use of my hand, as long as I watched it and was careful. At
first, I
would wash the pierce with hibiclens, but am now using an antibacterial
(easier on the hands and still kills germs). I would still recommend
hibiclens on the fresh pierce, though. During the initial healing, I
swab some betadine over the freshly washed or soaked pierce to keep the
germs away as long as possible.

I had relatively little swelling of my hand web area after the first
both times I had it done. Even less the second time.  Now I would even
mistake the thing for being fully healed (even though I know it's not
inside)! There is no swelling at all anymore. I put lotion on the area
it gets dry (and believe me, the area gets really dry at times after
piercing!). If the area dries out, it can get tender and hurt if
bumped, but
some lotion takes care of that.

All in all, I love the pierce. It is my favorite of all mine (eyebrow,
nipple, navel, PA) because it is so rare, and it looks wicked. From my
expierence, I feel that a lot of people's reservations about this pierce
getting in the way are unwarranted. Sure, there are some instances
where it
would be in the way, but for normal (whatever that is, right?) use, it's

I am in Wisconsin and I'm wearing winter gloves all the time with no
problems. I was waterskiing last summer and I could hold the tow line
without a problem. Pretty much the only hindrance is the time spent
explaining to people that I am not totally insane and that it didn't
(nonetheless I love to show it off - I'm proud of my metal!).

I would expect the true healing time to be 6 months, or a full year
just to
be sure. The times I mentioned above were my experience only. I've been
I'm a fast healer, so my experiences won't necessarily apply to
but I have had really good experiences with the hand web despite the
one growing out.

One last recommendation - however you're handed, don't get that hand
pierced. Like I said, when I had my right hand pierced, it grew out
primarily because that had went through a lot more use than did my left
hand. I just never realized it until I paid that much attention to my
because of the piercing.

10A.4  Eyelet Piercing
       by Julian Hurt

[Please note that Julian has much experience with piercings, and that
section is to provide information and in no way is to condone beginners
trying the same. Most people who wish to stretch out their piercings do
the regular way--stretching it a little at a time over a long period.]

Rings large enough to fill large (00 - 4) gauge earlobe piercings tend
to be
fairly heavy. The weights often are sufficient to automatically cause
further stretching of the holes. An alternative to heavy jewelry is to
light- weight eyelets. Eyelets essentially are stainless surgical steel
gold tubes that have been flared outward on both ends. They are hollow
the center and look like narrow grommets. Pleasurable Piercings carries
eyelets from 4 gauge to 00 gauge and Gauntlet lists them from 10 gauge
to 00

Eyelets can be worn as the sole insert in a lobe piercing or with
gauge rings inserted inside them (thus allowing light weight rings
allowing the larger holes to grow closed). For illustrations of these
styles see respectively _Modern Primitives_ page 176, and page 3 of
_Piercing Fans International Quarterly Number 18_. eyelets occasionally
called "earlets" or even "retainers." Eyelets are very effective
when combined with additional rings or studs higher on the ear.

Eyelets are sized by the diameter of the tubing at its narrowest point
flare out so that the outer edge of the flare is the next even gauged
Thus the flange of a 4 gauge eyelet flares out about 0.025" and
requires a 2
gauge hole. In order to insert an eyelet, one needs a hole the size of
outer flange (2 gauge larger than the eyelet size). After the eyelets
inserted the holes gradually will shrink and fill-in towards the size
of the

The standard method for inserting eyelets is to begin with well-healed
piercings and gradually stretch them out. (See the FAQ and the article
_PFIQ number 18_, pages 23-30, for information on various stretching
techniques.) When they are stretched to the stated gauge of the desired
eyelet they then are stretched using an insertion taper of the next even
gauge, and then inserted.

The taper temporarily stretches out the hole to accomodate the wider
flanges, and then when the eyelet is in place, the tissue shrinks to the
original gauge. Gauntlet warns, "CAUTION: To accomplish piercings large
enough for eyelets great patience is required. Never push stretching too
fast or the earlobe can be torn. When the hole is large enough for an
eyelet, facilitate insertion and avoid damage to the earlobe by using a
convex insertion taper of the next larger size."

It is also possible to insert eyelets in fresh piercings. Piercing
are available up to 6 gauge from Pleasurable Piercings. One could
pierce to
the next size larger than the eyelet (e.g., pierce to a 6 gauge for
insertion of an 8 gauge eyelet) but the eyelets would tend to fall out
normal wear.

Anecdotal evidence indicates it is fairly routine to stretch fresh
to the next gauge with out tearing by using a well-lubricated (with
anti-bacterial ointment) insertion tapers inserted fairly rapidly with a
strong twisting motion. Then the eyelets can be inserted in standard
by following the taper just as one follows a piercing needle with

The hole will snap back against the narrow part of the eyelet. In at
one case documented in rec.arts.bodyart postings, a person was
pierced at 6 gauge in both lobes and had them immediately stretched to
a 2
gauge using the technique just described with a 2 gauge insertion
taper. The
piercing was done as an experiment by Wild Bill of Pleasurable
Piercings at
the request of a piercing-knowledgeable customer. As a precaution
intermediate sized jewelry was on hand so that the stretching could be
abandoned mid-way if any tearing had occorred. The stretching was only
slightly more intense than the 6 gauge piercings which were relatively

When eyelets are the initial insertions in fresh piercings, care is
Sensative Ears is used a number of times daily to irrigate the
piercings. In
the first few days there may be some swelling so that the flanges pop
the surface of the earlobes. As crusting loosens from the cleaning
gently pop the eyelets so that both flanges are outside the hole.
Regardless, once the eyelets are properly placed and loosened by the
irrigation, grasp the flanges between thumb and forefinger and gently
them in the hole. These care techniques were used with the fresh 6 gauge
piercings stretched to 2 gauge described above, and they healed without
complication in 4 weeks.

When eyelets are inserted by stretching they generally remain in place
during normal daily activity. But when drying ones ears with a towel,
cleaning the eyelets, or sleeping they do have a tendency to pop out
unexpecedly. They also are small enough to easily be lost down drains.
one is advised not to clean them over sinks, not towel in the shower,
One way of preventing loss of the eyelets is to insert small rings or
through them.

 10A.5  Ritual Nipple Piercing (Male)
        by Phaedrus, edited by Anne Greenblatt

I pondered whether or not to crosspost this to rec.arts.bodyart and I
not to. Mainly because I am rather unfamiliar with that group, and
there is
enough non-vanilla in my post to warrant not posting there. If a reader
familiar with r.a.b. feels that this experience would benefit that
then by all means feel free to repost it there.

All names used herein are used with the consent of the owner of said
And if you were there and I did not mention you by name, it is only
I forgot to ask you. It is not because I have forgotten you.

Right. Onward.

It's been a full 7 days now, and I -think- I've processed enough to be
to post my piercing experience in a more or less coherent fashion.

I've been wanting a nipple piercing for over a year now. Some of you
back then may recall when I first posted about wanting one. Part of the
waiting has been pondering, part because the time was not right.

So the time was right last weekend. Beverly Block had told me that she
been trained in piercing. We had talked about it a little over a year
and nothing had been said since. When I saw Bev at a Berkeley lunch on
Friday, I asked her if she would do it at a ritual the next night.

After lunch and running amok in a certain storefront in Oakland, we
across the bay to the Gauntlet. It was wonderful having Bev with me.
She got
into a professional argument about ring gauges for male nipples with a
worker at the Gauntlet. And while Bev conceded the point, it felt good
having a knowledgable advocate with me. I picked out a beautiful gold
and Bev specified a needle and something with the ominous name of
At several points, the Gauntlet person discussed technique with Bev.

The next afternoon, I opened the Gauntlet bag and checked out the
needle for
the first time. I won't say that I came close to backing out, but I will
admit that I thought about it.

That night at the ritual, after opening circle, Bev told those present
I was to be pierced next. I wanted people who -wanted- to be there to be
present. It may sound strange, but I wanted people to be there because
wanted to be present, not because I wanted them there. I have to ponder
further sometime -- there's something odd there.

Anyway. I notice that Bev is a little nervous and encircle her bicep to
her attention. We lock gazes, and I tell her to breathe with me. She
and returns to preparation.

I'm a little nervous, mainly because I do not know what to expect. My
piercing ritual, and I'm the piercee. Figures. I feel as if the ring is
-already- in place, and the ritual is only matching realities.

I have my symbols: a length of black ribbon, an amethyst about my neck,
pewter earcuff. I mention to STella that our symbols are so much a part
us, and she tells me that we -are- our symbols. Once again, dear STella,
dead on target.

It's time, and I lay down on the table clad only in my standard black
playparty briefs. People gather about me, and I make it clear at some
that I -want- to be touched. It was at this point that I closed my eyes
did not open them until I looked at the ring in my body.

I concentrate on my breathing and feel the wonderful energy from my
about me. I could almost sense the boundaries of the safespace that
encircled us.

Bev fastens the hemostat on my left nipple and it -HURTS-. Goddam, it
The stub-your-toe kind of hurt. Oh, lovely, the needle isn't even
yet and I'm a'hurting. Oh, well, I think.

The pain from the clamp starts to subside. I'm conscious mainly of my
friends touching me. I can't distinguish who is touching me where...all
can feel is being enfolded in love and caring.

Bev tell me to accept the needle into my body, and it flows into me. No
sensation of pushing, more like the needle was sucked into me. There is
pain, but rather an intense sensation that I have no name for. There is,
however, and ragged edge to this sensation, and I do not allow myself to
feel that. Rather, I passed that edge on to my rage which holds an
image of
my father. Let him feel that ragged edge.

The sensation is an icy clarity similar to that clarity that follows a
shaking insight. That's the closest I can come to describing it. I hear
most unusual sound, and realize that I am "screaming". I call it a
only because I do not know what else to call it. I have never heard a
like that before. It is not coming from any higher level center of my
It feels like it is coming from a deeper, animal part of my physical

Bev asks me if I want to look at the needle, and I tell her no, thank
you, I
hate needles. This evokes laughter from the circle.

Suddenly a rush starts at my head and travels down my body and I realize
that Wolf is out. I feel full of the Power around me, and I hear my body
start to growl. A "Yes!" comes from a person over my head, and the
feels even more together somehow. Since Wolf usually only comes out for
self-defense or toppish rather violent lovemaking, I keep an eye on him.
This situation is neither and I do not want him loose. He behaves,
the feeling of the Power the ritual has evoked.

I'm so busy watching Wolf that I do not notice Bev taking the needle
out or
inserting the ring. I do notice that something has happened to disturb
though I haven't a clue what it was. There's some sort of blaming going
so I pull out the old joke about the blame stage of a project should be
-last- phase of a project and we aren't there yet.

Bev tells me that I can look at the ring now, but before I do I make a
to those with me.

I finally open my eyes and look into a small mirror Bev is holding. It
-beautiful-! Just how it is supposed to look. The realities have
merged, and
that brings me a warm glow of completion.

Ah. The gold ball is lost. That was the disturbance earlier. No matter.
that occurrence feels right to me. The entire sequence of events feels
perfect to me. I would not change a thing.

The circle slowly dissipates, and STella stays close to me as I slowly
up in stages. Very slowly. I stumble about the dungeon for a bit, just
prove to myself that I can, then collapse on a handy bed. People wander
and now and again a friend cuddles and talks with me.

To those of you who shared this wonderful event in my life with me:
you. I feel a bond with each of you. And, now that I am back in
Illinois, I
miss you terribly. It's funny, but all I have to do is look at my ring
remember the feelings of being with you in that circle.

And thank you, Beverly. You nor anyone else could have done better.

Postscript: the next day, I got an amethyst bead to replace the gold one
that was lost. The ring achieved its proper state much faster because
original bead was lost. I am very pleased.

And, btw, my nipple is healing -very- nicely.

10A.6  Niebuhr Piercing
       by Denise "Ambient" Robinson
Niebuhr... When I saw the first photos of them, I thought, my goodness,
a STOOPID IDEA.  Little did I know I would come to enjoy it immensely.
"Why?" people always ask me...  Well, my response is so that people will
make eye-contact with me(having tremendous ta-tas can be a
disadvantage, ya
know). My main reason is that its an originality thang.  Noone I've ever
seen in person has one, and I wanted somethang visible to set me apart. 
Purely poseur.

It definitely receives a high Pain In The Ass rating for many reasons:
actual piercing, healing, and visibility.  The piercing itself can be
dangerous considering the location of major nerve trunks and blood
in the area.  Make sure your piercer pinches the area they're about to
pierce before poking you to ensure they're not hitting any major
nerves. If
you feel pain any where other than where the pinch is, ferget it.  If
don't have much skin in that location, you may as well nevermind- if you
can't go deep, enough, it'll reject *fast*.

Apart from the pinch method, thats about the only difference in method
any other piercing.  Clean it, mark it, clamp it, poke it.  We used a
surgical steel barbell between 5/8"-3/4"long (to allow room for
with 3/16" balls (to allow me to see around the thang!).  I wouldn't
use any
larger of a gauge, simply cuz I wouldn't like the potential visible
under the skin.

It shouldn't be a painful piercing.  Unfortunately, the piercer to whom
went ended up taking about 3 seconds to get the needle through, having
used a cork (supposedly to ensure it being straight), so I admit that it
*did* hurt, but I feel that it *shouldn't* have hurt that much, done
quickly. Oh yeah, for the first 72 hours, I experienced caked blood on
balls of the jewelry, hence I recommend holing yerself up for a weekend
not to freak out your friends... I've used Bactine (Benzalkonium
to clean mine with great results... Twice a day, and any time I get
excessively sweaty or dirty.

Healing a surface piercing seems to be a full-time job for about six
Neglecting it for a few days, or playing rough with it seems to be
enough to
set it off (but then of course it could be considered to be a good
thang - a
nice barometer for your health, so long as you don't mind pus excreting
between yer eyes). As for the visibility thang, it can be real
wearing glasses or sunglasses, or having braids or dreadlocks that
catch in
the thang.  If its not 100% straight, boy, is it ever obvious.  And if
starts to reject, it ain't a pretty sight. So far I've been lucky, and
seems to be nice and even and straight. I must say, if this actually
put, I'll be incredibly loathe to ever remove it.  Its among the few of
piercings that really feels like it belongs.

10A.7  Piercing Inverted Nipples (Male)
       by <>

The piercing is actually in the aerola and deep behind the inverted
I pierced mine because they were inverted and was advised that they may
develop after piercing. They have done just that and stick out nicely
To further develop my nipples I re-pierced the actual nipples after they
developed. The second piercings were done after about a year of the
original piercings. It has now been 10 years and I wear 4 ga rings in my
large nipples and couldn't be happier with the results! My nipples were
never sensitive prior to piercing, but now they are very sensitive!


                              Anne Greenblatt
                Manager of the rec.arts.bodyart Piercing FAQ
                             Piercing Exquisite

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